Florida Week: Monday's Rundown

ATHENS - Georgia hit the practice field on Monday to prepare for its upcoming matchup with rival Florida.

1. The first bullet point on this week's list is fairly obvious as Georgia travels to Jacksonville, Fla. for its oldest and most fierce rivalry with the Gators. Regardless of your take on the state of Georgia's team following a somewhat disappointing start, this is a chance for the Dawgs to regain some momentum as it enters the latter part of its season. Georgia is currently 4-3 overall, with more wins than losses in conference play. With that, Georgia still has three conference games remaining; Florida included. The Dawgs have had over a week to reflect on and move past their road loss to Vanderbilt, so this week's matchup should be the only item on their agenda. Mark Richt said there are plenty of reasons for his team to be excited for the upcoming bout.

"I think there's plenty of motivation going into this game," Richt said. "Anytime Florida and Georgia play a game against each other it's a big event."

Florida, also 4-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play, is no stranger to what Georgia has gone through this season with close games, crucial losses and injuries. That's all the more a reason for the Gators to approach this game with the same mindset as Georgia.

"Winning, it's a bottom line business. Everyone wants to win," Richt said. "I think overall both teams are trying to get healthy and get better at what they do."

2. Where does the blame lie for Georgia's early shortcomings this season? It doesn't really lie in any particular individual's hands, though that's the approach many have chosen to take. Even in the midst of the losses of games and key players, Georgia has kept a solid team morale. Richt credits that to the concepts practiced by his team and coaches. As stated before, no one is going to feel sorry for the Dawgs in an ever-changing college football landscape and tough conference schedule.

"We really have taken pride in having a very strong team concept at Georgia and a very strong family concept at Georgia," Richt said. "All our guys are so conditioned to look within. It's hard to get a lot of team unity once you're in turmoil. I think we've done a very nice job of that and we'll continue to do it."

If Georgia can indeed continue to shake off criticism and battle the adversity, the final stretch of the season could hold some short-term victories.

3. He hasn't been seen too much, but there's no doubt he's been the most talked about player in and around Athens. After the wait, Todd Gurley has been on the field, in pads and practicing with his teammates in recent days. He took part in team drills today, but in a green, non-contact jersey. In his warmup pants and pads, Gurley looked as if his rehab process has payed off. Though he has missed a lot of time on the field in the past few weeks, Richt said Gurley has stayed fresh in terms of preparation.

"Gurley practiced last week," Richt said. "He was in a non-contact situation, but he got a lot of work in."

4. During his teleconference on Sunday evening, Richt said freshman safety Tray Matthews has made quick strides in his recovery. Richt has often stressed the ambiguity of hamstring injuries, making it slightly more difficult to diagnose Matthews' return to the field. Matthews, however, has made a lot of progress lately and even with his nagging hamstring injury his hard work and quick progress has surprised his coaches.

"Tray Matthews is looking pretty good," Richt said on Sunday. "He may be in better shape tomorrow than I thought."

Matthews must have been in good, if not great shape. Not only did he practice, but he practiced in a regular, contact jersey. He definitely looked to be in game shape, which is one more good sign for Georgia's defense.

Unlike Matthews, Josh Harvey-Clemons did not practice in a regular jersey. However, he did practice. He spent the majority of the observable practice periods jogging the sidelines in a green jersey.

5. The receiving corps could get a major boost in the days prior to the Florida game. Michael Bennett practiced in green today, but Chris Conley was not on the practice field. Richt described Conley's game status as very doubtful, which means he shouldn't be counted on to take the field on Saturday. This makes Bennett's return that much more important, but not rushed. On Sunday, Richt said he had not received a report from Ron Courson detailing Bennett's rehab status, but he did show some signs of great improvement on Monday.

Rantavious Wooten also practiced in green, but continued to run through all observable receiver drills Monday's practice entailed.


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