NEW ORLEANS — The Georgia defense claims it isn’t losing any sleep over having to replace Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker at cornerback in the Sugar Bowl.
“We have a lot of guys that have gotten significant snaps this season,” UGA assistant coach Dan Lanning said Saturday, “So I think that piece, the transition will be smooth.”
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) play No. 15 Texas (9-4) at 8:45 p.m. next Tuesday in the Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Longhorns bring two of the biggest receivers Georgia as faced in Collin Johnson (6-foot-6, 220 pounds) and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey (6-4, 225).
Georgia sophomore safety Richard LeCounte was asked if it made him nervous that the Bulldogs will likely counter with freshmen cornerbacks Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell.
“No, not really nervous at all, these guys have been prepped all year to do this,” LeCounte said at the Georgia defense media day on Saturday. “It’s not like we just got these guys off the street and made them play corner because (Baker) is not playing.
“This is what these guys came here for.”
Junior safety J.R. Reed agreed.
“We’re built for it,” Reed said. “You just have to let the guys know it’s their time, instill confidence, and get those guys going for this game, and that’s really it.”
Georgia receiver Mecole Hardman said Campbell, who started the first 10 games this season and is expected back in the starting lineup, has looked good in bowl practices.
“Tyson is a fast, physical guy, a big guy, he’s doing his thing,” Hardman said. “It’s more on us to make him more comfortable to get him better looks in practice and make him the player he needs to be, to get all the clutter out of his brains to let him play free.
“But he’s looking good out there, he’s playing fast, he knows the calls, so I’m excited to see him play in this game.”
Lanning, who coaches outside linebackers but was speaking in the defensive coordinator slot on media day, indicated sophomore Mark Webb is another option at cornerback.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to be in some situations this year where we’ve been able to play a lot of other players beyond Deandre,” Lanning said, “when it comes to Tyson Campbell, Eric Stokes, Mark Webb that have played a lot of significant snaps for us. “
LeCounte said the Bulldogs will be ready regardless of who lines up at cornerback.
“I’m pretty confident in these guys,” LeCounte said. “Everything that we practiced for all year is being put in place, and it’s time to do it.”
Georgia football safety Richard LeCounte
Georgia football safety J.R. Reed
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