MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - College football coaches and players from all over the Peach State descended upon Macon Tuesday for the annual Pigskin Preview, an event designed to give media around the state a sneak peek of all the programs a few months before the season gets under way.
For the Georgia Bulldogs, they're ready to move on from last season, which saw them run out of time while driving for a go-ahead touchdown late in the SEC Championship Game. Junior wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell says the Dawgs want to get back to Atlanta.
"We've been there two years back-to-back and had the same outcome," says Mitchell. "Hopefully, we can get there and change it."
The Dawgs must replace eight starters from that 2012 defense. Head coach Mark Richt says the young talent has stepped right up.
"But they're very inexperienced," says Richt. "Until you live through it a little bit, it's hard to know how to play and how to compete, so we're about to find out."
In Atlanta, Paul Johnson's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will also feature some new talent on their defense this season--in the form of new coaches.
"With the addition of Ted Roof and Mike Pelton over there, I think they bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm," says Johnson. "Our guys seem to enjoy playing in the scheme."
For Mercer, 2013 is a season of many firsts.
"We've got to teach our team how to eat a pre-game meal," says head coach Bobby Lamb. "We've got to teach them how to run on the field, we've got to teach them the pre-game warm-up--we've got to teach them everything. It's a little bit different kind of anticipation as we go forward."
As for Fort Valley State coach Donald Pittman, he watched his Wildcats claw their way into the playoffs last year after going just 2-8 in 2011.
"They know they can compete on the elite level now," says Pittman. "That's the way we've been working out in the off-season. We had a good spring season and we have a number of guys back for the summer who are working real hard. We're looking forward to this first game against Valdosta State, who won the national championship last year."
The Wildcats kick off their season on September 7.
Georgia, Georgia Tech and Mercer all get things going the Saturday before, on August 31.