published Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Soggy Georgia Bulldogs begin bowl preparations

Georgia tight end Jay Rome (87)
Georgia tight end Jay Rome (87)
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Perhaps the Georgia Bulldogs will enjoy a warm and sunny New Year's Day.

That wasn't the case Saturday.

The No. 23 Bulldogs held their first of seven on-campus practices for their Jan. 1 date with Nebraska in the Gator Bowl. The Bulldogs worked out for 75 minutes in a steady downpour, which was their first practice since closing an 8-4 regular season Nov. 30 with a 41-34 win at Georgia Tech in double overtime.

"There was a 100 percent chance of rain all day, and we didn't want to skip practice, so we just got it in, doing some running and fundamental work," coach Mark Richt told reporters afterward. "It's a weird time of year with recruiting, watching game clips, bowl practices and our senior awards banquet. You can't focus on one thing."

Georgia held its team gala Saturday night and will take today off before practicing again Monday afternoon.

Redshirt sophomore tight end Jay Rome will miss the bowl game due to his foot injury, Richt said. Rome missed the final three games of the regular season, and he battled an ankle injury early in the season.

The 6-foot-6, 254-pounder caught only nine passes for 99 yards this season after collecting 11 for 152 and two touchdowns as a redshirt freshman.

"He missed a lot, and it's a shame, but at least it's not his senior year," Richt said.

Senior defensive lineman Garrison Smith injured his ankle at Georgia Tech and practiced Saturday on a limited basis.

The Bulldogs will work out in Athens through next Saturday before breaking for Christmas. Their first practice in Jacksonville is scheduled for Dec. 27.

ESPN2 will broadcast the Georgia-Nebraska game, which will have a noon kickoff.

Planning on Park

Richt said quarterback commitment Jacob Park from Goose Creek, S.C., likely will be Georgia's only early enrollee in the 2014 class. The Bulldogs had 13 early enrollees earlier this year.

"Jacob is an interesting guy," Richt said of the 6-4, 190-pounder. "I don't know if you would sit there and put in an entire arsenal of QB runs, but he's a good athlete. He can run. He can move, and he throws the ball extremely well. He's a very strong competitor.

"He certainly could have looked at our roster and decided not to come, but he believes in himself and has a lot of ability."

Richt, who can talk about Park since he signed a financial-aid agreement with Georgia, expects his 2014 class to have a signee count "in the low 20s."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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