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COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Bulldogs get physical in Tuesday practice; FSU's Ponder still ailing

Mark Rich has never started at 0-2 in the SEC.

Mark Rich has never started at 0-2 in the SEC.

ATHENS -- The Georgia Bulldogs (5-5, 3-4 SEC) pushed through a two-and-a-half-hour practice in full pads Tuesday afternoon as they continue to prepare for this Saturday's road matchup with No. 2 Auburn (10-0, 6-0 SEC).

"They got after it pretty good," head coach Mark Richt said. "I thought the defense had a really, really good day in the competition phase. The defense won the 3-on-3 tackling drill for the first time in 2010, but it was very close."

Richt talked more about Saturday's contest earlier on Tuesday during the team's weekly press session.

"It's going to be a great challenge for us," Richt said. "We know they are No. 2 in the nation. We know it's CBS national TV. We know everybody in the country is going to watch the game, but they are probably tuning in to watch Auburn. Hopefully we'll show up and give them something to watch."

Richt was asked if the Tigers' season was surprising following a relatively tame 8-5 record a year ago.

"Not really because we all get our share of pretty good players," Richt said. "I think everybody in our league can field at least 22 pretty doggone good ones, and usually you have 30-40 guys who can really play, and the other guys are developing as they go. Coach (Gene) Chizik has really done a great job this season getting them going. It seems like that happens a lot in the second year. It seems to be a really great year for a lot of coaches in our league over the last 10 years. They've done a great job."

Kickoff is set for 3:40 on The Plains, and the game will be televised nationally on CBS.

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FSU QB PONDER MISSES ANOTHER PRACTICE:

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder continues to recover from a right elbow injury and the senior did not throw for the second straight practice.

Ponder watched Tuesday's practice from the sideline with his throwing arm in a sling.

Fisher says it's too early to make a decision about Ponder's status for Saturday's home game against Clemson.

Ponder busted the bursa sac in his right elbow in the win over Boston College on Oct. 16. He reinjured the elbow in Saturday's loss to North Carolina.

He has thrown for 1,647 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.

Sophomore E.J. Manuel continues to take all the reps with the first-team offense. Manuel went 3-1 last season, playing FSU's last four games after Ponder suffered a separated shoulder.