Late-night game makes for long trip for Dawgs

UGA VI

ATHENS – No matter how late Danny Verdun Wheeler gets on Georgia's team plane to head home tonight, and it'll be late, more like Sunday morning really, he won't be able to get much restful sleep.

"You try to get a little sleep, but a lot of guys aren't fond of flying," the senior linebacker said. "It kind of bothers me a little bit. I still sometimes wonder, if we've got a full plane, and we're not average men, we're a little bigger than average men, I always wonder what's the weight capacity for the plane.

"I mean, that goes through your head when you've got a bunch of big men sitting around you."

One-hundred-seventy-six pound safety Tra Battle doesn't have the same problem.

"I have never been worried about a weight limit in my life so I get pretty good sleep," he said.

Battle thinks he's one of the few players who will get meaningful rest during Georgia's "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" trip home tonight from its latest, and most remote, game of the season.

"We get on the bus, check our (cell phone) messages, and after that, it's lights out," Battle said. "We're screaming at the bus driver, ‘Turn the lights out, turn off the radio.' We don't want to hear nothing."

Today's game against Ole Miss will kick off at 9:12 p.m. EDT and probably end after midnight. (The Bulldogs average game time this year has been three hours, seven minutes.) After that, it's at least an hour to get out of uniform, showered and on the bus, another hour for a bus ride to Memphis, Tenn., a plane flight to Atlanta and an hour-and-a-half bus ride back to Athens.

The Bulldogs expect to arrive in Athens at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. That's about five hours before assistant coaches normally get to the office.

"We're going to pretend like everybody got a good night's sleep and really not change our schedule much," Coach Mark Richt said.

Next Saturday's opponent, Tennessee, plays at home at noon this week.

"There's a lot of value to playing that 12 o'clock game and having some day left to rest and have some family time," Richt said. "I don't know what missing a night's sleep does for a body. I don't know if you feel it on Tuesday and then get over it. I don't know if it'll last all week long."

As for the game itself, Richt doesn't have a favorite game time.

"I like the variety," he said. "I love the night games. I don't like what happens after the night games, but I like playing under the lights, it's fun. I think the players get excited. I think there's just a little more atmosphere at night."

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