Originally created 09/23/05

'Dogs to have a long night



A Time to Kill is a best-selling John Grisham novel set in a small Mississippi town. Georgia football players will have some time to kill on Saturday in their team hotel in Columbus, Miss., waiting out a 9:12 p.m. EDT kickoff against Mississippi State.

"Usually around that time I'm about to lay down and relax, not get ready for a game," quarterback D.J. Shockley said.

Such is the price to pay for televised football. Saturday's start time is due to the ESPN2 broadcast.

San Jose State and Boise State played a rise and shine game last season that kicked off at 9:02 a.m. on the West Coast for an ESPN2 game.

Georgia's game is slated to start three minutes later than its 9:09 EDT p.m. kickoff for a 1997 game at Vanderbilt, which Georgia won 34-13, and was also on the cable network.

The saving grace is that Georgia won't be scrambling to prepare for the next week's game all bleary-eyed. That's because Georgia has a bye week before playing at Tennessee on Oct. 8.

"The fact that we have an open date next week makes it a lot better for us," coach Mark Richt said.

"If we didn't have an open date, it really makes it tough to prepare for the next game. Mostly because you're exhausted," he said. " You go with no sleep and then you grind again.

"This will work out OK because we do have the open date, so I'm not as concerned about it."

Richt said players should be busy enough with the gameday schedule.

Wake up-call is at 10:30 a.m. central time, an hour after ESPN's College Gameday goes on the air.

There is a mandatory brunch at 11:30 (more food for those who took in the optional 9 a.m. breakfast), followed by a walk-through at 1 p.m.

Then there's a special teams meeting planned at 2 p.m. that runs for 70 minutes.

"There's a lot of lounging around trying to stretch the legs for the night," center Russ Tanner said.

Linebacker Danny Verdun Wheeler, of Thomson, hopes to play a couple of video games with fellow linebackers Tony Taylor, Jarvis Jackson and Brandon Miller on his PlayStation.

Running back Danny Ware said he'll watch some college football on TV and listen to his MP3.

"It's going to be extremely long," running back Thomas Brown said.

"The days go by slow enough on game day already sitting in the hotel waiting for the game to start. It's almost going to feel like Friday night lights back in high school playing at 8 or 9 o'clock at night under the lights."

Georgia will board buses for its trip to Davis Wade Stadium more than two and a half hours before kickoff.

Tanner thinks the late night game will be fun, but not the early morning return they'll have to Athens, Ga.

"You're talking about 4 or 5 a.m. getting back to Georgia," Tanner said.

"That's going to be a long night."