Kirby Smart: Those are the growing pains you have to go through

October 15, 2019
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Head Coach Kirby Smart
Opening Statement
“It was good weather today, good spirits. I thought these last two practices have had a lot of energy.  I was a little more worried about today, but they came out and had a good, physical practice. It’s going to be tough prep because we don’t know what the quarterback situation is really going to be. They could use both of them and they have a third component, which is the wildcat component, so there’s really three things there.  They are a good, physical football team and defensively, they’re really big up front.”
 
On the different level of athleticism seen from Lynn Bowden…
“It reminds me of Hines Ward. Anytime you have the ball back there at quarterback, what happens is you’re put in conventional coverage and you forget the guy back there is always open and probably the most dangerous plays he has as a football player are when he has the ball in space. Every play at quarterback is that. He’s sitting there with seven lanes in front of him where he can take off and run. Some of his most explosive plays the other night were third downs, that were drop back passes. It makes you just play the game so different, it’s unusual.  In college football you are not used to playing that kind of game so it makes you call the game differently.”
 
On how close Tyrique Stevenson is to getting where he wants him to be…
“Tyrique had a good week of practice last week and he actually played in the game when Mark Webb’s injury occurred.  He had two opportunities to make tackles. His missed those opportunities- one was a close sack and that’s more of an experience of playing, not a lack of ability.  Those are the growing pains you have to go through when you’re playing guys that are getting their first considerable playing time.  He’s still in a battle at ‘money’ to play and he’s still in a battle at corner to play. He’s still learning our defense and becoming a better practice player.”
 
On the general analysis of busts on the right side…
“Not at all. We had busted coverage against Tennessee, but it was a good designed play. They don’t bust, they got beat. There’s a difference. If you bust, you don’t know what to do. If you get beat, you get physically beat on a route. So when we got beat on the double move at Tennessee, it happens, it’s unfortunate and you learn from it.  And then against South Carolina we just had bad eyes. It’s not about the right or left side, it’s not about this guy or that guy. It’s not about the coverage call. It’s about the discipline to do my job when it matters most and that’s what it boils down to. 
 
We talked to our guys a lot to day about explosive plays.  We are 18th in the country in not giving up explosive plays defensively and we’re 30-something in offense explosive plays.  We are trying to move up in both of those. The best way to do that is to work on them.”
 
On the concern of Lawrence Cager’s injury…
“Well, it’s probably week-to-week. It’s not looking good this week. It’s going to be week-to-week depending on how fast he heals.”
 
On having set goals that help the team bounce back…
“We have goals every game. Our goals are extremely lofty. If you came in and saw what our goals were defensively and offensively, I mean every year the coaching staff is wanting to change the goals because they’re crazy goals. We make some game-by-game goals and we don’t make some. We are always trying to set the goals as a standard, whether it’s how many first downs you give up, red area attempts, three-and-outs. We have a metric that we use for almost everything. We haven’t had a game defensively that we’ve made over seven of our ten goals, but to be honest with you, we didn’t have any last year either because our goals were really high. I think that our kids recognize that they’re aspiring for excellence, not perfection and they have to improve.  We have high targets and we aim high.”
 
On Nolan Smith’s progression this season…
“He made a heck of a play in the game late. He’s an effort guy. He ran the quarterback down late in the game and just extremely good effort. He had two times where he was all over the quarterback as he’s throwing the ball. He’s improving rapidly. He played the counter well. He continues to get better and show promise and we’re playing him quite a bit.”
 
On how tough it is for young receivers to become accustomed to the type of press coverage they get in this league…
“Our league is different. Even out there at practice we have good corners that when you go up there to press on someone you can affect the timing. This is a press league.  You are going to go out there and play South Carolina, Florida, LSU, Alabama, I mean every team across the board likes to get their hands on you and try to disrupt timing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman all the way up to a senior, you better be the attacker and not getting attacked at wide out because if you let them, they’ll maul you.”
 
On the communication of play calls coming in…
“It’s much better since the last time I talked about it when I was so frustrated, maybe the Notre Dame game, it’s been much cleaner.  We’ve done a lot of things in practice to clean it up the last couple weeks. It’s been much more efficient.”
 
On what Dominick Blaylock needs to improve and earn more playing time…
“He’s playing a lot. Dom’s playing quite a bit and he plays very consistently. You can’t play wide outs for 95 plays in a game. Dom is a very consistent player. What you get in practice is what you get in the game. He is every day at a full effort. He continues to improve.”

Tags: Kirby Smart
 
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