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Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray stretches before a game in the 2012 season.

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia fans won’t have as much Aaron Murray to like this season.

The fifth-year senior quarterback has dropped weight this offseason and plans to keep it off. Murray was listed last year at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, though he may have been slightly bigger.

“I’ve probably lost about 10 pounds, so I’m now around 203 or 204,” Murray said Thursday as the Bulldogs began preseason practice.

Murray said his weight-room numbers went up this summer while his body fat dipped from 14 to 9 percent. The leaner look is not as much about exercise — Murray gets plenty of that — as improved eating habits.

“I haven’t had junk food in like two months,” Murray said. “I loved those Sour Patch Watermelons. That was my weakness, but I haven’t had those in forever and have forgotten what they taste like, which is a good thing.”

‘Never liked it’

After speaking in Macon earlier this summer, Georgia coach Richt announced that tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall no longer wanted to be called “Gurshall.” The nickname honoring legendary Bulldogs tailback Herschel Walker was birthed early last season and was used in abundance when the tandem combined for 294 yards against Tennessee.

“I never liked that name, and I’ve always said that ever since it came out,” Gurley said. “I don’t like it at all. I just don’t. I’m good. I’ve got my name.”

Left guard for now

Kolton Houston, the now-eligible redshirt junior offensive lineman, practiced Thursday as the backup left guard.

“He is going to cross train and know the right guard,” Richt said, “and we all know that he’s athletic enough to play tackle as well. We don’t want to give him too much.”

Georgia’s starting line at the opening of Thursday’s practice had Kenarious Gates at left tackle, Dallas Lee at left guard, David Andrews at center, Chris Burnette at right guard and John Theus at right tackle. The backups from left to right were Mark Beard, Houston, Hunter Long, Greg Pyke and Xzavier Ward.

Junior guard Watts Dantzler missed most of practice after taking an exam.

Clear on Clowney

Richt earlier this week said that South Carolina junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney might be the “very best player who exists today at any level.”

His comments created a stir that took him by surprise, and he was asked about them Thursday.

“I think he’s the best college football player in America, but there are a couple of other players you could debate on that,” Richt said. “Once he’s in the NFL and has had a couple of years of going through that learning curve or whatever, my bet is that he’ll be one of the best if not the best before his career is over in that league.”

Odds and ends

Gurley said Thursday that if he had not signed with Georgia, his most likely destination would have been Clemson. … Richt did not have a disciplinary update on sophomore kicker Marshall Morgan, who early last month was arrested for boating under the influence. … The Bulldogs opened on an afternoon but will practice each of the next nine mornings before taking off Sunday, Aug. 11.

<em>Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.</em>