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Richt calls first spring practice 'outstanding'

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm •  Published: March 18, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia coach Mark Richt described Tuesday's opening day of spring practice as "outstanding" and said it was important the arrests of four players on Monday did not put a damper on the session.

"We definitely wanted to focus on the excitement of spring ball," Richt said. "It's obvious we had some guys do some things that were foolish and there will be consequences for that, and I'm not ready to talk about that at this moment. We've got a lot of guys who have been doing extremely well and we didn't want to take away from the excitement of day one."

Richt said there was "a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation" for the first practice with new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Also new to the defensive staff are assistants Tracy Rocker, Kevin Sherrer and Mike Ekeler.

Pruitt set the opening-day tone with his high-decibel instructions in the portion of the practice open to reporters.

Richt said the new assistants and a new method of organizing the practice helped make it feel like his first season at Georgia.

"It felt as close to 2001 since I've been here," Richt said. "It felt like the first day of a new staff and a lot of that is obviously because we have a new staff on defense. But even changing the practice schedule as much as we did, it was brand new for me, it was brand new for the offensive staff."

The four players were arrested on Monday on charges of illegal check-cashing and released on bond Monday night.

Starting safety Tray Matthews, defensive linemen Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach received double payments for checks of $71.50 issued by the Georgia athletic department, University of Georgia Chief of Police Jimmy Williamson said Tuesday. Wide receiver Uriah LeMay was charged with cashing a roommate's check after the check already had been deposited through a mobile app, according to Williamson.

Each of the four participated in Tuesday's practice.

Tuesday also was the start of senior Hutson Mason's only full season as the starting quarterback.

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