Richt Passes out Some Coal for Christmas

SHREVEPORT, LA – Several of Georgia's players got off to a bad start in Shreveport.

Some players arrived late to a special teams meeting or slept through the departure time for a scheduled team hospital visit on Friday, and the punishment was worse than a lump of coal in their stockings.

Brandon Boykin, Marcus Dowtin, Nick 2Williams, Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings and Vance Cuff were among the Bulldogs who earned the punishment of running sprints up the stadium stands before Friday's practice. By the time the actual workouts began, the players had been running for more than 20 minutes, and several appeared exhausted, which Richt said was ample punishment for the transgressions.

"To do this before a practice, I don't think a few feel like they can do it. We're going to find out," Richt said. "It's good to show up on time and be what you're supposed to be when you need to be there."

Aggies Assistant Knows Georgia Well

Texas A&M may not be the most familiar opponent for Georgia, but at least one of the Aggies knows his competition pretty well.

Texas A&M defensive coordinator Joe Kines worked the same job for the Bulldogs from 1995 through 1999 under former head coach Jim Donnan, but he said he isn't approaching Monday's Independence Bowl matchup against his former employer with any different than he would any top opponent.

"You're always going to play a quality opponent in a bowl game, so a program like Georgia, it's an honor to play a group like that," Kines said. "You don't try to get into an emotional thing about it. On first-and-10, they've done this. On third-and-1, they've done this. It's our job to line up and get that stop. If you get caught up in all that (emotion) you end up second-guessing yourself. You just try to be fundamentally sound."

Of course, after spending much of his career in the SEC, including stints with Florida, Arkansas and Alabama, Kines won't lack for experience in preparing for the type of action his defense can expect against the Bulldogs.

And while Kines is anticipating a challenge, he's also figuring the game will be a bit of a departure from the style he usually sees in the wide-open Big 12.

"Having been through the SEC and now on this side, it's two different animals. Once you cross that Mississippi, it's a different animal," Kines said. "But it's just like a jigsaw puzzle every week. You've got to put it together and the shape of the pieces don't matter."

Injury updates

Georgia got a bit of good news at Friday's practice as receiver A.J. Green and safety Reshad Jones both returned to work without limitations – a first during bowl preparations. Jones was nursing a few nagging injuries and Green had missed the final two regular-season games with a shoulder separation, but both participated fully Friday.

Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs was hobbled, however, limping noticeably and wearing a green non-contact jersey. Richt said Dobbs suffered a minor ankle injury and said he still expected the junior to be available for Monday's game.

The biggest concern, however, remained right tackle Josh Davis, who suffered a sprained ankle last week. Davis was not in green Friday, but Richt said he expected the junior tackle to be limited in his contact work. Still, Richt said he was optimistic that Davis could be a full participant Saturday and still play against Texas A&M.

"He still could make it," Richt said. "I think (Saturday) we can get him in there and get him ready."

Tough matchup

Texas A&M cornerback Jordan Pugh has gone against a number of top wide receivers throughout his career with the Aggies, but he's expecting one of his toughest matchups in the Independence Bowl when he's charged with slowing down Green, Georgia's All-SEC receiver.

"He's up there with the best of them," Pugh said. "I've played against guys like (former Texas Tech receiver Michael) Crabtree and (Oklahoma State's) Dez Bryant every year, and he's no different than those caliber of players. He's one of those guys you just have to contain. You have to play him because he's an explosive weapon. It's going to be a big matchup going against him."


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