Dec. 15, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. --- The 18th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs continued preparations for the Outback Bowl with a 90-minute practice Thursday in full pads and then dined at the local Outback Steakhouse restaurant.
It is customary for the participating teams in this bowl game to have their student-athletes and coaches enjoy a lunch at their local Outback to get a taste of what their bowl trip will be like when they arrive in Tampa. Local media that cover the teams were invited too. Outback Bowl representative Glen Shamblen welcomed the Bulldogs to their local restaurant Thursday.
Waiting for the Bulldogs at Outback were:
120 pounds of ribs
600 grilled shrimp
100 pounds of chicken
120 steamed lobster tails
170 baked potatoes
60 Blooming Onions
170 salads and bread
And 60 gallons of sweet tea
"We walked in and saw all that food, and it was like, `Oh yeah,'" said offensive tackle Justin Anderson, who will graduate Friday morning. "That was awfully nice of the folks from Outback to do for us. We really appreciated it. I'm glad we practiced before we went over there. I ate so many ribs, there's no way I could have practiced later in the day."
Thursday's practice session was in full pads and under sunny skies with temperatures hovering in the high 60s. Georgia is making its 47th all-time appearance in a bowl, and it owns a record of 26-17-3. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in the Outback Bowl including a 24-21 triumph over Wisconsin in the 2005 game. Georgia is 2-0 all-time against the Spartans, both coming in bowl games (1989 Gator in Jacksonville, 2008 Capital One in Orlando).
Georgia will practice the next five days in Athens before taking a five-day break for the holidays. The team will reconvene in Tampa for final bowl preparations on Monday, Dec. 26.
"I thought we started a little sluggish since it was our first time back in awhile, but the pace picked up when we got into our competitive drills," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We were blessed with a great morning temperature-wise, and we got in some good work. We're excited about this opportunity to play a quality opponent like Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. We have a lot of respect for the Spartans, and we will keep focusing our energy on this game."
The 2012 Outback Bowl will be played on Jan. 2 at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff against 12th-ranked Michigan State (10-3, 7-1 Big Ten) will be at 1 p.m., and ABC Sports will televise the game live.