More Video: DeBartolo Luncheon Highlights
Dec. 29, 2011
TAMPA, Fla. --- The 18th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs started their day with a team luncheon at the Tampa Convention Center and concluded the afternoon with a two-hour workout in shoulder pads and shorts at the University of Tampa's facility.
Georgia will practice through Saturday in preparation for its Jan. 2 date with 12th-ranked Michigan State. The Spartans, joined by their head coach Mark Dantonio, also attended the luncheon as they enjoyed their fourth day in Tampa.
"You couldn't beat the weather at practice today and I thought everyone did a nice job on their assignments," said head coach Mark Richt. "Just like our first two days of practice, I thought we got better today. I was also really excited to see Kregg Lumpkin at practice today. He was a great running back for the Bulldogs and is currently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I appreciate him coming out to practice today and seeing our guys."
Redshirt sophomore outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was one of seven players who met with the media following the luncheon. In his first year playing with the Bulldogs, Jones led the Southeastern Conference with 13.5 sacks and was a First Team All-American.
"I am probably one of the smallest `bull' rushers in the conference or in the nation," said Jones. "I'm usually going against 6-foot-8, 6-foot-7 guys who are a lot bigger than me but I try to give everything I've got each down."
Jones has been impressed with Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins who has led the Spartans to a 10-3 season.
"Cousins is a great quarterback who knows his system and knows how to get his playmakers the ball," said Jones. "He feels the pressure coming and gets the ball out quickly."
Senior center Ben Jones joined Jarvis Jones during Thursday's media opportunity. The Centreville, Ala., native has started since he was a freshman and was recently named the team's overall captain at the 2011 banquet.
Jones, who is wearing number 60 this season in honor of his late father Steve, reflected on his experience as a Bulldog over the last four years.
"I want to leave (Georgia) a winner and we are doing our best to prepare for that this week," said Jones. "It's been a blessing to come here and have a chance to honor my father. I've had three great years at center after not playing any of that position in high school. I give credit to Coach (Stacey) Searels for giving me a chance early in my career and to Coach (Will) Friend for developing a quick relationship with me.
"Seeing my baby pictures scroll across the screen at the banquet and receiving the overall captain award kind of helped it sink in that this is my last game as a Bulldog. It seems like just yesterday when I was watching Mohamed Massaquoi go to his final banquet (in 2008) and now it's my turn."
After practice, the Bulldogs are scheduled to go to Splitsville for a team bowling night. On Friday, Georgia is slated to make the short trip to Clearwater Beach to enjoy the sun and surf. The Red Coat Marching Band and UGA cheerleaders will also be enjoying the beach.
Kickoff for the 2012 Outback Bowl is slated for 1:08 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, and ABC Sports will televise the game live.