ORLANDO, Fla. — File this under problems that only come with bowl games.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said Monday that he was concerned with the 37-minute gap between pregame warmups and the Bulldogs returning to the field before the Capital One Bowl.
“I know there's reasons for it,” Richt said, “but as a coach and a team trying to prepare to go to battle, I just think it's too long.”
The time between warmups and returning during a regular-season game is 20 minutes. A Capital One Bowl official said Monday that the longer time has to do with bowl festivities before the noon CST kickoff at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.
Richt said players tend to get revved up during warmups, so even just 17 minutes can be a factor.
“I don't know how that's going to affect us early, but I'm still thinking in terms of how to try to manage that,” he said. “You get all warmed up and ready to go, and if you try to keep that feeling for 37 minutes you may get yourself tired. There's just an emotional energy that it takes out of you.”
Georgia offense presents multiple threats to score
The Georgia combination of freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall at tailback is one of the best 1-2 punches that Nebraska will see, but Husker coach Bo Pelini said the Bulldogs' threats range far and wide around quarterback Aaron Murray.
“Obviously it starts up front,” Pelini said. “They're big and physical up front, and then have the weapons on the outside, and a really good decision-maker and guy who manages the game well at the quarterback position.
“They're a balanced attack, which obviously helps them. And the running backs are very good football players.”
Gurley leads Georgia with 1,260 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, and averages 6.3 per carry. Marshall is at 723 yards and eight TDs, going for 6.6 per carry.
Richt has history with a Pelini-coached defense
Richt and Georgia have some previous exposure to Pelini and his schemes from Pelini's time in the Southeastern Conference as defensive coordinator at LSU (2005 through '07).
The Bulldogs and Tigers played just once during that stretch, however, with Georgia beating LSU 34-14 in the 2005 SEC championship game. D.J. Shockley threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, but the Bulldogs had just 250 total yards.
Richt said he sees NU doing some similar things with fronts and coverages, and that the Huskers are good at disguising what is coming after the snap.
“They're very, very sound in what they do,” Richt said. “They're just very, very good at making sure everything is tied in the way it ought to be.”
Bulldogs focusing on tackling before turnovers
Georgia has a reputation for creating turnovers, and heads into the Capital One Bowl with opponents already having 36 fumbles (16 lost).
But Richt said the Bulldogs need to focus on tackling against Nebraska and not just going for the big hit or the strip, especially with Husker I-backs Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah. Failing to wrap up ballcarriers was one of their problems in the SEC championship game as Alabama rolled up 350 rushing yards.
“I don't think you can knock these guys down,” Richt said. “I don't think you knock good backs down. Every once in a while … but if that's your way of tackling, you're going to bounce off more times than not.”
Richt said it starts with the first tackler.
“Everybody else, they might be able to just try to knock 'em back or strip the ball or punch the ball if it's exposed,” he said. “But if the first guy's trying to strip the ball, and you don't get the strip, the back's still running.”