Dawgs Near Close of Practices: News and Notes

ATHENS – Before the two spent a few hours together in Orlando, Fla. last week for the presentation of the Doak Walker award, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno said he didn't know much about his counterpart at Michigan State, Javon Ringer.

As it turned out, neither tailback won the trophy – that went to Iowa's Shonn Greene – but the two will see plenty more of each other as they prepare to face off in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1.

Moreno said he shared a meal and spent some time talking with Ringer, who has 1,590 yards rushing this season, while in Orlando, but he has only seen a few highlights of the Michigan State back's runs this season.

"They showed a few highlights, and he's a great runner," Moreno said. "He can do some great things, but I haven't seen too many highlights."

While the pregame hype will likely surround the two star running backs, Moreno said he isn't too interested in the head-to-head battle with Ringer on the field in Georgia's bowl game.

"I guess people are going to talk about it, but we're not playing against each other," Moreno said. "We're playing against great defenses, and we've got to get prepared for that. We're not preparing for each other."

STICKING AROUND

Georgia senior defensive tackle Jeff Owens announced Thursday that he would be returning for his second senior season next year after missing 2008 with a knee injury he suffered in Georgia's opener.

While he said he's excited about the opportunity, he also wanted to get a commitment from his line coach, Rodney Garner, who has been rumored as a candidate for new Auburn coach Gene Chizik's staff.

"I told him what I was going to do, and I asked him what he was going to do," Owens said. "He said he's staying."

Also sticking around Athens will be Owens' teammate on the defensive line, Geno Atkins.

Atkins announced he would not enter the NFL draft last month, but he still submitted paperwork to be reviewed by the NFL's draft advisory board. Atkins said Thursday, however, that it was for informational purposes only.

"I submitted them last week, so I'm just waiting to see what they've got to say, just to see where I'd rank out in this year's draft if I would leave this year," Atkins said. "I'm 100 percent on what

I said, on staying here for another year."

TAKE THE DAY OFF

Head coach Mark Richt said he's running out of players to work with at practice, and the results are an extra day off for the Bulldogs today.

Richt said 38 players were unable to participate in Thursday's practice, and 10 more will be walking at today's graduation ceremony, so he decided to cut the day's practice session and have the team simply do some light workouts.

"When you take that group and the guys that are walking, it's just not worth practicing," Richt said.

Benjamin Boyd, CJ Byrd, Dannell Ellerbe, Demiko Goodman, Kenneth Harris, Corvey Irvin, Wes Jobs, Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Mimbs and Brannan Southerland are the 10 Bulldogs graduating today, while former Georgia players Thad Parker and Darrius Swain will also receiver their degrees.

Georgia will return to a full practice Saturday, its final session before breaking for the holidays. The Bulldogs begin practice in Orlando on Dec. 26.

ENDING WITH A WHIMPER

Freshman running back Dontavius Jackson never saw the field this season, but even his practice sessions came to an end this week.

"He had his knee tweaked, and it got scoped," Richt said. Jackson hurt the knee in practice and had it scoped Wednesday. Richt said he won't practice again until spring drills.


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