Dawgs get back to practice

ATHENS -- All those free hours that Georgia's football players were getting used to are now gone.

The No. 8 Bulldogs (8-2, 6-2 SEC) returned to practice Friday evening to begin preparations for the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. It was the first time the team took the field together since a 19-13 win over Georgia Tech on Nov. 27.

"I kind of found myself in my room looking for something to do," freshman running back Thomas Brown said. "I always felt like I should be doing something. It's nice to have a break, but you kind of miss it."

Georgia is getting ready to play No. 16 Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) in an 11 a.m. game in Raymond James Stadium. The Bulldogs will practice twice a day today, Sunday and Monday and once Tuesday morning before breaking for the holiday. They will reconvene in Tampa on Dec. 26 and begin final preparations for the Badgers.

"I'd like them to get as much of the Christmas vacation with their families that they can," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt.

The Bulldogs may have to deal with weather issues Sunday, when there is a 30 percent chance of rain or snow flurries. The Atlanta Falcons' indoor practice facility in Flowery Branch is not available this week so the Bulldogs could be forced into the Ramsey Student Center, Richt said.

"I know some weather is rolling our way," he said. "We'll kind of be at the mercy of the weather."

The Badgers already are a little ahead of Georgia. They began bowl practice on Dec. 4 and took the field for the seventh time on Friday. NCAA teams are allowed a maximum of 15 practices prior to a bowl game and the timing of those workouts often depends on final exam schedules.

"I think everybody is just working the best they can around exams," Richt said. Richt took his assistant coaches off the recruiting trail Wednesday night so the entire staff could spend Thursday preparing for the opening day of practice. "This time of year is kind of nutty for us," he said.

Georgia returned to the field rested and mostly healthy. Quarterback David Greene, who suffered a fractured thumb on his throwing hand during the Georgia Tech game, practiced Friday night. His hand remains tender, but he's expected to play against the Badgers. Wide receiver Fred Gibson is fully recovered from a hip pointer he suffered against Tech.

Tailback Danny Ware isn't so lucky. He broke his right hand against Georgia Tech and will have to practice and play wearing a cast. "We'll see how he does with that," Richt said.

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