Richt: I'm Certain We Got Better Today

ATHENS - The Bulldogs returned to practice with better results from a Thursday session in shoulder pads and shorts.

"I thought they were competing and getting after it pretty good," head coach Mark Richt said. "They cranked it up and decided to have a little fun. We got a lot of really good work in. I'm certain we got better today."

The Bulldogs' ninth preseason practice was conducted under overcast skies, beginning at approximately 8:45 and wrapping up with a couple of spirited 11-on-11 periods.

Following practice, Georgia's defensive freshmen and junior college transfers who joined the team this fall were available for interviews for the first time during preseason camp. Toby Johnson, a College Park, Ga., native who starred at Banneker High School before playing at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas the past two seasons, is happy to be back in his home state.

"It's really great to be a Bulldog," Johnson said. "Everyone was excited that I was coming back home and everyone has been so supportive of me since I got to Athens."

Johnson, one of the nation's top-ranked JUCO prospects, is recovering from a right knee injury that cut short his sophomore season at Hutchinson.

"I feel like I'm 100 percent," Johnson said. "I did everything the trainers and physicians told me to do. I pushed myself and now I think I'm stronger than ever."

Johnson has worked primarily at defense end this fall but says he has cross-trained at other positions.

"I feel like I'm getting there," he said. "I'm not where I know I want to be. I think I'm pretty good in base right now. I need to get nickel down and then I'll be good to go. You can't play fast when you don't know the plays. The plays I know, I think I'm doing pretty well. The 'O' line has been helping me get better every day and I appreciate that."

The Bulldogs are slated to open their 2013 schedule on August 31 at No. 8 Clemson. The contest, which is 2013's only season-opening top-10 matchup, will be broadcast nationally on ABC.

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