Smith: This Isn't the Project Manhattan

ATHENS - Georgia coach Mark Richt says he's "more curious than concerned," about a new-look Bulldogs defense.

Garrison Smith, a history major, reminded that it wasn't exactly surprising that the Bulldogs were hit hard by player departures after last season, including juniors entering the NFL draft.

"It wasn't no secret," Smith said. "It wasn't Project Manhattan or nothing."

How a defense that is set to start two freshmen starters in the secondary--cornerback Brendan Langley and safety Tray Matthews--and has six other freshmen on its two deep will fare under the lights in Memorial Stadium is still to be determined.

"It's just going to be interesting to see how quickly these guys can get their feet under them and start playing with some confidence," Richt said.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says Georgia will be just fine.

"Don't buy the lie or feel sorry for Georgia," Swinney said Tuesday. "They've got a lot of great players. They're one of those programs that just reloads. They have recruited at a very high level and will put a very good defense on the field Saturday night."

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is ready to let his unproven bunch loose.

"These guys have worked hard, they're eager, you've just got to go play," he said.

Linebacker Amarlo Herrera is one of three returning starters.

"You're always going to be curious when you're in a real football game that really matters," Herrera said. "You have a lot of guys that have never played in a football game together so you've just got to see how everybody jells and how quick we come together."

Said Smith: "We're all wondering. I'm sure the coaches and everybody, the whole world. I'm confident in our ability that we'll do good."

Murray on contacts, Manziel madness

Football is without a doubt a contact sport, but it's not a sport that quarterback Aaron Murray plans to play wearing contacts.

Murray said he's not planning to wear the contacts he wore during lunchtime interviews Tuesday in Saturday's game against Clemson.

He's worn them for a couple of weeks off the field after wearing glasses last year.

"It's fine," he said. "It really is just in class if I'm sitting in the back and the small words on the screen get me in a little trouble. Really my eyes aren't bad at all. It's just more for classroom stuff."

Murray says he doesn't need to wear them in games.

"Probably not right away," Murray said. "I don't know. Definitely not this week. I'm not wearing them during the game. I'm not used to them yet."

Yes, Murray said he can see safeties on the field without them.

And he'll be able to see the guys that wear orange on Saturday.

"I can see colors," he said. "No excuses because of eyes. That's for sure."

On a different topic, Murray called it "a huge honor," for coaches to vote him first-team preseason All-SEC over Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

"He definitely receives a lot of attention and it's tough," Murray said. "I know the craziness I get and it's probably nowhere near what he gets. I can only imagine what he goes through on a day to day basis."

Missing out on Gurley

Dabo Swinney thought he really had a chance to land a commitment from North Carolina tailback Todd Gurley back in January, 2011

"I'm fired up about Gurley and I think we're going to get Gurley," Swinney told reporters in Clemson Tuesday. "The day we're supposed to announce I'm on edge."

Swinney said he got a call from Richt that day and phoned him back.

He was on a treadmill.

"Well, I guess you're not really worried about this announcement coming up at 2," Swinney said he told Richt.

"He said something like `Well, you never know,'" Swinney said. " How in the world did they get these two great backs."

Now Swinney's Tigers will try to stop Gurley and Marshall on Saturday.

Marshall first picked Georgia over Clemson.

"I really loved both of those guys," Swinney said. "I thought we had them both. When Marshall broke our heart….I just knew we were going to get Gurley."

Said Marshall: "I think both of us were pretty back and forth for awhile and then we both decided on Georgia."

This and that

Wide receiver Jonathon Rumph's Georgia debut probably won't come Saturday at Clemson. Richt said he didn't expect Rumph (hamstring) or safety Corey Moore (knee) to play against the Tigers. "I don't think we'll have either one of those," Richt said. Tailback Brendan Douglas (knee) is also out Saturday and likely will miss the South Carolina game as well, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Grantham indicated that linebacker Chase Vasser (ankle) is questionable…Richt said any future games with Clemson after next season's game in Athens will depend on how many SEC games teams will play in the future. "If we go to nine conference games, it will be a lot less likely," he said. "If we stay at eight games, it will be a lot more likely."

Troy is getting an $850,000 guarantee for the 2014 game at Georgia. South Alabama, which moved off Georgia's schedule and on to South Carolina's, had a $900,000 guarantee but Georgia won't have any financial obligation for the change.

Kickoff time for Saturday night is slated for 8:22 p.m.

Georgia has "a few hundred" tickets on sale for the Nov. 23 Kentucky game priced at $50. They are available after visiting team returns. Remaining tickets for the Oct. 12 game against Missouri are $75.

Former Georgia quarterback David Greene was at practice Tuesday.


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