Kirby: "We’ve Got Our Guys Excited"

October 16, 2019
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ATHENS - UGA coach Kirby Smart said on Wednesday that his team is eager to get back Between the Hedges on Saturday. 

“We’ve got our guys excited, we’ve a big homecoming game against Kentucky and we’re looking for a great atmosphere. It was one of the toughest, most physical games we had last year against a really physical defense. I think their staff has gotten them really physical when you look across the board. They’ve been able to run the ball and stop the run the last couple years in the SEC, so it’ll be a physical battle come Saturday night.”
 
On how the team has responded since Saturday…
“They’ve been great, in really good spirits. Monday and Tuesday, we acknowledged we’ve got to do some things better, and they’ve bought into that to be honest with you. It’s been good practices and the focus has been really good.”
 
On Kentucky tailback Kavosiey Smoke…
“Physicality. He blocks well, he runs, has a good pad level. He’s like a younger version of Benny Snell. He doesn’t go down at first contact, he’s a yards-after-contact guy. I remember him well coming out of high school and know he’s a really good football player. You can see the kind of toughness and energy he plays with during the game. I’ve seen him jump receivers for not blocking and bring really committed to being physical.”
 
On Kentucky’s defense after losing a number of players last season…
“They had a senior-laden defense. They were probably, in a long time, had the most four-year seniors across the board, were a very veteran group. It seemed like those guys had played there forever. And there’s still four or five of them and a couple guys who have subbed in-and-out that are still there and playing. They have a lot of similarities to last year’s defense as far as scheme. They’ve probably been a little more of four-down than three-down and that’s a slight change for them.”
 
On Georgia’s team from a leadership standpoint…
“Probably one of the best we’ve had. As far as offensively, we’ve got really strong leaders on that side of the ball and they do a tremendous job. There’re so many guys with experience – D’Andre (Swift) has led, Jake (Fromm) has led, Andrew (Thomas) has led, Solomon (Kindley) has led, I mean there’s really a good core group of guys there. Defensively, it’s probably done a little more by committee and by coaching staff. There’s probably less guys there. Obviously J.R. Reed has had a big impact, Monty (Rice) has, Tyler (Simmons), Azeez (Ojulari) is stepping into that role as a young player, probably a little more offensively than defensively, but they both have worked really hard. A big part of leadership is the accountability and having the right attitude to approach people the right way. I feel like our guys have done a great job of that.”
 
On talking to Rodrigo Blankenship after Saturday’s game…
“We all grabbed him immediately afterwards because I love the kid, I love what he stands for. There’s not a guy on our team that prepares any harder or goes through a better routine of how to prepare for things than [Rodrigo]. He sets a great example for young player in work ethic and the way to grind. There’s not a lot you can do or say to make him feel better but you just love on him, you let him know that you’re there for him and that we’re a team and we’re all with him and it’s not all on him.”

 
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