Practice prepares UGA best for potential four-quarter battle against Alabama

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Practice prepares UGA best for potential four-quarter battle against Alabama

Close games have not been a common occurrence for the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs this year. In Georgia’s 12 wins this season, the Bulldogs have outscored opponents by a whopping 405 points, with the closest game of the season being the 10-3 win over Clemson in the first game of the year.

It has led many second halves and fourth quarters to be played by reserves who would otherwise have to wait a season or two to see the field. As just a one-score favorite against No. 3 Alabama in the SEC Championship, the Bulldogs know they will have to be ready for a four-quarter fight on Saturday. Simulation of big moments in practice is one way Georgia is getting ready for this week.

“I look at every moment and the opportunity in practice, we’re coaching, we’re demanding excellence,” said head coach Kirby Smart on Monday. “We create adversity because we go against each other…I know for a lot of you guys would say, it’s not the same as a game. It is. We make it like a game. You can only want to do it right so bad. If you won’t do it really right in practice, you’re creating that same situation.”





Of course, nothing can actually replicate a real game situation but Georgia’s first-team starters going head-to-head is about as good as it gets. Georgia’s defense that only allowed 6.9 points per game this season will match up against the Crimson Tide offense that averages over 42 points per game, which is best in the SEC.

Georgia has often dominated teams up front, bolstering one of the best defensive line units in recent memory. However, they’ll be facing as dynamic of an offense as they have seen. Auburn seemed to generate pressure well against Alabama’s front. UGA senior defensive tackle Jordan Davis is ready for the challenge.

“It’s just game planning, you’ve got to scheme right,” said Davis on Monday. “They’ve got a big offensive line, we’ve got a big defensive line. So, it’s gonna be an exciting, tremendous challenge for us and we just hope we bring the pressure on them.”





Davis also described Alabama as a “fastball offense,” probably for the tempo that they play with. Tennessee is another team that also played fast on offense and put together one of the best drives of the season on Georgia during the opening drive of that game.

The Bulldogs adjusted well and only allowed seven points after the first quarter. With the skill level Alabama presents though, fatigue could become a factor for a Georgia team that has not played a competitive fourth quarter since the first week of the season. For Georgia players too, it is about what goes down at practice.

“I definitely can tell you that practice is way harder than the games,” said junior linebacker Nakobe Dean. “This type of game, in this type of environment we’re going to play playing in, you should be ready to play a four-quarter game. All season we’ve been ready.”

Smart again echoed that these scenarios attempt to help Georgia simulate in-game opportunities to be as close to reality as possible

“The big thing is what do we have to do to get our players to execute at the highest level in an extreme environment. Some of them have some anxiety. You want to try to remove that and allow them to play with confidence. That’s our emphasis.”





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