July 17, 2018 / 3:59 PM / 5 months ago

Smart: Georgia over loss to Alabama, ready to go in 2018

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said his team is over the heartbreaking loss to Alabama in the national title game in January.

Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart arrives for the 2018 CFP national championship college football game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

To Smart, who led the Bulldogs to the championship game in just his second season in Athens, it was another building block for the future — and one he, his staff and players moved on from quickly.

“Everyone wants to talk about that question,” Smart told reporters at SEC Media Days on Tuesday in Atlanta. “It’s not like I have nightmares about it, no. I think we grow from it. The entire season was a learning experience, a confidence builder.”

Entering the 2018 season, the Bulldogs are the heavy favorite to win the SEC East. They lost a number of players to the NFL draft, including running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, as well as linebacker Roquan Smith, but the Bulldogs have rebuilt with the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2018.

“I don’t think you look back on it like a horror story,” Smart said. “You take it and go. We don’t have time in our business. Literally, right after the game we’re on the road recruiting two days later, in someone’s home trying to convince them to come.”

With freshman quarterback Jake Fromm at the helm in the championship game, Georgia led 20-7 in the third quarter but scored only three points from that point. Alabama won 26-23. Fromm comes back with that year of experience behind him.

Junior safety J.R. Reed said he put the loss behind him long ago and is ready to pursue the championship again. Georgia will play Austin Peay in Week 1 of the season on Sept. 1.

“When it happened, it was rough, but after that, it’s just what’s next, and that’s the season,” Reed said. “You hit the offseason, you go back, watching film, see what you messed up on, you watch that game, you watch the first game, you watch the second game, and you just keep working at it, keep moving on.”

The loss was tougher on fans, apparently.

“When you get to talking to people, they’ll always talk about that game,” Reed told the media. “ That’s one game that I know Georgia fans will talk about until the day Georgia dies.”

—Field Level Media

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