ATLANTA — Kirby Smart arrived in Atlanta with his game face on, looking to help set the tone for his reloaded Georgia Bulldogs.

Smart knows this is not the veteran group he had last season that was loaded with experienced leadership and desperate to make a statement in the CFP Semifinals coming off an embarrassing 41-24 loss to Alabama in the SEC title game.

But this is a talented and resilient football team that has made history with the school’s first-ever 13-0 mark even after losing 15 players to the NFL Draft.

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More than anything, Smart likes the way this group of Bulldogs prepare.

“Proud of the way they worked, (and) proud of the way all of them came back locked in and ready to go from a travel break they had,” Smart said Monday, “and all of them are back.”

Smart wouldn’t disclose the injury status of receiver Ladd McConkey and right tackle Warren McClendon beyond saying he was excited “to get those guys hopefully back.”

This is a Georgia team that has taken its licks, losing valuable edge rusher Nolan Smith and veteran safety Dan Jackson to season-ending injuries.

The faces and the names have changed after eight players were drafted off last year’s defense and young players were pressed into action with Smith and Jackson sidelined.

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The culture, Smart points out, has not changed.

“We rep a lot of players at practice, we have a system set up to get our twos and threes ready,” Smart said.

“So the next cast of defensive players is getting ready right now just like they were last year. I think, if you’ve got a good formula for getting guys ready, it prevents large gaps in seasons.”

Offensively, the Bulldogs played much of the season with bruising tailback Kendall Milton at his best and A.D. Mitchell sidelined by a recently healed high ankle sprain.

Milton is back in form, but there are still questions about if Mitchell can get back into the elite form that helped him lift Georgia over Alabama in last year’s CFP Championship Game.

Smart just wants to make sure his offense is on the same page against an underrated Buckeyes defense that ranks 11th in the nation in total defense, giving up less than 12 yards per game more than Georgia’s revered unit.

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“They’re very physical,” Smart said, noting the success Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles previously had as Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator.

“Very good, aggressive, multiple package on defense, where they give you multiple looks and things.”

Smart put what’s on the line in crystal clear perspective on his earlier appearance on SportsCenter, per On3.

“It gives us another chance to brand ourselves for one of the nationally dominant teams,” the seventh-year Georgia head coach said. “Every team is independent of the previous, so I always look at it as if this year’s team has a chance to make its own legacy.”