NEW ORLEANS — This trip, this team and this game.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart is doing his best to establish a single-mindedness among his No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) for what looks to be a challenging Sugar Bowl test against No. 7 Baylor (11-2).
“You’re going to hear this common theme probably among our players,” Smart said at his arrival press conference at Louis Armstrong International Airport on Friday. “For 11 practices, they’ve been hearing about this trip, this team and this game, and that’s really it.
“It’s a one game season for us. It’s a new season, and it’s a one-game season.”
Smart’s Georgia program has had to do a lot of things well to play in three straight SEC Championship Games and face elite competition during the past three bowl seasons.
But the Bulldogs have lost four consecutive postseason games, and Smart has made it clear Georgia is taking this trip seriously.
“Our team has had 11 practices back home, they’ve had really good practices.” Smart said. “I’ve enjoyed seeing these guys compete.
“We’ve had to make the practices different, and the kids have been really competitive,” he said. “We’ve made sure we’ve held everyone to a standard, and that standard is, ‘I’m going to come compete and come to play, and if you weren’t going to compete at that standard, then you weren’t going to be here.”
Smart did not address the status of tailbacks Brian Herrien and defensive tackle Tyler Clark when asked about those players on Friday.
Georgia knows it will be without offensive tackles Isaiah Wilson and Andrew Thomas, who have quit the team to prepare for the NFL draft, and offensive guard Ben Cleveland (reportedly academically ineligible).
Georgia will hold an open practice at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Saturday.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart
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