ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart is making it a point to take a long look at the future during the Bulldogs bowl practices.
“This is the time of year where you actually get to develop the youth on your roster,” Smart said. “We get to practice the guys, a lot of the younger guys who haven’t got a chance to play and develop or maybe only some chances to play, they really get to grow and get better.”
Freshman Jamaree Salyer, a 5-star offensive lineman from Georgia’s No. 1-ranked 2018 signing class, said the improvements in the Sugar Bowl practices have been within the team concept.
“It’s working with Coach (Sam) Pittman, getting those reps and going good on good, that’s when we get after it and get better,” Salyer said. “This is about the team getting better — I don’t make it a 5-star thing.
“We just use this as a way for us to get better.”
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) play No. 15 Texas (9-4) at 8:45 p.m. on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Salyer, a 6-foot-4, 325-pound star from Pace Academy in Atlanta, said the feeling after Georgia lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game by a 35-28 count was that there was more work to be done.
“The feeling is we have to get back to the drawing board,” Salyer said. “I go back to last summer, we put in that work for (games) like this, so we have to go back to the drawing board.”
Salyer figures to be much further along when he enters spring drills, and he could push for playing time on what figures to be a very deep, very talented offensive line.
“I would say understanding the offense (was the hardest adjustment),” Salyer said. “It’s not terrible, but perfecting it and understanding it like the older guys do, and understanding the speed of the game.”
Salyer, the No. 1-ranked offensive guard in the 2018 class, played in 12 of 13 games this season in becoming one of the most improved players on the team.
Georgia football OG Jamaree Salyer