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GA Notes: Players looking for to return in 2004

For Georgia seniors, winning the SEC championship and landing a spot in the Sugar Bowl was the second-best ending to the season.

Georgia's returning players would like to return to the Sugar Bowl next year to realize the best possible postseason opportunity.

Next January, the Sugar Bowl will take its turn as the host to the national championship game. Now No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, Georgia came close to a spot in the national championship game in the Fiesta Bowl this season.

 "I would have liked to have played for the national championship this year, but we've been saying we're going to have to come back next year,'' said junior cornerback Decory Bryant.  Added Bryant: "I am very happy we made it to one of the top four bowl games this year.''  

The prospect of playing in an even more important bowl game next season could play a role in the decision-making process of juniors considering an early entry into the NFL draft.  

"Definitely, I think we can make it next year,'' said junior defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan. "I'm kind of upset we didn't make it this year.''  Added Sullivan: "I haven't made a decision yet. If they say I could go in the first round, I might think about it. I think I could improve on everything if I came back, and to be a senior leader and to have a chance to come back (to another Sugar Bowl) is definitely something to think about.''  

Team photo: Coach Mark Richt has supervised the makeover of the Butts-Mehre building's first floor, which houses the team locker room, training facilities, meeting rooms and weight room.  

The new look includes lighted pictures down the hallway which leads to the team meeting rooms, and the team Tuesday posed for a photo in the Superdome with the Sugar Bowl logo.  

Richt plans to have the team picture placed on the wall that showcases the team photos from all of Georgia's national championship and Southeastern Conference championship teams.

Keeping busy: Players and coaches, already antsy for the game by Tuesday, will have a long wait today for the scheduled 8:40 p.m. ET kickoff.  

"Basically, I asked them to do whatever they need to do between now and the game to be prepared,'' Richt said Tuesday. "I just hope they can maintain their focus.''  

In addition to having the team picture taken at the Superdome, there were two team meetings Tuesday and a team outing to see a movie.

Warming up: Richt said the idea of playing Florida State, where he coached for 15 years, has not been a distraction during bowl practice.  

Richt says he expects to feel "a little awkward'' during pregame warmups, saying that was how he felt when he was at Florida State and for the first time coached against Miami, his alma mater.  

"I assume it will be a little awkward to watch (Florida State) doing probably the same warmups we will be doing,'' Richt said. "It will probably be funny to watch. It probably will be synchronized warmups.''  

By kickoff, Richt said, "It will be business as usual.''  

Tales of Bourbon Street: Stories of the lures — and dangers — of Bourbon Street had grown to legendary status by the time Georgia players actually had their first look at the French Quarter's most famous party street.  

Georgia players traveled in groups when roaming the French Quarter, and some took precautions to make sure they stayed away from trouble.  

"I went out there for about 30 minutes,'' said David Pollack. "We went in a flock to make sure nothing happened. We were nine-deep and we had some 300-pounders with us. I walked in the middle.''  

Red and black invasion: As more and more Georgia fans have arrived in New Orleans, it has become clear the Bulldogs will have a sizable advantage in fan support at the game.  

That's no surprise to Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.  

"Every time we've played here against an SEC school we've been outnumbered because it's always been an SEC bowl,'' Bowden said. "I expect that here. It's not bad.''


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