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Dogs don pads for third practice of preseason; Richt praises former SW Georgia stars

Photo by Melissa Abrahamsen

Photo by Melissa Abrahamsen

ATHENS -- With temperatures hovering around the mid-90s and the heat index reaching triple digits, the University of Georgia football team hit the field Wednesday for its third session of the preseason.

After a couple of days of working out in jerseys, shorts and helmets, the Bulldogs added shoulder pads to Wednesday's two-hour practice. Georgia's first session in full pads is scheduled for Saturday. This routine follows the NCAA's five-day "acclimatization period" that all teams must follow at the start of preseason practice. The Bulldogs will have a total of 29 practices before their season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

"It was definitely the hottest day for us, and everybody held up extremely well and I was really proud of them," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "We finished extremely well."

Richt praised the play of senior linebacker Darryl Gamble of Bainbridge and junior flanker A.J. Green, saying they are having an excellent camp.

But Gamble wasn't the only former Southwest Georgia star Richt was praising in the early going. The coach was beyond impressed with former Early County football star Shawn Williams.

"One guy in particular I want to make mention of is Shawn Williams," Richt said. "Shawn has probably dropped about 10 pounds, and he is much quicker. You can tell he really studied. He has got the attention of our coaching staff, and he's just one example of that. There are a lot of guys who look like they got very serious to where they could compete more."

Meanwhile, freshman defensive end Dexter Morant, a 6-7, 240-pound native of Manning, S.C., announced he was leaving the program, Richt confirmed Wednesday.

"Football is not for everybody, and Dexter has lost the desire to play," Richt said. "We tried to convince him it was in his best interest to stay and fight through it because a lot of guys go through it, but in the end, he felt like it wasn't for him. Right now, I'm not sure what he is going to do. I wish him the best. He's a good kid."

In other personnel news, Richt said sophomore split end Tavarres King's suspension would likely remain for just one game after King's off-season alcohol-related incident.

*** NOTES: Classes resume at UGA on Monday, Aug. 16. ... The annual Fans' Picture Day will be Aug. 21 in Sanford Stadium. .... Interim Bulldog mascot "Russ" will be available for photos that day from 1-3 p.m., while the 2010 Bulldogs will be at the stadium from 3-5 p.m. ... The season opener against the Ragin' Cajuns is slated for a 12:21 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 4, and it will be televised on the SEC Network.