Bobo Praises Bauta

ATHENS - Georgia's new No. 2 quarterback is a lot like the Bulldogs former No. 1 quarterback in one particular way.

"Everybody talks about Aaron Murray," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "This guy works as hard as Aaron Murray."

This guy in this case is Faton Bauta, who backs up Hutson Mason now with Murray's college career over after a torn ACL.

"When I did first get here as a freshman, I did look up to him a lot," Bauta said. "Might as well pick up the things he does, what does he do? Maybe you can get some things out of his daily routine that you can implement in yours."

Murray earned a reputation as a player who spent countless hours in the film room to get better during his time at Georgia, where he leaves as the SEC's career passing yardage and touchdown passing leader.

Bauta has similar traits as Murray, said Bobo, who coaches the quarterbacks.

"I don't know what y'all can see when y'all are over here, but he's always over here working and staying out after," Bobo said after practice this week. "He's probably still out there right now. A guy we recruited as an athlete, we give a shot at quarterback. He's got his mind set that he wants to play quarterback. He's still got to improve on some things and do some things, but he's a strong-willed individual that I'm excited to see compete in the spring and maybe in the bowl game."

Bauta, a 6-foot-3, 216-pound redshirt freshman from West Palm Beach, Fla., is a threat with the ability to use his feet with quarterback power runs. He's rushed for 29 yards on three carries in limited playing time. Murray ran at times with the zone read.

Bauta said his approach hasn't changed at all now that he's moved up a spot on the depth chart, a spot he's not content to be.

"I don't want to hear, `He's the hardest worker," Bauta said. "I want to hear, `He's the best player.'"

After the Gator Bowl, Bauta will be among those competing for the backup job in the spring along with redshirt freshman Brice Ramsey and incoming freshmen Jacob Park.

"It's going to be fun," Bobo said. "Let's win this game and then I'll be ready to compete with those guys this spring."

Bulldogs wrapping up practices on campus

Georgia will hold its seventh and final bowl practice in Athens today before reconvening for practices in Jacksonville on Dec. 26.

"I can't ask for much more than we've got these first few days of bowl practice," coach Mark Richt said. "Coaches, players, everybody really had a lot of enthusiasm and did their jobs well."

Friday's practice included Georgia working on a long field goal attempt that comes up short and the other team tries to return it for the score.

Richt said he had only practiced that one other time in his 13 seasons, but the Bulldogs added it after Alabama lost on that scenario against Auburn on a return that clinched the SEC West title.

"I just think if you think your guy's got the range you kick it, you do take the risk," Richt said. "Hopefully you can get the guy on the ground, but it's hard to get a really good athlete on the ground with the guys that are protecting on that team."

It hasn't been all football. Georgia ended practice Thursday with a game of kick ball.

"The coaches were undefeated as were the receivers," Richt said.

Conley gets `GATA award'

Chris Conley has many interests and talents.

The junior is Georgia's leading receiver this season, is involved nationally in student-athlete welfare issues and is planning a Star Wars tribute film to be shot next month.

He also is a go-to player for reporter's questions because of his thoughtful, well-spoken answers.

For that, Conley is this year's winner of the GATA (Gracious Attitude Towards Answering) award as voted on by media who cover the team. Linebacker Christian Robinson won the inaugural award in 2011 and tight end Arthur Lynch got it last year.

Robinson, now a Bulldogs graduate assistant, was on hand Friday when Conley received a plaque for winning this year. The award is now named after Robinson.

"It says Christian Robinson on it?" Conley said. "It's going right by my bed."

Later, Conley said: "The way you present yourself, the way that you talk to the media, the way that you present yourself on the field and you play—how does he look when he makes a big play, how does he look when he messes up a play—I think it's the same thing. It adds to your brand so I think that you should take it seriously."

This and that

Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell ran on the side at practice on Friday, wearing a brace on his right knee that was surgically repaired following an ACL tear in the opener against Clemson after a celebrating a touchdown. "It's not the first day he's been doing that kind of running," Richt said. "He's been doing that during his rehab time."

Reserve quarterback Christian LeMay returned to practice after missing two days for personal reasons. His brother, receiver Uriah LeMay, drew praise from Richt for snatching the ball in traffic in practice.

Cornerbacks Damian Swann (neck) and Shaq Wiggins (concussion) were limited.

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