Richt addressed the team on Wednesday night and Murray called it "my favorite speech coach Richt has given in three years. He was pumped up, energized, motivating. I walked out of the room like, 'Wow.' I know as players we're ready to go, but coach Richt is ready to go out there and fight someone right now. I talked to some of the players and they loved it, too.
Pressed for details, Murray wouldn't divulge much.
"What happens in the team meeting room stays in the team meeting room," he said. "I went out of there ready to play Boise State at 10 o'clock last night."
And we finally got to witness... Isaiah in Athens. Maybe it was the dreadlocks or just a lack of other running backs, but picking out Isaiah at practice this afternoon wasn't very difficult. Most eyes and cameras were locked in on the freshman for as long as the coaching staff could stand the media watching practice. The news cycle has taken a predictable course since Crowell signed in February - we built the kid up, and then openly wondered if he could meet the expectations we created for him.
For all the back-and-forth, Isaiah looked like a running back at a football practice today. I saw him mess up on a few simple things, but then again, I heard a coach yell at junior Tavarres King for something, too.
Coach Bryan McClendon did swat at the football with a little extra effort when Crowell went through drills. Former great Thomas Brown was with the running backs all practice long. And in one instance, while junior Carlton Thomas was helping Crowell with his footwork, McClendon yelled out, "Isaiah, pay attention to me here."
Yes, Crowell was pulled in many directions today. But it seemed like everybody - players and coaches - had something to point out to him, something to help him with.
Check first practice off the list. Next up, picking up the blitz. Or something or another. - Fletcher A. Page
Richt said he brought up the 2002 season--particularly the preseason--to the players in his talk.
It had been 20 years since Georgia won the Southeastern Conference title when it did so that season. The Bulldogs haven't won now since 2005.
"There are some similarities," Richt said. "It hasn't been 20 years. I guess it's been five or six, which is too long in my mind. We talked a little bit about the mindset of the team and the program going into 2002."
SEC gets Jones' report
Georgia has submitted findings from its internal report to the SEC into whether linebacker Jarvis Jones received improper benefits from Columbus Parks & Recreation employees tied to his AAU basketball team.
The conference is likely to forward it to the NCAA.
"The only thing I know is we submitted whatever we have found to the SEC office, and we're kind of waiting," Richt said. "That's what I'm allowed to say."
Athletic director Greg McGarity said through a spokesman that Georgia sent the correspondence to the conference "and will wait on the process to run its course."
The Athens Banner-Herald submitted an open records request for details of the report, but the university said its legal affairs office ruled that the information is exempt from release under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Long road back
Backup offensive tackle Austin Long's illness is keeping him off the practice field, but he's not banished from the Butts-Mehre building.
Long has 'a mono-like illness' and is day-to-day, Georgia said.
"He has to sit in the back," center Ben Jones said. "When we're in the big meeting room, he's like 20 rows back, but he's in there. We're keeping him quarantined from us."
The redshirt sophomore already has endured back surgery and a pectoral injury in the spring. He has yet to play for Georgia.
"He just doesn't have the best luck," Jones said. "He's like a freshman just like his younger brother who is two years behind him."
That would be Hunter Long, who is actually a freshman.
Offensive tackle Cordy Glenn had his own bout with mono last preseason when he said he lost between 25 and 35 pounds in two or three weeks.
"It just takes all the energy out of you," Glenn said. "You lose weight and you're just a weaker person. It's hard coming back from it."
With Washaun Ealey and Caleb King no longer on the team, jersey Nos. 3 and 4 are available.
Current players want them, Richt said.
Either junior cornerback Branden Smith or freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell--who are both wearing No. 1--could switch to one of those numbers. They both can't be on the field at the same time while wearing the same number, and Smith sometimes plays on offense.
"Could Smith or Crowell end up with that number?" Richt said. "It's possible. We'll go through camp and see how much offense Branden is going to be involved in. If it looks like we'll use both of those guys on the field at the same time, then certainly we'll have to do something."
It was 95 degrees on the field with a heat index above 100 when the team opened practices in shorts and helmets.
"It's certainly smoking hot," Richt said. "I'm just so thankful that we now have our real grass that we can practice on and there's actually a breeze up top there."
Georgia again has the use of two grass fields that were not available during the Butts-Mehre expansion.
Georgia will practice again this afternoon because of final exams, but is practicing in the mornings mostly before classes begin. Richt said that's because of the heat and the threat of afternoon thunderstorms.
One casualty on the day might have been junior college transfer nose John Jenkins, who was helped off the field with an apparent heat-related issue.
This and that
Outside linebacker T.J. Stripling practiced without limitations as he returns from a knee injury suffered last season...Coaches would like the 6-foot-5 Glenn to be able to play at about 320 pounds this season. He said he's at 333 now. "Definitely in camp, definitely I'll sweat it off," Glenn said. ... Freshman outside linebacker Sterling Bailey (shoulder) practiced in a non-contact jersey. Offensive lineman Xzavier Ward (knee) and defensive end (leg) Derrick Lott did not practice.
Mark Richt barks in orders as Georgia SID staffer Ben Beaty stands by. #thenihitthatdougie (Wes Muilenburg/Dawg Post)