Murray lobbies for indoor facility, but Richt has been there before

semerson@macon.comMarch 21, 2013 

ATHENS - After visiting a full-length indoor practice facility at Oklahoma, Aaron Murray started a Twitter campaign for Georgia to get one too. But his head coach, who has been through this before, and many times, shrugged it off on Thursday.

"I don't know where that came from," Richt said when asked about Murray's tweets. "But football is an outdoor sport. We don't wanna get too soft around here."

(Actually, Georgia has played three very important indoor games the past two seasons, and gone 0-3: Two SEC championships and the 2011 opener against Boise State. But anyway ...)

Georgia does have an indoor facility, but it can't use it for a full team practice. It only cover about 20 yards of a full-width field. Richt lobbied publicly and privately for a full facility when he first got to Georgia in 2001, but only got the smaller facility.

"When I first came to Georgia, it was on the plans to get it done, but there were so many other things that needed to get done before that, we were gonna spend money on other things that were more important," Richt said. "But I'd have loved to have one. If we were gonna have one I wanted it to be here (at the main practice field). If it was gonna be a mile or two miles away, beyond walking distance away, I didn't wanna do it. Because one of the benefits of having it is being able to start practice, and if lightning strikes nearby, if it's not safe, you roll right in and you continue practice and all that. But if you've got to stop, load up a bus, take it down there, or have a bunch of busses sitting there waiting just in case and all that, it just wasn't gonna be worth it to us.

"But no, it would've been nice to add another 100 yards to it. It'd be nice."

If Georgia were to try that, it would likely require sacrificing one of the team's practice fields. There isn't any room to expand to the left or right or backward, so any extension would have to be forward. The team could probably live with the two practice fields closest to Stegeman Coliseum, but giving up the third one, closest to the team's facility, would not be idea.

Either way, Murray reiterated after Thursday's practice (with its windy conditions) that an indoor facility would be great.

"I guess I was pampered for the week because we got to use Oklahoma's indoor facility for a week," he said. "It's nice, especially when it's cold and windy to go in there and not have to worry about anything. And that's where they had their pro day, in there, because it was like today, a little windy and chilly."

Murray pointed out the first practice this "spring" were freezing, including some slurries at one point. Then it rained the second time.

"I think it definitely hinders us a little bit," Murray said. "I mean during the season if it's lightning and raining, or even if say in spring practice, once you start practice you can't get it back, so if it starts lightning and raining it stinks that you have to cancel the whole practice when you're midway through it. Whereas if you had a whole field you could go in there."

Then Murray started to smile wryly.

"I'll probably get in trouble for saying this," he said, and burst into a laugh.

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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