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Although Mark Richt will obviously have a better idea about his 5th-ranked Bulldogs after Saturday night's opener at Clemson (8:22 p.m., ABC), the Bulldog coach said after practice Wednesday that he's already seeing some positive signs.
"These guys have been a real pleasure to coach and I think that's because there's so many guys fighting for their position, fighting for travel squad opportunities and all that. Plus, the veterans who have been around have tried to help the young guys," Richt said. "I think they've been very serious about trying to perfect their trade. They're doing everything we've asked them."
The Bulldogs practiced for 90 minutes in jersey, shorts and helmets in what was the first of two dress-rehearsals for Saturday's game.
Wednesday's workout came complete with crowd noise, to give the players somewhat of an idea of what it will be like at Memorial Stadium.
The team will practice at Sanford Stadium for a final tune-up Thursday afternoon. Once again, the artificial crowd noise will be en vogue.
"We thought about doing it early but what happens if you do it all practice long, then it's very difficult to coach. Especially, if you're a wide receivers coach and you've got some on this side of the field and that side of the field, or if you're a DBs coach and you're barking out instructions and corrections, they just can't hear you," Richt said. "You can't be running back and forth. We've learned that lesson from years past where we just couldn't get enough coaching in if we did it too many days, so we thought two days would be enough."
With fifth-year senior Aaron Murray at the quarterback controls, Richt said he's not as worried as he might be.
"Murray has been through a lot of games like that and has had to communicate that way plus most of our offensive players have lived through it so it should not come as too much of a shock," Richt said. "But being that it's the first game, everybody's got to focus.
Matthews will play, but Richt still cautious
Richt said freshman safety Tray Matthews will indeed play against Clemson, but remains cautious regarding just how effective the Newnan native will be coming off his injured hamstring.
"The hardest part about that is the tempo that we're going at right now, isn't a real good indicator of how he can run out, how he can burst, how long he can do that and if he can do that for an entire ball game," Richt said. "It's just difficult to gauge right now. We don't want to test it because the more days he has under his belt the more he'll heal. We didn't want any setbacks. He may have gone full speed once or twice, but not like what happens in a game, so I'm not even sure he knows how he's going to do right now. But right now we plan on playing him. Ron (head trainer Ron Courson) said he'd be OK."
Before returning to practice on Monday, Matthews had missed the better part of three weeks nursing a minor shoulder injury, along with his strained hamstring."
It appears some of the long-time members on Georgia's post-practice injury report are starting to make some headway.
That includes two players Richt said Tuesday were probably not going to play - safety Corey Moore (right knee sprain) and wide receiver Jonathon Rumph (left hamstring strain).
For the first time, both players were listed as limited and running after previously being out.
Running backs Brendan Douglas (left knee sprain) and A.J. Turman (right knee sprain, right ankle sprain) were also back on the field in a limited capacity.
Cornerback Devin Bowman (left hamstring strain), wide receiver Tramel Terry (left knee contusion) and linebacker Chase Vasser (left ankle sprain) also took part in limited activity.
This and that
Richt said freshman wide receiver Reggie Davis will probably play. "I think Reggie will play. I don't know how much, but he's not been on the scout team; he's been practicing with the offense," Richt said. "That means you're at least in the thought process of getting into the game."
Richt also said that freshman running back J.J. Green will likely also see action in a backup role.
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