NEW ORLEANS – The Texas Longhorns’ prolific offense, featuring 3,000-yard passing quarterback Sam Ehlinger and tall and talented receivers Lil’ Jordan Humphrey (6-foot-4) and Collin Johnson (6-6), has been much discussed leading up to Tuesday night’s Sugar Bowl game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but the Texas defense … not so much!
But you won’t hear any lack of respect concerning the Longhorns’ stop-em gang coming from members of Georgia’s offensive unit. Meeting with the Sugar Bowl media Sunday for the final time prior to Tuesday’s 7:45 p.m. (CT) kickoff, the Bulldogs’ offensive leaders had nothing but good things to say about the Texas defense.
“I think their defense may be a little bit like Kentucky and that’s the way you kind of approach it,” said sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm. “Yeah, I definitely think that but they’re going to play well. They mix the blitz in here and there and it’s definitely something you have to be prepared for and something we’ve been working on all week.”
“But we are not going to change much of what we do,” said Fromm, speaking at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. “We are going to set the tone and run the football. We are going to throw the ball and take our shots, and we will have guys make plays. We really are not changing a whole lot. Understanding what they are going to do helps with a few concepts here and there. But we are going to come out and play our football game.”
I would also say the Texas defense is similar to Kentucky,” said junior tailback Elijah Holyfield, who needs just 44 yards against the ‘Horns to join teammate D’Andre Swift in the 1,000-yard rushing club. “They have a really good end and really good ‘backers and a bigger back half. So I would say they resemble Kentucky the most but everybody’s different and I’m sure they have a whole different approach. But they are a very athletic defense,” said Holyfield. “Their secondary players tackle very well. They are a really fast defense, and I think they will be a good challenge for us. I am really excited for it.”
To Georgia sophomore offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, however, the Texas defense closely resembles that of Georgia Tech’s.
“They like to move a lot. The blitz a lot and their linebackers are pretty fast,” said Thomas. “They kind of remind me a little bit of Georgia Tech, scheme wise, but those guys are a little bit bigger and more athletic than Georgia Tech. But we’ve definitely been working hard. We want to be able to run the ball and protect the quarterback.”
“Texas has a lot of great athletes, are very physical, and do a great job at attacking the ball,” related Georgia senior wideout Terry Godwin. “We have to get out there and play Georgia ball. I wouldn’t compare the Texas secondary to any SEC team or to any team, period. We just know they are fast and physical and we just know we’ve got to go out there and play Georgia ball and have the game be under our control.”
Sophomore tailback D’Andre Swift is expecting the Longhorns to show the Bulldogs a lot of movement, a lot of quick changes during the Sugar Bowl shootout.
“Their D-line is real fast,” said Swift. “They got the slant. They are pretty solid everywhere – defensive backs, safeties, and they tackle real well. Linebackers are fast and blitz real well. Their D-line does a lot of movement, a lot of slanting. They look pretty solid all-around. But I think we’re not out to prove anything against them. We just need to keep playing Georgia football and it will take care of itself.”