NEW ORLEANS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said the Bulldogs aim to make a statement in the Sugar Bowl, but they may have to do it without their sacks leader.
All-SEC outside linebacker D’Andre Walker has “struggled” to get up to speed in the practices, Smart said, and he will be a game-time decision.
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) play No. 15 Texas at 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday in the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“We’re coming to play to a standard and make a statement to ourselves that we are an elite program,” Smart said at his Monday morning press conference. “We want to be in that conversation, and I think to do that, you’ve got to play to a standard.
“Everything that we’ll be judged on is how we finish, and we want to finish the right way, and we want to play our best football game at the end of the year.”
Georgia might have to do it with three of its best players on the defense, the two in the front seven either limited or out for the game.
The Bulldogs were already without Thorpe-Award winner and All-American cornerback Deandre Baker, who announced he’s skipping the game to prep for the NFL Draft.
Walker, meanwhile, was back in pads on Saturday and going through thud contact drills for the first time since aggravating a groin injury in the SEC Championship Game.
Freshman All-American candidate Jordan Davis was also back working with the defensive tackles on Saturday after going through warmups off to the side in Friday’s practice.
But Smart said Davis (back) will also be a game-time decision and might also be limited to situational playing time.
“To be honest, both of those guys have struggled to get back to 100 percent.”
The Georgia offensive line, however, has looked good in the bowl workouts, according to Smart.
The Bulldogs’ offensive line featured Trey Hill working at right guard, while Cade Mays comeback from a shoulder injury put him working behind Andrew Thomas at left tackle.
Redshirt sophomore Ben Cleveland, who is not yet 100 percent after suffering a broken fibula on Sept. 22, has been working as the backup right tackle.
DawgNation coverage from New Orleans