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Georgia Football

Jordan Davis: SEC Championship was a "Wake-Up Call"

January 8, 2022
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INDIANAPOLIS-- Georgia’s star defensive lineman Jordan Davis is ready to right his wrongs against Alabama the second time around. 

The No. 3 Bulldogs are considered 3-point favorites by FanDuel to beat No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Indianapolis on Monday, January 10, 2022. The game is being broadcast by ESPN

Q. In your time with Stetson Bennett, what has impressed you the most about sort of everything he's done, his journey and all that he's gone through?

JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely his resiliency. Stetson is a resilient kid. He went from Rose Bowl scout team QB coming in, and just grinding, working. He's an extremely hard worker. Every time I see Stetson he's either learning up on something or on his flip phone. He's that guy you want to be around.

Q. As everybody's attempted to break down your last two games, the team's last two games, not yours, it seems like everybody, the narrative is you guys were just in a different place mentally against Michigan. Would you agree with that? And since the two teams in this game seem like they're pretty equal physically, does it really come down to focus and mental approach in your view?

JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely. After the last Alabama game it was like our wake-up call. We realized that we had a lot of work to do and we hadn't arrived yet. And we just came back, worked hard, and went out and played Michigan. And we've seen the result of that game.

It's just a different mindset switch from practice to where we carry ourselves in the locker room, especially like this week, grinding hard.

It's kind of like a bittersweet moment because although we're playing for a national championship, the older guys and seniors are leaving. So it's kind of like balancing that and balancing those emotions.

But definitely this game is a lot more mental than physical. And these teams are pretty much evenly matched when it comes to personnel and physicality and everything. And the thing that really sets us apart is just mentally and who do things better.

Q. First 12 games were unbelievable statistically for your defense, obviously. And then Alabama took some of the shine off of that. I just wanted your take on what you think your perspective is on the true identity of this defense.

JORDAN DAVIS: Our defense is what you've seen for the last 12 weeks in the regular season. Alabama, they gave us a little fit. Threw a lot of haymakers and we couldn't really respond like we wanted to.

But with time, you get better. You learn more about yourself as a defense. You learn more about Alabama this time going into the game. So definitely this time around definitely will be different.

Q. What did they do specifically, Alabama, against you to make it difficult in the SEC Championship game?

JORDAN DAVIS: Honestly, the SEC, it was down to mental execution. It was a couple of plays that we busted and they got big plays on. And just I'd say we wasn't as conditioned as we should have been, especially on my part.

And definitely this week we've been working hard. Coach Smart has been working us hard. And actually I'm about to go run right now after this meeting. So it's definitely about pushing yourself to the next level. You just want to do the things -- this is for all the glory. So, if you're not pushing yourself to the absolute limit, then it's like what are you here for.

Q. You kind of talked about pushing yourself to that next level. Coming into Monday night's game, as a leader on Georgia's defense what have you seen in terms of preparation over the last few days to make you believe that your team is prepared for this rematch against Alabama?

JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely the buy-in. The whole team is bought into the plan, to, like, just everything, extra film, extra conditioning, just doing the little things extra that we need to get us to the next level. And it's been a great journey. We always talk about if you're going to do something, bring somebody with you. So it's been like young kids going with the seniors and getting some extra film or getting some extra conditioning. I was out there working with Kelee, and when you're working out with Kelee or somebody else from a different position you learn more about them. And it kind of ties in and that connection piece we've been talking about all year. So it's one of those things. Everybody's just been bought in. So it makes it a lot easier to just coach for the coaches and it's a lot easier to play as a player.

Q. Can you talk about what not only beating Alabama would mean but what winning the national championship would mean both for you and for Georgia as a whole?

JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely beating Alabama would be an accomplishment, not only for me but for Coach Smart and everything.

I've had three shots at Alabama and I haven't beaten them yet. So that's speaking for myself. As a team, winning the national championship, that's what we're grinding for, what we're working for all season. Of course it's going to be an amazing feeling. We haven't won a national championship since 1980.

So to be able to do this and have a regular season like we did and just come out on top, at the end of the day it will be an amazing feeling and it's one of those things you work hard for.

Not a lot of kids on this team -- I was fortunate enough to be a state champion in high school. But some kids, they haven't been a champion ever. So for them to win, it kind of puts a lot of things in perspective, because you come to Georgia to be your best and be elite. When you win a national championship, you're considered the best and elite. That's one of the goals we're trying to reach. And we have a chance at that on Monday.

Q. You said it's a lot more mental than physical as it relates to Alabama and the success they've had. How would you guys approach that to have the right mental frame of mind?

JORDAN DAVIS: As I said, it's just a lot more film. A lot more paying attention to the details, with technique, film. Noticing little nuances with the offense and just learning about how they operate a little bit more. Obviously we have a little bit more time than we did for the SEC Championship game.

We just took that time to really just work on ourselves. It's not even about Alabama. It's really about working on ourselves and getting that mental piece and getting that mental hurdle over.

Q. Enjoyed watching you rise through your career. Stetson was up there a moment ago talking about hero or zero. And I think about all the social media, highlights of that first game and you being kind of the face of the program. A lot of people zeroed in on you in the sideline-to-sideline play and neutralizing the Outland Trophy and Bednarik. How hard did that hit you? You just mentioned the conditioning, and you seem to have a little bit more of an edge today. Did that game hit you hard in terms of just how important it is for you to be that sharp on point and physically ready?

JORDAN DAVIS: Yeah, definitely. It was definitely a wake-up call. I had to look at myself and realize I wasn't doing enough.

I try not to let things get to me and affect me like that, but that game, it definitely stung a little bit. Because obviously every game you go into you expect to win. And not winning that game and the SEC Championship hurt a little bit. But we knew we had a new opportunity. And with new opportunities you have a chance to be different.

So I took that chance, took the opportunity to be different, and definitely it will pay off for me tenfold because I feel better, my body feels better. I'm just doing the little things like recovering and getting in the training room and rolling out and icing up. Just the little things that makes you a better football player I'm doing. And I'm just ready to showcase that on Monday.

Q. You touched on not winning a national title at Georgia since 1980. I just wonder how much fans come up to you kind of pleading with you to end that drought? And do you have a sense of, beyond the football program, how kind of desperate the state is to win another national championship, or Georgia fans are?

JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely. The whole state's behind us. And you can think back to how many great teams have been at the University of Georgia since 1980 that haven't won a championship. We just want to take that opportunity and be different. And at the end of the day that's what we came here for. That's what we're grinding for. And we want to do something absolutely special in our time here.

Q. I think it was Jamaree that said Stetson is just going to be Stetson at all times. What does it mean or look like for you guys both on a day-to-day basis and actually on game day too?

JORDAN DAVIS: Stetson is calm, cool and collected every day that I've seen him. He never gets too high. Never gets too low. And we just need that even-keeled Stetson. I definitely think there was definitely a lot of trash talk about him after the SEC game that we all seen.

We just want to make sure he had our support. And no matter what, we always are tenfold behind him. Stetson is, how he went to Michigan and played lights out. And we know and you know what he's capable and we all know what he's capable of and we just need his best just like he needs our best, and we're always there for him.

Q. I know you have a walk-through tomorrow, man. But this is the final practice of your college career today. Are you going to miss them? Your past experiences, do you guys do anything fun at the final day of practice for the seniors or any of the old guys?

JORDAN DAVIS: Yeah, I'm going to miss practice a lot. I was just thinking about that. Yesterday I was, like, man, this is my last practice in this facility. So I was just taking time and writing, like, a little message in my locker for the next person to see, whoever that might be.

But it's definitely a bittersweet moment. Grateful to be in this position playing for a national championship. But it's also sad that it's my last go-around. But at the end of the day, you just have to leave the nest. I can't be here forever. I'm grateful for the time I had here. The University of Georgia has been so great to me and my family. I thank them.

As for senior traditions, the D line had to carry the seniors off on the field yesterday at practice. So it was me, Vonte and Julian Rochester. So we had about like four people each trying to carry us off the field. Each position group, they had to carry the seniors off. So that's kind of like the tradition that the seniors have each year.

Q. They actually found somebody to carry you off the field?

JORDAN DAVIS: It had to be like three or four people. It's like two people grabbed my legs, one got my back. It was pretty -- I would say it was pretty easy for them. They didn't have a hard time, from what I saw.

Q. Could you reveal what was in that little note you left

JORDAN DAVIS: I can't reveal all the details. But it's just pretty much like -- I would say it's just a little memo. It was just my name, a little message and the years I played and in a hiding spot so they have to find it. But when they do, they'll have a little message.

It was more so for me, so when I come back I can just look at it and I'm like, yeah, that was my locker. If I have kids in the future or bring my brothers or something like that.

Q. Every defense wants to make the other quarterback uncomfortable. How difficult is it to make Bryce Young uncomfortable?

JORDAN DAVIS: Bryce is an extremely talented athlete. He's slippery. 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.

That's one of the things we've been trying to do. I've been going against like wide receivers in our quarterback rodeo drill in practice, so trying to track down a wide receiver who is shifty, and I'm a defensive lineman, 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.

 

 
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