Dawgs Get Back to Hardwood

ATHENS – Georgia coach Dennis Felton compared his early season working to plugging holes in a dam. Each time he patches a leak, another one seems to spring up.

Throughout the preseason, Felton's primary task with his young Bulldogs was defense. A shortcoming in the early going switched his focus to rebounding. In the meantime, Georgia's offense has sputtered, and Felton has been forced to adjust again.

"As soon as you spend time on one part of the game, you're taking time from another part away," Felton said. "You want to sustain."

That hasn't been a simple chore for Felton's team so far, but an 11-day break from action following a one-point win over Virginia Tech on Dec. 9 finally gave the coach a chance to catch his breath and refocus his energies. The Bulldogs tip off a stretch of five straight home games today against Wofford.

For the season, Georgia is shooting just 41 percent from the field, and Felton said the biggest culprit has been a failure to execute some key fundamentals – things he finally had a chance to work on during the Bulldogs' long layoff.

"We worked on a lot of offensive things," forward Terrence Woodbury said. "We never really had time to really work on our offensive game like we have in the last week-and-a-half."

Felton said he wants to see his post players do a better job of playing physical in the paint, getting easier shots closer to the basket. He would also like to see his team play a bit more up-tempo – speeding up the game while improving its offensive execution.

The task of turning those goals into reality began after the Virginia Tech game, as Georgia was able to run a bit more introspective style of practice.

"We get to slow down and pay more attention to the finer details," Felton said, "because we have many practices where we can spend 100 percent of the time working on us rather than getting ready for an opponent and what they bring to the table."

Forming a cohesive unit on offense this season hasn't been simple thanks to a bevy of injuries, but Felton said he hopes those are beginning to heal.

Freshman Trey Thompkins is as healthy as he has been all year, Felton said, and has lost 13 pounds since he began practicing in full late last month. Forward Albert Jackson is recovering nicely from an ankle injury, but Woodbury has missed two days of practice this week with bone spurs in both ankles. Jeremy Price also missed two practices after being hit in the eye during a practice session. Felton said he expects both players to be ready to go against Wofford.

The extra time to focus on fundamentals and heal some nagging injuries has been helpful, but it also may have halted any momentum the Bulldogs gained from their win over the Hokies. That's not a concern for the team, however, according to Woodbury. Momentum can be regained easily if the Bulldogs can apply the lessons they've learned the past 11 days.

"Now," Woobury said, "we need to just go back out there and get another win."


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