Friday, December 18, 2009

Dawgs Prep For Independence Bowl


The Dawgs practiced for 45 minutes in preparation for the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl during cold and rainy conditions this morning.

Today's practice marked the third day of practice in a string of seven straight days. The Dawgs have a travel day on Dec. 23 before reconvening in Shreveport, La., on Dec. 24.

“It was pretty cold, rainy and windy,” said head coach Mark Richt. “Justin Anderson said it was the coldest he’s ever been at a practice in his entire life. All those seniors who graduated today were doubly blessed because usually they don’t practice and today’s practice was a good one to not be at.”

Twelve football players missed practice due to today’s commencement.

The list includes defensive end Rod Battle of Atlanta; free safety Stephen Braue of Alpharetta; quarterback Joe Cox of Charlotte, N.C.; defensive tackle Ricardo Crawford of Fair Bluff, N.C.; free safety Bryan Evans of Jacksonville, Fla.; placekicker Andrew Jensen of Lawrenceville; cornerback Prince Miller of Duncan, S.C.; split end Mike Moore of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; defensive tackle Jeff Owens of Sunrise, Fla.; offensive tackle Vincent Vance of Hinesville, Ga.; linebacker Marcus Washington of Keysville; and defensive tackle Kade Weston of Red Bank, N.J.

“I was asked if (graduation) is as exciting as winning an SEC championship, and in a lot of ways it is,” Richt said. “An SEC championship, people will remember that, but events like that tend to fade a little bit over time. When you have your degree it really blesses those guys for their entire lives.”

Also graduating will be former All-SEC linebacker and 12-year NFL veteran Randall Godfrey of Valdosta and football (1994-95), baseball (1994-96) letterman and former Bulldog football player Erik Robinson of Orlando, Fla., and former wide receiver Tony Wilson of Daytona Beach, Fla.

Coach Mark Richt met with the media Wednesday during the Dawg's Bowl Media Day. He offered the following comments:

On juggling bowl preparation, recruiting and hiring coaches:

It's busy. It's busy for sure. First of all in recruiting we have a good number of commitments. At this point all the young men are holding firm. Who knows what any recruiting class will bring as you go down the stretch whether you have a situation with staff or not, you just never know what will happen down the stretch. I think everybody has done a pretty good job of covering those areas and getting on the phone and getting in person. I think we've done a good job there.

The preparation for the bowl has been interesting on the defensive side of course with a couple of graduate assistants working with coach (Rodney) Garner and myself. I've really been encouraged by what they've put together, and I think the players are, I think their spirit is going to be right to be cooperative and take it as a challenge that they have to step up to, so I don't see any issues in that regard. As far as the search, we all know its a very important hire and one that I'm doing the due diligence I think that it takes, but I'm working towards that end.

On when he will hire the three coaches:

I would say the safest bet, and I don't want to put a time table on it, but I would hate to think it goes much past the first week of January. You have to get back on the road recruiting. I'm not sure exactly when you are allowed to get back on the ground after this second dead period. There is a dead period for the coaches convention. You'd like to hit the ground running at that point with your new staff. Even then I'm not going to say 100 percent because I'm not 100 percent sure when it will happen. I wouldn't imagine it going past that if that.

On whether he will hire coaches before the bowl game:

I just don't know. I think I'll know when the time is right. It's just so hard to predict.

On the Dawg's travel itinerary and whether the team spent Christmas in a hotel for the 2001 Music City Bowl:

I don't think we did. It seems like it was a three-day trip. We might have had to report Christmas day, but it seemed like we reported the day after, but I'm not sure.

On the teams plans for Christmas:

We are going to have a nice meal, and we are trying to put together a Christmas program. We might even get our own players involved in seeing what kind of talents they have. We're working on that, but I think that would be something that everybody would enjoy. I would imagine most things are going to be closed that day, so we'll have to provide our own entertainment. Hopefully the guys will get into the spirit of that.

On who will call the defense in the bowl game:

My answer to that from this point forward is it will be a group effort, and it will be.

On the process of hiring coaches:

I'm just going to say that its a private search. The bottom line is I'm going to be the one making the final decision on it.

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