Georgia opens camp in Athens as SEC East favorite - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Georgia opens camp in Athens as SEC East favorite

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(GeorgiaDogs.com) -- Lorenzo Carter smiles a lot, which is a good thing for all of us. It's a heck of a smile the Georgia football senior has, even when talking about the grueling, sweat-soaked grind of preseason practice.

How in the world could anyone smile when talking about just how physically and mentally demanding fall camp is? When it's nothing but football and sweat and eating and drinking and meetings and some sleep, followed by more football and sweat and eating and drinking and meetings and sleep?

"We have (27) practices to get ready to go out in front of 92,000 people and win a game, so the pressure's on — it's go-time right now," the outside linebacker said. "There's no time for any slacking, no time for rest. We're done resting; we've had enough time to rest and get our bodies right. That's why we lift so hard in the summer and offseason workout program, so our bodies are ready for this.

"It's a grind you have to go through. You have to do it and come out the other side ready to play."

The players couldn't have asked for a better opening day to start practice. Monday was about as pleasant a day as you're going to see around here on July 31, with temperatures in the high 80s, low humidity and a steady breeze. They won't all be like that, of course.

Soon, the temperature and humidity will rise and the guys will be pouring out enough sweat to fill a swimming pool.

"I'm Eastern European, so I'm a heavy sweater, so I'll lose about 10 pounds a day and have to drink that back," said senior tight end Jeb Blazevich, listed at 6-foot-5 and 242 pounds.

Almost all of that is water weight that will be regained by guzzling loads of fluids until the next practice. In fact, one of the most tedious parts of the preseason is the constant replenishing of fluids.

"It gets annoying, but we're used to it and we've have had to do it all summer," Blazevich said.

The "camp" part of preseason practice is two weeks of intense workouts, in which the team lives across the street from the practice fields at the Georgia Center, eats its meals there and spends the rest of its time practicing, in meetings or in the weight room.

The smile was back on Carter's face as he described it, which is when it clicked: these are high-level football players getting two weeks to turn their attention to nothing but football. It's darned difficult, yes, and absolutely necessary — but it's also what they love to do. Watching practice for a few minutes from the sidelines only exposes you to the work, not the payoff.

"I love it, because camp is a chance to just focus on football," Carter said. "I finished up finals today so I'm done with school for the summer, and now all I have to do is walk across the street to the hotel and back across here to (Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall). That's it, all I have to do for the next two weeks."

The first two weeks of the preseason are also when the team's identity comes into focus, especially with the addition of the players new to the squad. This stretch will be an education for the new guys, a big one, and the veterans will learn a lot about the newcomers, as well.

"I'm just looking forward to the young guys coming in and seeing how they react, because it's time," Carter said. "It's time to see if they're going to stand up or sit down. You've got to make a decision."

The early part of the preseason for the freshmen is a challenging time, senior offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn said. There's a lot thrown at them, and not just the bigger, faster bodies on the Bulldogs' roster.

"In high school you get to go home, so you can kind of take your mind away from football," Wynn said. "Here, it's always football, so a big piece is to be physically and mentally prepared."

Wynn was asked if there's any part of him that dreads the demanding stretch ahead?

"No, we're excited," he said, smiling and laughing. "Of course it's going to be hot, but that's a given. You can't control that. I'm excited, I feel like the whole team's very excited and nobody's around here moping or feeling like, oh, man, we've got camp."

On the contrary, it's more like, we've got camp!

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