Dawgs Get Back to Work

ATHENS – The raindrops fell at a steady pace, adding an extra chill to an already soggy and cold afternoon, but Georgia's players were just happy to be back to work.

It had been five long days since the Bulldogs were last on the field, and the bitter taste of a 45-42 loss to rival Georgia Tech was still fresh in their mouths. Getting back to the routine of practice, however, was a fresh dose of energy.

"I think everybody had their heads a little low, especially the seniors losing the last game of the season, but we know we still have one more game to play, and it's a big game," tight end Bruce

Figgins said. "We had a real good practice (Thursday), just getting our minds right."

Georgia isn't likely to learn the identity of its next opponent until Sunday when the bowl matchups are announced, but Thursday's practice – which included only head coach Mark Richt and his coordinators, while the remaining coaching staff was on the road recruiting – provided a good opportunity to focus on the small things that allowed Tech to run roughshod over the Bulldogs' defense.

Watching film of last Saturday's loss was painful, linebacker Rennie Curran said. Most of the time, Georgia's defense executed beautifully, with players in position to make the play then following through with precise execution. It was the handful of ugly mistakes, however, that Tech feasted upon.

"When you're watching it, you see how small the margin of error was for us," Curran said. "It didn't look like we made that many mistakes, but the mistakes that we did make were so costly and came at the worst times."

The Bulldogs were in shells and shorts during Thursday's rain-soaked practice and will take the day off today. They'll get back to work with the full coaching staff Saturday and will practice three days next week while completing finals.

While their bowl destination has yet to be determined, defensive tackle Corvey Irvin said the significance of winning the bowl game is already well understood by the players. With the loss to Tech, the bowl game is a chance for the seniors to go out with a win and a springboard for the rest of the team to start next season on the right foot.

"We lost a game, but it's over now," Irvin said. "We're playing for a new season now. It's almost 2009, and this will set the tone for the 2009 season to show everybody what Georgia's really all about. I'm going to make like this is my senior game right here. We walked off the field with a bad taste in our mouths, and I want to go out with a bang."

Last season, Georgia's blowout win over Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl helped propel the team to a preseason No. 1 ranking in 2008. The Bulldogs won't head to a BCS game this time around – they are likely destined for the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla. – but the significance of earning a win may be greater this time around.

After all, tight end Tripp Chandler said, it's all the team has left to look forward to.

"Losing to Tech, it's a numb feeling, something we've never felt before and something we don't ever want to feel again," Chandler said. "But all we can do is go out there and work hard and try to get ready for whoever our opponent is."


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