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Bob Andres / AJC
Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes said he has trust in UGA protocols, and that he feels safer in the team setting that back home.

Georgia football players ready to tackle fall drills, Arkansas Week One opponent

ATHENS — Georgia football players hit the practice field on Monday, all in for whatever the 2020 season might have in store amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


The preseason No. 4-ranked Bulldogs will open the season on Sept. 26 with a familiar face across the field in Arkansas head and former UGA line coach Sam Pittman.

But first things first, the Georgia players know have to make sure they get to the point that the season actually takes place.

RELATED: Kirby Smart stresses depth, adaptability for championship drive

“In order for us to have a season, we have to go by the protocols and the safety measures that are in place in order to stay safe,’ UGA senior All-American candidate Richard LeCounte said.

“Guys have been doing a tremendous job of wearing their mask, staying around, staying away from things that can’t really help themselves or the team, not having groups of people at their houses and things like that.”

The opening game will mark the first time Georgia and Arkansas have played in six years, when the Bulldogs prevailed 45-32 in Little Rock on Oct. 18, 2014.  The most recent time Georgia play in Fayetteville was 2009, a 52-41 UGA victory.

The Bulldogs will learn the rest of the schedule at 7 p.m. on Monday night on the SEC Network.

Some programs, most recently Vanderbilt and Florida, have had key players sit out or opt out. The NCAA has allowed for fall athletes to sit out the season while maintaining their scholarship and eligibility status.

Georgia, however, has not had any players opt out at the time of this publication. The Bulldogs are, in fact, two scholarships one the NCAA limit of 85 scholarship players.

There’s really no uncertainty here, we all feel confident in all this stuff,” Georgia junior cornerback Eric Stokes said. “We feel safe here. It could be much more dangerous at home than being here.”

Junior offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer said he agrees, explaining his trust in the program led him to decide to play this season.

“It was a pretty straightforward decision because I trust (Director of Sports Medicine) Ron Courson and Coach Smart,” Salyer said. “They both have always been transparent with me. I try to control what I can; I wear my mask when I go out. I try not to let too many people in the house— things like that.”

Georgia’s first two practices were in helmets and shorts, and the team will add shoulder pads for practices three and four. The team can practice in full equipment and have contact in Practice 5.

The Bulldogs’ like other teams, will be wearing helmets featuring preventative shields to lower the risk of communicable diseases.

“I can’t control the fact that we wear that shield, it’s for our safety,” Sal. It’s good for me. It’s good for everybody. It helps protect me as a player, so I don’t really try to take that as something that I’d go out there and worry about on a day to day basis or even on Saturday.

I just go out there and control what I can. I can make sure my conditioning level is to a point where I can control that and do fine with the mask or without it.”

SEC Week One Schedule

Alabama at Missouri

Kentucky at Auburn

Florida at Ole Miss

Georgia at Arkansas

Mississippi State at LSU

Tennessee at South Carolina

Vanderbilt at Texas A&M

Georgia football preseason

Georgia’s Ron Courson takes deep dive in COVID-19

Georgia Bulldogs must be able to adjust, Kirby Smart says

Kirby Smart runs through list of players sitting out, healthy

Georgia football offseason leaders made voices heard

Greg McGarity explains why he believes in Georgia football season

Kirby Smart shares expectations for Georgia football season

Teammates, Kirby Smart discuss what JT Daniels brings

SEC announces Arkansas as Georgia football opening game



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