Lewis Cine: Georgia bracing for Michigan ‘big boy football’ in Orange Bowl CFP Semifinal

Georgia defensive back Lewis Cine (16) during the BulldogsÕ game against Clemson at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Cine will be key against Michigan in the Orange Bowl. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)
Mackenzie Miles

ATHENS — Lewis Cine did some advance scouting on Michigan and the Georgia safety came away impressed.

“They play big boy football, they’ll run the ball down your throat,” Cine said this week at UGanA’s media day, which consisted of three players and coach Kirby Smart speaking in person at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.

“They’ll mix it up with their tight ends, they have some good slot receivers and wideouts, so they do a bunch of different combination of things.”

The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (12-1) play the No. 2-ranked Wolverines (12-1) at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

“Whoever has the strongest will, whoever is the toughest Is going to win, " Cine said, “Whoever does things the right way will win.”

Cine, once rated the No. 45 player in the nation coming out of Trinity Christian High School in Cedar Hill, Texas, revealed he very nearly chose to play at Michigan and knows a lot of the Wolverines’ players.

“So there’s that friendly competition,” Cine said. “It was heavy for me to lean to Michigan if I didn’t come here … one way or another, I’d have been playing in his game, but it would have been with a different jersey or different helmet.”

.Alabama, which beat Georgia 41-24 in the SEC Championship Game, plays against Cincinnati at 3 p.m. at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 31, in the other CFP Semifinal in the Cotton Bowl.`

Cine said the Bulldogs’ defense got a “wake-up call” in the loss to the Tide that could serve them well, while Smart has indicated he plans to “fix” some things Stetson Bennett didn’t do well on offense.

“The absolute truth…. we did a whole lot of things wrong player-wise, maybe coaching-wise, we did a whole lot fo things wrong that didn’t go well for us,” Cine said. “There was a whole lot of busts on our part, a lot of missed calls on part, and then clearly Alabama took advantage of that and it showed.

“Now, it’s move along, be honest with ourselves to say where did we go wrong, and we went wrong in a whole lot of ways. Now. we just have to correct it.”

The defense, Cine said, will get back to doing what it did during the regular season from a scheme standpoint.

It was clear that Smart felt pressured into adding new things defensively to match wits with former NFL head coach and New England Patriots Super Bowl offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

“we were doing a lot fo different things; we switched up a lot of different things for Bama that we didn’t do the whole season,” Cine said, explaining how Georgia gave up an SEC Championship Game record 421 yards passing to Young. “We’ve gone to what we know and what worked for us the whole season.”

Indeed, Georgia has had to play a more basic, softer coverage on the back end after losing 10 players out of last year’s secondary, including four to the NFL draft, and three more scholarship players to the transfer portal.

The Bulldogs’ defense, which allowed just 6.9 points per game during the regular season, didn’t get much help from its offense.

Georgia went three-and-out on back-to-back offensive series during Alabama’s 24-point explosion in the second quarter, and one of the Tide’s touchdowns came on a Pick-6. On two other occasions, Alabama got the ball after the offense turned the ball over on downs.

“It’s a bitter taste to have lost, but it wakes you up and gives you a sense of reality,” Cine said, “that you’re not as great or as good as you thought.”

Georgia safety Lewis Cine

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