ATHENS – There was a threat of rain on Tuesday, which in years past – every year, to be exact – would have caused vexation and frantic planning among the Georgia football team’s staff and players: Cancel practice? Gut it out in the rain? Take a bus to Flowery Branch to the Atlanta Falcons facility?
But on Tuesday, no one worried. The team just went into its bright and shiny indoor facility, for its first full-fledged practice there.
“Some guys might tell you they’re happy for the rain day around here,” tailback Nick Chubb said, meaning those wanting a day off. “But that’s over with.”
That’s not the only thing that’s over with for the Bulldogs. While not everything is convenient yet – parking for the players around the football facility is still lacking – the arrival of the indoor facility closed two eras: The long one of having the weather ruin practice plans, and the year of having to bus to practice.
This time last year the team was bussing to every spring practice, as it also had to do during the season. While the indoor facility was under construction in 2016, the team practiced at a makeshift set of practice fields off Milledge Ave., taking bus 10-minute bus rides to and from each practice.
Now that it’s over, players admit they hated it.
“Oh, it was miserable,” tight end Jeb Blazevich said. “I think one of the biggest hang-ups was taking time away from our day, which sucked. But more than that, it was hard to stay after.”
Blazevich meant that because of the need to get on the bus, they had to forego extra time spent on the field. For most of the year, if a receiver wanted to run more routes with his quarterback, or catch more balls, they couldn’t just hang after practice.
Eventually last year the team did enlist a late bus for guys who wanted to stay after.
“But originally it was just go there and come back,” Blazevich said. “Everything’s over there. So if you want to do some extra work, it’s tough. You couldn’t. But thankfully we’re over that hurdle.”
Players can now use the post-practice time to stay on the field and hone their skills, or go to the weight room and get in some extra lifting. A post-practice lift goes a long way, according to outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter.
“It gets some blood flowing to extra muscles,” Carter said. “And just getting extra work. Any extra work you can get in is good work.”
All that said, players declined to use last year’s inconveniences as an excuse for their 8-5 record.
“I wouldn’t say it affected the team, because we all knew we had to get on the busses,” Carter said. “We knew they were working on a great indoor that we got in this year, thankfully. I mean, we didn’t get a chance to do extra work. But there’s always (other) chances.
“Right now I’m just embracing the fact that we can get it done right here after practice in our indoor. We can even go in our weight room and get in more lifting.”
G-Day is scheduled for April 22. Georgia’s spring game kicks off at 2 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network.