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Georgia focusing on the moment.


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Georgia coach Mark Richt couldn't make it through the first day of spring practices without fielding questions about his team and the national championship picture for the upcoming season.


Richt addressed the issue five days earlier at a pre-spring news conference and he again talked about how Georgia is focusing "on the moment" from its stretching to its kicking and beyond.

That naturally prompted the question if this team's stretching compares favorably with the two national championship Florida State teams he coached as an assistant.

Richt bit.

"You know, the stretching was good," Richt said. "We get the blood flowing and then we stretch. It's pretty spectacular to watch."

Georgia, which returns 17 starters from a team that finished ranked No. 2 in the nation, is widely being touted as a preseason No. 1 team, but sophomore center Chris Davis said players aren't letting it get to their head.

"That's the key word this year is not getting complacent," Davis said. "Everybody's going to be talking about how good we are, but we've just got to come out and work. If we don't work, all that talk, nothing will come of it anyway."

Richt said the national championship talk isn't what's getting players excited.

"They look around and see we've got a chance to be pretty good if everybody does what they're supposed to do," Richt said. "I'm excited about that. You really have to earn the right just to be good. We've got a lot of work to do just to be a good team."

Spilling the beans

Davis mentioned in December that Georgia coaches would like freshman Ben Jones to be able to start at center, which would allow Davis to play guard.

That comment put him off limits for interviews until he emerged Monday as the only offensive linemen that coach Stacy Searels allowed to speak to the media.

"I slipped up last year," Davis said. "I got banned last year."

Jones actually lined up as Davis' backup on the first day of spring practices. Sophomore Ben Harden, who was listed as the second-string, lined up No. 3 during the portion of practice in which the media was allowed to watch.

The only other apparent change from the depth chart was redshirt freshman Chris Little behind Vince Vance at left guard. Tanner Strickland, listed No. 2, worked on the side on a stationary bike.

Walk-on John Potts was the No. 2 right tackle behind Kiante Tripp.

Not that Davis would admit as much.

Davis left the team meeting room after speaking to reporters with these words: "I'm probably restricted."

This and that

Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr. and safeties coach Kermit Buggs were in town to exchange ideas with Georgia coaches. They attended practice on Monday. ...Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr is the featured speaker at Georgia's Spring Coaches Clinic that starts Thursday at the Classic Center. Registration is from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Breakout sessions start at 3:30 p.m. Carr will speak Friday at 10:50 a.m. ...New tight ends coach John Lilly will oversee the punt team. Jon Fabris remains in charge of punt returns. ...Linebacker Darius Dewberry (groin), receiver Demiko Goodman, snapper Jeff Henson and defensive end Justin Houston were in non-contact green jerseys. ...Tight end Aron White changed his number to 81, worn by NaDerris Ward before he decided to transfer.

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 030408

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