TAMPA — Headed over to the “Debartolo Team Luncheon” at the Tampa Convention Center shortly. Both teams will be present, along with some of their fans.
Afterward a number of players from both teams will be available for interviews. The Bulldogs return to practice at the University of Tampa this afternoon. I’ll have some reports later this afternoon.
Yesterday afternoon and evening, Georgia and Michigan State players got the royal treatment at Busch Gardens. The Bulldogs danced with belly dancers and hand-fed giraffes at the park’s expansive Serengeti wildlife exhibit. They also got to ride some of Busch Gardens’ world famous coasters, including the gargantuan ShieKra. Nothing like seeing muscle-bound football players scream like little girls!
Told of photos that show his mouth agape in terror, linebacker Christian Robinson laughed. “Actually, I was just yawning,” he said. “I was just very tired. I wasn’t actually scared at all.”
Eventually ‘fessing up, Robinson explained: “The thing is you come over the top and it stops and for three seconds you’re staring down thinking ‘this is about to happen.’ About halfway down you start to float out of your seat and there’s nothing to hold on to. I’m trying to squeeze next to Ben to have a little more stability. It was quite a feeling in your stomach.”
Quarterback Aaron Murray was hoarse on Thursday and he said it was from all the screaming he did on the coasters Wednesday night, particularly on the Sheikra, which features a 90 degree drop and reaches 70 miles per hour. “That was bad; I was freaking out. It was awful.”
Overall, the Georgia players said they have been having a blast in Tampa, including getting a good bit of free time to enjoy the area.
“We’re operating under a curfew,” junior nose guard John Jenkins said. “Everything is organized and we’re obliging by the curfew. It’s a pretty reasonable curfew. We’re going to have a good time within the rules.”
They’ll have to enjoy the freedom while it lasts as the attitude will turn increasingly serious as the Jan. 2 game against Michigan State looms closer.
UGA’s Steve Colquitt provided some great pictures from Wednesday’sBusch Gardens outing, a few of which I’ve included here: