The Bulldogs were expecting a crowd, and they were not disappointed: nearly 320 coaches, many of them walk-ups, arrived for the night.
The first day in pads was as expected – good play along with a number of mistakes.
"It was good and bad," said Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez. "It was a rushed practice because of the shortened length, and we missed a lot of tackles. I did like the intensity."
Martinez pointed out that Josh Johnson had a good practice today.
"It was the typical first day," said Rodney Garner. "It was spirited."
Green Jersey report (Injured players and all quarterbacks) – Marcus Jackson (DNP), Jarvis Jackson (DNP), Jemario Smith (back), Steve White, Olaolu Sanni-Osomo (DNP), Kregg Lumpkin (Knee), Tra Battle (back), Quinton Moses (hamstring), Bartley Miller (shoulder), Tony Milton (unknown)
Ray Gant moved into the number one defensive end spot for the night while Quinton Moses dressed in a green jersey. Moses stretched with the number three unit before practice began. Moses has a hamstring.
Gordon Ely-Kelso was blasting punts tonight. Power has never been a problem for the punter, but consistency has been. At the Outback Bowl a few months ago, he said working on consistency was his goal. There was not much of a wind, yet Ely-Kelso was blasting the ball.
Antonio Sims may be listed as the number two safety, but Kelin Johnson has been working in the number one spot while Tra Battle's (back) has been out. It seems Johnson will be getting a very good look at that job – even when Battle, whose MRI test today was negative, returns to practice in a week.
Special teams players working together at one time in one group included: Danny Ware, Leonard Pope, and Brannan Southerland. Ramarcus Brown, Bryan McClendon, and Tim Jennings were all practicing returning punts.
Tonight's practice was one of the shorter practices of the season. Mark Richt described it as "short and sweet" on Monday night.
T.J. Gartrell reportedly made the catch of the night. The reception was good for 30 yards.
HE SAID IT:
"He showed a lot of improvement at the end of the season before the bowl game. I think he got that basketball thing out of his system." – Willie Martinez on starting defensive end Quentin Moses. Moses participated in a green non-contact jersey during today's practice due to a hamstring injury.
"Our wide receivers made a lot of plays today. I think people don't really know how good they are." – Quarterback D.J. Shockley about the Bulldog wide receivers.
"No picks today – but I almost got one." Sophomore Kelin Johnson, who, up until today, has been averaging about two interceptions per practice.
"You never know where he is going with his throws because he has a gun." Johnson again, this time about the play of Shockley.
"I think he is going to talk about how to develop a quarterback." – Shockley on what his father will talk about during his portion of the high school coaching clinic tomorrow.
"Its a lot more fun with pads on – that's for sure." Center Russ Tanner on the team's first practice in full pads compared to the previous two days.
"At least the wind wasn't blowing." – Max Jean-Gilles on the weather tonight. The temperature was in the upper 40s, but there was no wind at all.
"It would be awesome if he would get to about 310 because the kid has some serious ability." Defensive line coach Rodney Garner on defensive tackle Darrious Swain.
"We need to know if he can play on the edge – we know what he can do inside." Garner again, this time on defensive lineman Ray Gant, who is playing at defensive end this spring. In the past Gant has been a defensive tackle, but has struggled with injuries. The move to the outside is not necessarily a permanent one, according to Garner.