ATHENS, Ga. (WRCB) -- Intensity and enthusiasm have not been lacking in the University of Georgia football team this preseason.
However, UGA players will be the first one to admit head coach Mark Richt seems to be the guy most excited about starting a new season.
"We're ready to play," Richt said Tuesday at the Bulldogs' weekly press day. "We're tired of practicing. We're tired of talking. We're ready to play."
Of course, it's not hard to uncover the reason the Dawgs are so fired up for their fresh start.
"It's been a long off-season," said defensive back Sanders Commings. "We've been waiting so long to get back onto the field.
"Six-and-seven. That chip is still on our shoulder, and we can't wait to get it off."
Richt knew that chip would be there.
He's heard the rumblings that his program is starting to slip, so he decided to be proactive in providing a way for it to regain its footing by scheduling a perennial power to open 2011.
He said Tuesday he doesn't believe the season is riding on one particular game, but he knows there's no better way to forget about the first losing season of his tenure than by getting a statement win against a top-five team like Boise State.
"I think coming off the couple of seasons we have, it would be a great victory for us to show the nation we still are a good football team. We want to compete for national championships, and to do that you have to beat the best, and Boise has proven they're one of the best in the country year in and year out."
Added Richt: "It's important to play well. It's important to get after it. It's important to prove even to ourselves that we still know how to play football the way it should be played."
They certainly have the players to do just that.
One of Richt's primary pitches to freshman running back Isaiah Crowell and other members of his dream team recruiting class was a chance to shine right from the start on national television in the dome against a national title contender.
They players bought in, paid up through preseason preparations, and now everyone in red and black hopes it will pay off.
"We're embracing the fact we accepted the challenge to begin with, and that we've done what we thought we needed to do to prepare for it," Richt said. "Now we just have to go do it. Go play it, and see what we're all about."
-- Richard Samuel is listed as the No. 1 tailback on the first official depth chart released Tuesday, but Richt said the plan has always been for Samuel and Crowell to share the load
-- Dalton grad Watts Dantzler was one of ten true freshman listed on the depth chart. The former Catamount is the No. 2 right tackle.
-- Richt said there were no injuries or suspensions to report outside of Carlton Thomas "at this time" that would keep a player out of the game. There has been speculation that safety Baccari Rambo may be in facing discipline after being listed as No. 2 behind Sanders Commings on the depth chart.