December 4, 2008

Still feeling the pain

Georgia players put on a united front Thursday as they tried to say all the right things and how they were attempting to put the loss to Georgia Tech out of their collective minds.

But senior defensive end Jeremy Lomax said it wasn't easy.

"There was still a residual effect," Lomax said after the team's first day of bowl practice. "We need to move on, but we don't need to forget."

Senior defensive tackle Corvey Irvin agreed with Lomax.

"It wasn't that difficult to go out there. We lost that game (Georgia Tech) but it's over now, so now we've got to play for a new season," he said. "It's almost 2009 and we're looking at this (the bowl) as a big chance to show the nation what Georgia is really about. We walked off the field the other day with a bad taste in our mouth so we need this (bowl) BAD."

With an announcement not expected until Sunday afternoon, Irvin said at this point it doesn't matter who or where the Bulldogs spend their New Year's holiday.

All signs still point to Georgia earning its second trip to the Capital One Bowl in five years, with Michigan State as the likely opponent and Ohio State as an outside possibility.

Georgia hits the practice field again Saturday morning.

"The biggest deal for us now is to just do what we can to improve," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "Obviously, right now we're not scheming for anybody but we need to work as hard as we can and use this time as a building block for us next year."

But the future doesn't keep the Bulldogs from lamenting the just-completed regular season.

"The penalties just killed us, man, they killed us all year," defensive end Jeremy Lomax said. "They killed us the Alabama game, they killed us every game - point blank. A lot of teams we should have beat more than what we did and some teams we should have beaten. That's what's so tough, but we've got to move on from it."

Lomax was also asked about the leadership, which took a hit early on with the loss of defensive tackle Jeff Owens.

"Our leadership was OK," Lomax said. "It obviously could have been better, but you can't change it now. What we can do is try to step it up for this next ball game."

Irvin brushed off the notion that Georgia's No. 1 preseason ranking set the Bulldogs up for failure.

"No, not really. Anyway, it's not about where you start, but where you finish," Irvin said. "We had a lot of hype and all that, but I don't think any of the guys bought into it or anything. The games we lost happened because we all weren't on the same page."

Irvin said hopes that won't be the case in the upcoming bowl.

Although this will be last game, Irvin said he won't simply be going through the proverbial motions for the Bulldogs these next three weeks of practice before the bowl.

Not hardly.

The way Irvin sees it this is his final opportunity to help the Bulldogs get a jump on their preparation for 2009. To give anything less than 100 percent would be a disservice to his teammates coming back for next year.

"I still want to add a little to the legacy, especially for the guys who are coming back like Rennie (Curran), Asher (Allen), Kade (Weston) and Geno (Atkins)," Irvin said. "We've been through too much together for me to give up now."

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