NEW ORLEANS — Georgia football All-SEC outside linebacker D’Andre Walker was back in pads for the Bulldogs practice on Friday at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Walker, who led Georgia with 7.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 15 QB pressures, has been sidelined by a groin injury since the start of the fourth quarter of the SEC title game with the Bulldogs leading Alabama 28-21.
“He’s had this injury before, and he’s had the same treatment, and he’s returned in really good health,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said before UGA left Athens. “So we actually think he’s ahead of schedule.”
Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis was dressed out in pads at Friday’s practice in New Orleans, but he was off to the side during the portion of practice that was open to the media.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said Thursday that Davis has a back injury but he expects him to be cleared for the game.
“He has had a little bit of a back issue,” Smart said. “But he practiced some (Thursday). He continued to practice. I think he’s going to be fine for the game.”
Tailback James Cook was not dressed out for the Friday workout in the Superdome. Cook has been dealing with a foot injury that has required him to wear a protective boot
Freshman quarterback Justin Fields and freshman Luke Ford were both practicing, even as they have their names in the NCAA portal to clear them to talk with other programs about transferring.
Fields has not missed any practices with the team, while Ford left Athens early for home but was cleared by Smart to return after the holiday break to practice in New Orleans and play in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia cornerbacks Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell looked sharp in drill work.
Smart is coaching up the cornerbacks as the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs will be playing No. 15 Texas without senior All-American cornerback Deandre Baker.
Baker announced on Dec. 5 that he would play in the game but has since changed his mind, leaving Georgia somewhat vulnerable against the strength of the Longhorns’ offense in the 8:45 p.m. game next Tuesday.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter believes the Bulldogs have the talent to keep the Texas pass game in check.
“The crazy thing about the secondary is you have to work as a unit, so it doesn’t matter who you put in that position,” Ledbetter said at the team’s arrival press conference on Thursday. “We have the athletes across the board to be successful. I think the communication is a factor and making sure everybody is on the same page when you’re in there.
“Our defense is scheme based, so if you can fit into the scheme and communicate well and listen to the people in there with you then you will be fine. It will be a fun game.”
Georgia’s offensive line could have a different look for the bowl if Friday’s line rotation holds up.
Freshman Trey Hill was working with the first team at right guard, while freshman Cade Mays was seeing second team work at left tackle, and redshirt sophomore Ben Cleveland was the second team right tackle.
Georgia football Friday Sugar Bowl practice
DawgNation coverage from New Orleans