Georgia football 'fired up' as it arrives in bundled-up Indianapolis for championship game

Marc Weiszer
Athens Banner-Herald
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INDIANAPOLIS — Some passengers on a Delta flight that arrived here from Atlanta on Friday morning let out some hearty ‘Go Dawgs!’ after landing at Indianapolis International Airport.

There was barking at the baggage claim, too.

Some nine hours later, the Georgia football team touched down here as well on two planes with temperatures a frigid16 degrees.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart was ready for the conditions thanks to his wife Mary Beth.

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Georgia football coach Kirby Smart shares thoughts after the teams arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport on Friday evening.

“When we got on the buses and the planes, I just had a sports coat on, I didn’t even have a jacket,” Smart said shortly after landing. “Luckily my wife brought this jacket for me because she was prepared. Our players were all winter coated up. I told them they weren’t going to be outside much.”

They arrived on two planes a little more than 72 hours before Monday night’s 8 p.m. kickoff against Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship game.

“The mood’s great,” Smart said. “Guys have been great. We’ve had good practices. We’re excited to be here. Our guys are really fired up. We’ve got a tall task. We’ve got a really good team to play, a very talented team.”

Georgia is practicing Saturday and will do a walk-through session at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday afternoon.

“Knock on wood, we’ve got another one tomorrow, but we’ve had great health and no issues with flu or COVID,” Smart said.

Four years ago when Georgia lost to Alabama in the national championship game in Atlanta, Smart said “it had a little bit more of an SEC championship feel to it. …The weather is very different for a Georgia-Alabama matchup, I can promise you that.”

Rain is in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday with some snow, sleet and freezing rain, according to the national weather service.

The game will be played indoor at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Alabama arrived earlier Friday evening, getting police escorts for their team buses on the highway to its hotel as did Georgia.

Outgoing Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning posed for a photo on the tarmac in front of a CFP 2022 sign with his wife and kids.

It was quite a change for the Bulldogs from temperatures in the 80s during Orange Bowl week in Miami when they beat Michigan 34-11 in the semifinals.

“I do think we played well in our last game,” Smart said, “and I do think we’ve got some guys that are gaining confidence.”

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