Georgia started the day with a 45-minute special teams practice on Monday morning in frigid conditions as the team continues to prepare for its matchup versus Texas A&M in the Advocare 100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., on Dec. 28. The team will practice once more on Tuesday before leaving for the bowl site.
Head coach Mark Richt was pleased with his team’s effort following the afternoon practice considering this was the sixth straight day of practices.
“It wasn’t quite as intense as (Sunday’s) practice, but still a good one,” Richt said. “There wasn’t quite the juice out there as there has been but we’ve been going every day for a while now so that’s expected. We’ll have one final practice tomorrow morning and after 10:30 or so in the morning, the guys will start getting out of town and heading towards Shreveport. We are looking forward to getting out there and getting to work.”
Following the morning session, Richt highlighted the play of redshirt sophomore defensive end Justin Houston. Houston returned from a two-game suspension at the beginning of the season to lead the Bulldogs with 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He is No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference averaging 0.83 sacks a game.
“His production per game has been outstanding,” said Richt. “If he had been with us the whole season, who knows what he could have done. I think he would have been up for postseason honors if he had played the whole year. I really believe the (defensive end) position is getting ready to take off with Justin, Demarcus (Dobbs) and Cornelius Washington.”
Junior Von Miller has led the Texas A&M defense through its 12 games. Lining up at the “Jack” position for the Aggies, Miller leads the nation with 17 sacks (1.42 per game) and has 21 tackles for loss.
“Von Miller really hasn’t been bull-rushing to get his sacks,” Richt said. “His performance is predicated on speed and a relentless attitude. A majority of his sacks come from third-and-long situations. When it’s a high-percentage shot at passing, he can get off on you quickly.”
Richt also mentioned that junior safety Quintin Banks sprained his neck during Sunday’s practice and was admitted and then discharged from a local hospital later that night. Banks is questionable for the bowl game.