LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during a game on Monday night, Georgia safety Javon Bullard was terrified by the sight of an NFL player having to be resuscitated.
“Probably one of the most scariest things I’ve ever seen, not knowing if someone’s gonna make it on a football field,” Bullard said Saturday during media day for the College Football Playoff championship game.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart wanted to find a way to reassure his players, so he organized meetings with the team’s medical staff, a mental health specialist and team chaplain on Tuesday.
“They were concerned, and you start asking questions if you play, ‘Could this happen to me?’” Smart said. “So we did an education the very next morning, first thing in.”
For TCU cornerback Josh Newton, Hamlin’s collapse was especially troubling because it came after a routine play.
“I mean, that tackle happens in almost every football game,” Newton said. “He just got hit at the wrong place at the wrong time. Like that’s something nobody’s ever seen.”
But Newton said it won’t affect his approach toward the game.
“You can’t back away from it or be nervous about it as a defensive player," he said. "The only thing you can do is just be careful.”
Georgia defensive line coach Tray Scott hopes one of the takeaways from Hamlin’s incident will be increased first aid training and preparation.
“Every offseason they make the coaches and everyone on the staff go through strenuous CPR training. So if anything happened to my guys right now, I’m not gonna hesitate a beat. ‘Hey you go get the AED. I’ll do this. You call 911.’ … It’s all about information,” Scott said.
TCU running back Kendre Miller is questionable to play after sustaining a right knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl win over Michigan.
Miller, a junior who leads the team with 1,399 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns, was able to practice Thursday, but felt sore coming out of that workout.
Horned Frogs coach Sonny Dykes expects to know by Sunday if Miller will be able to contribute.
“We’re still optimistic that he’s going to be able to play,” Dykes said. “And we want him to be very effective. We just don’t want to put him out there and give him an opportunity to get more injured.”
REASONS TO PLAY
Georgia tight end Darnell Washington is no longer in a walking boot after sustaining an ankle injury against Ohio State in the Peach Bowl, and the junior is preparing as if he will be available on Monday.
Besides playing for a second consecutive national title, Washington has added motivation to be out on the field as the Las Vegas native will have his family, who have never seen him play in a college game, in attendance.
“If I get a chance to play, try to put on a show for them,” Washington said.
DICTATE THE TERMS
Playing fast has been a trademark of TCU’s offense all season, but it could take on added significance against a Georgia defense that wants to rotate frequently and maximize its deep roster.
“If you go tempo on anybody, any defense, it’s tough,” TCU offensive lineman Wes Harris said. “Heck, it’s tough on us too, but our coach always says they’re more tired than you are because they got to chase the football.”
Bulldogs co-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said managing snap counts for linemen takes on a greater emphasis in a matchup like this.
“Once a big guy runs out of gas, they’re done,” he said.
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