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Georgia Bulldogs QB JT Daniels: "We Are Hot Right Now"

December 29, 2020
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ATHENS - Georgia quarterback JT Daniels‍ said the Bulldogs are hot on offense right now, and that he can't wait to play in the Peach Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Q. How much have you guys kind of learned about each other over these past, what, four to six weeks? How much better do you know each other, know what you do well, know what you want to do?

JT DANIELS: Obviously we speak the same language, especially in terms of football. It's something that I learn more as the season goes on. But even when I wasn't playing, I was still on the sideline with Coach Buster during the game. I was hearing all the play calls. Started learning more and more how he thinks.

It's something that I got to learn originally when we were on Zoom calls when I was getting recruited here. We used to watch film, do whatever we could through transfer portal rules. I think it's just grown and developed.

At this point there are times where I'll get the formation signaled in, I will know exactly what he's calling. The more I learn about him, the way he calls the game, the more time we spend together, it just grows and gets better, and we have a better understanding.

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Q. JT, I remember you were talking about doing all the Zoom calls, all the coaches around the country, your background as somebody that studies football is documented all the way back to sixth grade. You talked to a lot of offensive gurus, probably could have played anywhere in the country. What was it about Monken that made you know it was worth traveling across the country to play for him?

JT DANIELS: There were definitely a lot of great offensive minds I was able to speak to. There was definitely an instant connection. The thing I tried to do with most coaches was see how they call games, take me through the offense you run, your kind of philosophy.

There was an instant connection as soon as I watched the first game of Coach Monk on I think my first Zoom call with him. It was just something that he sees the field very similar to how I see the field. I think we both have very similar kind of philosophy for how to attack a defense. It was something that I knew was exactly what was best for me.

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Q. Todd, you alluded to 2021. When you look at the progress the offense has made as the season has gone along, where do you see it going with the number of returners that could be coming back for next season?

JT DANIELS: Yeah, there is a lot of talent on the roster. There's guys, as fans, not many have seen yet. People have seen Arian Smith make one catch, Jermaine is growing a lot. You have a whole young group of O-linemen that work every day. I've got to see them grow, guys like Sedrick Van Pran, see how they attack the game.

I think you have a really good class of young guys that aren't just talented but are also guys that enjoy the game of football. They show up every day with a good attitude. They're here to learn and get better. It's something good to see, something I think you'll get to see as they grow. You'll see a lot of it next year.

Q. JT, did you fly out here or drive? When you did, coming along the way, what was some of the stuff you were thinking about? What was that trip like?

JT DANIELS: I got here in June. I flew out here and I slept the whole plane ride, so I couldn't really tell you.

Q. What was your immediate reaction two, three weeks in?

JT DANIELS: Two to three weeks in? One, I think as soon as I got here just driving around, you see a lot of Georgia everything. That was from Atlanta all the way into Athens. Everywhere you go is Georgia, everything is football here. Something I instantly fell in love with.

I think the environment of the just entire state of Georgia, and this is my first time in the state of Georgia, it's something that fits me really well. There's so much support and community around Georgia football as a whole. It was something that instantly grabbed my attention, something that I instantly fell in love with.

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Q. JT, can you talk about your development since taking over at quarterback in terms of how much of the playbook has been made open to you? How much more freedom have you been given now that you have had the extra bowl practice?

JT DANIELS: I wouldn't say there's too much extra in terms of freedom. It was something that instantly Coach Monken had told me on my first call that made me want to come here, is that you don't have to develop the ability to do that. We want quarterbacks that can play the game, get us in the right play before the play is snapped.

Every quarterback here since the offense was installed, we have the ability to check something or if we're in a certain play and there's something stopping that play, get us in the right play. It's always been there. I wouldn't say there's anything that's too new in terms of that, what we're doing. But it's something that we've always been able to do, get us in the right play. We have the freedom to do that before any play.

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Q. JT, I've heard a lot of talk about 2021. What are your plans for next year? Are you coming back? Coach Monken, how big would it be for your offense, how much would it mean for what you want to do to have JT come back?

JT DANIELS: Yeah, it's not something I've honestly given too much thought to. This year is going by fast. I'm focused week-to-week. South Carolina, I was focused on South Carolina. Missouri, I was focused on Missouri. Vandy, I was focused on Vandy until that was no more. Since then I haven't gone home since I've been in Georgia.

I was here through Christmas, here through Thanksgiving.

I've been here getting ready for the bowl since that Vandy week was over.

I really haven't given too much thought to anything. This week is Cincinnati. Once the off-season comes, I'll be thinking about the off-season.

JT, you basically committed to Georgia sight unseen? You'd never been to the school, just decided that's where you're going, showed up with a backpack and clothes?

JT DANIELS: Coach Smart met my parents before he met me.

Q. How did you go about that?

JT DANIELS: Location didn't mean anything to me. It was the best situation, best team, best staff. I found all three of those in one school. Did not matter to me where it was.

Q. Given the way this season has transpired, the way this offense has kind of started to come together, South Carolina, Missouri, are you disappointed this is the last game? Do you wish you had four or five more games to see? It feels like this offense is still in the development stage right now.

JT DANIELS: I do feel like we've been really hot as of lately. I think a lot of young guys have matured tremendously from George to Jermaine to big Warren on the line. There's a lot of guys that have gotten a lot better. I think you're seeing what that's looking like now. Obviously a little later than we would have hoped.

I'd love to play with this team forever. It's an amazing team. I think there's great central leadership. There's a lot of great things on this team. Obviously that's not the case.
For me, I'm just focused on giving Cincinnati the best we have. It is, as Coach Monken said, a lot this week. This is the last opportunity to play with this whole team. As much as I'd love to keep going, keep playing with these guys, this is the last one. We're going to go give it everything we have.

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