Buckeyes conduct first Peach Bowl practice in Atlanta

#4 Ohio State faces #1 Georgia in College Football Playoff semifinal Saturday
FILE - Ohio State head coach Ryan Day walks before an NCAA college football game against Notre...
FILE - Ohio State head coach Ryan Day walks before an NCAA college football game against Notre Dame, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Day says the Buckeyes had a productive week of practice last week and realize the opportunity they have in front of them with a Peach Bowl showdown against top-ranked Georgia.(AP Photo/David Dermer, File)(David Dermer | AP)
Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 3:38 PM EST
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Getting set to play in the college football playoff is never easy, especially when the game takes place on a holiday weekend.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are well aware of that. Head coach Ryan Day and the team are already in Atlanta beginning their game plan for number one Georgia Saturday night in the Peach Bowl.

There are responsibilities all week long, so getting into town early is a must, even if that means traveling on Christmas day.

“We got in last night and had a little dinner for everybody last night, which was great,” Day said. “Appreciate everybody at the Peach Bowl doing a great job for the families and have a lot of family and children here in the travel party. So there was a Santa Claus here handing out gifts for the family, so that was great. Had a really good practice today over at the stadium. “Everybody here has been great. Everything was really well done.”

Now the focus is on trying to stop a high power Bulldogs offense, lead by quarterback Stetson Bennett and a terrific running game.

“Georgia does a great job, and I think they have a great mix,” Day said. “When you look at what they do on offense, they’re going to try to challenge you in a lot of different areas. Certainly it starts with the run game. So we’ve got to play with great fundamentals. We have to learn how they’re trying to attack us within the game and then obviously get our guys into the best position possible schematically.

In regards to the Bulldogs passing attack, it’s not just the wide receivers making plays. The Buckeyes defense has to be aware of an outstanding group of tight ends on Georgia’s roster.

“Yeah, they’re good tight ends,” linebacker Tommy Eichenberg said. “They’re effective in the pass game and also in the run game too, good as blockers. So I think, when it comes down to that, everyone’s got to do their job.”

Quarterback C.J. Stroud and the offense must answer Georgia scores with points of their own. Ohio State can’t afford to score just three points in the second half like they did against Michigan and expect to advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship game.

“We practice every play, every snap,” tight end Cade Stover said. “If it doesn’t score, then that’s not acceptable for us. Clearly that’s not -- I mean, that obtainable of course. It’s football. They practice too. We expect to go in there and be successful every drive, and if we don’t, we’re going to come back and solve our problems.”

The Buckeyes need to be balanced on offense. Running the football will be a key. Georgia sports one of the best defensive fronts in the country and presents a big challenge for opposing running attacks.

“We’ve got the plays down. We’ve got the people here to do it,” Stover said. “It’s just the fact of putting it all together here and playing all 11 together and just doing our job one at a time here and being successful running the ball.”

“We know we’ve got to play our best game up front,” Day said. “We know what the challenge is and certainly some great players over there. That’s what working towards this all year is all about. You have to be playing your best football right here in the CFP, and certainly we’re going to get challenged here on Saturday.”