Monday, December 21, 2009

Dawgs Complete Final Two-A-Day Bowl Practice


The Dawgs completed an hour and 15-minute practice this afternoon to wrap up the team’s final two-a-day of the season.

The Dawgs started the day with a 45-minute special teams practice this morning in frigid conditions as the team continues to prepare for its matchup versus Texas A&M in the Advocare 100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., on Dec. 28. The team will practice once more on Tuesday before leaving for the bowl site.

Coach Mark Richt was pleased with his team’s effort following the afternoon practice considering this was the sixth straight day of practices. “It wasn’t quite as intense as (Sunday’s) practice, but still a good one,” Richt said. “There wasn’t quite the juice out there as there has been but we’ve been going every day for a while now so that’s expected. We’ll have one final practice tomorrow morning and after 10:30 or so in the morning, the guys will start getting out of town and heading towards Shreveport. We are looking forward to getting out there and getting to work.”

Following the morning session, Richt highlighted the play of redshirt sophomore defensive end Justin Houston. Houston returned from a two-game suspension at the beginning of the season to lead the Bulldogs with 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He is No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference averaging 0.83 sacks a game.

“His production per game has been outstanding,” said Richt. “If he had been with us the whole season, who knows what he could have done. I think he would have been up for postseason honors if he had played the whole year. I really believe the (defensive end) position is getting ready to take off with Justin, Demarcus (Dobbs) and Cornelius Washington.”

Junior Von Miller has led the Texas A&M defense through its 12 games. Lining up at the “Jack” position for the Aggies, Miller leads the nation with 17 sacks (1.42 per game) and has 21 tackles for loss.

“Von Miller really hasn’t been bull-rushing to get his sacks,” Richt said. “His performance is predicated on speed and a relentless attitude. A majority of his sacks come from third-and-long situations. When it’s a high-percentage shot at passing, he can get off on you quickly.”

Richt also mentioned that junior safety Quintin Banks sprained his neck during Sunday’s practice and was admitted and then discharged from a local hospital later that night. Banks is questionable for the bowl game.


Trey Thompkins, whose outstanding play led the Dawgs to a rousing victory over Big Ten foe Illinois, has been named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week.

Thompkins, a 6-10 sophomore from Lithonia, scored a team-high 21 points and added seven rebounds as the Dawgs edged the Fighting Illini 70-67 at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth. Most important, he sank four decisive free throws in the game's final 22 seconds to secure the victory. Thompkins did not start the Illinois game and played just 29 minutes. He had missed two practices during the week of final exams after having wisdom teeth extracted.

For the season, Thompkins leads the Dawgs in scoring at 15.0 points per game, rebounding (7.2/game), blocks (16), field goal attempts (113) and field goals made (49). Continuing the theme from the Illinois game, he has made 11 of 12 foul shots in the final five minutes of games this season.

Thompkins is also the leading career scorer among all current Dawgs with 489 points.

Thompkins becomes the first Dawg to win the SEC Player-of-the-Week award since Sundiata Gaines took home the honor during the week of Feb. 18, 2008.

The 5-4 Dawgs complete play in the 2009 calendar year with a pair of home games over the next nine days: Dec. 23 against Florida Atlantic and Dec. 30 against Pepperdine.

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