Coach G's Thanksgiving tradition

ATHENS – Today around lunch time, as most of Georgia's players are racing home after a morning practice, more than two dozen Bulldogs will make the short trip to Rodney Garner's house for an 18-year-old Thanksgiving tradition.

"It's something we started doing when I was at Auburn," Garner said. "We always played the Alabama-Auburn game that weekend (when Garner was a player), and one thing I always hated doing was eating in the dining hall for Thanksgiving," he said. "I thought it was the worst thing in the world. So, when I started coaching and some of the players had to be there, my mom and my aunt started a tradition of cooking Thanksgiving dinner."

Now Garner's wife Kim and her family chip in on a dinner that last year hosted 60 people. Between 30 and 35 of those are players, most of him live too far away to make it home for Thanksgiving and back in time for Friday's morning's practice.

"They have a good time," Garner said. "They enjoy the fellowship. It's a home-cooked meal. We'll bless the food and just have a good time, hang out."

The Garners fix all the traditional holiday foods, and Garner even provides chitlins, pig intestines which usually are boiled and then fried. This year he bought 10 gallons, he said, which may prove to be too many since offensive lineman Chester Adams, the biggest chitlin fan on the team literally and figuratively, is not attending this year.

"The only rule is, when they leave, all chitlins must leave my house," Garner said. "I am from the country, but I do not eat chitlins. When they leave, every chitlin must go with them."

Head coach Mark Richt instructed each of his position coaches to ask the players they coach individually where they are spending Thanksgiving and to find them a spot if they don't have one.

"Some guys if they don't have a place, they're not going to say it," Richt said. "We're going to make sure they are either with a teammate or with somebody."

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