Georgia tackle's spirit on display as a reporter

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HOOVER, Ala. --- Jeff Owens bounded off the Wynfrey Hotel elevator and into the throng of photographers waiting to take his picture.

Georgia defensive end Jeff Owens talks with reporters.  Morris News Service
Morris News Service
Georgia defensive end Jeff Owens talks with reporters.

With Thursday representing his second visit to Southeastern Conference Media Days, the Georgia defensive tackle was ready for them.

"I'm gonna interview you guys," Owens said, pointing a mini video camera at the photographers and proceeding to lightheartedly grill them about their duties.

Fox Sports TV provided Owens with the camera, asking him to videotape his day for a segment that will display select players' first-hand accounts of the often-bizarre Media Days scene. They couldn't have picked a better person for the job.

Owens threw all of his 300 pounds into the role, hamming it up with the camera throughout his morning media rounds. He interviewed teammate Joe Cox. He interviewed reporters. He interviewed players from other teams. He even convinced testy Alabama coach Nick Saban to stop and answer a few questions.

The good-natured senior had a great deal of fun with his temporary position as roving reporter, which exemplifies why Georgia coach Mark Richt brought him to Hoover for an encore performance.

"He deserves it, No. 1, and he's kinda made for this kind of event. You know he'll represent well," Richt said

A sports radio fan, Owens hopes to one day host a show like ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning .

As a rare player who seems to genuinely enjoy interacting with the media, Owens might just be a natural.

"It's something I like to do. I like to talk, I like to speak with people," he said.

Owens' return engagement happened only because of a bout of bad luck. He's back for a second senior season at Georgia because the first one lasted less than one quarter. Owens suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee on the eighth defensive snap of Georgia's 2008 season.

"You're talking about the spirit of the team," Richt said. "Jeffrey has got one of the strongest personalities and one of the most wonderful spirits on our team."

That spirit was on full display on Thursday morning as Owens prepared to greet a ballroom full of writers.

"Last year I didn't know what to expect, so I was a little uptight, a little nervous," he admitted. "This year I think I'm more relaxed, more laid-back. I'm about to have a blast."

Reach David Ching at david.ching@onlineathens.com.


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