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Georgia Football

Kirby Smart Talks About Stopping the Gators

November 4, 2020
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Head Coach Kirby Smart 
Opening Statement
“We’re getting ready for a big Georgia-Florida game. The kids are working hard. It’s always a big matchup in the east when these two play down in Jacksonville [Fla.]. It will be interesting to see the dynamic of the crowd and whether it feels different than traditional Georgia-Florida games. We’ll see.”
 
On the biggest adjustments and changes Todd Monken has brought to the offense...
“I would say basically the way we structure things, in terms of how we get the game plan together—putting the whole staff together and giving assignments to each guy, and bringing together a total plan. It probably has shrunk some of what we carry to each game. A lot of that has to do with the youth of our offense, in terms of not trying to carry too much and then not being able to use it. There is only so many plays in a game, so you can’t carry too many things. Some concepts in the passing-games are different.”
 
On playing against Brenton Cox and what he brings to the Florida defense...
“Brenton is playing really well. He’s an explosive pass-rusher. He is a really good player, just like he was when coming out of high school. He plays really hard. He’s hard to block. Todd [Grantham] does a good job of putting him in situations that he gets to rush. That is what he is really good at, rushing the passer like all the Florida guys they have had in the past—really good edge rusher-type guys. He is playing really physical for them. He’s playing hard. He will create some issues for us on Saturday. He is going to do a good job just knowing where he’s at.”
 
On Kadarius Toney and his growth...
“Much more. He was always good, and I thought Dan [Mullen] always used him, but Dan had more weapons around him when he was younger because he had other good players between [Freddie] Swain and the other guys, Tyrie [Cleveland] and has had really good wideouts—[Van] Jefferson. Now, he is a more polished receiver on top of the utility stuff. He is extremely hard to tackle. He’s got extreme quickness, one-step quickness. He plays powerful. When people hit him, he doesn’t go backwards. He is physical in what he does, and he has become a better receiver. They are using him really well.”
 
On Kyle Pitts...
“You have to know where he’s at. Certainly, he was extremely talented last year and he’s only gotten better. He’s gotten a little bigger, a little more physical. Dan finds ways to use in him both of the run-game and pass-game. He’s elite. He is first-round talent—there’s no question about that. With all of my history in the SEC, I don’t know that there has been a guy like that. He is a receiver and tight end in one.”
 
On an update on Jordan Davis and players that will be circling Kyle Pitts on Saturday...
“Jordan [Davis] is still day-to-day. We are hoping he will be good to go. Obviously, yesterday we did not practice so there’s not a lot there. We are trying to get him back, even if it’s just a role. I think he can play a role in the game. I am hopeful he is able to do that. In terms of [Kyle] Pitts, it’s not like we are throwing people at him. You can’t do that because they put him in different spots. When you play the defenses we play, you can’t—I can’t determine where he is going to be at. They are going to determine where he is going to be at. So, there’s some things we can match up on and there’s some things we can’t. It’s not a matter of, ‘Oh we’re going to put this guy to cover him or we’re going to put this guy in to cover him.’ It depends on where he is. If we have a chance to get a player we think matches up better against him then we try to do that, but you can’t do that for all calls.”
 
On an update on Richard LeCounte and his release from the hospital...
“Yeah, he was released. He came over and he was in the training room yesterday and was able to get some different treatment and things and some rehab.”
 
On how he feels about where the safeties are without Richard LeCounte...
“We have some guys that have played between Lewis [Cine] and Chris[topher] Smith. Chris has had to play quite a bit. He got to play last week. He got to play in the Auburn game, I guess it was. Like I’ve told y’all—I value practice a lot. The kid has worked really hard and played a lot in practices. We’ve got other guys that have repped at safety as well, between Major [Burns], [Latavious] Brini and Tyrique [Stevenson]—so that we have depth there and the ability to play. I am looking forward to seeing those guys play. They have a great challenge. It’s an opportunity as I see it as to go out and play against one of the most explosive offenses in the country, and get a chance to go out and play.”
 
On George Pickens and what type of injury he is dealing with...
“Upper-extremity injury—[George] practiced the other day. We didn’t get to do much yesterday. He did what he did the week before. It’s just going to be a pain-tolerance deal. We are hopeful he is going to get to play. We need him to be at his best for us to be where we need to be offensively. That is what we are hoping to do the second half of the season.”
 
On anything that is unique or special about Florida’s offense this season...
“I don’t know if it’s different. The challenges are usually based on where [Dan Mullen’s] strengths are and where our strengths are. Every time you play against Coach Mullen’s offense there are different strengths—whether it’s Dak Prescott,  an elite back, elite receivers. It’s always something different. You try to play to your strengths and not always to his. That varies for us defensively every year. What are our strengths and what are we able to take advantage of. This year will obviously be different because we have different players in on defense in terms of our injuries, and they are not exactly the same as they were last year.

 
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