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Smart, Bulldogs arrive in Indy prepared

January 08, 2022 - 12:11
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  • Article Image Alt Text
    The Georgia Bulldogs boarding a Delta airplane at Ben Epps Airport in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Jan. 7, 2021. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)
  • Article Image Alt Text
    The Georgia Bulldogs boarding a Delta airplane at Ben Epps Airport in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Jan. 7, 2021. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)
  • Article Image Alt Text
    The Georgia Bulldogs boarding a Delta airplane at Ben Epps Airport in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Jan. 7, 2021. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)
  • Article Image Alt Text
    The Georgia Bulldogs boarding a Delta airplane at Ben Epps Airport in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Jan. 7, 2021. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)
  • Article Image Alt Text
    The Georgia Bulldogs boarding a Delta airplane at Ben Epps Airport in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Jan. 7, 2021. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – No. 3 Georgia arrived at the Indianapolis International Aiport late Friday evening three days prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Bulldogs will play No. 1 Alabama at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday night for all the marbles.

Georgia appeared to be focused last week in a 34-11 rout of the Michigan Wolverines in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve. 

The Bulldogs needed that kind of performance after getting thumped by the Crimson Tide on Dec. 4 in the SEC Championship Game.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said his players have a focused mindset heading into Monday night. 

“It feels good, the mood was great,” Smart told reporters upon arrival on Friday night. “The guys have been great. We’ve had good practices and we’re excited to be here, Our guys are fired up. We’ve got a tall task and we’ve got a really good team to play. It’s kind of unique. It almost feels like we’re playing them back-to-back.”

Smart has expressed that he doesn't want his players to lose focus on the task at hand, or celebrate the fact that they’ve come this far.

The sixth-year head coach didn’t let his players give him a “Gatorade bath” following the victory over the Wolverines.

Georgia also declined for the Redcoats marching band to greet the team at the airport on Friday. 

It’s simply a business trip for the Bulldogs, who hope to win their first national title since 1980.

Smart's mantra in the past is to “keep the main thing, the main thing.” which is more than likely what he's been preaching over the last couple of weeks.

He's also hoping that some of the underclassmen don't get nervous under pressure.

“Every guy is unique,” Smart said. “We have some young players that will have more anxiety, but that anxiety will be way down because of the games they’ve played in. This team opened with Clemson, that was a really big game, I mean a really big game.” 

The Bulldogs have also played in other big-time games this year, which Smart reiterated on Friday.

“Our guys have played on some big stages now in the SEC Championship, the Orange Bowl,” Smart said. “What happens is you become more comfortable when you get in those environments. We’ve got some older players; they’ve played well in those environments. However, you need those younger guys, guys in their first and second year to play well, and you need your older players to help them do that.”

The kickoff between Georgia and Alabama is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN.