ATHENS — Georgia football players have been back on campus and training for more than two weeks.
For at least three of them, the so-called grind has never felt better.
“It was pretty refreshing,” Georgia junior offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer said of being back working with his teammates.
“I think one thing about football that never gets old is that camaraderie, doing something as a team, doing something with your boys, doing something as a pack,” Salyer said in the exclusive video hosted by D.J. Shockley and sent to Georgia donors.
Safety Richard LeCounte, who figures to be a four-year starter and a team captain this season, has been impressed with how his young teammates have soldiered through the virtual learning and conditioning.
“These guys, I think they are preparing pretty well through the conditions that we have to go through,” LeCounte said. “The young guys are trying to pick up new things and new tricks, which they can’t learn on campus anymore. They have to learn through the zoom meetings.”
The NCAA allowed for coaches to have eight hours of week of virtual contact during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Georgia, like most programs, missed the entirety of spring football drills after the sports seasons were suspended on March 12.
“They are doing good at adjusting and being able to listen and call out plays on Zoom meetings,” LeCounte said of his young teammates. “As soon as we get back on the field, those same young guys will be able to pick up the concepts.”
Georgia quarterback Jamie Newman indicated on the call hosted by The Bulldog Club the chance to grow together is of paramount importance.
“Just the atmosphere itself, being back with the guys,” Newman said. “Everyone is appreciative of being able to be back in that culture and being able to bond and grow, because that’s what makes it all so special.”
Newman is a graduate transfer from Wake Forest and is the favorite to win the starting job at quarterback.
The Bulldogs also have USC transfer JT Daniels, redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis, freshman Carson Beck and redshirt junior Stetson Bennett. Daniels is hoping for the NCAA to grant him a waiver that would give him immediate eligibility.
“The energy has been great as far as the workouts. The coaches have done a great job of keeping the energy, so I think it’s been great.”
The team began the voluntary workout phase on June 8 along with the rest of the SEC teams, which consists of 8 hours per week overseen by the Georgia strength and conditioning staff.
All of the players were tested for COVID-19 and underwent thorough health screenings before the June 8 workouts began.
Georgia has elected not to share the number of COVID-19 positive tests the team has experienced, but there’s only a very slight chance of complications in the 18-24 year old age range per national statistics.
The NCAA approved a six-week calendar last week that allows for the football coaching staff at Georgia to begin overseeing non-football workout activity on July 15.
The team will be able to conduct walk-through football activity, and use a football, with football coaching staff supervision on July 26 at Georgia.