Dec. 27, 2011
TAMPA, FLA.-----The 18th-ranked Georgia football team resumed preparations for the Outback Bowl showdown with 12th-ranked Michigan State by conducting a two-hour practice Tuesday in full pads.
Working out at the University of Tampa, home of the "Spartans," Georgia coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs are looking forward to their week here.
"We're excited about this matchup, and it's nice for some of the boys who are from around here to get to play in their hometown," said Richt. "I think Orson (Charles) said he had either six miles to travel or it took six minutes to get here."
Charles, who is a junior tight end, along with quarterback Aaron Murray and freshman linebacker Ramik Wilson hail from Tampa. Also, freshman linebacker Kosta Vavlas and freshman lineman Zach DeBell are from nearby Tarpon Springs.
"I'm looking forward to playing in this game and I'm happy to be in my hometown," said Charles.
Charles, who was a finalist for the Mackey Award that goes to the nation's top tight end, ranks among the best tight ends in school history. He leads the 2011 team with 44 catches for 572 yards and five touchdowns.
Georgia (10-3) worked out in a range of conditions, starting out overcast and rain followed by partly cloudy and humid with temperatures around the mid-60s.
The Bulldogs began their day with an FCA breakfast at 7 a.m. followed by meetings and then practice at 10 a.m. After lunch at the practice site, Murray, Charles, sophomore Jarvis Jones and seniors Brandon Boykin, Drew Butler and Ben Jones represented the Bulldogs by visiting patients at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital. The rest of the team had a bit of free time in the afternoon before getting together for the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game at 7:30 p.m.
Georgia is playing in a bowl game for a record 15th consecutive season, and it is the 47th appearance in post-season play. Georgia is 26-17-3 all-time in bowls including 3-0 in "Outback Bowls." Georgia last faced Michigan State (10-3) in the 2008 Capital One Bowl and posted a 24-12 victory.
The Bulldogs will continue practicing the remainder of the week. Wednesday's scheduled morning session will be in full pads again. Kickoff for the 2012 Outback Bowl will be Monday, Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. ABC Sports will televise the game live.