Dawgs zero in on catching Bama’s ‘gingerbread man’

Field Level Media

January 08, 2022 at 6:51 pm.

Georgia can count a number of concerns as the hours tick away before kickoff of the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship game Monday night.

None weigh on the Bulldogs as much as catching the “Gingerbread Man.”

That’s the nickname some Georgia defenders have given Heisman Trophy-winning Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, whose can’t-catch-me season already has him in the Crimson Tide record books.

Based on his ability to evade tacklers and escape tight spaces in the pocket, Georgia is referring to Young as the Gingerbread Man.

“I hadn’t heard that until now. But I guess it’s a compliment. But that is stuff you can’t control. We know how good that front seven is,” Young said Saturday in Indianapolis, about 50 hours before game time. “We have a ton of respect for them, that entire defense. We understand the challenge that’s at hand. There’s a respect factor there. So we have respect. It’s just on us to prepare during the week to put ourselves in the best position to be successful and execute when the time comes. ”

Young passed for 421 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s 41-24 win over Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game last month. The showing was a surprise given the Bulldogs’ reputation entering the game as an historically dominant group. Georgia had limited teams to per-game averages of 231 yards of total offense and 6.9 points. Alabama scored on five consecutive drives.

Young also had a rushing TD and 40 yards on the ground.

“Bryce is an extremely talented athlete. He’s slippery,” Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis said Saturday. “And I forgot, we were watching, I think ‘Hard Knocks’ with the Colts, and they were talking about the gingerbread man and how Kyler Murray was running around like a gingerbread man. That’s what we’ve been calling him all week. Just seeing him run around our defense in the SEC Championship game, you have to tighten up.”

Young is stepping into a huge spot for his own legacy and the growing trend of Alabama quarterbacks ending the season with a national title. He was a backup to Mac Jones last season when the undefeated Crimson Tide claimed a national championship.

He heard from Jones, a first-round draft pick and the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots these days, earlier this week before leaving Tuscaloosa with the expectation he’ll return with another title.

“I think everyone, all those quarterbacks understand being here and what our goal is as a team,” Young said of Jones and Tua Tagovailoa keeping in close contact. “So kind of being able to tap into that and feed into that, knowing that winning this game is always a goal for us at this program. So just being able to feed off of that, that means a lot.”