Photo by Melissa Abrahamsen
ATHENS --- The Georgia Bulldogs returned to practice on Tuesday after Monday's workout was cancelled due to rain and coach Mark Richt sent the players to cool off at the school pool. The forecast for Tuesday appeared equally bleak, but the Bulldogs did get in their two-and-a-half hour, full-pads session without incident.
And Richt was pleased with what he saw.
"Practice (Tuesday) I thought was good," Richt said. "We worked hard. We're getting better. We've cut down on our penalties. We've still got a couple of dumb ones here and there, but I think the guys understand what we want."
The practice was the 14th of the preseason, nearly halfway through the 29 available before the season opener Sept. 4 against Louisiana-Lafayette at Sanford Stadium
"I mentioned to the players that I thought we were basically at the midway point in camp and from what I've seen I believe we can have a pretty good team," Richt said.
He also emphasized that players still have the chance to prove they deserve playing time.
"We've got some guys slated as starters now like (Akeem) Dent, Ben Jones and Cordy Glenn," Richt said. "I told the other guys who are getting reps right now to show your coach you're ready to play. We want to play multiple players. We're going to play at noon at noon and at noon those first three games. We have to have players to get through those. I've told the guys there right now to work hard to hold onto it or at least show you're ready to play."
Richt also said on he and his staff have discussed their personnel and each player's progression to date.
"We did talk about personnel," Richt said. "I sat for about an hour and a half with our offensive staff and a little less than that with the defense. We didn't so much make judgments about the depth chart as much as trying to get an honest evaluation on each player...who is ready to play. We won't be too concerned with who is going to start until the week of the game."
NESBITT, TARRANT PUT ON WATCH LISTS:
Georgia Tech senior quarterback Joshua Nesbitt and junior safety Jerrard Tarrant were named to the preseason watch list Tuesday for the 2010 Paul Hornung Award, which will go to the most versatile player in college football.
The Louisville (Ky.) Sports Commission announced the 48-player list.
Nesbitt, the 2009 first team All-ACC quarterback, is the most prolific rushing quarterback in Georgia Tech history. The senior is on track to break the ACC record for rushing yards by a quarterback. The Paul Hornung Award is one of five national individual awards that have Nesbitt on its watch list.
Tarrant truly fits the description of versatile. A starting cornerback last season, Tarrant has moved to safety this fall. In 2009, he was one of the top punt returners in the nation and scored all four of Tech's non-offensive touchdowns -- two by punt returns, one by interception return and one by fumble return.
VALDOSTA NATIVE, FSU STAR REID ALSO MAKES HORNUNG WATCH LIST:
Florida State sophomore cornerback and return specialist Greg Reid of Lowdens set himself apart last season by leading the NCAA in punt returns. He will open the 2010 season as one of 48 candidates for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award.
FSU'S THOMAS IMPROVING:
Jermaine Thomas opened preseason camp looking up on the depth chart, despite leading the Seminoles last season in rushing yards (832) and touchdowns (10). The junior from Jacksonville and classmate Ty Jones have been pushing to unseat sophomore Chris Thompson, who emerged from spring practice atop the depth chart.
While Fisher isn't ready to make any depth chart proclamations nearly three weeks from the opener, he did praise Thomas for his improved effort and consistency.
"Jermaine is doing better," Fisher said. "He's getting his execution better and his technique is getting better. He's one of the guys I've been pleased with as far as attitude toward the thing. Having a great attitude and doing things exactly right is not the same thing, but he's really working toward it. I've been very pleased, for the most part, with his overall performance."