Spring Football Notebook: 3/3/03

ATHENS, Ga. - It probably is no coincidence a basketball home game against Florida was picked as the time to honor Georgia's 2002 Southeastern Conference championship team.

Coach Mark Richt, his 2002 team and the SEC and Sugar Bowl championship trophies will take the stage at halftime of tonight's home basketball game against Florida - which dominated the Eastern Division most of the 1990s. "It will be fun,'' Richt said after his spring practice session Monday - the second of 15 practices in the spring schedule.

Said receiver Damien Gary: "That will be a big celebration for us. I know 2002 is behind us, but it will be great for them to recognize us - especially at the Florida game.''

Ready for contact: After working Saturday and Monday in shorts, the Bulldogs are ready for their first day of contact drills today, according to Richt.

"I think these guys are ready to put the pads on and play some football,'' Richt said. "Two days in shorts are about all they can stand.'' Richt said he has been "real pleased'' with the tempo and effort after two days, but he said he is anxious to see how the players respond to a more physical practice today.

"You can tell they're anxious to get after it,'' he said. "I'm looking forward to (today). A lot of guys look sharp right now, but when you put on pads they might fall back.''

Just visiting: Several 2002 seniors were at Monday's practice, including George Foster, Tony Gilbert, Ryan Davis and Boss Bailey. Also visiting were two juniors who bypassed their final year of eligibility to enter the draft -  Johnathan Sullivan and Chris Clemons. Gilbert was wearing Foster's No. 71 Senior Bowl jersey.

"We switched (jerseys),'' Gilbert said before adding, "You don't want to wear your own jersey.''

Gilbert said he has heard positive reviews of his showing at the NFL combine last month.

"I felt it went well,'' he said. "A lot of people are saying I'll have a chance to play more football (in the NFL).''

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