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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Practice Notes: Mystery Surrounds Dawgs' D

Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman admits, he’s a bit befuddled as to what to expect when his team takes on Georgia on Monday.

The Bulldogs have spent the past two weeks practicing for the Aggies, but they’ve been doing so without three of their four defensive coaches, making it tough to judge what Georgia’s defense might look like on game day.

“You debate back and forth as to how they’ll approach it,” Sherman said. “They have good players, so they may try something new or they may stay status quo. We really don’t know. We just have to take care of our business, do what we do, and make adjustments during the ballgame. Hopefully they’re the right ones to help us win.”

If Sherman is looking for a few clues from Georgia’s players, he might not have much more luck in determining the look of the defense either. The accounts of the preparation have been a bit varied.

“This plan is the same as Coach (Willie) Martinez or any of the other coaches, the same thing they would do,” linebacker Rennie Curran said. “For us, it’s not really about who’s coaching us. With Coach Martinez being gone, we’re just trying to hold up to his standard.”

Indeed, Georgia’s graduate assistants who have taken over the coaching duties this month have promised no vast departures from the scheme employed by the Bulldogs all season --- but that doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any new looks.

“We’ve been running the same thing for four years, so we’re not going to just completely leave the defense,” safety Bryan Evans said. “But there are a couple of wrinkles in there that we have, so it’s going to be fun to play.”


It’s hard to blame Georgia’s players if they feel like some of the bowl experience is over before it started. Just 24 hours after starting their first full bowl practice in Shreveport, the Bulldogs wrapped up their pregame workouts with their second and final practice before their game against Texas A&M on Monday. Georgia will still have a short walkthrough today, but unlike years past, that’s all there will be to the pregame preparations.

“Last year, we had a full week of practice and preparation. Now here, we have two days and a walk-through,” tailback Caleb King said. “It’s weird that we had so much of the practice in Georgia.”

Head coach Mark Richt said that, while the schedule has been different, he expects no ill effects. The Bulldogs practiced in Independence Stadium both Friday and Saturday, which is more field time than they would normally get before a bowl, and the focus on A&M has been intense all month.

“Everybody should have it memorized by now,” Richt said of the game plan. “Our goal was to have it so they were bored to death with the plan so they could play fast when we kicked it off.”

And while the run up to the bowl game is a departure from past seasons, King said it actually feels a bit more like a true road game – where Georgia has been successful throughout Richt’s career.

“It’s no difference because we practiced hard in Athens, and we just had to pretty much come out here and finish things,” King said. “We all should be ready for the game.”


In the past three seasons, the SEC has an impressive 19-7 record in bowl games, and that’s a trend Georgia takes seriously. So when the Bulldogs take the field Monday against Texas A&M – just the second bowl game of the season for SEC teams – they want to hold up their end of things.

“We want to represent our conference well, but we go into these games wanting to represent University of Georgia,” defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said. “We’re all competitive and we want everybody to do well, but we want people to be talking about Georgia after the ball game. We want the whole SEC to do well, but we’re playing for Georgia and the ‘G.’”


While it was Georgia Tech’s chewing of the hedges that proved the lasting images of last season’s Yellow Jackets win in Athens, Georgia center Ben Jones returned the favor last month by eating a piece of the field after the Bulldogs toppled Tech in Atlanta. But he promises, it wasn’t anything he had planned in advance.

“It was just a fun game, I was showing some emotion. We were just all excited about winning the game,” Jones said. “I just came out and played hard and it just happened. I don’t know why I did it or anything. It just happened.”

Planned or not, Jones said it isn’t likely to happen again. He hasn’t tested the turf in Shreveport or looked for any soft spots in the sod so far.

“We just come out here to practice and have a good day of work,” Jones said.


Josh Davis was still in a green non-contact jersey on Saturday and Richt sounded less enthusiastic about his ability to play Monday against the Aggies.

“You can see he’s limping around a little bit, but we’re not giving up hope,” Richt said. “We’ll try to get him some work against the scouts and hope he’ll be OK.”

If Davis cannot play, Vince Vance will get the start at right tackle, Richt said.

Dobbs was still in green Saturday, too, but Richt said he expected Dobbs to be fine for the game.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Rennie Curran said, “With Coach Martinez being gone, we’re just trying to hold up to his standard.”

Gee... I hope not! They need to do better than Martinez's standard. Remember, he was fired because of the performance of the defense. They need to do better than his "standard!"