ATLANTA, GA (WTOC) - Saturday’s SEC Title Game is set to be a spectacle - at least for some. For the Georgia Bulldogs, it’s just the next game.
This has been the expected destination and expected opponent all season long, not to mention, this is their third time in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the last year. While many may enter the environment with wide eyes, the Dawgs say they’re remaining focused.
“It’s not anything to freak out over,” said Georgia Senior, Defensive End, Jonathan Ledbetter. “It’s the inevitable. Everyone knew this was going to come up. We’re ready for it. We’ve been waiting for it the whole year.”
“We’ve had two games in here, so our kids will be used to it as far as playing in here,” said Georgia Head Coach, Kirby Smart. “The atmosphere that is created, it’s one of the most incredible atmospheres in all of college football.”
The Dawgs and Kirby Smart had a walk through in the stadium Friday afternoon. Kirby calls it more of a formality - not so much trying to get his team used to the environment - but trying to work on some things they’ve practiced all week.
“We don’t look at it like ‘the moment is bigger than you.’ We look at it as, we’ve been in a lot of big moments. We’ve had a lot of pressure moments. We want to go out and play. I think the best coaching job you do is when you have your team prepared to play and not anxious and not too much anxiety. You want to be confident. You want them to be serious. You want them to be focused," Coach Smart said.
Georgia has had some of its biggest wins in Atlanta, including SEC Championship games in 2002, 2004, and last year. They’ve also had some devastating losses - one to Alabama in 2012 and again in the National Championship game last year.
Coach Smart says he doesn’t expect those memories to affect his team at all.
“I don’t think the venue is of significance, that’s for you guys being superstitious,” Coach Smart said. “Our guys are looking at the field and saying, 'we get a chance to go out and play in a great venue, and close to home for most of them, but I think that’s a little overdone.”
Smart says, at this point, all the coaching is done as we are now inside 24 hours until Georgia and Alabama go head to head for the SEC Championship. You can watch it all on WTOC at starting with a pregame show from 2-3 p.m., followed by the game at 4 p.m.