Bowl week commitments and practice kept Georgia players from attending Friday's funeral of Vanderbilt running back Kwane Doster, a Tampa native and Robinson High star killed during a shooting Sunday in Ybor City. But Doster was on the minds of many Bulldogs.
Sunday, the day Doster was killed, Georgia All-America defensive end David Pollack showed great emotion when talking about the 21-year-old junior. And not long after word spread of Doster's death, more than one player talked to Georgia coach Mark Richt about wanting to do something.
To honor the Commodore they faced each fall since 2002, the Bulldogs sent flowers to the family. Thursday night, Richt called Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson.
Richt dealt with a similar tragedy when he was a Florida State assistant. Offensive lineman Pablo Lopez was shot and killed in an altercation in September 1986.
"It's devastating," Richt said.
SPEED TRAP: Throughout the week, Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez was asked to comment about Georgia's speed. He always said the right things but Friday had a slight change of tune.
While conceding that, yes, the Bulldogs are fast, he said, "The word "speed' is overused. There's a lot of skill involved, and being physical is important. It's not just the fast guys against the slow guys. It's not that simple."
THE HEAT IS ON: With the temperature at kickoff forecast for 71 degrees, Wisconsin and Georgia will be playing in warmer weather than the past few months.
Because both have been practicing in Tampa all week, the players should be acclimated to the conditions.
But Richt wondered if the times during which each team practiced might give the Badgers a slight advantage.
Wisconsin's first practice was in the middle of the day Sunday during 55 degree weather. During Georgia's 8 p.m. practice, the temperature dipped close to 40 degrees.
Most of Georgia's practices have begun at 8:30 a.m. with at least a slight chill in the air. Wisconsin's practices have been later.
"We're used to playing in 40 or 50 degrees," Richt said. "It will be interesting to see what kind of effect (our colder practices) will have on the game."
JUST WIN, BABY: What is record-setting Georgia quarterback David Greene's greatest attribute? His arm strength? His accuracy? Or his smarts? To Alvarez, it's none of the above.
"The thing that impresses me with him is he knows how to win," said the coach, who turned 58 on Thursday. "That's how you judge quarterbacks; the fact that he's put so many W's up there. He's a winner. He's smart. That's the kind of guy you look for.
"He has some weapons around him, but you still have to be able to deliver the ball where it needs to be and make good decisions with the ball."
Greene, a senior, is 41-10 as a starter and set an NCAA record for wins as a starter.
READY TO GO: Georgia tailback Danny Ware, who broke a bone in his right hand during the last regular-season game, has been practicing with a cast, forcing him to use his weaker left hand when carrying the ball.
Richt said it doesn't appear to be a problem and he doesn't expect Ware to be more fumble-prone because of the switch.
LAST WORD: When commenting on the fact his players stayed out of trouble this week, Richt said, "That makes you feel good, kind of like a proud father."
_ KEITH NIEBUHR and EMILY NIPPS,
Times staff writers