ATHENS - Mark Richt is looking a bit more fierce to his players this preseason. And that will continue until he shaves.
Yes, the conservative and laid-back Georgia head football coach is growing a goatee.
The reactions are mixed.
"I think it looks great," quarterback Aaron Murray said. "I love the scruffiness. The whole team loves it."
Maybe not the whole team.
"He needs to shave it," receiver Michael Bennett said. "But don't tell him I said that."
Maybe Richt doesn't read this blog.
Sadly, Richt indicated on Monday that the goatee will be gone soon.
"I usually grow it out a little bit in camp. I like the fact I don't have to shave every day. But when it gets to where it doesn't feel good, and it feels a little bit warm, I'll (shave)," he said. "I was gonna take it all off this morning but I decided I'd keep that for a minute. See what happens."
Bennett is one of the players that has ribbed Richt about the goatee.
"I commented on it," he said. "I was like: Hey coach what're you doin' with a little scruff? He was like: 'I'm trying to look like my Dad.' Man it's all gray and everything. I'm like: You're getting old, man."
But Murray said it adds a new element to Richt's authority.
"Oh it does. You know when he's out there yelling and screaming it definitely adds a little bit more to it," Murray said.
Richt isn't the only one letting his hair out. Bennett has his own facial hair going. Murray is close to a full-blown beard. In the past, Richt has had rigorous facial hair rules, but he may be loosening them up.
"I know the guys are excited about that. We get kind of lazy during the season and don't want to shave," Murray said.