From JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Georgia had its third consecutive morning practice as the Bulldogs prepare for the coming TaxSlayer Bowl versus Penn State on Saturday.
The Bulldogs practiced for two hours in full pads at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium on Wednesday morning. Temperatures hovered around 80 degrees under blue skies as the team crept closer to playing its 13th game of the 2015 season.
“We continue to get ready for game day,” said Georgia interim head coach Bryan McClendon. “In bowl games, the team that is more excited to be there and excited to play tends to do better. You have to maintain your conditioning too. It’s hard to judge how you will play in bowl games because of the time between the games. You prepare and focus, and get ready to compete and should be excited to play again.”
McClendon assumed the interim head coach role when the bowl season began and has led the Bulldogs during their time in Jacksonville. He is also coaching receivers during practice.
“Mentally I’m preparing, I’m watching the bowl games and thinking what would I do in this situation or that situation,” said McClendon. “Hopefully, I won’t make any boneheaded decisions, and if I do, y’all will take it easy on me. If there was a proverbial book on being a head coach, I would’ve read it three times by now. It’s not about me; it’s about these kids.”
One of the Bulldog defenders gearing up to slow Penn State is junior safety Quincy Mauger. Mauger is fifth on the team with 53 stops this season and has started 11 of 12 games.
Mauger and the Georgia defense is preparing to face Nittany Lion quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who has 2,386 yards passing and 16 touchdowns with only five interceptions this season.
“Hackenberg is a great quarterback, we’ve seen his style of play,” Mauger said. “You have to be prepared, be disciplined out there and know where your eyes need to be to eliminate big plays.”
ESPN will televise the TaxSlayer Bowl, and the broadcast team will feature Allan Bestwick (play-by-play), Dan Hawkins (analyst) and Tiffany Greene (sidelines). ESPN will televise the game at 12 p.m.