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Monday, December 27, 2010

Postcard from Memphis: Brrrrrrrr

MEMPHIS - Ah, the bowl season, the perfect chance for a festive, warm getaway.

As long as you’re close to the heater.

It was a balmy 26 degrees on Monday morning when the Georgia Bulldogs took the field for their first Liberty Bowl practice. If only they had waited until noon, when it vaulted all the way up to 32.

More than a few staff members brought hot coffee with them out to the field. Mike Bobo had straight black coffee. No cream, no sugar, no nothing for the hardy offensive coordinator.

“It keeps my figure,” Bobo said.

Memphis native Marlon Brown pointed out that the weather back in Athens had been rather frigid for the first portion of bowl practice. That didn’t save Brown from some ribbing.

“The Florida guys are giving me grief because they went home and it was like 70 degrees. And they get mad at me because it’s cold here,like it's my fault,” Brown said.

The one consolation the Bulldogs were taking was the weather was supposed to improve by Friday – if 60 degrees and rain, the current gameday forecast, can be considered an improvement.

“I’ll take 60 degrees and rain rather than 20 degrees and 15 mph winds,” head coach Mark Richt said.

The weather around the East has been bad in general the past few days, causing almost everyone – other than Brown, who lives five minutes away – to get to Memphis later than planned. In fact, two players still hadn’t arrived by Monday’s practice.

Sophomore tight end Arthur Lynch, flying out of New England, couldn’t get out on Sunday, and with the blizzard hitting the northeast, was still having trouble as of Monday.

Freshman cornerback Jordan Love had his flight out of Washington, D.C., canceled on Sunday, and he wasn’t able to get another flight into Memphis until the next morning.

(I was on Love's canceled flight, so I guess I was luckier than him in getting re-routed to Memphis. But if Love's luggage arrives with him, he was better off than me. Even as I type this I’m still wearing the same clothes I wore all of Sunday. Which is just awesome.)

Then there were the three players who missed the game because of academic issues.

Head coach Mark Richt expounded a bit on the absence of Caleb King, who violated a school policy by missing five academic meetings. Richt made clear he had no qualms with the policy, which has been in effect for most of his 10-year tenure at Georgia.

“We have a plan for them, and if they follow it they’ll be fine. If they don’t, then they’ll have to suffer the consequences for it,” Richt said. “It’s not the policy’s fault, it’s Caleb’s fault for not following through on his responsibility.”

A few other tidbits as Georgia began its week in Memphis:

- The team picked quite a place to hold its practices: The Memphis University School isn’t a university, but the prep school probably has nicer facilities than most non-Division I schools. And maybe some of those too.

The buildings have pillars, the field has a pretty good press box, and there's a sport and fitness center. In general the campus looks like the kind of place where the parents have bumper stickers that say “My other car is a 100-foot yacht.”

“This is a nice place,” Richt said, in the kind of understatement that would make him sound almost British. “You couldn’t ask for a better facility.”

One of the reasons the Bulldogs picked it was because it has a turf field, just like the Liberty Bowl. Richt said he’d heard that other teams had used this field after bad weather, so they figured they might as well make it their home base.

- Brown and Austin Long, a freshman offensive lineman who is also from the Memphis area, each recommended one barbecue joint:

“They said that we had to eat Rendezvous barbecue, so that’s what we’re doing for lunch today. So we’re ready,” Richt said.

- Bobo was sporting a goatee, which he was awaiting word on whether he’d be able to keep for the game.

“It was something we were doing before we left. We’ve gotta decide if we’ve gotta shave before the game. Coach Richt hasn’t given us the verdict yet,” Bobo said. “The only time I had any growth this year was South Carolina. We lost, so out of superstition I’ll probably shave.”

I’d offer to let him use my razor, but that was in my luggage.


Anonymous said...

Rendezvous has great dry rubbed ribs, but I prefer the Commissary when I get BBQ. Memphis isn't what it used to be, but it's still a good place to have some fun. Safe travels to everyone heading that way.

Anonymous said...

I bet Bobo's wife loves that cookie duster

Anonymous said...

Hey Seth,
I am a UGa and MUS alum living in Memphis. I work about a quarter mile from the MUS campus. What are the chances of seeing a Georgia practice?

Seth Emerson said...

Hi JA.
Honestly, I'm not sure if the practices are open or not. The next scheduled practice is Tuesday at 1:45. You can always head over and ask.

Anonymous said...

Seth - for those of us making the trip to Memphis, any insider info on what to do, where the team's staying, etc? See you in Memphis soon!


Dorsey Hill said...

Within walking distance of the Liberty Bowl is the best barbecue in Memphis, bar none: Central Barbecue. You'd be crazy to miss out. Not quite the atmosphere of the 'Vous downtown, but the quality and, more importantly, the consistency of quality, is way better.

Anonymous said...

The team is staying at the Peabody. You can go to the Liberty Bowl website and click on the media link. There is a schedule of the practices, press conferences, etc.

Anonymous said...

couldn't agree with Dorsey more. Rendevouz is cool for what it is, but I have always been slightly underwhelmed. Central BBQ is where it's at.

GreenDawg said...

A goatee and straight black coffee? Are we seeing the evil Bobo coming out? I sure hope so.