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Dec 2, 2023
151 ATLANTA — Kirby Smart likes to say there are no secrets in college football, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have a few tricks up his sleeve today. The No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs put their blossoming dynasty on the line today in the SEC Championship Game against the league’s former gold standard, Alabama. The teams will tip off at 4 p.m. (TV: CBS) with College Football Playoff implications on the line. Georgia, 12-0 this season and winner of 29 straight games, will likely need to win a 30th straight game to secure a spot in the four-team CFP field. Smart shared his team’s mindset and three of the biggest keys to the game, from a personnel perspective, game decisions and game management. Supporting cast Georgia quarterback Carson Beck will have a lot on his shoulders calling plays and adjusting protections and routes on each snap. “I hope he has some guys to help him, more healthy guys, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not,” Smart said on ESPN’s College GameDay. “He’s a guy we count on. We put a lot of pressure on Carson to make decisions, and he did a good job with that. Brock Bowers is expected to play, Ladd McConkey could be limited and Rara Thomas looks doubtful, 3D chess Smart is 1-4 against Nick Saban, but Georgia won the last meeting 33-18, and two others were decided by one score. Still, Smart tries not to overthink this knowledge of Saban’s philosophies, and sometimes even goes against his own tendencies just to keep his former boss and mentor balanced. “I think when you’ve been in a room with someone for nine years, you know you think the same way, even though we’ve been apart for eight years,” Smart said. “But there are some things that you know situationally or they know you’re going to do that you can think the opposite of, but those are usually situational things, not game plan things.” Powerful mo Smart has said throughout the season that one of the hallmarks of the 2023 version of Georgia football is “they can take a punch,” and that’s gone to the extreme with seven straight teams scoring the first TD. The Bulldogs adapted quickly in most of those games and pulled away, but Smart expects this Alabama contest to be different and his team needs to be able to respond. “Who runs those momentum changes and the line of scrimmage,” Smart said, asking for his keys to the game. “I mean, I’d like to say explosive plays because we both have them, and when you look explosive plays, the guy who won the explosive plays usually won the game, and that’s an important indicator. “But whoever manages these fluctuations in momentum best might be the one who holds up.” RELATED: Could Florida Gators’ star running back transfer to Georgia? Free agency coming soon… Gn sports
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