Georgia became the first Southeastern Conference team to report for preseason camp on Tuesday and joins Mississippi State, Missouri and Vanderbilt on Thursday as the first to get August practices underway.
“It’s time to go,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, who enters his 13th season coming off back-to-back trips to the SEC title game and a 12-2 record last year. “You’ve kind of got to kiss your family goodbye. Not goodbye, but you know it’s going to be a little bit different.”
Georgia is scheduled to practice for 10 consecutive days to open camp and 27 times total leading up to the season opener Aug. 31 at Clemson.
Quarterback Aaron Murray and tailback Todd Gurley lead an offense hoping to pick up where it left off last season when it set program scoring records.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who had seven players go in the NFL draft off his unit, will have 11 more newcomers added to the mix this preseason to go along with those who enrolled early.
“They’re going to be evaluated pretty quickly because I think it’s critical to get into preparing for our first few opponents because we’re a little bit younger,” said Grantham, referring to a schedule that includes Clemson, South Carolina and Louisiana State in the first month. “I think from what I see with our young team is we get better the more we play. I think in the spring, the more we practiced the better we got. I think if we can give them a sense of what we’re going to do in the first few games, I think that will allow them to play better.”
Georgia may practice its first-team offense against its first-team defense this preseason, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. That’s something usually for the spring.
Georgia’s defense is inexperienced, but may be faster and deeper.
“We’re just a very, very lean football team,” Richt said. “We really don’t have any fat boys. There’s a couple of guys that need a little help, but not many. I think we’re very quick and very athletic.”
PENN STATE: The NCAA rule connected to Penn State’s sanctions that had the earliest impact on the football program is set to expire Thursday.
The rule allowing Nittany Lions to transfer without having to sit out a year at a new school elapses Aug. 1, according to school officials. On that front at least, Penn State returns to a level playing field with other FBS schools a year after the NCAA levied its landmark penalties for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE: Coach Rick Stockstill has dismissed three players facing charges in connection with an incident caught on videotape showing one choking a woman while two teammates watched and narrated.
Middle Tennessee suspended defensive tackle J.D. Jones on July 20 hours after he was charged with two counts of domestic aggravated assault July. Defensive tackle Marcus Robinson and cornerback Rodney O’Neal were charged with two counts of aiding and abetting and also were suspended that night. All three are due in court Aug. 29.
TEXAS CHRISTIAN: Senior quarterback Casey Pachall says he has matured and been really humbled after his time away from school last season to participate in a substance-abuse program.
In publicly addressing his situation for the first time Wednesday, Pachall says he was “actually very grateful” for what happened.
Pachall started the Horned Frogs’ first four games last season, all victories, before he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and left school in October for a treatment program. He had admitted to police earlier last year that he smoked marijuana and failed a team-administered drug test.
NORTH CAROLINA: Quarterback Drew Davis, the son of former Tar Heels coach Butch Davis, is transferring to Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.