Two days later, things didn’t seem much better.
Georgia returned to practice Monday for the first time since its 49-10 loss to Florida — a game that effectively ended the Bulldogs’ hopes of a national championship and an SEC title.
Linebacker Rennie Curran said he had no doubt the team would rebound from the loss and would be ready for Kentucky this week, but Monday was a chance to reflect on what was lost.
“We’re still kind of down,” Curran said. “Walking around campus, it was like a funeral or something. People were just dead, just not as excited.”
The somber mood, however, won’t turn into a blame game, defensive tackle Corvey Irvin said.
Head coach Mark Richt addressed the team Monday and laid out two options: Either let the loss divide the team and ruin the season or move past it and focus on finishing strong.
The speech was simple but effective, Irvin said.
“We got beat,” Irvin said. “They whooped us. I really can’t say what all (Richt) said, but it’s over. Get ready for Kentucky, and don’t let this divide the team. Don’t get to pointing fingers and blaming each other. Step up as leaders and get ready to be 8-2.”
Irvin, a senior, has just four games left in his college career, and he said the team is focused on making sure the seniors go out with a bang, not with the memories of the loss to Florida still hanging over their heads.
“We’re going to wipe our emotions off and get ready for Kentucky. Florida’s over. They beat us. We’ve got to make a statement against Kentucky,” Irvin said. “We’ll see if we can get our swagger back.”
On the mend
Tight end Tripp Chandler and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe both returned to action for the first time in more than a month against Florida, and both held up well throughout the game, Richt said.
Ellerbe played a significant amount — he had Georgia’s only sack in the game — and said his injured knee was still feeling good when he returned to practice Monday.
“It feels good,” Ellerbe said. “It doesn’t hurt or anything. It probably won’t be 100 percent, but I’ll be good enough to go (this week).”
Chandler returned with his first catch since Georgia’s third game of the season, and while he said his injured shoulder was still improving, Richt said the senior looked a bit rusty.
“He did alright, but he looked a little bit like a guy who hadn’t played in a month when it came to blocking,” Richt said. “He wasn’t his normal self, and hopefully because there’s no setbacks, he’ll get better.”
Linebacker Darius Dewberry left the game Saturday with a hip flexor injury and did not return, and defensive end Jeremy Lomax suffered a shoulder bruise, but Richt said both were day to day and were likely to return to action against Kentucky on Saturday.
“Overall, I don’t think we have anybody at this point that was injured to the point where they’re out for the game,” Richt said. “There’s some guys that are bumped up, bruised up, but we don’t have anybody that’s set to be out for next week.”
Blair Walsh plans to spend this afternoon worrying about football and tonight worrying about the election.
Walsh is an avid political junkie and has followed this year’s election closely, so he’s made sure he won’t miss a minute of the election night coverage.
“I’ve cleared my schedule pretty much at night so I can sit there and watch it,” the freshman kicker said. “I remember I had fun four years ago watching it and four years before that, staying up late. I remember I kept getting woken up to see the results and stuff.”
Walsh said his father is a regular donor to the Republican Party and got him and his brother interested in politics at an early age. Walsh said his brother, who is a senior at Harvard, is even more fanatical than he is.
“He’s a Republican at Harvard,” Walsh said, “and that doesn’t sit too well.”
Walsh’s fervent support for John McCain hasn’t infiltrated the locker room at Georgia, however. Unlike the debates that swirl around the rest of campus, he said the team hasn’t talked too much politics.
“It’s recently been discussed a little bit,” Walsh said, “but we’re so focused on football that that’s a little bit too serious of a topic to talk about.”