Thursday, Aug. 4 marked the first date of fall football camp for the Bulldogs, which typically serves as the transition from summer workouts to full-on preparation for the impending season between the hedges. Prior to the first day of padded workouts, Georgia provided an opportunity for media sessions with head coach Kirby Smart and players Warren McClendon, Christopher Smith, Zion Logue and Darnell Washington.
Smart began his opening statements by extending his own congratulations to Richard Seymour, his former teammate, as it was recently announced that he would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“He's been just an incredible representative of our university,” Smart said. “He was a great player and teammate here.”
Following an eventful summer for the Bulldogs, both in the classroom and in workouts, Smart talked about his expectation for players to “lock into what they have to do” on the field during fall camp and “lock out everything else.” He said that he expects the transition to fall camps to instill a higher level of physical and mental toughness into the team.
“It used to be a time when you really didn't do anything over the summer, you had a long break over the summer or you might have a week off,” Smart said. “But that's really not the way it is now, it's continuous. You have to step out of your mindset or routine and refocus.”
The 2022 Bulldogs have some large shoes to fill following a national championship and with 15 players from that championship team leaving for the NFL. Smart recognizes this and said that fall camp is the start to the rebuild for Georgia.
“There's no way to really build for the next season other than to do it, and that's the stage we're in,” Smart said. “We've got a lot of good players to replace. We got a lot of good players to replace them with. So, it's about getting the right guys on the bus and getting guys in the right seats, just like we do every year. I'm excited to get out there and get to work with them.”
Following a massive turnover from last year’s roster, there’s a lack of experience on this year’s team. Many of the players who took the most snaps in-game last season are now playing at the next level.
However, Smart said that his players are excited and opportunistic headed into fall camp, especially with the number of spots now available on special teams.