ATHENS — Normally the weather forecast is just a mild issue, or none at all. But in a big game that matches two seemingly even-matched teams it could end up being critical, which is why the possibility of rain on Saturday is notable.
As of Wednesday night the chances of rain on Saturday were unclear, according to AthensGaWeather, a popular local Facebook site. It would depend heavily on what Hurricane Joaquin did.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said he isn’t monitoring the forecast very closely yet, saying he’s learned “not to get too excited about a forecast until it gets a little bit closer to gametime.” He did know it could rain Saturday, but said the gameplan won’t be altered either way.
“It has to be coming down really hard to change the plan,” Richt said. “Or the wind has to be coming down really hard, with or without rain, to change what you’re doing.”
He cited a game when he was at Florida State, against Notre Dame in South Bend – “it was one of those game of the centuries,” Richt said – when the wind was a real factor.
The Bulldogs have practiced in the rain several times over the past few weeks, including on Tuesday.
“So I think that’s good for our guys to know that they practiced in it,” Richt said. “We can take the snap. We can throw and catch. We can secure the ball. We can put the ball in the (ground) and kick it on extra points and field goals. Punter can catch and punt it. So I think it’s good we’ve been out there in the rain a little bit.”
Practices have been a bigger headache this week because of the rain. On Tuesday the team had two busses at the ready to either go to the Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch or to the Ramsey Center in Athens, where the team would do a walk-through. The rain ended up being light enough that Richt opted to stay on the turf practice fields.
Starting in 2017 the team should have the choice of going to its indoor facility. If the facility were available now, Richt was asked, what would he have done?
“I don’t know. I’ve never had to deal with that before,” Richt said. “I’ve been coaching 32, 33 years and never had that luxury.”