INDIANAPOLIS — There’s good news and bad news for Georgia football fans who have wanted to see the Bulldogs wear black jerseys.
The good news is that Deandre Baker says UGA players “wanted to wear the black jerseys every week, but we didn’t get the chance to.”
The bad news is Baker doesn’t expect Coach Kirby Smart to change his position on the alternate jerseys.
“Never … no time soon,” Baker said with a chuckle on Sunday at his NFL combine podium interview.
Smart wouldn’t rule out the black jerseys when asked about them last November, but he didn’t seem to be in a rush to wear them in a regular-season game, either.
“I’m not saying we’re not ever going to do it, I’m not saying that we are, that’s just really not what is important to me,” Smart said. “I believe in the guys going out and playing physical, playing hard; you don’t have to do things like that to get them fired up to do it, I really think they should want to do it.
“It’s great for recruiting, though.”
So is having a first-round NFL draft pick.
Baker will be wearing the maroon gear issued at the NFL combine on Monday when he runs his 40-yard dash and competes in field drills at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Many consider Baker the top cornerback prospect in the upcoming NFL draft, and he’ll look to back that up.
Baker explained how Smart helped coach him up in the secondary, one reason he stuck around for his senior season.
“Being under Coach Kirby Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, good defensive minds,” Baker said. “Them showing me the ropes of the game, things I could use, techniques and how to watch film and little small things to help my game improve, that was big for me.”
Smart, of course, was an All-SEC safety during his playing career at Georgia. Smart also had assistant coaching stints under Bobby Bowden, Mark Richt and Nick Saban.
“Coach Smart is very vocal, he wants things done the right way and he wants you to work hard every moment,” Baker said. “Him being on you helps the team, that’s why we’ve moved up the past few years.”
Baker said the Bulldogs work ethic and competition in practice has been another key to his rise from 3-star recruit to first-round NFL draft prospect.
“Every day we compete, no matter if it’s against my receivers Riley Ridley or Mecole Hardman, in practice, whatever,” Baker said. “Even in the film room, we jot down who won every rep.
“The system we played in Georgia is pretty similar to most teams, so knowing the playbook and all the versatile things in our playbook, it transitions to the NFL and will help me.”