Stomach bug hits Georgia Bulldogs offense

Richt thinks rain-slowed practice will help players
Quarterback Hutson Mason was the first Georgia player to show signs of a stomach virus. Coach Mark Richt says he thinks it's just a "24-hour bug," and he expects the players to take the field in the Gator Bowl.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A stomach virus has hit a handful of Georgia players, three days before the Gator Bowl against Nebraska.


Among those feeling queasy were tailback Todd Gurley and center David Andrews.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday that the virus seems to be more prevalent among the offense and the offensive line.

It began three days ago, when quarterback Hutson Mason became ill. However, Mason did not miss a practice and Richt said he would have expected the same from the other players had the rain not forced the team to go through walk-throughs in their hotel ballroom.

“I think it’s just a 24-hour bug kind of thing,” Richt said. “Hutson practiced through it and we would have expected those guys to practice through it, unless it was really bad.”

Richt speculated that if the game had been held Sunday, the ill players could have played – with some help.

“They could have played but it would have been tough,” he said. “The dehydration … you would have had to take some fluids.”

Georgia canceled practice at Jacksonville University because of the rain that passed through the area Sunday morning. Richt said the normal practice would have been a “dress rehearsal” for the game, with another scheduled for today, when the team returns to the university with the promise of good weather.

But Richt said the inside work might prove to be valuable for two reasons: the pace of the practice and giving the players a slight break from the physical work.

“There’s something about slowing things down and teaching at a slower pace,” he said. “Sometimes it helps and everything clicks with the guys. I’m comfortable with it.”

As far as giving the players a break, Richt said, “we were pushing them hard, conditioning them hard … maybe they need a break.”