Athens, Ga -- For the first time since spring, the University of Georgia football team will get together on the practice fields this afternoon and practice the sport of football. And if you’ve ever spent significant time in Athens or any other corner of the state, you may refer to this time of year as when “things are once again right in the world.” The wait has been a long one. Chalk that up to heightened expectations for the upcoming season, or maybe the sour taste left in the mouths of Bulldog faithful who watched their team lose to Georgia Tech in the last meaningful game in Sanford Stadium. Or maybe just the sticky, hot air that makes all of us dream of cool fall mornings with a pregame beverage while wearing a sweatshirt. Either way, it’s here. Well, almost. Kickoff is now just 33 days away, and head coach Kirby Smart stood in front of a room full of the regular media folks to discuss what he expects not only of his team, but himself, as the lifeblood of Athens is once again beginning to be be pumped back in. “I'm thrilled for this day to get here,” Smart said. “Excited to find out how a lot of these new guys learn. These practices are not easy. The idea is to create adversity for your team, find out who the leaders are and we're going to be able to do that. Not necessarily right away, because you've got shorts on, but as you move into it, you get into scrimmages, you move guys up and down the depth chart and you find out how they respond to things and how they react.” Some key areas will be addressed over the next four and a half weeks in order to avoid another embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt. Or Tennessee. Or Florida. Or Georgia Tech. And while the offensive line may be the first thing that comes to most fans’ minds, Smart exclaimed that another area holds the spot of concern No. 1 in his mind. “Special teams would be No. 1,” Smart said “We are going to try to change some things up special teams-wise, as you guys know, from a quality control standpoint, Scott Fountain has joined us. I think he did a tremendous job at Auburn, always has. We counted, I think we had, I want to say it was 250 snaps on special teams played by true freshmen last year. So the question becomes: Can the true freshmen this year unseat some of those guys or create a competitive environment to make each one of those better. We've got to improve in our kicking units — that's punting, kickoff coverage, return game, everything. But we plan to do that and we'll do that in camp.” As Smart continued to reel off his main goals for camp, the offensive line didn’t even crack his top three. Instead he emphasized the passing game improvements he expects to see with sophomore starting quarterback Jacob Eason coming off being thrown into the SEC gauntlet as a true freshman. And then on to pass rush, and the importance of creating turnovers. The offensive line eventually did come up, however. And for good reason. The Bulldogs are looking to replace three starters from an underwhelming line last season, and possibly resting some of those hopes on some heralded true freshman. Not exactly a situation any coach wants when your team plays in the Southeastern Conference, where defensive linemen have been known to win National Championships almost on their own. But Smart seems to think some players who may not have seen the field much in 2016 have shown drastic improvements going into this camp. “I don't know that they are going to be really young,” Smart said. “I think it's going to depend on how those four freshmen come along. I think inexperience might be a better word, but not necessarily really young. We had 15 days of spring practice to watch the kids on our roster currently. To see Ben Cleveland grow, Pat Allen grow, see LaMont (Gaillard) move inside, Dyshon Sims played a lot of multiple positions, a lot of guys have come on to start and help. Solomon Kindley got a lot better. Those guys we were able to get right there at the end. I got to see both those guys grow because you know, that class didn't have a lot of linemen in it like we wanted. But those two guys have gotten better.” As far as the big-bodied freshman on that offensive line, Smart says patience will be key. “Now the influx of these four, including now the junior college kid, D'Marcus Hayes that was here, we've got more depth and competition across the board. It's not necessarily saying, do you have the pieces to the puzzle. It's where do the pieces to the puzzle go, and we've got to figure that out early on. I think if you make a decision on day three or four, you can make a fatal decision and put a guy somewhere he doesn't belong, and you can put him up too fast.” Entering year two as the most popular - or at times most unpopular - man in Georgia, Smart will not have to deal with another season of firsts. But that hasn’t allowed him to be completely comfortable behind the wheel. In fact, he may never be comfortable, or even want to be remotely comfortable. “I don't think you ever feel different when you're coming into a season because every team is different. It's a different set of problems, a different set of issues. Like I said, our biggest concern is what are our areas of focus and how do we get better at them.” Little will be known until September 2nd in Sanford Stadium around 8:30pm. That’s about the time the Bulldogs should be kicking off (hopefully receiving) the second half of their opening game against Appalachian State. Lots of sound bytes will come out between now and then. Lots of speculations will be written and highly discussed. But for folks that need to see it to believe it, circle that date and that time. Now just 33 days away.