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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday Practice Report (12/31)

From UGA Athletics...

With the 2009 Capital One Bowl game just a day away, the 16th-ranked Bulldogs put the finishing touches on their preparation Wednesday.

The Bulldogs (9-3) posed for a team photo at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in the morning, and then took part in a bowl luncheon. Head coach Mark Richt faced the media one last time before the game in a press conference at the team hotel. Richt discussed Georgia's week in Orlando and the upcoming game with Michigan State.

"It's been a wonderful week," said Richt. " It has exceeded expectations, the weather has been beautiful and that put everything over the top. Our coaches wives and kids all have had a blast, and the coaches too.

"Our guys have prepared well. We set the tone the first night we arrived and had a night practice. It has carried over all week. The players did what we asked and the focus has been on football while we were at practice. Then, they had time to enjoy all the attractions which are the best in the world."

Richt said this year's matchup with the 19th-ranked Spartans (9-3) should be a good one considering both teams have identical records in and out of conference.

"Michigan State has had a great year, they were one game away from the Rose Bowl," said Richt. If they win their last game, they go to the Rose Bowl. They are a program on the rise. You look at Cincinnati is in the Orange Bowl, and that's where Coach (Mark) Dantonio left from so he left the cupboard full. He left that program in good shape."

Both teams are looking to secure their 10th win of the season Thursday.

"We want to finish 2008 by sending out the seniors with a victory," said Richt. "It would be our 10th this year and 40th for their career. Also, this game marks the beginning of 2009. We want the seniors to leave with a smile and start 2009 off right."

The Spartans feature one of the nation's top rushing attacks highlighted by Javon Ringer who accounted for 1,590 yards and 21 touchdowns this year.

"We hope to slow their rushing attack down but no one has stopped them," said Richt.
"It will be tough. We've tackled more in practice during the bowl preparations than we did during the season to get ready for it. We just crossed our fingers and held our breath to prepare for this game. We took more of a spring ball mentality. It should help our blocking and tackling with all the live work. We had about 15 practices since we last played and five or six of them we were in full pads and tackling to the ground. We had to change the way we practiced this year because of all the season-ending injuries."

On the injury front since arriving in Orlando, Richt said sophomore Demarcus Dobbs has a sprained ankle, and he's questionable for the game.

"He wants to play," said Richt. "He's on just about every special teams, and he's a heckuva of a defensive end too. I hope he can play."

Kickoff Thursday will be at 1 p.m., and the game will be televised by ABC.

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