Georgia’s football team got a wet and welcomed break from work Friday, when coach Mark Richt canceled the morning practice and treated the players to a trip to the pool.
The team spent a couple of hours at the Gabrielsen Natatorium inside the Ramsey Student Center, swimming and diving and generally reveling in the break from the rigors of preseason practice.
“It was a lot of fun, a good time for team bonding,” linebacker Rennie Curran said. “You got to have some fun sometimes and build memories. Can’t always be about work.”
Said defensive tackle Jeff Owens: “For the last two weeks, it’s been a grind. We’ve been hot, sweaty and aching. This was a great relief.”
A highlight of the outing, several players said, was seeing freshman defensive tackle Kwame Geathers’ big body hit the water from the 10-meter diving board.
“I saw some waves coming up,” Curran said.
Another highlight: Richt diving from the highest board with clothes and shoes on.
“I mean, I was pretty impressed,” defensive tackle Geno Atkins said. “He always likes to do that, show off and stuff like that. It was pretty funny.”
The lowlight, players said, was walk-on linebacker Jackson Griffeth loudly and painfully smacking the water with his back on a dive that resembled a triple back-flip.
The excursion has become an annual event in Georgia’s preseason practice, but Richt still tries to make it a surprise.
Friday morning, the players boarded buses to Sanford Stadium for what they thought would be the first of the day’s two practices. The buses reached the stadium and kept going, making a couple of loops on east campus before stopping at the Ramsey Center.
“You always got to have some suspense,” Curran said.
The timing might have surprised the Bulldogs, coming the morning after what Richt called the worst practice of the preseason.
The Bulldogs were back at work later Friday, holding a two-hour special-teams practice in Sanford Stadium. Griffeth was held out of that practice after his diving mishap, “but he should be OK [today],” Richt said.