Sugar Bowl: Day One News and Notes

ATHENS - News and Notes from Georgia's practices.

BACK TOGETHER: The No. 8 Bulldogs returned to the practice field Friday afternoon for the first time since the SEC Championship Game. Georgia will practice through Wednesday of next week in Athens before breaking for Christmas. The team is expected to reconvene in Atlanta on Dec. 27.

Richt did not attend Friday's practice so he could be with his daughter Anya while she had surgery in Dallas. He is expected to return today for two-a-day practices.

Richt spent most of his time between the SEC title game and the start of practice out of town recruiting.

"As I've been traveling, I've been able to pop (my computer) open and watch a lot of film and still be working," he said.

MINTER CONFIDENT: Minter, who had arthroscopic knee surgery nearly two weeks ago, has no doubts he'll be ready to play in the Sugar Bowl. "In the bowl practice, I think I'll be limited just a little," he said. "As far as the bowl game, I'm going to be 100 percent ready to go."

Minter had the surgery before the bowl game so he would be 100 percent healthy for the Jan. 28 Senior Bowl and the week of practice leading up to that game.

TOUGH TASK: Dan Mozes, West Virginia's second-team All-America center, has no problem acknowledging his team is the underdog in the Sugar Bowl. He said Thursday it was "no secret" that Georgia had better athletes than his Mountaineers.

"We've faced great teams in past bowl games but watching film for the short time that I have, I've never seen anything like what we're about to face," he said.

Surprisingly, the one player Mozes singled out on the Bulldog defense was 350-pound reserve defensive tackle Darrius Swain.

"No. 98, watching him play, he looks like a pretty big load," Mozes said. "Being able to see him move the way he moves is pretty impressive."

Swain has 13 tackles this season.

NO J.R. REUNION: The matchup that only the most diehard of Georgia fans even knew was coming won't happen after all. J.R. House, one of the most decorated prep quarterbacks of the last 20 years, left West Virginia's football team last week, three weeks before the Bulldogs and Mountaineers were to meet in the Sugar Bowl.

House, who broke Tim Couch's prep passing records by throwing for 14,459 yards and 145 touchdowns at Nitro High School in Nitro, W.V., was strongly considering signing a football scholarship with the Bulldogs in 1999. However, after being picked in the fifth round of the Major League baseball draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, he chose to play professional baseball. He eventually played six major league games with the Pirates in 2003 and 2004.

He gave up baseball last year to return to college football, and he signed with the Mountaineers, where he was the third-string quarterback this year. He is planning to work out for professional baseball teams later this month in hopes of getting another shot in that sport.


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