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Georgia Bulldogs Release Footage of First Scrimmage

April 4, 2021
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ATHENS - The Georgia Bulldogs released footage of the opening scrimmage of the spring over the weekend. 

Head coach Kirby Smart told reporters after the scrimmage that the Bulldogs had avoided further serious injuries at receiver with positive comments on the status of both Jermaine Burton and Arian Smith. 
 

 

Comments from Kirby Smart after the scrimmage:

Kirby Smart Post-Scrimmage Remarks – April 3, 2021
 
On the performance of the secondary in today’s scrimmage…
“We get to watch those young secondary guys every day, so today was no different. We got to challenge them in terms of the coverage situations we put them in. For a lot of them, it was their first real live action with LC (Lovasea Carroll) out there playing some corner, and Nyland (Green) and Kelee (Ringo). It’s just a lot of young guys that haven’t played a lot of college football. They’ve played a lot of football, and they’re good football players, but we’re a long way from being ready in terms of what we need to do with the secondary because we’ve just got a lot of inexperienced players. We cannot have enough of those situations: scrimmages, passing, all of the different looks we get, because we need experience.”
 
On injuries to Arian Smith and Jermaine Burton…
“You guys got to do your job, but you all certainly overreact to a lot of things. I was really disappointed at the way everything was handled. Jermaine Burton is fine. He has no structural damage. He was out there today doing exercises, doing conditioning, doing different things. Jermaine Burton’s going to be fine. For anybody to report the length of time he’s going to be out, that’s really unfair because if our doctor and our team doctors don’t know that, then I don’t know how anybody else would because they would have seen the MRI, they would have seen the X-rays, and there’s nobody else that has seen that. So, it’s unfair to put misinformation out there for sure. Then, with Arian today, he sprained his wrist and he should be fine. I don’t know if he’ll be back Monday. I don’t know that. They’re still doing the X-rays, but I know he sprained his wrist. Let’s don’t have a lot of overreaction, if you don’t mind. Hey, you ask me, I tell you. Jermaine hyperextended his knee. He’s day-to-day. That’s what it is, it’s not anything past that. I don’t think that we should sensationalize the other things because it’s all part of football. We had other guys get injured today and it’s a lot bigger deal when everybody writes about ‘Oh, a receiver! Another receiver’s hurt!’ Receivers are going to be fine.”
 
On the performance of the offensive line in today’s scrimmage…
“It was OK, not where we need to be. We’re still moving some parts around. Certainly, got work to do to get where we need to get. We’ve got some young guys trying to play. When you do situational football, it’s hard to evaluate because you do eighth third downs in a row—you’ll never do that in real life. We’re moving the field, we were able to move the ball at times, and then had a couple of turnovers in the red area. The defense gave up some plays, but then, they played well in the red area at times. It kind of went both ways.”
 
On the competition for the backup quarterback position…
“All three of those guys are getting reps and all three of them are going to be really good players.” (asked to elaborate) “All three of them are getting reps and all three of them are really good players. They continue to work hard. They all got reps today. I think each one has a different strength and each one has a different weakness. For each one, they’re growing. Brock (Vandagriff) has the least amount of reps and familiarity with the offense, so his learning curve is greater, but he’s picking it up quick, especially for a mid-year freshman. Stetson (Bennett) does a good job in the pocket. He moves, he’s athletic, he understands the offense, he can do things with his brain because he’s taken a lot of reps. Carson’s (Beck) done a really good job this spring.”
 
On evaluating the cornerbacks in practice…
“Everybody gets reps, right? All the corners we’ve got working. I think we’ve got six corners working. We don’t have any of these corners that have experience, so I look at it as all of them are getting reps, and all of them are getting better. The good thing is we get to challenge them in passing situations. You can have a corner play a whole game and him not be involved in a play if everything goes away or they stop the run—one play may affect you out of 60. We try to make more plays than that, attack those guys so that we get to play one-on-one in the perimeter, which is the hardest thing to do probably in all of college football is cover one-on-one on the perimeter and that’s what the corners have to do. We’re getting all of those guys lots of reps.”
 
On receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and educating his team about it…
“Ron (Courson) and the athletic training staff educating our entire athletic department. We’ve had the ability as coaches to get the vaccine, which is important, and our players will have the ability to do that moving forward. We’d like to get through spring to be able to do that. There’s some benefits, some incentives laid out with not having to test, not having to contact trace if you don’t get the vaccine. Ron and his staff’s doing a great job of bringing in people familiar with the vaccine and a very good understanding. The doctors can talk to our team and educate them on the benefit for their families, for the group as a whole, and safety purposes, so we’re trying to encourage that.”
 
On the progress of the run game in spring practice… 
“We had really good run situations. I don’t know how many times we rushed it total, it was a lot. But there were a lot of snaps, there’s 130 snaps. So, the passing situation is obviously third down and two minute, but the rest of the scrimmage is call it like you see it, and we called it. We’ve got backs, good backs, that get to go out and carry the ball and run it, and they did that. The chance for us to run the ball is important, it’s an important thing to do. We’re not sitting here saying ‘We’ve got to run it 25 percent, 50 percent, 70 percent.’ You’ve got to run it to win the game, and you’ve got to throw it to win the game. We worked on both of those things today.” 
 
On major takeaways from spring practice and today’s scrimmage…
“The only thing I’ll take away from the scrimmage is that I was pleased with the energy. We made some errors, a lot of guys. We had 16 mid-years out there, they were a little nervous, there’s some anxiety there. But I thought that the energy was good on both sides of the ball, meaning that when somebody made a play, there was enthusiasm, there was more connection out there, not guys going through the motions, which can happen sometimes in the spring. That wasn’t the case today, I thought there was positive energy towards people making plays, which is important to me right now. And in terms of getting things done, I think that was practice nine, I think we’ve got six left. So, we’re not where we need to be yet.” 
 
On how the backs and receivers have performed this spring…
“There’s really not any mid-years who have been doing really well because I think it’s hard to do really well as a mid-year. Really well to me is a starter, and that’s hard to do as a mid-year. Are they improving? Yes. Are they going to be really good players? Yes. Are they there yet? No. As far as yards after catch and yards after contact, we track it on defense, we track it on offense. It’s what makes you successful. It’s hard to measure in practice because we don’t tackle, and we try to keep football as safe as possible. So, it’s harder to keep track of those numbers when you’re not really live tackling.” 
 
On Brock Bowers’ development without a fall season…
“He’s a talented guy, bright, and learning quickly. He’s physically gifted with some speed, burst, and good hands. He’s got a ways to go in terms of the blocking game in terms of the run game, but that’s something he’s going to develop because he has toughness. He’s going to continue to work in the weight room to get stronger and do some things, but he can do things with the ball in his hands and he’s a good athlete. This kid lined up at tailback in high school and made plays, so he’s used to carrying the ball.” 
 
On how he has processed the current social issues in Georgia…
“We still have our skull sessions where we try to connect as a unit, and we rotate those groups and rotate coaches within them. That’s a safe place where we feel like our kids can talk, and they can be open with us to tell us how they’re playing. I can’t say in the ones I’ve been in, I don’t get to sit in all of them, that those topics have always come up. But certainly, if they do, we address them with our kids, and allow them to voice how they feel or how it affects them personally. Whether it affects them or their family or whatever. We’ve been consistent with in that messaging”
 
On if addressing off-the-field issues is a benefit to the players…
“I think it always helps. I don’t think we do enough. I think that there should be more time dedicated to that to our players. I think it helps mental health in general. When you look at the mental health of a student-athlete, it’s probably one of the most different things that you have to deal with now in coaching. 10 years ago, I’m not saying it wasn’t present, but I don’t know that we addressed it as much as we do now. Certainly, a lot of our players struggle day-to-day with things like COVID, things going on in the world, things going on at home, and we just want them to feel comfortable being able to talk about whatever the topic is.”
 
On Jalen Kimber… 
“Kimber’s very bright. He was able to practice all last year. The practice you get from the year before, people just forget about. You mentioned Kelee and Kelee has not practiced. He really hasn’t done anything in terms of earning the reputation that he came in with. He is in the process of doing that. He’s trying to do that through working hard and learning. He stayed really engaged, but Jalen Kimber was able to go out and actually take reps and work last year, which gives you an advantage, because you’ve seen things, you have heard calls, and you have to adjust. The biggest thing with Jalen is continuing to work really hard with the nutrition and weight room to keep adding size, and he’s conscious of that. He understands what he has to do to be a great player, and he’s committed to doing that.” 
 
On the field general of the defense…  
“Nakobe (Dean) is the field general, but he is not out there. It’s done by committee. When you do not have a really good player out there, it allows other people to step up. I thought Nolan (Smith) had great energy today. I can’t say how he played, he had great energy, he was present. Travon (Walker) had really good energy and really played hard, but nobody won today. Today, you want to say Georgia won, but I have to go back and watch the tape to be able to answer that. It is always hard in a scrimmage. Nobody wins and loses because offense makes plays and defense makes plays. Special teams, we had a lot of kicking situations we get to find out about.”
 
On the performance of the inside linebackers… 
“Nakobe still takes walk-through reps. He takes every mental rep. I’ve never had a player in all my career of coaching who is more engaged. You have to stay on certain guys when they are injured to stay engaged. Nakobe’s calling things out. He’s playing linebacker every play and is making the call from the sideline. You can hear him. He’s engaged. He’s on top of it. Plus, he gets reps in individual and walk-through. I feel good about the work he is putting in. Trezmen (Marshall) has been getting reps. Trezmen’s out there practicing, doing everything he can. He was able to get his surgery a little bit earlier than Nakobe. And then, the other guys, Quay’s (Walker) practicing a lot. Channing Tindall is practicing a lot, Rian Davis, John Staton. We have a lot of guys out there working at inside backer.”
 
On playing at Clarke Central for G-Day as a member of the football team… 
“I really do not remember much. I remember having to get on a bus and going to Clarke Central, and I remember scrimmaging there. I don’t remember the two interceptions, and I definitely don’t remember running it in for a touchdown. That must have been against (Mike) Bobo, because he was the only one that would throw one to me.” 
 
On the approach of JT Daniels as the established starting quarterback… 
“I would not say it is different. JT’s has always been about his business. That’s JT. JT’s very serious, he’s very intuitive. He has growth he can go through. For him, continuity is important, and we haven’t had great continuity with this back out or that receiver out. So, we’ve ping-ponging guys around. That’s always tough. I think he’s asserted himself more in terms of the command of the offense. ‘Get the signal, get the call, hurry up let’s go. We are too late to this motion. We have to get into the call.’ There’s a lot of things that help you feel comfortable in terms of being able to call plays as an offensive coordinator, and he understands those things and does a good job.” 
 
On the MLB All-Star Game being moved from Atlanta… 
“I try my best to keep my head down and continue to work on our team and what we have to deal with our players. I certainly worry about the mental state of our players, and, like I talked about before, the ability to have safe space and open conversations, but I don’t get into the political side of it.” 
 
On the performance of the special teams…
“It’s hard for me to say. I don’t think we kicked field goals as well as we can. I think Pod (Jack Podlesny) can kick with a little more consistency and Jake (Camarda) as well. I think Jake punted the ball well today. We didn’t get many opportunities to return the ball, which is frustrating. But, punters nowadays, they’ve gotten so much better. They can kick the ball away from you. They can hold the ball. They can rugby to keep you from being able to return it. It’s just hard to get punt return opportunities, and we didn’t get many today, because Jake skies them and bombs them and corner kicks them, and you’ve got good guys covering them, so that was tough. I do think that we can do a little better job on field goals in terms of consistency. We are trying to improve that.” 
 
On the progress of the cornerbacks… 
“I would assess that we have to get better. We are not where we need to be in terms of defensive back play.”

Tags: Kirby Smart
 
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