No two-a-days? Certainly not the Bear’s brand of football

No two-a-days runs counter to the way Bear Bryant forged Texas A&M's "Junction Boys." (Texas A&M)

No two-a-days runs counter to the way Bear Bryant forged Texas A&M's "Junction Boys." (Texas A&M)

It’s an interesting experiment Mark Richt is conducting by deciding to give up the time-honored two-a-day practices this preseason.

On the one hand, he’s bucking the traditional school of thought that forcing players to endure at least a few days of double practices in the late summer heat helps build physical endurance and mental toughness. Bear Bryant’s legendary “10 days of hell” camp for the “Junction Boys” during his time at Texas A&M set the template back in the 1950s. You might have seen ESPN’s movie about it.

But even schools keeping two-a-days have cut back on them in recent years because the increased risk of injury caused by fatigue is exacerbated by today’s scholarship limits. Even with one-a-days, many teams emerge from preseason camp literally limping — remember all those hurt hamstrings in Athens last year?

Speaking of last year’s preseason practices, you can apply the results to either school of thought here since the Dogs frankly looked fatigued and a bit dead-legged in the opener against Oklahoma State.

Was that because of too much practice or not enough? Georgia actually only had two days of two-a-days last year (the third scheduled day ended up being Richt’s annual surprise trip to the swimming pool for the team), so the move to all one-a-days isn’t that big a change. Did the Dogs drag against Okie State because they were tired or because they hadn’t practiced hard enough and weren’t in tip-top condition?

The folks who might come down on the latter side of the argument point to the season before last when the injury bug that hit Georgia prompted Richt to cut back on contact in practices. The resulting deterioration of fundamental skills on the team, particularly on defense, was alarming to the head coach, who admitted he’d made a mistake and returned to tackling in practice for the bowl game.

Was it really the lack of contact that plagued the defense, or simply poor coaching and preparation on the part of Willie Martinez? Another good point of debate.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo acknowledged the give and take in this decision when he noted that with one practice a day the coaches can spend more time teaching the game plan, but “you might not be able to get as tough as you would like them.”

Georgia will still have the same number of practices (29), only spread out over a longer period, with practices starting a bit earlier this year. That longer overall practice period might help counteract the loss of the two-a-days ordeal and wind up improving overall conditioning.

One things’s for sure: A noon game in early September in the stifling heat and humidity of Columbia will be the first major test of Richt’s new approach. And if the Dogs don’t look in good shape early this season, a lot of fingers will be pointed at the coach’s new practice schedule.

QUICK HITS

Bobo confirmed in his media briefing Wednesday that the plan is for Logan Gray to work full-time at receiver this preseason, which shouldn’t really be a surprise. Anything less than that would mean the coaching staff was really only giving lip service to Gray’s desire to play receiver. If he’s going to have a chance at all to contribute at that position, he needs to focus on it fully. And if, God forbid, he’s needed at QB, his three years of work at that position should help ease the transition back behind center. As Bobo noted, Georgia’s lack of experience and depth at QB this season is going to be “scary” no matter how Gray practices. … Dontavius Jackson’s decision to transfer is probably the best thing that could happen for him and the Georgia team. And it shouldn’t really change Bobo’s running game, since all the carries in games that matter are likely to go to Washaun Ealey and Caleb King. Odds are Carlton Thomas will remain a situational back. Beyond that, Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald asked Bobo about incoming freshman Ken Malcome’s potential contribution, and while the coach was noncommittal, he did say that he liked the fact that from what he’s seen Malcome appears to be a physical runner who breaks tackles. That’s always good to hear.

85 comments Add your comment

shane#1

July 15th, 2010
5:02 pm

Many NFL teams have done away with two-a-days. CTG has said that he will look for mismatches and adjust his lineup accordingly. I look for more specialists on defense due to CTG’s NFL background, so time may be used more wisely in teaching each player his role rather than numbing his mind with two-a-days.

shane#1

July 15th, 2010
5:10 pm

As to the Bear, he knew when to work his guys to the bone and when to slack off some. If any of his practices could be called slack. He once heard pads popping so loudly that he climbed down from his tower to see what was going on. It was only two weeks before their first game. Bear found an assistant coach having the first team O going against the first team D. He showed the asst a copy of Bama’s schedule and asked, “coach, where on here are we playing the University of Alabama?”

1eyedJack

July 15th, 2010
5:39 pm

Man, these guys these days have it made. If I played now I wouldn’t even mind practicing.

1eyedJack

July 15th, 2010
5:39 pm

Yeah I would, I hated practice.

shane#1

July 15th, 2010
6:05 pm

I haven’t seen this on the AJC blogs, so please excuse me if I am being redundant. From today’s Albany Herald, Shawn William’s, UGA DB, lost his family home to fire Tuesday night. There has been a fund set up to assist Williams’ family. Tax deductable donations may be for the Williams at Four Seasons Flower and Gift, attn: Williams Family Fund, 604 South Church St.,Blakely Ga 39823. Gift Cards and monatary donations are suggested and any checks need to be made to Friends of Early County Schools INC. You Techies and Gators like to brag about how classy you are, well here is a chance to prove it, help us help some people that need help. All you folks from South Ga like me, I am calling you out too, Shawn is one of US!.

Tide Roll

July 15th, 2010
6:14 pm

Any additional word on the Gators plan to fly giant red bloomers around Alltell during Ga./ fla. GAME?

Motown Hound

July 15th, 2010
6:27 pm

Why doesn’t Bill answer some of the following comments like Bradley? At least Bradley and the others hang around for a half hour before they go home. Maybe Bill is doing this for free then I would understand.

Just sayin

Paul Has A Small Johnson

July 15th, 2010
6:36 pm

Dont really believe in two a days, never did me any good but feel like passing out throwing up and half doing drills because your too tired and incoherent.

I learned and developed my skills when I was fresher

Your sloppy when your tired, those are just facts and have been substantially proven by the medical community.

These kids workout year round in air conditioned weight rooms and just look at them compared to the junction days.

Plenty of Wind Sprints and hydration will work wonders even in air conditioned facilities before gameday

Stay Thirsty My Friends

BS Patrol

July 15th, 2010
6:49 pm

1eyed,
I think we had the same coach.It’s miracle he didn’t kill somebody. I wont even try to describe our summer football “camp”.

chazzo

July 15th, 2010
7:00 pm

Bear never won an NC. I’m just saying.

Eat and Tweet

July 15th, 2010
7:35 pm

David Pollock says it the dawgs diet. Alcohol consumption curbs the dawgs as well. UGA’s Strength and Conditioning coach is a buffoon. I guess CMR rather have a tanning salon and a pool for his players while his program becomes a UCLA.

Bill King

July 15th, 2010
7:40 pm

Motown Hound:

Bill spends most of his day doing other things for the AJC and doesn’t have the time to hang around conversing with commenters, however pleasurable that might be. Or not. He answers when he can.

Bill King

July 15th, 2010
7:41 pm

Oconeedog:

I believe I already made the point about scholarship limitations nowadays factoring into this.

quincy carter to michael greer

July 15th, 2010
8:05 pm

Who needs 2 a day practices? We need more time
for cocaine sales.

Marty

July 15th, 2010
8:12 pm

One-a-days will give the UGA players more time for a few drinks and a cruise around Athens.

Give those boys some red panties!

bitter 2 a days

July 15th, 2010
8:22 pm

get reda me and end your chance of getting a “n.c.” ps this game is not for the weak minded or non criminal as per DA’ jail bird rogers.

quincy carter to michael greer

July 15th, 2010
8:22 pm

2 a days are no more macho bs than
injecting a KID with cortisone or some
other sedative or painkiller! just so he can
keep playing.

DawgNation seems to be on the side of
stupidity again. Keep doing the opposite
of Bear Bryant and Vince Dooley. Not just
2 a days, but discipline AND winning big games.

Buckhead Bulldog

July 15th, 2010
8:50 pm

Dawg House-right on bro’! The Dogs kick the chicken’s azzes all over the field in Columbia. Pound it up the middle with power running, and stuff Garcia/Spurrier with the blitz packages and the flying, hard hitting DBs. Carolina will be so dazed they won’t be able to name the red/black train that just ran over them until the next day. Dogs win B I G!

Dink

July 15th, 2010
9:44 pm

Great photo of Bryant and Stallings, anyone know who that is on the right?

Go Dawgs!

Tech and D&D Forever

July 16th, 2010
12:59 am

Props to the Bear
He made Bobby Dodd Pee His Pants and We Left The SEC for the AC”C”

Tech and D&D Forever

July 16th, 2010
1:02 am

UGA should sell the Damon Evans panties to tech and they can put them in the AJC classifieds and give the money to a charity that supports tech students who are mugged on the way to class or to help the failing athletic department finances.
Tech dorks will be lining up around the corner like 16 candles.

Tom B Stone

July 16th, 2010
1:11 am

Corch Rick no what he doin

jawdawg

July 16th, 2010
7:39 am

I hope none of these guys future plans don’t include becoming Special Ops guys in any of the military branches.

Gator Mike

July 16th, 2010
7:42 am

I commend Mark Richt for giving this a shot, and I am curious to see how it works out for UGA. It seems like a good idea to me. I used to hate 2-a-days. I do not care who wins the UGA-SoCar Game, but Coach Richt seems to have a plan to have his guys fresh for the heat and humidity they will face in Columbia. Assuming Garcia does not implode, it should be a very good game.
Good luck to all SEC Schools.

Dawg gone stupid

July 16th, 2010
8:36 am

take away two a days? Another stupid move.

Flagboy

July 16th, 2010
8:38 am

I just like them tight silver britches.

David

July 16th, 2010
9:32 am

No offense, but it seems every move CMR makes is a mistake. The Ga team get’s beat a lot of the time because of lack of mental and physical conditioning. Alabama beat Ga last time because of strength and conditioning. Dragging Bear into the conversation is not a smart thing. Compare the team to Saban and Alabama.

Joe Hamilton's Designated Driver

July 16th, 2010
9:42 am

29 practices with fresh legs and fresh minds and coaches who can actually teach defense sounds like a good plan to me. As opposed to doing something just because it has always been done.

Dawg Rule

July 16th, 2010
10:17 am

Richt’s thinking ahead, being proactive, going outside the lines—it may work.

Andy

July 16th, 2010
10:42 am

David- I don’t mean any offense either, but I’m pretty sure Bama didn’t beat UGA because of strength and conditioning. The Dawgs played great in the 2nd half. It was the first half that Bama dominated. That has more to do with mental preparedness, which Richt did not apparently excel at in that given week. The Dawgs came out flat, and got their butts whipped for it. What other move has CMR made that you would consider a mistake? I’m not trying to argue. Just conversing.

As far as two-a-days, I can see both sides of the coin. Truth is, Richt knows his team better than we do. I can see how this year, even more than others, we will need more mental preparation as we are breaking in a new QB and learning the 3-4. Two-a-days may not be the best way to achieve that.

Dawg H8R

July 16th, 2010
12:57 pm

This just in: Mark Richt seen conversing with Hitler while eating a babyc bald eagle.
UGA fans say “he’s the greatest,I think this is a great idea.

Richt’s thinking ahead, being proactive, going outside the lines—it may work.
Like plugging a oil spill with a bandana.

UGA 4-7 this year. Richt will have to play QB,because you guys don’t have
a damn QB! Is dawgnation a bunch of jesus-freaks who can’t seem to find
the pot of gold, because their too busy patting themselves on the backs
for 30 YEARS AGO.

cliff

July 17th, 2010
5:44 pm

Bear who?

His best teams would struggle with the weaker teams today. No comparison.

ca dawg

July 18th, 2010
10:19 pm

@ dawg h8r: glad you’re here. when is the last time UGA went 4-7? when is the last time any team with CMR on staff lost more games than it won? your prediction has no basis in fact or reality; i know that hope springs eternal in athens and UGA fans can be a bit optimistic (no one gets more exhausted with “we’re gonna beat them gators this year!” than i do), but 4-7? give it a rest, dude.

@ david: “No offense, but it seems every move CMR makes is a mistake. The Ga team get’s beat a lot of the time because of lack of mental and physical conditioning.” i respectfully disagree with both parts of this statements, unless by mental conditioning you mean “discipline.” first: was firing CWM a mistake? or jancek and fabris? was hiring grantham? CMR has won 90 games in 9 years; you don’t do that by making wrong decisions all the time. not saying he hasn’t messed up, but let’s be fair. second: slow starts have hurt us more than poor finishes (remember that we spotted auburn, UF, and USC 14 points each before getting uncorked, let arkansas get up on us as well, and we all remember the alabama debacle in ‘08). the fact that we came back to BEAT auburn, arkansas, and USC actually says something good about our conditioning, not something bad about it. we didn’t lose games because we were tired; we lost them because we couldn’t cover kicks, turned it over, gave up big plays and committed terrible penalties. let’s worry about fixing those mistakes instead of making a mountain of a molehill with this two-a-days thing.

Dawgs Top

July 19th, 2010
1:26 pm

Richt doesn’t have a lot of depth–this move to cut practice time is about all he can do to avoid injuries.

I RUN THIS STATE

July 21st, 2010
10:28 pm

@ GT BABY

Yea, “BABY” pretty much says it all.

Tech sucks, you know it, and have to live with it.

ACC losers