Owens Returns to Practice

ATHENS – Jeff Owens hasn't participated in a full practice in 11 months, and he nearly missed his triumphant return.

He spent the weekend in New York and a weekend bomb scare at the airport delayed his return until Monday afternoon, arriving back in Athens just a few minutes before the team's first meeting.

The hectic journey paled in comparison to the work he put in to rehab a torn ACL, however, but after one day of practice the effort seems to have paid off.

"I think I did quite well," Owens said. "I even conditioned with the team and I wasn't held out of anything. I think it's going pretty good."

That doesn't mean the practice was easy, however.

Georgia spent nearly three hours on the practice field Tuesday, the team's first practice session with coaches since April. The players only donned shorts and practice jerseys and there was no contact, but brushing away the cobwebs still meant breaking a pretty hearty sweat.

"The first day's always tough," Owens said. "It was tough for me, but overall, I think it went pretty well on both sides of the ball. The guys competed and got after it."

Tuesday not only marked Owens return from injury, but it was also the first chance coaches had to meet with Georgia's incoming freshmen class.

The findings on Day 1 weren't significantly different from the reports coaches had gotten from players throughout a summer of voluntary workouts – the freshmen were prepared and eager to learn more.

"When you can walk into a meeting room for the first time with guys this morning and ask them some questions and they can fire the answer back at you, it certainly means a lot at this point," tight ends coach John Lilly said.

Georgia will practice in shorts again today before putting on shells for the next three days of practice. Monday will feature two practice sessions, including the first with full pads and contact.

"It won't be the same until you get into your first day of pads and contact," safety Bryan Evans said. "We've been running all summer, but when you put on the weight and start banging on each other, that's when you really see where our team is at physically."

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