No one, players or coaches, is denying that the TCU O was bad at times in 2016. But to a man, they seem to have a strong belief that all of the mistakes are fixable.
“It’s an opportunity to put some of the things we did toward the end of the year behind us and pinpoint some of the things we feel like we need to improve on — effort, leadership, real simple things that we needed as a football team,” Meacham said. “Identifying guys for next season, improving on composure, improving on blocking and catching and running and just the schematics of all the things you do in football.”
One of the best parts of the bowl season is seeing college teams brightening the days of children in the towns they play.
“It's a good feeling in everyone's heart to give back to kids this young,” Mauger said. “We have a platform as athletes and how you use it is one of the things I've been taught. And giving back to the kids is the best way to do it."
Schlottman missed two games this season, and the offense sputtered without him. The junior showed flashes in his first season as a starter, but is expected to be even better in year two.
Co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham said Schlottmann had it tough playing on a leg injury, but that he still had to do his job.
“He played well enough to be all-conference, but I think he can play better,” Meacham said. “And I think we’ve just got to do a better job coaching him. We’ve got to do a better job of finding the next guy and the combinations you have in case something like that happens.”
The Bulldogs’ defensive leader may have his eyes on an NFL future by Friday afternoon, but he is fully focused on the Frogs until then.
“I’ve gotten that feedback,” Sanders said. “But I’m really not even worried about it. The main thing: This game is important. I told myself that I wouldn’t talk about that while I’m out here. I’m trying to focus on punishing TCU.”
The Frogs are favored by the slimmest of margins, but UGA seems to be the pick of most pundits.
Both these teams disappointed this season, so it's difficult to discern who's happier playing in this second-tier bowl. Ultimately, Georgia won three of its last four games and could have won all four, while TCU lost four of its last six. Also, the Bulldogs own the better defense. The smart money here at online betting sites sides with Georgia.
If Georgia has injury issues up the middle, I have just one request:
GIVE KYLE THE DAMN BALL.
Patrick and Carter being fit could be crucial to Georgia’s chances of victory in the Liberty Bowl. With an error-prone passing offense, TCU relies on its ground game to put up points. Kyle Hicks has less than 1,000 yards this season, but he has the ability to make long runs if he can get into space. And although QB Kenny Hill may be an interception machine, he has some solid wheels, running for more than 500 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. It’s the inside linebackers who will be charged with keeping an eye on him and making sure he doesn’t make many plays with his legs.
Why so many bowl games? Money, duh.
“We are very proud because we are the seventh-oldest bowl game in the country,” Ehrhart said. “All the Memphians are working hard to make sure we hold on to our territory and hang on to our turf because every other city wants a bowl. …We already think there are too many bowls, so that is why it is really important for us to show that ours has stood the test of time and the community supports it.”
The city of Memphis is ready for the tens of thousands of fans expected to make their way to the game Friday.
The stadium and city of Memphis are working together to make sure visitors and fans have a safe, smooth trip to a squeaky clean stadium.
"A shuttle system is in place where folks can park at the University of Memphis on Central Avenue pay ten dollars to park free ride to the stadium round trip. It's great," says Graeter.
Thomas Carrier is the GM of Autozone Liberty Bowl. He says, "We just wanna make sure that it's clean and presentable. We've got thousands of fans coming from out of town."