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Georgia Football

Kirby Smart: JT Daniels Made Some Good Throws vs. South Carolina

November 28, 2020

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Kirby’s Opening Statement:

"I don’t know if anybody really understands the college football environment this year, it’s just so different in terms of motivation, what these kids go through. They’ve sacrificed a lot to have this season. They don’t get to go and get to do things they used to do. This season has really been long, all across college football, with injuries, the Covid concerns, cancellations, it’s been a very unique year and I just want to give our kids a lot of credit for sticking through it, staying together and continuing to fight. You talk to coaches across the country and they talk about having trouble keeping kids out to even play football. But our kids have really stuck together and I want to give them credit for that."

On the running game...
“Let’s be honest: a lot of it has to do with the other team and what they do. So, we didn’t call a lot of different runs, we didn’t go out and re-invent the wheel to run the ball. We played a team that had three or four guys out, they had some Covid issues, a couple of other injuries that probably hurt their depth. They are a very beat up football team and they’re probably not as stout as Mississippi State up front. But with that said, our guys came out from the very beginning. They knew that South Carolina had some guys out, but they didn’t play down to that level, they played physical, they knocked people off the ball, they ran the ball and I thought our O-line’s second effort and our backs’ second effort was the difference in the game.”

On playing a lot of players...
“It’s so unfortunate that you don’t get a chance to do that but that’s the world we live in. The Conference schedule has made it tough, and our inability to get a big lead has made it tough. But, I was proud of those guys. I wish that we could play them more. That’s what kid’s do, they come to Georgia to play in the games. The games we’ve been in, we haven’t been able to do that. But I was proud of Arian Smith, I was proud of Daijun Edwards, what a warrior he was to continue to run the ball with toughness."

We were able to get Broderick (Jones) in the game, Darnell (Washington) played a lot; we played a lot of guys on the defensive line that didn’t have a real good series there. We subbed out, put some threes in and didn’t play real well that last drive they scored on. But that’s the way you learn. I’ve been around it for years where I’ve been at places when you get a lead, put them in and you find out a lot about a kid. You find out, hey, he might still be a year away, but getting that experience under his belt is invaluable.”

JT Daniels’ play...
“He did a good job. He took the things that the defense gave to him. He made some good throws. He understands protections. He knows what coverage they’re in. He did what we asked him to do. And I thought the one ball to Jermaine on the wheel down our sideline was the one I wish he could have back, and he underthrew it a little bit, and Jermaine may have still been able to catch it. But I thought he played well. He understands what we’re trying to do. And he did a good job handling the offense.”

Play of Jalen Carter...
“Yeah he’s gotten better and better. He was already playing, he’s played in I think every game this year. So he’s grown up a lot faster than some of the other guys. He’s very talented. He continues to work hard and get better. The sky’s the limit. But he’s got to work really hard to realize his potential. But he did make some knock-back plays. And we’ve got to be more disruptive with guys like him.”

What sacrifices have guys had to make...
“Yeah two off weekends they can’t really go anywhere. They can’t do anything. They’re scared to death of getting COVID or affecting a teammate. And that’s just tough. Their families. I don’t think anybody talks – we’ve got kids with relatives and family members that have been in the hospital. We had a coach lose his father. It’s tough, and it’s trying, and they’ve stuck together. And look, the support system we have at Georgia is tremendous. From the administration on down, they give us tremendous support. So to have people in your organization, like Jonas Jennings, like Bryant Gantt, they’re there for our players and support them when doubt creeps in. Do I want to keep doing this for two or three more weeks. I think the media perception is they love this, that this is fun. They have to work really hard. And for our guys to stay together, as hard as they have, as close as they have, it’s tremendous for me to see that.”

Todd Monken with offense and play-calling rhythm...
“I definitely think that. I think he’s a really good playcaller. He does a good job of being aggressive. I think he’s been playing with a partial deck some of the games because of the injuries and the youth, We knew there was going to be youth and we were going to invest in that youth and it was going to grow and get better . We know we’ve got some really good young players on offense that have a lot of potential and that we’ve got to try to maximize that potential and keep getting them better. I like the rhythm of things and certainly think the players hearing the plays week seven and week eight, week nine are a lot better off than week one, two and three.
On when you knew the offensive line was taking control?
“You take what they give you, right? It’s an opportunity to run the ball and win the game. That’s our ultimate goal is to win the game. That’s what we wanted to do. We weren’t going to throw it just to throw it. We took some shots. We took some first-and-10 shots. We had one to Jermaine on the sideline we missed. We had one that he threw the ball away. I think he made a good decision, on a shot play. He ended up throwing it away because a guy wasn’t there. It wasn’t like we came out and said we’re just going to run it, we’re (not) going to throw it. We’re going to do what we’ve got to do to be successful.”
On D’Wan Mathis no longer with the team. If so, what were conversations about?
“D’Wan and I have had several conversations. D’wan has been very communicative. He’s handled things really well. The stuff that goes on with D’Wan and our team and us is really a team-related deal so I’m not really going to comment on it. But D’Wan’s handled everything with first class.”

Feeling for Mike Bobo with his team so depleted...
"Nah, he doesn't want or need my pity. He's a football coach. He takes his team and he motivates his team and he gets them ready to go out and play. I thought they had some good spark there when they got the ball driving on us. They did it with a freshman quarterback and he had good numbers because they made it really simple for him and got him out of the pocket and moved the pocket with him. They did a nice job managing that. He doesn't need my pity and I'm not giving him any. Our job is to go out and win the football game and that's what we were trying to do."

Best game of the year or too tough to gauge?
"I don't know that you can gauge that. It's easy to say that but you just look at statistics and that's what people do. It's hard to say that because the quality of competition was not as high as even South Carolina has been sometimes during the year. That's just being honest. I'm being honest. We've played against some better teams and we played good against some better teams at times. We just haven't put a whole game together. That was our goal today so I can sit here and tell you that we played a complete game -- defense, special teams, offense, overall -- but I also know that a lot of that comes from our kids growing up and them having some guys out. Look, we've got guys out, too. We've got some guys who weren't able to make the trip for the first time because we had some issues. So we're all going through it. We're all going through it and it's tough."

Offense getting close to reaching the necessary balance and gaining confidence...
"Yeah, I'd like to think so. We've got some seniors out there who aren't going to be back that are going to have to be replaced but I'm really just focused on the next week in Vanderbilt and saying this is the seniors last home game. We want them to go out on top. They've got a chance to be the winningest or possibly close to the winningest senior class to ever play at Georgia and they're not even going to get a complete season, a 10-game conference schedule. So to put that in there with their four years, pretty tough and to still come out with possibly the most wins of any senior class, that's what I'm worried about for them. Because I want them to be able to have that feather in their cap that they helped build this thing at Georgia."

RBs coming into this game with something to prove?
"I don't think they were thinking about that because they ran the ball really hard last week. I thought that the offensive line was thinking that way and our offensive line had more of a bully mentality of we're going to run the ball and we're going to get physical and we're going to move people and they were able to do that. Every cut and every snap was a wear and tear on their defensive line and we tried to take the totality effect of taking a bunch of snaps and hitting them." 

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