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Kirby Smart gives final COVID, player availability update before Peach Bowl against Cincinnati


#At the beginning of the week, #Kirby #Smart made it clear that COVID-19 was a concern with his team after he allowed players to go home over #Christmas break to be with their families.

#Related: #Georgia on ‘pins and needles’ over #Covid-19 tests leading into #Peach #Bowl

#In his final media appearance before the #Bulldogs take on #No. 8 #Cincinnati, #Smart didn’t detail which players will be out of the game. #But he did offer a hint that some players could be unavailable for the game.

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“The guys who are able to play will be out there to play. The ones who won’t unfortunately won’t be out there to play,” #Smart said. “We have dealt with this all year and haven’t disclosed that.”

#Georgia tested players on #Saturday, #Monday and #Wednesday ahead of the game against the #Bearcats. #In addition to any COVID-related absences, #Georgia will be without #Eric #Stokes, DJ #Daniel, #Monty #Rice, #Tre’ #McKitty and #Ben #Cleveland as those five have all declared for the 2021 NFL #Draft.

The #Bulldogs will also be without #James #Cook after the death of his father earlier in the week.

“James was close to his dad. #Tough, tough environment for him,” #Smart said. “I know all the running backs have reached out to him, spoke with him. I’ve spoke with him a couple times. #He’s dealing with it the best he can. #Appreciates all the support of #Dawg #Nation, all our fan base. #Your heart goes out for him.”

#This will be the 10th game this season for both teams, one that COVID has obviously impacted. #Both teams had games cancelled due to the virus this year. They also both had their non-conference severely impacted as well. The #Bearcats were supposed to play #Nebraska, while #Georgia had all of its non-conference games washed away.

#Friday’s game will be the first time all season that #Georgia has played a team that doesn’t represent the SEC.

“If you asked the players, they would have liked to have played the non-conference opponents in terms of starting out with UVA,” #Smart said.  They’re always going to say they want to play.

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“I know each and every guy, including myself, would have loved to be able to compete and played every game we possibly could.”

#Cincinnati head coach #Luke #Fickell pointed out that the teams weren’t just battling COVID this year but the wear and tear that comes with a normal college football season. #Georgia knows that well, as the likes of #Richard #LeCounte and #Jordan #Davis missed multiple games due to injury this year.

“There are a lot of things that happen on the back end, whether you’ve missed practices, had time off, guys aren’t as healthy,” #Fickell said. “It’s not just their lungs, the virus, it’s the things that happen from guys being off. #We’re in the same boat.”

#Through it all though, #Smart has been proud of how his team has handled the never-ending adversity that 2020 brought upon the #Georgia team. #Back in #August when the #Big #Ten and PAC-12 cancelled their respective seasons, it seemed hard to fathom that a complete college football season would be played.

#Yet as we end 2020, #Georgia got through nine games and is ready to play in a 10th on #Friday. #This #Georgia team certainly lived up to “do more” moniker during this season.

“Never ever, ever, ever give up. #Don’t quit on it,” #Smart said.  #Keep fighting, pushing through. #We’re teaching our kids some valuable lessons. There’s a lot of people in the world today, in #America today, I’m not going to say use COVID, use the pandemic maybe to do less.

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‘These kids have actually done more, okay? They’ve done more through the pandemic because they had to work twice as hard to stay available.”

#Kirby #Smart previews #Peach #Bowl against #Cincinnati

#More #Georgia football stories from around #DawgNation





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https://www.dawgnation.com/football/kirby-smart-georgia-football-cincinnati-covid

##Kirby ##Smart #final #COVID #player #availability #update ##Peach ##Bowl ##Cincinnati

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