The college football world is ripe with anticipation as fans across the nation count down the remaining days before the season finally begins.
But what many fail to realize is that with each passing day that draws kickoff that much nearer, it also marks the longest time since the players have faced an opponent that is not on their own team.
For senior wideout Tavarres King, the repetitiveness of practice without play is not ideal, but he said the next few days will provide him with an opportunity to shift gears in preparation for Boise.
"I'm ready to go up against somebody else, to burn somebody else (laughs). It does get monotonous and rough just seeing the same thing daily. DBs know what I'm doing, I know what they're doing. It does get kind of monotonous, but it's what we do. It's why we play the game," King said. "Today, we did more game planning stuff, just went over Boise's defense, situational things. You just get ready by focusing, really it's more mental than physical on days like today. You're still putting in the time, you're just in a different mindset."
King has made it a priority this off-season to put in the time into things beyond the weight room. King said a big part of developing his game this year has been on mastering the mental aspect of the game.
"I just met with (Coach Tony Ball Tuesday) just to refocus myself. I met with him a long time today and I came out to practice ready to go," King said. "I love when he jumps on me and he never lets me take a play off or anything. I love it and I'm glad he does it."
According to King, Coach Ball has been getting on the receiving core daily, taking them beyond just technique and plays, but really making sure they are a consistent and mentally tough group. Not surprisingly, it is also the area where King said he has made his biggest strides this summer.
"It has helped with my play a lot. It challenges me to be consistent in my route running, not being lackadaisical while running the route. Showing, acting that I'm running a pass even when I'm not. It's just about being consistent in that aspect of the game," King said. "Blocking, being physical, things of that sort. (Coach Ball) will really jump down my throat if he thinks I pulled up on somebody but I need that, everybody needs that, this unit needs that and I'm glad we got somebody like him."
Someone else that should be glad to have him is Aaron Murray, who King said should have the luxury of multiple dependable targets to choose from. The senior wideout contends the focus on consistency has created a unit of complete receivers, all of which he said can rise to the occasion if called upon.
"We look good. There are several guys that can step up and make plays and we haven't had that around here in a long time," King said. "Michael Bennett being one of them, Marlon Brown, (Rantavious) Wooten, Malcolm Mitchell, (Chris) Conley, (Israel) Troupe, (Taylor) Bradberry. I mean, there are guys that can just step up and make plays at any given moment. We haven't had that around here in a long time and I look forward to seeing what we can do as a unit."
A group that King doesn't have to wait to see what they can do is the secondary. After facing them every day, he said he has a good handle-- and a good feeling- of what they are capable of and who specifically to watch out for.
"They look really good. Really good. Branden Smith, that guy looks like a different ball player. He's shutting people down, he's playing tremendously. He's just a very good cover corner. He's been covering very solid. He doesn't make too many mistakes and another thing that I think has really gotten better is his ball skills. The ball is in the air, he finds it, and he gets his hands on it. So I'm excited for B, to see him catch one and after he catches it, to see what he can do with it. So we'll see, but I think that will happen at least a couple of times," King said. "(Brandon) Boykin is Boykin. He's a guy that we can count on. (Chris) Sanders is another guy that we can count on. (Bacarri) Rambo, Shawn Williams, those are guys that are very dependable back there and I'm really just excited. I think they are going to have some big plays in this game and in the season."
Some guys who are hoping to make big plays sooner than September 3 are the members of the "Boise State squad," which is comprised of Georgia's backups and scout team. Set to face off against the 1's in a full-speed practice game Wednesday, Coach Richt said it will provide the opportunity for some players to get noticed and make their case for the travel team. King had a few predictions of who he thinks might take a turn to shine.
"I think that defensively, somebody that I go against, Devin Bowman will probably step up and make some plays defensively. I think Nick Marshall is over there, he'll step up and make some plays as well," King said. "And offensively, I think I'll go with Michael Erdman. Michael has been playing some pretty good dang football right now. He's been stepping up and making some pretty big plays in the receiving core."
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