ATHENS – Georgia’s football team switched gears from spring break to spring practice Tuesday — a rather jolting change.
Just back from the university’s spring break, which many players and coaches spent on the beach, the Bulldogs returned to the practice field on an unseasonably warm afternoon. They held their second session of spring practice, 12 days after the first.
“Spring break — for spring football, it really does stink,” coach Mark Richt said. “You get ‘em working; you get ‘em up to a certain point of readiness, mentally, physically. And then boom, they’re gone. . . . And we [coaches] are, too. Our minds — we’re out of here, too.
“It’s hard to just come back off spring break and just expect everybody to look great. But hopefully we’ll be locked in and ready to go from here on.”
Richt spent part of his spring break on the beach in Jamaica, and listen to what greeted him there:
“I’m not lying to you: The first time we laid down our stake at the beach — laid it down just barely, hadn’t even sat down yet, just trying to get the chair aligned with the sun — two Gators [fans] are right [next] to where my chair was, right where I was looking.”
He had other encounters with SEC fans on the trip, too.
“I’ll tell you what, man: The SEC is everywhere,” he said.
“I got a couple of these,” he added, showing the Gator chomp. “But I had a lot of great Bulldogs barking, too, so it was good.”
Anyway, a rested Richt and his team were back at work Tuesday.
“I thought we were a little sluggish,” Richt said. “I hate to make it sound like it was a bad [practice] because it really wasn’t, but I don’t think everybody did a real good job over spring break staying in shape.”
The Bulldogs will practice again on Thursday.
If you’re wondering, quarterback Aaron Murray practiced without gloves Tuesday.
He wore them in Georgia’s 10-6 Liberty Bowl loss to Central Florida, a choice that drew much debate after the game.
“Yeah, I definitely heard a lot of second-guessing,” Murray said Tuesday. “But when you go back and watch the film, most of the bad plays were not due to throwing. It was more mental errors. So it had nothing to do with the glove.”
In any case, Murray said he doesn’t plan to wear a glove on his throwing hand during games or practices in the future unless cold weather possibly dictates.
“I felt good with it heading into the [bowl] game, with the weather and everything,” he said. “But as of right now we’re just using the hand.”
Murray participated fully in Tuesday’s practice, and he said his ankle, which he sprained in a pickup soccer game last month, “feels 100 percent.”
“I’m still doing rehab just to make sure it stays strong,” he said. “But I felt great out there today and really haven’t had any problems in about a week or so.”
Benedict’s long road back
Offensive lineman Brent Benedict, who was redshirted as a freshman last season after suffering a severe knee injury in high school, said he is a “full-go” participant this spring.
“It was a long road coming back,” he said.
He is working at right guard.
Donations to the Georgia athletics program have topped last year’s level despite the Bulldogs’ first losing football season in 14 years.
Contributions to the “Hartman Fund,” the fund-raising vehicle that is tied to football season tickets, stood at $22.94 million as of Monday night with “still a few dribbling in,” according to Dave Muia, the athletics department official who oversees fund-raising and alumni relations.
That total exceeds last year’s contributions of $22.74 million.
This year’s stated deadline for contributions was Feb. 15, but the cutoff, as usual, was flexible.
– Tim Tucker, AJC