Notes from New Orleans, Monday 12/30

NEW ORLEANS — Confirming a rumor that had been circulating for two days, Georgia coach Mark Richt said Monday that one player had been sent home for a violation of team rules. And more from New Orleans.

It was learned that walk-on quarterback Rollins Luckey of Atlanta is the player who won't be on the sideline for Wednesday night's Sugar Bowl game against Florida State.

Luckey, a freshman from Westminster High School, has not appeared in a game this season and is behind David Greene, D.J. Shockley, Cory Phillips and Joe Tereshinski III on the depth chart. Tereshinski has been the scout team quarterback most of the season.

Richt would not identify the player or the rules infraction, saying only "You won't even know the difference; only his family would know.''

Richt said he has disciplined the few players who have missed curfew this week. He has made New Orleans casinos off-limits and there have been room checks to make sure curfews are met.

Asked about how his players have adhered to  rules this week, Richt said "I hope they know we mean business when we say something like that. They're a pretty responsible group. They want to win. They don't want to embarrass themselves.''

Richt set a 1 a.m. curfew when the team arrived Thursday and pushed the time up to midnight Sunday and 11 p.m. tonight, which he said is the normal curfew the night before a game.

"I think they've had enough of the (French Quarter) streets and the night life and all the events,'' Richt said. "I think they're ready to play now.''

Though players must be in their rooms by 11 p.m. tonight, they don't have to be asleep. Some players said they would watch the New Year's Eve midnight celebrations on TV.

Steps in the right direction: It was reported  Sunday that freshmen Ray Gant and Preston Pannell had to run, crawl and hop up and down stadium steps in Saturday's practice after Richt said "one or two stragglers'' had missed curfew.  

Pannell's family saw the report and, concerned that Pannell was being disciplined, made calls to the team hotel.  Pannell passed word through Georgia's sports information staff that he was running the stadium steps as a regular part of his conditioning work. Pannell, a defensive end, is recovering from a shoulder injury and is being redshirted this year.  

Gary still not full speed: Georgia may be able to use some four-receiver sets in Wednesday night's game, but Richt and receivers coach John Eason say  receiver Damien Gary still is not full speed.  

After missing four games with a leg injury, Gary returned to play a few snaps but did not have a catch in the Dec. 7 Southeastern Conference championship game.

 "I don't think he's 100 percent yet,'' Eason said Monday. "I think he has come a long way. I don't know how much time he will get.''  

Sean Jones has excelled as the fill-in for Gary on punt returns, and both players have worked in that role in bowl practice.

Medical report: Cornerback Decory Bryant, who has been suffering from cold symptoms that a few days ago had him too hoarse to attend a press conference, said Monday that he feels better.  

Meanwhile, offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb was held out of practice for the second straight day Monday but said the infected lesion on his left calf is "100 times better.''

Stinchcomb said he was given a shot in his hip Sunday and is taking oral antibiotics.

Numbers game: Because all the walk-ons are with the team on the trip, there are too many players at practice for the available jersey numbers.  On Monday, one of the walk-ons grabbed the No. 82 red practice jersey usually worn by receiver Fred Gibson, so Gibson wore a green No. 82. Green shirts normally are reserved for quarterbacks and injured players being held out of contact.

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