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Bulldogs put on pads for Saturday's practice; Morant has change of heart, returns to team

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATHENS -- The No. 21-ranked Georgia Bulldogs stepped up preparations for the 2010 season Saturday by conducting their first full-pads practice, a two-and-a-half hour session in the middle of the hottest part of the day.

"You know what, I thought they did really good (Saturday)," UGA coach Mark Richt said. "I think they fought through the heat and practiced with a lot of energy. When you look at the week in its entirety, it was very, very good. We've been very fortunate on injuries with nothing more than bumps and bruises. There's a really good feeling surrounding this team. It has a good mental edge to it."

Richt also announced that true freshman Dexter Morant had rejoined the team.

Morant left the program on Tuesday but reconsidered his decision after returning home to Manning. S.C.

"Dexter called me the other night and said the thought he really made a big mistake and wanted to come back," Richt said. "I talked to coach (Todd) Grantham and the seniors about it and everybody thinks that Dexter should allowed back on the team. Nobody wants him to make a decision like that that would really affect him the rest of his life in a negative way. They voted to keep him, and that's what we're going to do. It kind of reminds me of a former Georgia player I was told about. I think he left and went home six times, and coach Dooley sent a different assistant coach to get him and bring him back six times. He ended up becoming an All-American and playing in a Super Bowl."

Morant was part of Saturday's practice but did so for selected drills in a jersey and shorts.

"He has to go through the five-day acclamation period so he won't be able to do what everyone else is doing for a while," Richt said.

Morant will practice in a jersey and shorts Monday and then practice in shoulder pads for three days before being able to don full pads with his teammates.

Fall Semester classes begin at UGA on Monday, Aug. 16. The annual Fans' Picture Day is slated for Aug. 21 at Sanford Stadium. Interim mascot "Russ" will be available for photos from 1-3 p.m., while the 2010 Bulldogs will be at the stadium from 3-5 p.m.

Georgia's first game will be four weeks from Saturday, on Sept. 4 against Louisiana-Lafayette at Sanford Stadium. Kickoff for the opener against the Ragin' Cajuns is set for 12:21 p.m., and the contest will be televised on the SEC Network nationwide.