The Georgia Bulldogs and Nebraska Cornhuskers arrived in Jacksonville Thursday to begin final preparations for their TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl matchup on New Years Day.
Georgia coach Mark Richt and selected players held a brief media session at the Omni Hotel, where the team is staying for the next week. They said all enjoyed their four-day break for the holidays and now are focused on football again.
“I’m glad we’re here. Jacksonville is a great city, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to play one more game this season,” said Richt. “It’s going to be good to check out Jacksonville for a bit, usually we’re just here for 24 hours for the Georgia-Florida game.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Nebraska arrived by charter jet at Jacksonville International Airport. They were bused to the Sawgrass Marriott Resort -- their headquarters hotel. After welcome dinner buffets at the team hotels, daily practices begin Friday -- the Bulldogs working out at Jacksonville University and the Cornhuskers at the University of North Florida.
Richt was asked about not having sophomore strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and sophomore cornerback Sheldon Dawson for the bowl game. Earlier this week, it was announced they would miss the game due to a violation of team regulations.
“We’ll be fine, we’ve got guys who know what to do, who have experience and are good football players,” said Richt.
Senior defensive captain Garrison Smith was asked about Georgia’s close games this year and how the team has handled adversity.
“We’ve been in some dog fights, and we’re used to it,” said Smith. “Just look at our last game, we were behind the whole game against Georgia Tech, and we came back from 20 points and won in overtime. That showed we can handle it.”
The Bulldogs closed out the 2013 regular season with a 41-34 victory over the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta to finish with an 8-4 mark. Georgia will hold four daily practices starting Friday.
Georgia will battle the Cornhuskers (8-4) on Jan. 1 at EverBank Field. ESPN2 will televise the game with kickoff slated for noon\.