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Monday, April 6, 2009

Practice Notes: A Cold Day in Athens

It was an abridged media session with Mark Richt today, and there wasn't exactly anything immensely important to come of it, but here's some news worth noting:

-- It was cold... really cold. Richt lamented the weather over some hot chocolate after practice, and he reflected a bit on what Georgia might be missing under wet, windy conditions this coming season.

"Matt can throw the ball extremely well in the wind and the wet situations. It didn't seem to faze him at all," Richt said of former quarterback Matthew Stafford. "As a matter of fact, if it rained with Matt, it was probably an advantage to us because the DBs were going to slip around a little bit, and it wasn't going to affect how Matt threw the ball. Joe, we'll see how well he throws the wet ball if we play in those conditions."

Richt then showed a bit of rooting interest for where Stafford might land in this month's NFL draft.

"I guess Detroit plays inside," Richt joked. "Oh, but I guess he might not go to Detroit. But when the wind was whipping out there, we said, 'This is how Stafford's going to have it every day.'"

-- Richt discussed his rationale for moving spring practice back one week this year, noting that the agreement with ESPN to broadcast the G-Day game did play into the decision.

-- Dontavius Jackson returned to a full practice without a green, non-contact jersey for the first time this spring today and Richt said he'll be a full participant in the G-Day game.

-- A few guys who won't be available for G-Day: Kris Durham, who injured his shoulder two weeks ago, will miss the rest of the spring. Richt said they have not decided yet whether it will require surgery and Durham didn't offer too much more detail than that. Akeem Hebron was a player Richt mentioned last week as potentially returning to action, but by Monday, Richt admitted he wasn't ready. Same goes for Quintin Banks, who is still rehabbing from a mid-season injury that has limited him to mostly non-contact work this spring.

-- Baccari Rambo suffered a minor MCL sprain last week and has not practiced since, but Richt said he should be ready for the spring game.

-- Bryan Evans suffered a concussion during the scrimmage on Saturday, but Richt said he is responding well and should be good to go later this week.

-- One player who is now completely healthy is wide receiver A.J. Green, who said he is 100 percent for the first time since last summer. "I didn't limit me game-wise, but practice-wise, not being able to go every day and stuff like that. Sometimes it would be bothering me and I was missing out on reps that could help me."

As for the rest of the practice news and notes, here's the UGA official release, which employs a delightful use of the word "blustery" in the lead. That always reminds me of my favorite childhood episode of "Winnie the Pooh"...

The Georgia football team practiced for an hour and a half in pads and shorts at the Woodruff practice fields on a blustery Monday afternoon.

With the wind gusting up to more than 30 miles an hour and temperatures dropping into the 40s, the Bulldogs had their first of three practices before the annual G-Day game arrives on Saturday.

“It was very cold and windy out there today so we just tried to layer up and get things done,” said head coach Mark Richt. “According to Coach (Wayne) Norton, who has coached the track team for almost 20 years here, this was the coldest day his teams have practiced on during the month of April and I can believe it.”

Richt also commented on several players who are either returning from injury or who will now be out for the rest of the spring.

Kris Durham injured his shoulder a few days back and he is definitely out for the rest of spring,” Richt said. “Bryan Evans also got a concussion during Saturday’s scrimmage, but we think he could be back as soon as Wednesday. As far as coming back, Charles White practiced for the first time (since an Achilles tendon injury last season) during the scrimmage and did a nice job. He was very physical out there and remembered all of the schemes from his position.”

One of the questions marks for Georgia this offseason has been who will replace running back Knowshon Moreno, who entered the NFL draft and is expected to be a first-round pick. So far, redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas has impressed Richt and the coaching staff.

“He’s a little like Tyson Browning. Probably more powerful but not as fast,” explained Richt. “But his agility and ability to change direction are probably more like Tyson than any other player I have coached at Georgia or Florida State.”

The annual G-Day spring game will kick off at 1:00 p.m. and be televised live by ESPN. Brad Nessler will handle the play-by-play duties, with Kirk Herbstreit providing the color analysis and Wendy Nix adding sideline reporting. Admission to the game is free. A lettermen’s alumni game will precede the varsity game with starting time scheduled for 11:15 a.m.

Sanford Stadium gates will open at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Gates utilized for the public will be the main gate under the Sanford Drive bridge as well as gates 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9.

In lieu of an admission fee, fans are encouraged to bring food donations to benefit the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. Among the items most needed are soups, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, rice, pasta and pop-top canned goods.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMG David, you just brought me back with the "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" reference. That is my absolute FAVORITE Winnie and Pooh episode. I probably watched it 100 times when I was little.