Some items from the Outback Bowl coaches’ teleconference today with Georgia’s Mark Richt and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio:
–Georgia’s tailback intrigue continues with Isaiah Crowell and company. Richt said “it will be a competitive situation throughout the bowl practice time. We’ll just see who is best equipped to do it. We expect Richard Samuel to be healthy and get back in the mix there, too.”
Richt said Carlton Thomas will be able to “throw his hat in the ring,” after his knee injury in the SEC title game.
–Georgia is the designated home team for this game. Let the Nike Pro Combat and black jersey rumors begin!
–On that Capital One Bowl game three years ago that Georgia won 24-12 against the Spartans: “That game came right down to the wire,” Richt said of a game where Georgia scored on a 21-yard Matthew Stafford to Knowshon Moreno touchdown with 3:43 to play for the final margin. “Two teams that I think are pretty evenly matched. We kind of seemed to mirror each other the last time we were together.”
Dantonio said “I felt like we were in the football game and then at the end of the fourth quarter we sort of fell out there at the end and they put it away. I have a lot of respect for Georgia and what they’ve been able to accomplish. We’re playing an excellent football, a team that has handled adversity in their own way and bounced back with that.”
–Richt hasn’t studied Michigan State tape yet, but he did say both teams are plus-7 in turnover margin. He’s seen the Spartans on TV some against Wisconsin.
“Just looking at the body types, you know you’re in for it,” Richt said. “It’s going to be a physical battle.”
–Georgia will probably practice on Saturday, Richt said. It will resume practices after final exams end Wednesday Dec. 14. Richt expects between 12 to 15 bowl practices.
–Dantonio didn’t want to address rival Michigan going to a BCS bowl even though it didn’t play in the Big Ten title game. “I consider myself first of all with Michigan State so I have no comment,” Dantonio said.
–Michigan State is hurting after its 42-39 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. Dantonio said a win would have meant a trip to the Rose Bowl and probably a top 10 ranking. “That’s how life is,” he said. “It hangs by a thread sometimes.”
–If you’re in Tampa and you have some connections, there’s a Thursday night bowl contract signing party.
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer