Friday, December 21, 2018

Bulldogs Poised for National Stage in New Orleans

UGA Sports Communications

The fifth-ranked University of Georgia football team completed a two-hour practice in the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility on Friday in preparation for its 2018 Sugar Bowl finale.

Georgia’s opponent will be the 15th-ranked Texas Longhorns, who finished second in the Big-12 with the second-best rushing defense in the conference.

The Longhorns’ first defensive test will be the Georgia offensive line, a group that led the top Southeastern Conference rushing corps (251.6 yds/game) in 2018, even with four different alignments due to injury. Redshirt sophomore Solomon Kindley was locked in at left guard between sophomore Andrew Thomas and senior Lamont Gaillard.

“The Big-12 is a good conference, as well as the SEC,” Kindley said. “Texas likes to do a lot of movement, a lot of shifting back and forth. They’re a pretty good defense.”
The Texas defense will match up against the second-ranked scoring offense in the SEC in Georgia.

“What changes is how Coach Jim Chaney is going to call plays,” junior tight end Charlie Woerner said on Texas’ zone defense. “We’re not changing what we do. You can throw a few different plays in there to help us out.”

The history of the Sugar Bowl details Georgia’s success. The Sugar Bowl brought Georgia’s 1980 national championship with a team that included 2016 All-American Football Hall of Fame inductee Scott Woerner, the uncle of the current Dawg tight end.

Woerner, who made a significant impact in the Dawgs’ blocking attack throughout the season, looks forward to another opportunity for the Georgia team to play on a national stage.

“I think it’s awesome. I think one thing is the Sugar Bowl used to be one of the biggest bowl games. I don’t want people to think it’s not as big this year because it’s not on the road to the national championship...The Sugar Bowl is still one of the top-5 biggest bowls, one of the biggest bowls ever. That and the Rose Bowl. It’s still a huge bowl, and the team’s still very lucky and grateful to be able to play in it.”

Kindley views the Sugar Bowl as a platform to send a message indicating the expectations of the program in 2019.

“This game right here is to show the world what Georgia is going to have next year,” Kindley said. “We really have to give a statement to the whole world and to every college football team in the U.S that Georgia is nothing to mess with.”

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