ATHENS – As Georgia began preparing for the Liberty Bowl Saturday, Bulldogs wide receiver A.J. Green said he's hardly the only one on the team considering the NFL draft.
Green said that Falcons president Rich McKay recently met with players who could leave school early for a shot at the NFL draft. Among players Green said were at the meeting were linebacker Justin Houston, cornerback Brandon Boykin, offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant, guard Cordy Glenn and kicker Blair Walsh.
One subject addressed at the meeting was the possibility of an NFL lockout in the coming season. Green said a potential lockout will not affect his decision-making, based partly on advice given by McKay, who is tied in closely with the league's leadership.
According to Green, McKay "talked about how that should never have an effect on your decision."
Green, who is considered a top-10 pick should he make himself eligible, said he is "close" to making his decision about the draft.
"I’m going to talk to my parents a little more and then we'll see what's best for me," he said.
Boykin said he has filed papers with the NFL draft advisory board to gauge where he might go in the draft.
"I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm completely ready, because I've definitely got a lot to learn," Boykin said.
Quarterback Aaron Murray said players were caught off guard by the Dec. 2 replacement of strength and conditioning director Dave Van Halanger with assistant strength coach Joe Tereshinski.
"Coach ‘Van' is a tremendous coach," Murray said. "We love him greatly."
Van Halanger was reassigned to be coach Mark Richt's administrative assistant after heading up the strength program for the entirety of Richt's tenure.
Murray said Tereshinski told players, "There won't be any reps taken off, no messing around in the weight room. Get to work and try to get ready for next year."
Wide receiver Marlon Brown and offensive tackle Austin Long will be the Bulldogs' unofficial tour guides at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Both hail from that city.
"I know Austin will know where to go [to eat]," Murray said of the 302-pound Long.
Saturday, Brown was touting Ching's Hot Wings as a must during the visit.
Georgia took the field in full pads Saturday morning in its first practice in advance of the Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl against Central Florida. The Bulldogs will practice eight times in Athens before going home and then reconvening in Memphis Dec. 26. ... About 20 prospects visited practice Saturday, part of an important recruiting weekend for Georgia. Richt met with several families after practice. The high school players, many of whom have committed to Georgia, were also to attend the season-ending banquet Saturday evening.