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It seems like yesterday when Kirby Smart hoisted the trophy over his head to celebrate the Georgia Bulldogs’ College Football Playoff National Championship.
On Thursday though, the new season unofficially began with new players and new opportunities.
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The grass is cut, the lines are painted and now it’s go time as Bulldogs held its first of 25 practices over the next 29 days.
Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein spoke 1-on-1 with Smart and asked him among other things what he questions he has for the team during these practices.
“The physical toughness of this team and the connection of this team, I always want an answer to that one,” Smart said. “I wanted the same answer last year. I felt very confident with the experience we had that we were a big, physical, tough team.”
“There are a lot of guys here now that have yet to prove that. They have to prove that by how their practice,” he added.
Thursday marked the first time since the Dawgs were on the field since G-Day back in April. It gives them about four weeks of practices to get ready for Oregon.
During those four weeks, the coaching staff will have their work cut out for them to figure out starters, how new players learning their roles and making sure everyone comes together.
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The Dawgs lost several leaders to the NFL Draft with a record number of players selected this year. However, national championship MVP Stetson Bennett will return to Athens and heads into his first camp as full-time starter.
“To get better to be a better quarterback for for our guys, a better lead. We lost a lot of guys. ” Bennett told Channel 2′s Alison Mastrangelo about his expectations. “Just perfection as the goal at the end of the day.”
To be perfect, Bennett will need to beat a familiar face to start the season. Former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning took the head coaching job at Oregon, who the Bulldogs will face on Sept. 3.
““I certainly couldn’t pass the opportunity to recognize our first game,” Lanning said this week. “Get to play a really familiar opponent in Georgia in a neutral-site game in Atlanta. Certainly excited about going back and seeing some familiar faces going there, getting to compete against a mentor and a friend in Kirby Smart.”
Tickets for the game against Oregon sold out quickly, but the game will air live on Channel 2.