Special to the Journal
ATHENS, Ga. — A heavy rain at the onset of practice on Tuesday drove the No. 6-ranked Georgia Bulldogs to their FieldTurf practice fields for the first time this fall. However, when the meat of the workout arrived, the precipitation had ended and the Bulldogs conducted the majority of their two-hour session under cloudy, spring-like conditions.
“I was hoping by practicing in the rain we would be able to handle the wet ball and all that kind of thing,” head coach Mark Richt said. “It might rain on Saturday so we better get ready. The reality was we fumbled more and dropped more balls than normal even though the rain stopped.”
The Bulldogs practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts on Tuesday, a traditional Wednesday game-week workout that was pushed up a day since this weekend’s contest is the season opener.
“This was the last day with any kind pads on other than helmets the next two days so we’re getting close,” Richt said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Richt took part in the Bulldogs’ initial pre-game press conference of the season. He said he saw much improvement from Buffalo from the 2010 to 2011 seasons and expects much of the same this year.
“Coach (Jeff) Quinn is in his third season,” Richt said. “He’s doing an outstanding job there, no doubt about it. I was looking at their offense and one of the things that I saw from their first to their second year was that they were really adding their yards per game and doing much better in points per game. Their turnover ratio has improved dramatically from year one to year two and now they’re going into year three with a lot of veteran players. It’s a little bit similar with what’s going on with our defense in that everybody knows what they’re doing. I’m sure they’re in the same situation in that regard. They are a big bunch, and they have three guys that started all 12 games last year on the offensive line, so we’re looking forward to that challenge. With our line against theirs, it will be interesting to see how that goes. I figure they’ll be wanting to run the ball a lot, and it will be a challenge for us to stop it.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game at Between the Hedges is set for 12:21 p.m., and the game will be televised on the SEC Network. Tickets to the home football games against Buffalo and Florida Atlantic (Sept. 15) are on sale to the general public and can be purchased online at here or by calling the UGA Athletic Association ticket office at 1-877-542-1231.