MOBILE, Ala. — Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis had flashbacks watching Georgia play Texas in the Sugar Bowl.
“I was watching that Georgia-Texas game, and I was like, this is a repeat of what we did last year,” Davis said at the Senior Bowl press conference, reflecting on the 2017 Tigers and how their SEC title game hangover led them to lose in a New Year’s Six Bowl.
“We lost to Georgia (SEC Championship Game), played a UCF team and found ourselves down. When it finally clicked, like, man, we’re about to lose, it was too late. So it was a rerun.
“But just like I feel if we played UCF Week 5 (of 2017), there’s no chance they win, and if Georgia played Texas Week 5 there’s no chance they (Longhorns) win.”
Davis is among the players at the Senior Bowl this week competing to improve his draft stock in the annual North-South all-star game. This year’s event kicks off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (TV: NFL Network).
Davis said he felt the Bulldogs were indeed one of the best four teams in the nation.
But because UGA lost the SEC Championship Game, 35-28 to Alabama, it didn’t deserve to be in the College Football Playoffs, Davis said.
“Honestly, I feel like they were one of the top four best teams in the country. But I don’t feel like they deserved to be in the College Football Playoff,” Davis said. “I know I’m contradicting myself, because its supposed to be the top four teams. But you’ve got to think about it: If they win the SEC Championship, they’re in.”
Davis reflected on how the Tigers were in the same place the year before wen they faced the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game.
“Going back to a similar situation we were in last year when we played them, we beat them at home, came back and beat Alabama — beat both of them convincingly,” Davis said. “Then we lose in the SEC Championship and we found ourselves in the Peach Bowl.
“So it’s about capturing that opportunity. It’s not very easy to get in the top four, as you can see, and they had their chance to do it two times in a row and it slipped away from them,” Davis said. “I do feel like they were one of the top four teams, but they didn’t win when it mattered, and college football is all about when you win, and when you lose.”
Davis was part of an Auburn defensive front that ranked among the best in the nation.
But the linebacker from Mobile tipped his cap to Georgia for its performance in this season’s rivalry game at Sanford Stadium.
The Bulldogs beat the Tigers 27-10, rushing for 303 yards in the process.
“Georgia found creeks and valleys in our run fits, and against a team like that with two good running backs, two experienced running backs and the ability they have to make plays, you can’t misfit, or have your hat in the wrong place,” Davis said. “Their offensive line is massive, they’re aggressive, they are coming off striking.
“So every snap you to try to win, you have to win those technique battles, you have to win the assignment battle, when we didn’t win those battles, they gashed us.”
But as far as the Texas game, Davis understood how UGA could be at less than its best.
“Something like that really tests the character of your team, of your leadership , of the staff you have,” Davis said. “Because, coming from a program like Georgia, or Auburn, initially when you have a successful season guys start thinking about coming out early, and all those types of things, it goes to the matter of ‘If we’re not competing for it all, then I’m checking out, I got to worry abut my NFL career,’ and you have people off the field who are family members telling you that you have to be selfish, and worry about yourself, what if you get hurt, so of course guys aren’t going to go 100 percent.”
Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis