Spring Day One: The Rundown

ATHENS - Here's Dawg Post's rundown of events from Georgia's first day of Spring Practice.

1. There's a lot going on around Athens after Monday's news, but I'll lead with practice. Along with the defensive staff, the whole practice setup has changed. While that may not be the biggest news, it has quite the effect on how Georgia runs its day-to-day preparation for upcoming opponents.

"It was brand new for me," Mark Richt said. "It was brand new for the offensive staff. The defense, obviously, was going through some brand new stuff for them."

For starters, Richt and his staff have strayed away from their traditional five-minute length for each practice period. Now, the length of each practice period can range anywhere from three to 10 minutes, depending on its area of focus. While a change like that can leave a team scrambling to find its practice stations, Richt said his did surprisingly well on Tuesday.

"I thought it was outstanding," Richt said. "You know, it's just according to what we're trying to get accomplished, so it's a little bit different."

There were a lot of players on the field today, and Richt said he wants to see each and every one of them battling for a starting position. With that, player observations can get a little tricky.

"Let's say we're having an 11-on-11 drill on one field with the number one and number two units going pretty much rapid-fire pace, then we also have another group of threes working on 11-on-11 as well," Richt explained. "So we kind of had to spread our staff up a little bit, but just a lot of reps. We got more reps in really less total time."

2. With Richt's new staff came a new practice style. It also came with some noticeable intensity. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was among the most passionate.

"I thought the coaches really did a good job in organization of the practice," Richt said. "He's (Pruitt) got energy and he's got passion, but I think all of our coaches do. We're coaching hard, I'm telling you."

3. After last season, special teams is a high priority for Georgia's staff. Due to last season's mishaps, a large majority of the coaching staff will take part in heading up special teams with the exception of Tracy Rocker, Mike Bobo and a few others.

Richt even plans to have two special teams players per defensive starter.

"We'll see if we get to that or not," Richt said. "Guys will be fighting for that and every defensive coach other than Rock, Coach Rocker, they're all coaching special teams. Every offensive coach is coaching it minus Bobo and (Will) Friend, so there's a lot of cooperation there and kind of all hands on deck."

4. This is obviously Hutson Mason's offense right now, but there are guys behind him that can sling it, too. The Spring will be about Mason getting his team on the same page as him, but also about getting a backup ready.

"Hutson certainly has got total command of what we're trying to do offensively," Richt said. "Faton (Bauta) is next, and Faton is getting a lot more reps and he's doing well. He's still not 100 percent certain on every situation, but we pride ourselves at Georgia to try not to waste any plays offensively.

Brice Ramsey and Jacob Park are also in the mix - each with different levels of experience, of course. Park is sitting in the same spot Ramsey did at this time last Spring as an early enrollee.

"Brice is certainly a lot farther along than he was a year ago, and Jacob, his head's spinning," Richt said. "I can't imagine how bad his head's spinning right now, but he did some good things as he's trying to learn what to do."

5. Running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall were each present for Tuesday's practice. While Gurley did not participate in the MAT drill program leading up to Spring practice, he was there every morning, according to Richt.

"He (Gurley) made it through the whole practice pretty good, I thought," Richt said. "We'll see how it goes once we start putting pads on and all that. I don't know if they'll have any limitations or not."

Marshall, however, was more limited than Gurley.

"Keith couldn't do anything," Richt said. "He did some little bit of drill work, or at least he was scheduled to do some run polish or something like that. I think Ron (Courson) said he could do a little bit of fundamental work, but nothing competitively."

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