Georgia stays the course despite struggles against Alabama


CW / Hannah Saad

James Benedetto, Assistant Sports Editor

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart cannot escape the inevitable questions about Alabama.

After Smart gave his opening statement at Day 2 of SEC Media Days, it took three questions before a member of the media asked him about Alabama.

This topic became a trend for the segment as numerous questions comparing the two programs were asked.

“We know Alabama has been very powerful in this conference for a long time,” Smart said. “We respect the job they do. I got a lot of respect for Coach Saban and his program. I probably wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for him. I also understand we have a really good program too.”

 The Bulldogs have blown double-digit, second-half leads over the Crimson Tide in back-to-back seasons.

“If you know the key, please tell me,” junior quarterback Jake Fromm said when asked about trying to beat Alabama. “For us its ‘Hey, how can we do more?’ We’re still trying to get bigger, faster, stronger and go into this fall the best that we can be.”

For many fans of Georgia, the one adjustment that is a high priority is preparing for the backup quarterback. In both comebacks, Alabama tapped on its backup to change the momentum.

For Smart and his players, the decisive plays of the 2017 national championship and 2018 SEC championship are consistent reminders of what could have been. That pain has already begun to impact how the team is preparing for this season.

Junior offensive lineman Andrew Thomas explained how strength and conditioning coach Scott Sinclair made the players do power cleans or squats and then run outside with sandbag runs up the Sanford Stadium steps.

The workout, titled “Adversity Thursday,” is supposed to tire out both the body and the mind, which makes the players fight through the mental fatigue to finish the workout strong.

“We are doing everything and anything we can to get over that hump,” Thomas said. “Whether it is working out more, doing more rehab, anything we can do just to get over that hump.”

The questions about Alabama were not surprising, but inevitable, given how close Georgia has come to knocking off the Crimson Tide. Smart hears the murmurs about previous Saban assistants’ 0-16 record against their former boss, but his confidence in his team remains unshaken.

“I’m well aware,” Smart said when asked about the 0-16 record. “Am I confident somebody’s going to beat him? It depends how long he coaches. It depends on how many opportunities they get. Inevitably, with enough opportunities, anything can happen.”