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December 16, 2006
The Georgia Bulldogs practice twice on Saturday in preparation for their Chick-fil-A bowl matchup with #14 Virginia Tech on December 31 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Head coach Mark Richt has four more days of practice in Athens before the team moves inside to the Georgia Dome following the holiday break. The coaching staff will the players practice twice a day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in two short practice sessions.
"We took what would normally be one normal practice and split it up into two practices, so it is not one long grinding day," said Richt. "I also want to keep them occupied at a time."
The coaches decided to break up the practices to keep the team busy during the break and to avoid injuries and fatigue leading up to the bowl game.
"We only do kicking in the morning and we only condition once in the afternoon," said Richt. "If we are going to do 20 minutes of eleven-on-eleven we do ten in the morning and ten in the afternoon. We are not doing two super long practices we are doing two short ones."
The Bulldogs will practice until Thursday and then the team will be dismissed for the holidays and reconvene in Atlanta on December 26.
Junior kicker Brandon Coutu is still recovering from a hamstring injury, but he has kicked in practice for the last 3 days without pain.
The plan heading into the bowl game according to coach Richt is to wait until the week of the bowl game before they decide to use Coutu or not.
" Andy Bailey will kick field goals and extra points unless Coutu is healthy for the bowl game. Coutu is making some good progress and there is a possibility of him kicking in the extra point/field goal for us," said Richt. "I am not sure who would kick off. I think if he feels good by the time we get to the bowl site he may kick and it may be before that. He has been kicking it around a little bit and I think he feels good about it. I think he has a pretty good chance of kicking."
Coutu and the coaches do not think kicking in the bowl game will endanger his leg and the healing process.
"You do not want a guy to comeback before he is ready, but if he looks good and feels good then there is no reason not to have him kick," said Richt.
If Coutu kicks senior punter Gordon Ely-Kelso will hold for him in the bowl game.
Richt Happy with Future OL
Due to NCAA rules coach Richt cannot talk specifically about individual player commitments, but he thinks the Bulldogs have solved the glaring holes in the offensive line for the next few seasons with the current recruiting class and the JUCOs the Bulldogs are bringing in.
"We need some mature people coming in to help us and the guys coming in during the mid-year whether they are a junior college player or not is a tremendous advantage for us especially during spring ball," said Richt. "I feel better now and I feel like we are addressing our needs."
The Bulldogs currently have nine players committed for the 2007 season in Athens including three junior college transfers.
"Martrez has a stiff neck, but he will probably be fine by Monday," said Richt. "A.J. still has that nagging groin injury and I thought that might have been good by now, but it is still bothering him."
Sean Bailey was the only Bulldog practicing in a green non-contact jersey on Saturday.
Other Notes and Quotes?
Coach Richt said after practice that offensive line coach Neil Callaway is still in the running for the UAB head coaching position.
"As far as I know he is still in the running and he has not told me anything different," said Richt.
"It has gone pretty good so far," said Richt about bowl practice through three days. "The defense had more juice this afternoon, but overall it has been spirited."