There was a lot of mumbling and grumbling when Georgia players learned that their first practice in Shreveport would be on Christmas Day.
For most of the Bulldogs, it's going to be their first time away from home on that very special holiday.
Tight Aron White can certainly empathize with that, but ultimately the redshirt sophomore believes his teammates will be able to put away disappointment and be totally focused when the Bulldogs kick off against Texas A&M.
"Everybody wants to be home for Christmas, but this is not the end of the world," White said. "We're all adults, most everybody is over 18, and it's something you've got to realize - you can't always be home for Christmas. It's no fun being away from your family, but we've got another family that we're going to be with in Shreveport."
Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said his Aggies have no such misgivings.
His squad couldn't be more pleased than to be playing the Bulldogs.
"They are very excited about playing in this ballgame," Sherman said. "They've watched the tapes and know that we are playing a very quality team, and I've expressed that to them. I would say they are very, very excited about that."
White said those teammates still having misgivings about traveling to Shreveport, should look on the bright side.
It still beats not going to a bowl at all.
"Anytime you get to go a bowl game it's a blessing. I know guys may gripe we want to go here and we want to go there. But in the end we're happy that we got blessed to go to this bowl game, to represent the SEC," White said. "I'm sure that none of these guys have ever been to Shreveport, and I'm not sure they ever would have if it hadn't been for this game. It's going to be an experience. I'm happy to go and I'm sure most of my teammates feel the same way."
Charles thankful for recent award
Orson Charles said he feels blessed following last week's news that he had been selected to the SEC's All-Freshman team.
"It's a blessing and an honor, because every day I look at the picture on the wall (at the Butts-Mehre) Building of all those great tight ends. I see where earned Freshman All-American honors, so I tell myself that I've got a chance to write my own future. I just hope I do a good job."
Charles finished his freshman season with 21 catches for 366 yards (17.4 average) and three touchdowns.
"Getting on the (Freshman) All-Conference team was not one of my main goals, but it was one of my goals," Charles said. "The most I wanted was to get a ring, but next year I think we'll have a better chance. This year was a learning process. I'm pretty sure we're not going to go through this again."
Dawgs go through a chilly, wet workout
Georgia practiced for 45 minutes in preparation for the Independence Bowl during cold and rainy conditions on Friday morning.
The workout marked the third day of practice in a string of seven straight days. The Bulldogs have a travel day on Dec. 23 before reconvening in Shreveport, La., on Christmas Eve.
"It was pretty cold, rainy and windy," said head coach Mark Richt. "Justin Anderson said it was the coldest he's ever been at a practice in his entire life. All those seniors who graduated today were doubly blessed because usually they don't practice and today's practice was a good one to not be at."
Earlier in the day, 12 Bulldogs missed practice due to Friday's commencement ceremonies at Stegeman Coliseum.
"I was asked if (graduation) is as exciting as winning an SEC championship, and in a lot of ways it is," Richt said. "An SEC championship, people will remember that, but events like that tend to fade a little bit over time. When you have your degree it really blesses those guys for their entire lives."
This and that
Richt said that running back Richard Samuel (concussion) is close to being able to return to practice, and is expected to be cleared to play in the Indepedence Bowl.
Richt also had kind words for redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas, who got lost in the running back shuffle the second half of the 2009 campaign. "Carlton's had fine practices, is a tough runner and is improving, too," Richt said. "I still think there's a place for him to be real productive in the future, too."
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