Christmas Comes Early in Bobo Household

ATHENS – With five children between ages 2 and 5, Christmas is an exciting time of year in Mike Bobo's house.

But with Georgia set to depart for Shreveport, La. on Thursday, the normal holiday routine had to change a bit.

Since Bobo and his family will be in Shreveport on Christmas day with the Bulldogs preparing for their bowl date with Texas A&M, the schedule was moved up a bit. The Bobos held Christmas Eve festivities Tuesday night and Christmas day comes today.

"My kids are jacked, and I'm jacked, too," Bobo said.

While Bobo admits his wife did most of the shopping, he had the crucial job of ensuring that Santa was aware of the tweaked holiday schedule at his house. Luckily for him, Santa was happy to oblige.

"It just happens that we're playing the 28th, so Santa's coming early," Bobo said. "We wrote him a letter, and he wrote back and said if they're nice to mom, he'll come early."

Grades are in

Georgia head coach Mark Richt got some good news on the academic front as the Bulldogs wrapped up their final practice of the year in Athens. No players have been ruled academically ineligible for the bowl game on Dec. 28, and the overall efforts of the team in the classroom during the fall semester were exceptional, he said.

While results aren't official yet, Richt said he was told 43 players earned a 3.0 GPA or better during the fall semester, and the overall team GPA was better than 2.7.

"No one has really any issues going into the spring as far as grade point average and all the number of hours needed is very manageable," Richt said. "So it was really a very successful semester academically."

Talking it over

While Georgia will bid farewell to a large group of seniors after the Independence Bowl, two juniors on defense could be departing, too.

Linebacker Rennie Curran and safety Reshad Jones are both considering leaving school a year early for the NFL draft, and Richt said he has spoken with both players about their decisions. While he said he's offered advice to both Curran and Jones, he said neither has made up their mind and both are focused on ending the season – and possibly their careers – on a high note against Texas A&M.

"We've had some conversations, but more of the trying to make sure we're getting good information and not putting this decision before finishing out their careers in a very positive way," Richt said. "They're definitely thinking about it. But neither one has definitely said I'm doing one thing or the other at this point."

Boykin to the rescue

Georgia held its final practice in Athens this season on Tuesday with a morning workout that focused primarily on special teams. The practice ended, however, with the annual pre-Christmas conditioning in which Richt made the team run 10 half-gassers – across the width of the football field and back – unless a player stepped up to sing a Christmas carol in front of his teammates.

"Somebody had to stand up in front of the team and sing at least a verse or two of a song," Richt said. "It was Chester Adams for years. He would sing ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,' and he'd do a great job of that."

This year, the volunteers were sparse, but finally cornerback Brandon Boykin stepped up to offer his voice to save some running – about 500 yards worth, according to Richt – for his teammates.

"He sang something about a mistletoe, I'm not quite sure," Richt said. "But he sang it well. He cut those gassers in half, so that was a good deal."

Tuning in for Bowden

Bobby Bowden, will be coaching the final game of his career on Jan. 1, and his former protégé hasn't ruled out a trip to watch.

Richt said he'll definitely tune in for the game, but wouldn't rule out a trip to Jacksonville to watch it in person. The truth is, he said, he hadn't yet considered the fact that he would be off work on the first of the year.

"I haven't thought about it," Richt said. "I guess I'm so used to playing on the first you don't think about being able to do something like that."

Simmer down

With the Christmas holiday looming and Georgia's bowl game less than a week away, Richt said his search for a new defensive coordinator is likely to take a backseat for a few days, at least.

"We'll work on that more after the bowl games," Richt said. "But we'll get it done."

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