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Curtis Compton / AJC
Georgia coach Kirby Smart is being very guarded about players missing from his program.

3 Georgia football takeaways from Kirby Smart: Play-action fake in effect

NEW ORLEANS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart didn’t involve much of a play-action game in the Bulldogs’ offense this season.

But the art of deception was in effect on Friday, Smart looking for any and every competitive edge he can get.

Smart, a man who puts logic and rationale into every decision, dragged out revealing who is and isn’t on the Georgia football Sugar Bowl travel roster one more day.

RELATED: Kirby Smart comments from arrival interview, mum’s the word

It’s one more day the Baylor coaching staff will be in the dark.

The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) play the No. 7-ranked Bears (11-2) at 8:45 p.m. next Wednesday in the Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Georgia will be forced — by New Year’s Six Bowl agreement — to hold an open practice on Saturday.

“We’re going to focus on the players that are here,” Smart said, asked to address the missing players, “and you  guys are going to see that first-hand tomorrow (Saturday).”

Here are three takeaways from the Bulldogs’ arrival press conference on Friday:

Play-fake

Smart wants to keep Baylor coaches guessing as long as possible about the status of D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien, the Bulldogs’ two leading rushers.

Smart refused to address the status or whereabouts of Herrien, and he was careful to qualify his remarks on Swift’s availability for the game

RELATED: Brian Herrien out for Sugar Bowl

“(Swift) wants to play in the game,” Smart said, “so if he’s able to go 100 percent, he’ll be able to play.”

Swift was less than 100 percent against LSU in the SEC title game. He had just two carries that night and didn’t touch the ball after UGA’s opening series of the third quarter.

QB protection

Monty Rice leads the Georgia defense in tackles, so it only made sense for Smart to choose him to represent the defense.

Indeed, Rice is an emotional leader, and there’s no question the Bulldogs will see his best from start to finish of the Sugar Bowl.

But Jake Fromm, the most experienced quarterback in the nation and face of the program, was not chosen by Smart to speak for the offense, as he did last season.

Smart recognizes there’s not much Fromm can say: The receiving corps has been a letdown, and no game plan can account for dropped passes and missed assignments.

Charlie Woerner was chosen to speak for the offense, and he confirmed he’s excited to be in New Orleans.

Next man up

The Georgia offensive line will be missing three starters, but the Bulldogs have quality depth in the wings with Swiss Army Knife-like Cade Mays and sophomore Jamaree Salyer. Both have had at least one start.

The next offensive lineman pressed into the starting lineup may be freshman Xavier Truss, from the sound of interviews with Smart and the players on Friday .

Truss is a 6-foo-7, 330-pounder from Warwick, R.I., who saw action in games agains Murray State, Arkansas State and Georgia Tech.

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