Originally created 12/02/05

Georgia coaches focused on game

ATHENS, Ga. - Playing in the Southeastern Conferenc Championship game will give Georgia and Louisiana State national exposure for several hours Saturday night to showcase their programs to high school recruits.

The downside is, schools going after the same players as Georgia aren't tied up this week in game preparation and practice.

"There's 10 SEC schools out there recruiting like mad, and a lot are in our state," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We felt like it was more important to prepare for this game."

The current contact period began Sunday, but Georgia assistants weren't scheduled to be on the road until Thursday night and today for in-home visits. That's a change from 2002 and 2003 when Georgia went to the SEC title game and Richt sent assistants on the road recruiting Sunday.

This year, Georgia did not return home until early Sunday morning after its victory at Georgia Tech.

"I was more concerned about the coaches' health and ability to think straight when we were trying to prepare for this big ballgame," Richt said.

The Bulldogs already have more than 20 commitments

"If I felt we were behind, I may not have felt that way," Richt said.

Some high-profile out-of-state targets committed elsewhere in recent days when linebacker Micah Johnson pledged to home-state Kentucky, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, and Jarred Fayson committed to home-state Florida.

"The situation at Georgia was a good situation, but it was eight hours away," Fayson told the Tampa Tribune. Defensive end Lawrence Marsh of Josey also committed to Florida.

"You may try to undo some things if you can," Richt said.

Verbal commitments are non-binding. Signing day is Feb. 1.

SAFETY U? Three years in a row. Three different safeties. Three All-Americans.

On Thursday, senior Greg Blue became the latest Bulldog safety selected to an all-America team, joining offensive guard Max Jean-Gilles on the American Football Coaches Association team. Blue follows past all-Americans Thomas Davis (2004) and Sean Jones (2003).

"I knew he was of that caliber, but I didn't know what type of attention he was going to get and how much people knew about Blue going in," Richt said. "He does get the attention getting hits. I guess we've played enough on TV over the years for people to know who he was."

Jean-Gilles became the first player at that position from Georgia named an All-American since Joel Parrish in 1976. Georgia's line has given up the second-fewest sacks in the SEC.

OLD FRIENDS: LSU coach Les Miles worked under current Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey as tight ends coach when Gailey was head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1998-99.

"He's a very intelligent coach and has a good feel for players," Gailey said.

Miles took over an LSU program that won the BCS title in 2003, and Nick Saban left it stocked with talent.

SEC Championship

Who: Georgia (9-2, 6-2) vs. Louisiana State (10-1, 7-1)

When: 6 p.m., Saturday

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta

TV: CBS-Ch. 12


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