INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia nose tackle Jordan Davis took a long look at himself in the mirror after Alabama humbled the Bulldogs by a 41-24 count in the SEC Championship Game, and he didn’t like what he saw.
“I had to look at myself and realize I wasn’t doing enough,” Davis said on Saturday, two days before the Bulldogs meeting against the Crimson Tide in the CFP Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Davis made four tackles in that meeting against Alabama last month, but there were times the Outland Trophy and Bednarik Award winner appeared out of breath. A video clip of Davis, standing stationary as the fast-moving Tide offense scurried around him, went viral.
When Smart said after the game that, ‘sometimes, you see those flaws, brutal truths,” many imagined he might have been talking about Davis’ inefficiency when playing at a heavier weight.
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“I’d say we weren’t as conditioned as we should have been, especially on my part,” said Davis, whose weight fluctuations between 340 and 360 pounds have been brought up more than once by Smart.
“Definitely this week we’ve been working hard. Coach Smart has been working us hard. And actually, I’m about to go run right now after this meeting.”
The Bulldogs aim to keep Alabama quarterback Bryce Young on the run after failing to record a sack for the first time this season in the SEC championship game loss, despite recording 15 QB pressures.
Young made Georgia pay, throwing for an SEC Championship Game-record 421 yards, and setting another league title game record with 461 total yards.
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“We talk about him as Houdini because he can make people miss, he gets rid of the ball,” Smart said on Sunday. “People don’t even account for the number of times this guy has avoided sacks and thrown the ball with no intention of anybody catching it. But he knows where to throw the ball not to take a sack.”
The Georgia defense enjoyed historic success during the season, allowing just 6.9 points per game through the regular season and recording an average of 3.2 sacks each outing.
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Davis, looking slimmed down in Indianapolis, took it personally.
“I try not to let things get to me and affect me like that, but that game, it definitely stung a little bit,” Davis said. “The whole team is bought into the plan, to everything: extra film, extra conditioning, just doing the little things extra that we need to get us to the next level.”