Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Practice Report


The 19th-ranked Dawgs had the first of two dress rehearsals Wednesday, working out for 90 minutes in jerseys, shorts and helmets.

“Today was all about assignments, and we jogged through everything,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt. “There was no throwing, we’re getting everybody rested up. On Thursday, we’ll go over everything again and time it up at the stadium with crowd noise and see how we execute.”

Richt added that this season opener has a “little more juice added to it” because of several factors.

“When you look at who we’re playing, where we’re playing and what we’re wearing plus the national television, there’s a lot of people interested in this game,” said Richt. “We know a lot of people will be there and will be watching on television.”

This will be the first time since 1965 that the Dawgs will open a season against top five-ranked team. That year, the unranked Dawgs upset fifth-ranked and defending national champion Alabama 18-17 in Athens.

Georgia and Boise State have tangled just once before. It was the 2005 season opener, and the Dawgs registered a 48-13 season-opening win in Athens. Georgia has won 13 of its last 14 season openers, including 9-1 under Richt. The lone blemish in the Richt era came in 2009, falling to ninth-ranked Oklahoma State 24-10 in Stillwater.

Richt provided an update on a couple of projected starters in tailback Richard Samuel and cornerback/punt returner Branden Smith, saying they are ready to go.

“They were able to do everything today and looked fine, we’ll ask for more tempo from everybody Thursday,” said Richt. “Branden got some reps at returning punts, and I expect him to be back there.”

Samuel returned to the tailback position after spending a year on defense and redshirted in 2010. Due to attrition in the backfield, Samuel moved back to offense during the offseason. He has appeared in 22 games including six starts with 528 career rushing yards. Smith has eight career starts and averaged 14.3 yards on 10 punt returns last season.

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