Georgia Football

Confidence is Key For Georgia Secondary in Matchup with Texas Receivers

December 29, 2018
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NEW ORLEANS - When you look at Texas’ go-to receivers on paper, it’s a little intimidating. But nothing about them is little.

 

Lil’Jordan Humphery: 6-foot-4, 79 catches for 1109 yards and nine touchdowns.

 

Collin Johnson: 6-foot-6, 65 catches for 945 yards and seven touchdowns.

 

Going against them in coverage, well it’s a little different than most other receivers. With their stature and physicality out wide, it forces Georgia’s secondary to change things up a little bit. They can’t initiate contact as much as they’d like.

 

“It’s really a task because you’re dealing with receivers that love to get their hands on the DB just as much as the DB loves to get their hands on them,” Tyrique McGhee said. “You’re going to have to switch up your gameplan at how you’re going to attack them… Keep their hands off them so to speak, mirror them the best we can.”

 

Inevitably, the duo is going to get the ball. Several times each, likely. Georgia knows that, and they know that they can’t let that deter them.

 

“They are going to make some catches. That is what they do,” J.R. Reed said. “You cannot get down when they do that. You just have to keep going onto the next play.”

 

The loss of Deandre Baker, who decided to sit out the Sugar Bowl in preparation for the NFL Draft, complicates this tough task even further. With Baker, you at least had the efforts of one of either Humphery or Johnson hindered. Now, the Longhorns don’t have to deal with a surefire first-round pick in the passing game.

 

“Baker not being here, they’re probably relieved a little bit,” McGhee said.

 

The weight Baker carried is passed on to guys like Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, Mark Webb, all underclassmen. Between the three, there isn’t a lot of experience. They’ve played in most of the games, albeit on only this one season. Compared to what they’ve seen, for the most part, this is a new beast. And preparing for that beast all starts in the head.

 

“Really, you just want to start off showing confidence in them,” Reed said. “Getting those guys ready, whoever’s up, you have to let those guys know that you’re built for this. It’s your time, your next season starts now.”

 

That isn’t manufactured confidence, either. Both Reed and Richard LeCounte were asked several times whether Baker’s absence affected how their coverage at safety would with less experienced corners on the field.

 

To them, nothing changes. They see a pretty talented wide receiving corps of their own in practice. The two know exactly what this group of corners is capable of against big bodied guys and NFL-caliber receivers.

 

“Our cornerbacks are ready to play ball, man,” LeCounte said. “We see that every day: Matt Landers we have to go against, Riley Ridley, Terry Godwin. They aren’t 6’5, 6’7, but those guys are definitely great wideouts that we have to face every day.”

 

It’s a large bit of trust they’re putting in these players, sure. But if guys like Reed and LeCounte want to instill confidence in these younger defensive backs, they have to be oozing self-confidence themselves. It isn’t overly in your face or over the top, either. This secondary is calm, but they know exactly what they can do.

 

“I think we showed that in the Alabama game that we can cover with anybody,” Reed said. “Showed that we’re one of the best secondaries in the nation.”

 
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