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Georgia Football

Kirby Smart: I don't think we have played someone as good as Tennessee

October 7, 2020

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ATHENS - UGA coach Kirby Smart said Wednesday that Tennessee is the best team the Bulldogs have faced so far this season.

Head Coach Kirby Smart
Opening Statement
“We have Tennessee coming into our place for an exciting game and our first SEC East game. There’s an importance of playing good football teams on your side of the division. I have a lot of respect for the job they do, they have a good football team. They’re really physical and I’m excited to play on CBS Saturday.”
On where he has seen Jeremy Pruitt make advancements of the Tennessee program…
“The line of scrimmage is probably where it sticks out most. Their offensive line is big and physical. They have good players with good experience. They’ve recruited well. Their defensive line [is good] as well. That’s where you get beat before the game starts in the SEC—if you don’t have enough guys across the line of scrimmage, and I think that they do. They do a really good job on both sides of the ball in terms of line-of-scrimmage play.”
On whether he is eager to see JT Daniels in a game situation…
“I get to see him every day. I’ve seen him since he’s been here, he does a good job in practice and he’s practiced the whole time. He’s been no different than anyone else in terms of our quarterbacks because we haven’t gone live. I feel good about Carson [Beck], D’Wan [Mathis] and JT all the way through.”
On what has stood out the most to him on the offensive line from week one to week two…
“Well, it was more about the execution. We’ve done a good job of getting some movement on guys, inside players, getting some push. I thought the backs did a good job of hitting the holes and we were able to throw the ball, which helps the run game. All of those things combined helped out, but it wasn’t like a reinvention of the wheel, it was just doing a better job of executing what we’re supposed to do when we’re supposed to do it.”
On whether it is harder to get younger players on the field on offense…
“I’m not sure. I’ve felt like we’ve been playing a lot more freshman on offense this year than we are on defense. In terms of—Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint is playing quite a bit, Jermaine Burton is playing, Darnell [Washington] is playing. All those guys. Warren [Ericson] and Owen [Condon] are getting to play—who are basically like freshmen to me. I feel like the offensive side of the ball is where the freshmen are playing this year as opposed to last year, we were much younger on defense.
On James Cook and Arian Smith’s status…
“Yeah, James is in a black shirt. We’re trying the best we can to get him ready and it will be a decision we have to make before the game. As far as Arian, he is working, training, he’s been rehabbing, running some on the alterG. He’s still a little ways away, but that injury is not an easy one to come back from so I don’t know when Arian will be back officially. But, he is much closer now than he was originally, and he’s able to go out to practice and run some straight line stuff right now.”
On what makes Georgia’s defense so good…
“I think discipline. You have to have good discipline to play good defense—to be able to execute. At the end of the day, we haven’t played our best. We have to improve and this is our biggest test. I don’t think we’ve played someone as good as these guys, especially with the upfront guys, an experienced quarterback and they really have experienced wideouts for the most part. Brandon Johnson has been there forever, [Josh] Palmer is a great wideout, Velus [Jones Jr.] has played all over the place so they have good, young, wideouts. It’ll be the biggest task for us. I think the thing that will allow us to play good on defense will be experience right now.”
On what he likes most about Stetson Bennett’s play so far…
“His composure. He’s very composed, I would call him a vet in terms of practice reps and quantity of work. He just hasn’t had as many SEC live reps.”
On who has taken priority of the first team reps in practice…
“The way we handle the quarterback at practice is really pertained to us and how we make those decisions. All three, four of those guys have gotten really quality work. We have a confidence in all of them.”
On the physicality of this three-game stretch [Auburn, Tennessee, Alabama] …
“I’m going to be honest with you, they’re all physical games. So, the Arkansas game was physical, Kentucky is extremely physical. They’re all physical. I hear what you’re saying but when I watch the tape, and when you play the SEC schedule that we’re playing, there is nobody that has a week off I assure you.”

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