Bulldogs try to focus on Texas as distractions abound

Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter in the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Photo: Dale Zanine-USA Today Sports)

Distractions abound but the Georgia Bulldogs say they are focused on the Texas Longhorns and are excited about playing in the All-State Sugar Bowl Tuesday night at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans. First the announcement that quarterback Justin Fields was going to transfer, then the announcement that DeAndre Baker, a potential first-round NFL prospect, was not going to play, and now the hoopla surrounding the college playoff that many now argue that Georgia should have been in the top four and playing for the national title.

Georgia and Texas will meet Tuesday night at 8:45. The game will be aired on ESPN.

“I think guys are starting to dial in and get focused on this football game.” said quarterback Jake Fromm. “It is New Orleans. We have been here for a couple of days and seen the city. We are getting ready to go out and get ready to show what we can do.”

Earlier it looked as though Fields would not be playing in the Sugar Bowl, but Fields is in New Orleans and preparing to play in the game. Fromm said he thinks Fields will be ready. “First, I want to be a good teammate. So any way I can help him, I definitely am. He and I personally have not talked about it. That has been more with him. But right now, I think both of us are not really worried about that. We are worried about this football game and how we can make this team the best that it could be.”

Baker has the support of his coach and teammates as well. “We support him in this decision,” Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart said. “It’s a tough decision, when you look at it. He was forced to make it. I think it was on his mind. He met with his family about it. It was really important to him that he stay with the team.” Teammates also commented that Baker had their full support.

The latest distraction, other than Bourbon Street and the French Quarter in New Orleans, is the media frenzy currently happening because the two semifinal games were blowouts. Many are arguing that the College Football Playoff committee should have included Georgia in the playoff despite two losses because of how well they played against Alabama. Alabama surged to a 28-0 lead against Oklahoma Saturday night in the Orange Bowl and breezed to a 45-34 win. In the other semifinal, Clemson blasted Notre Dame 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl. When Georgia and Alabama played in the SEC championship game Georgia built a two-touchdown lead, but the Crimson Tide came from behind to win. Playoff committee members didn’t want two SEC teams in the championship, especially with Georgia having two losses.

“Yes I saw somebody tweet something there,” said offensive lineman Andrew Thomas. “Guys are I guess not too happy with our position right now but we’re playing a great team and we have to get ready for Texas.” “I watched the Bowl game yesterday. We were watching at the bowling alley. That game doesn’t have much to do with us so our focus is on Texas right now.”

“I think the committee put the best four teams in the playoffs,” said senior wide receiver Terry Godwin. “It is disappointing, but we have to concentrate on Georgia football and beating Texas.” Sophomore running back DeAndre Swift said Georgia doesn’t have anything to prove.“We don’t need to prove anything, said Swift. “Just keep doing what we are doing. People saw how we played last game. I do not think we need to prove anything. Just keep playing Georgia football. Everything will take care of itself.”

While the Georgia team would have loved to be in the college playoff, they are not disappointed to be playing in the Sugar Bowl. “I am extremely thankful and grateful,” said Fromm. “I am extremely blessed to be here, especially with these teammates. These are guys that I have worked extremely hard with. We have put a lot in together. It is a thankful moment, and I cannot wait to play one more with these boys.”

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