That’s when Georgia’s head coach got home from Atlanta and his attention turned fully to next week’s trip back to the city and the No. 13 Bulldogs’ matchup against No. 3 LSU in the SEC Championship Game.
“I got in about 3:30 in the morning, still got up and went to church, and I’ll be honest with you, I’m kind of wore out,” Richt said the day after Georgia (9-2, 6-2 SEC) beat Georgia Tech 14-7 in Bobby Dodd Stadium. “But that’s part of the grind of football.”
The grind is not quite so bad for the Tigers (10-1, 7-1 SEC), who clinched their spot in the title game with a 19-17 win over Arkansas on Friday afternoon.
“We had some recruits in on the weekend so we spent Saturday really recruiting and studying film as best we could, but yeah, it feels a little like an LSU off week,” said Tigers coach Les Miles, whose team has had 11 games in 11 weeks heading into Saturday’s game.
The SEC Championship Game, the Bulldogs’ third in four years and the Tigers’ third in five years, will be played at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Georgia Dome and will be televised by CBS. Richt said he already feels like he’s playing catch up to the Tigers since they played almost 36 hours before the Bulldogs.
“I think it’s a disadvantage certainly,” he said. “We’re just trying to get back in the grind here, get caught up. I think as the week goes on we’ll get caught up, but it would have been nice to have an extra day and half, I can promise you.”
The Bulldogs and Tigers met in the 2003 SEC title game, and LSU trounced Georgia 34-13. Both teams could be without key players for this meeting.
Richt was more optimistic Sunday about the return of offensive tackle Daniel Inman than he was immediately following the game. Inman, who suffered a shoulder injury against the Yellow Jackets, could play, Richt said, although the coach hadn’t gotten any specifics from head athletic trainer Ron Courson as of Sunday afternoon. Linebacker Tony Taylor (knee) also could return for the game, but he still is considered doubtful.
For LSU, starting offensive guard Will Arnold didn’t play against Arkansas because he was hospitalized due to an infection.
“I don’t think he’ll be playing with us against Georgia,” said Miles, who didn’t give any further details about Arnold’s condition.
The Tigers haven’t lost since giving up 24 second-half points to Tennessee on Sept. 26 and falling 30-27 in overtime. Since then, they have won nine straight. LSU is second in the SEC in scoring offense (29.9 ppg) and second in scoring defense (13.5 ppg).
“I don’t really see any great opportunity to exploit anything yet,” Richt said. “Maybe in a day or two I’ll feel better, but right now we’re just scratching our head on how to attack these guys.”