Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 27, 2018 at 9:43 pm.

Dawgs won’t be intimidated

For some teams, just seeing the name Alabama can conjure up feelings of intimidation. They know the long, storied history of the Crimson Tide and especially what the program has achieved over the course of the past decade.

Senior Jonathan Ledbetter said Georgia will not be one of those teams.

Yes, undefeated and top-ranked Alabama (12-0) is a double-digit favorite over the No. 4 Bulldogs (11-1), but when it comes to approaching Saturday’s SEC Championship Game (4 p.m. ET, CBS), Ledbetter dispelled any idea the Georgia players will be in awe of Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide.

“I don’t see it as an intimidation factor. It’s just another football team with kids who grew up just like I did. It’s crazy,” Ledbetter said.

“They’re the head honcho, they’ve been leading the pack for a while and been playing a good brand of football. You can’t take anything away from them, but Georgia has been doing that, too. I don’t see why we’d be afraid of another man, so I don’t think anybody on my team is afraid.”

Head coach Kirby Smart certainly doesn’t expect any issues.

“I think the biggest thing is preparing your team the right way to play and not getting overwhelmed by the moment. If anything, I’ve probably seen more teams lose it in the warm-ups, just trying to get all amped up and all that,” Smart said.

“You have to go play your best game. You have to be yourself, and you have to be the best version of you, and you can’t worry about the rest.”

Of course, it helps that Georgia took Alabama to overtime in last year’s national title game.

Although there was obvious disappointment with the way the contest ended, Ledbetter said that, given the fact the Bulldogs gave the Crimson Tide everything they wanted, there’s no reason to suspect Saturday has to be any different.

But it’s not just that.

Winners of five straight since the debacle at LSU, Georgia is playing its best ball of the year, and that more than anything has Ledbetter confident about the effort his teammates will give.

“You’re probably not going to want to hear me say this, but it’s the next team,” Ledbetter said. “It’s supposedly Alabama, hoorah that, hoorah this, but it’s just another football game for us. We’re going to approach it the same exact way we’ve approached every game all season.”