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COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Bulldogs' Garner bolts for Auburn; UGA closes out bowl practices in Athens in unqiue fashion

After starring at Auburn and then moving on to coach at Georgia, Bulldogs defensive line coach Rodney Garner is going back to The Plains to assume the same role with his alma mater under new coach Gus Malzahn.

After starring at Auburn and then moving on to coach at Georgia, Bulldogs defensive line coach Rodney Garner is going back to The Plains to assume the same role with his alma mater under new coach Gus Malzahn.

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn has hired former Tigers player and assistant Rodney Garner as defensive line coach and assistant head coach.

Garner, whose hiring by Gus Malzahn was announced Friday, has spent the past 12 years in a similar capacity at Georgia.

He was an All-Southeastern Conference offensive lineman at Auburn in 1988 and worked at his alma mater from 1990-95 in various capacities. Garner will also serve as recruiting coordinator.

Garner’s wife, Kimberly, is also an Auburn graduate. He says he looks forward “to helping get Auburn back to where it belongs.”

He added the title of assistant head coach at Georgia in 2005 after serving as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator since 1998. Garner is also a former Tennessee assistant.


UGA wraps bowl workouts in Athens — in unique fashion

ATHENS — Georgia held its final bowl practice in Athens in what was deemed “Ragamuffin Friday” as players had the option of getting creative with their workout attire.

A handful of Bulldogs garnered attention for their accessories, most notably junior cornerback Blake Sailors for his raccoon skin hat taped to his helmet, freshman running back Todd Gurley’s red riding hood cape and senior flanker Taylor Bradberry’s vintage electric blue-striped jumpsuit straight from the 1980s.

The Bulldogs did practice for 90 minutes in chilly, windy conditions as they get set to face Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. At 9:30 a.m. Friday, practice was halted for a few minutes as the team observed a moment of silence when the UGA Chapel Bell rang 26 times in memory of the Newtown, Conn., shooting victims.

At the end of practice, Bulldog head coach Mark Richt made a few announcements, followed by what has been tradition over the years: a member of the team volunteered to sing a tune in hopes it would be good enough to excuse the squad from its final conditioning run.

Junior defensive end Clint Kirk stepped up and belted a rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly,” an R. Kelly song that made its debut in 1996. Richt deferred the decision to director of strength and conditioning Joe Tereshinski who paused briefly and then said, “Merry Christmas.” The Bulldogs roared mightily and then hustled inside as temperatures hovered around the 30s with winds up to 20 miles per hour throughout practice.

Georgia will take the next four days off for the holidays. Then, the team will reconvene in Orlando on Dec. 26 to resume workouts for the Jan. 1 bowl.