Bull­dogs have early prac­tice be­fore BCS pic­ture clears

The Covington News - - Sports - By Charles Odum

ATHENS — For the first time in his seven years at Ge­or­gia, Mark Richt con­ducted his first bowl prac­tice Thurs­day be­fore learn­ing where his No. 4 Bull­dogs will play in a bowl.

The light work­out was a good way to keep the play­ers think­ing of foot­ball dur­ing their first open week af­ter com­plet­ing their 10-2 reg­u­lar sea­son with last Satur­day’s 31-17 win over Ge­or­gia Tech.

It also was a good way to work off some ner­vous en­ergy as the Bull­dogs wait to learn Sun­day if they’ll be in­vited to the Orange, Fi­esta or Rose bowls or pos­si­bly even have a chance to play in the na­tional cham­pi­onship game.

The Bull­dogs’ na­tional cham­pi­onship hopes rest on No. 9 Oklahoma beat­ing No. 1 Mis­souri and Pitts­burgh beat­ing No. 2 West Vir­ginia on Satur­day. It might also help Ge­or­gia if No. 14 Ten­nessee up­sets No. 5 Louisiana State in Satur­day’s South­east­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game in At­lanta.

There is spec­u­la­tion LSU could pass Ge­or­gia in the Top 25 if it claims an im­pres­sive vic­tory over Ten­nessee. If Ge­or­gia falls one spot to No. 5 in the BCS stand­ings on Sun­day, it wouldn’t be as­sured of a spot in a BCS bowl.

Richt said he’s curious to see how Satur­day’s games end, but he won’t watch all the games.

“It would be re­ally fun to watch if we re­ally knew what would hap­pen,” Richt said.

“The re­al­ity is we can watch all the foot­ball we want on Satur­day and we still won’t know the an­swer un­til they make

de­ci­sions on Sun­day.”

Richt has said he would en­joy mak­ing his first visit to the Rose Bowl, and has par­tic­i­pated in the Orange and Fi­esta bowls.

“I want to be sure ev­ery­one un­der­stands me, I know I will be ex­cited about any op­por­tu­nity given to us,” Richt said. “It’s just ex­cit­ing to think about all the pos­si­bil­i­ties, and I know our play­ers are the same way.

“I do be­lieve all the bowl ex­pe­ri­ences are go­ing to be awe­some. I did say I’ve never been to the Rose. That was made to be a big­ger deal that it prob­a­bly should have been. I guar­an­tee I’d have a good time in the Orange or Fi­esta or wher­ever.”

The play­ers just know to ex­pect a New Year’s Day bowl as a re­ward for a 10-2 sea­son.

Richt ac­knowl­edged he was re­luc­tant to sched­ule prac­tices for Thurs­day and an­other prac- tice for next week.

In past years he has had play­ers in­volved in only run­ning and weight-room work­outs be­fore the for­mal bowl prac­tice sched­ule in midDe­cem­ber, though he said he’s al­ways heard of other coaches opt­ing for ear­lier starts.

“Other teams have done it,” Richt said. “It’s been brought up to me ev­ery year since I’ve been here. I didn’t see a rea­son to do it.”

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