Georgia football coach Kirby Smart expects Bulldogs’ bounceback in Sugar Bowl

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Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes his players have the resilience to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game last Saturday.

ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has believed in his team all season, and he isn’t worried about the Bulldogs bouncing back in the Sugar Bowl after a heartbreaking loss to Alabama last Saturday.

“As far as our players and our team, these kids recover faster than you think they do,” Smart said. “Obviously, there’s disappointment in (Saturday) night’s result, but there’s also the opportunity to move forward with really a young team and a chance to go on a national stage where our fans, I know, follow us to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game.”

Smart’s No. 5-ranked Georgia football program (11-2) plays No. 15-ranked Texas (9-4) at 8:45 p.m. on Jan. 1 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Smart and his coaching staff will be out recruiting heavily over the next two weeks, working to solidify what’s expected to be a strong early signing class (Dec. 19-21).

But in the meantime, the Bulldogs players will make themselves more familiar with the Longhorns.

“I think the first thing to do is turn the tape on of the Texas football team,” Smart said, asked how to get his players past the 35-28 defeat to Alabama and ensuing CFB Playoff snub. You find out right away, first of all, they’re well coached. I know their staff as well. Got a lot of respect for Tom (Herman) and the job they’ve done.”

Georgia might be playing for some respect of its own after only one player — cornerback Deandre Baker — was named a first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press on Monday.

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