UGA players hit with stomach bug; rain washes out practice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A stomach virus has hit a handful of players on the University of Georgia football team, three days before their Gator Bowl game against Nebraska on Wednesday at EverBank Field (noon, ESPN2).

Among those feeling queasy were tailback Todd Gurley and center David Andrews. Georgia coach Mark Richt said on Sunday afternoon that the virus seems to be more prevalent among the offense and the offensive line.

It began three days ago when quarterback Hutson Mason became ill. However, Mason did not miss a practice and Richt said he would have expected the same from the other players had not the rain forced the team to go through walk-throughs in their hotel ballroom.

“I think it’s just a 24-hour bug kind of thing,” Richt said at the Jacksonville Omni Hotel. “Hutson practiced through it and we would have expected those guys to practice through it, unless it was really bad.”

Richt speculated that if the game had been held on Sunday, the ill players could have played — with some help.

‚ÄúThey could have played but it would have been tough,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúThe dehydration … you would have had to take some fluids.‚Äù

Georgia cancelled practice at Jacksonville University because of the rain that passed through the area on Sunday morning. Richt said the normal practice would have been a “dress rehearsal” for the game, with another scheduled for today, when the team returns to JU with the promise of good weather.

But Richt said the inside work might prove to be valuable for two reasons: the pace of the practice and giving the players a slight break from the physical work.

“There’s something about slowing things down and teaching at a slower pace,” he said. “Sometimes it helps and everything clicks with the guys. I’m comfortable with it.”

As far as giving the players a break, Richt said, ‚Äúwe were pushing them hard, conditioning them hard … maybe they need a break.‚Äù

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