CFP notes: Georgia’s Stetson Bennett a hit at media day

Credit: Tony Walsh/UGAAA

Credit: Tony Walsh/UGAAA

INDIANAPOLIS – Quarterback Stetson Bennett highlighted four Georgia players that conducted virtual interviews Saturday for reporters here covering the College Football Playoff Championship game.

The funniest part of the 1-hour, 15-minute exercise was Bennett wrestling with the earpiece that CFP officials were making all the players wear for the interviews, conducted over the Zoom video-conferencing platform.

“Sorry, but this earpiece is driving me crazy right now,” said Bennett, stopping mid-answer to his first question of the day. “Yeah, dude, this (expletive).”

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In midstream of his answer to a question about his perspective on Georgia’s 1980 championship team, Bennett summoned a staffer to assist him with the device. All the while, the livestream rolled on.

“I’m about to have to shove this thing all the way down to my eardrum,” Bennett complained.

“Don’t puncture an eardrum,” a reporter exclaimed.

Bennett proceeded to share that he has a very deep and profound knowledge of the 1980 team. He grew up in Blackshear, of course, as passionate fan of the Bulldogs.

“I know Lindsay Scott; he’s from Wayne County, which is down there where I’m from,” Bennett said. “Obviously, I know Herschel. I talk to Buck Belue and a few other guys from that team. And I grew up listening to Larry Munson highlights on YouTube, all his calls.’”

But during what ended as a 17-minute question-and-answer session, Bennett went on to say that he’s not a Georgia fan anymore. Not because of anything that has happened since he’s been a at the school. It’s a necessary transition, he said, for being a competitive athlete.

“There comes a point and time when you become a player that you can’t be a fan anymore,” the fifth-year senior said. “I don’t really know when that switch was, and I don’t really know why, but you kind of flip a switch when you go through the day-to-day and you know all these guys. You can’t really be a fan anymore.

“But I do know the magnitude of (how badly fans want Georgia to win another title) because I was a fan at one point, and I know it’s a pretty big deal.”

That was one of several long, very deliberate answers Bennett gave to the many questions that came to him Saturday. Once he got his earpiece working, he had much to say.

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Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

The ‘Gingerbread Man’

Asked about the tremendous elusiveness that Alabama quarterback Bryce Young displayed against Georgia when they met Dec. 4 for the SEC title – and against most opponents all season – Georgia’s Jordan Davis said the Bulldogs have assigned Young a nickname.

“We were watching, I think it was ‘Hard Knocks’ with the Colts, and they were talking about how (Cardinals quarterback) Kyler Murray was running around like a gingerbread man,” Davis said. “That’s what we’ve been calling (Young) all week. Just seeing him run around our defense in the SEC Championship game, you have to tighten up, and that’s one of the things we’re trying to do.”

Indeed, in the SEC title game when Young passed for 421 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score, he slipped out of the Bulldogs’ grasp several times to make explosive players. Georgia recorded 15 QB hurries but zero sacks in the game, which Alabama won 41-24.

Davis said the Bulldogs enlisted several of their quickest and most flexible athletes, such as receivers and defensive backs, to emulate the Young in what they call “quarterback rodeo drill.”

“Bryce is an extremely talented athlete. He’s slippery,” Davis said. “… It takes a lot of skill and a lot of practice, and it teaches you to track the hips. We’ve just been tracking hips all practice. And, definitely this go-around, we’ll try to contain him and get him.”

Bulldogs sign California O-lineman

It won’t help them with this year’s national championship pursuit, but the Georgia Bulldogs got some news Saturday that might help them down the road.

Earnest Greene, who is ranked the No. 2 interior offensive linemen in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking, announced that he had signed with the Bulldogs during the first quarter of the All-American Bowl, a high school all-star game in San Antonio. He becomes the 24th member of Georgia’s 2022 recruiting class, which remains ranked No. 3 in the nation.

Coach Kirby Smart sent out his usual “Go Dawgs” message on social media after Greene made the announcement. But, truthfully, the Bulldogs have known Greene was coming their way for a long time. A 6-foot-4, 330-pound senior at St. John Bosco High in Bellflower, Calif., near Los Angeles, Greene signed his letter-of-intent and sent in his paperwork during the December signing period. He waited until Saturday’s nationally televised game to make his choice public.

Bosco is the fifth offensive lineman to join Georgia’s class. He comes from a perennial powerhouse in Bosco that was ranked in the national top 10 all season by MaxPreps.com.

Georgia has commitments from at least three other recruiting prospects. The next signing period begins Feb. 2.