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Georgia Coach Kirby Smart: "We Have A Lot Of Things To Clean Up"

September 20, 2022
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ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart spoke with the media Tuesday evening after practice and offered the following comments sharing their thoughts about the team and returning to Sanford Stadium to take on the Kent State Golden Flashes.

 

On what he has seen from Jamon Dumas-Johnson..

"It is the same thing that I saw last year. He is hardworking, tough guy. He didn't play his senior year of football. He came in a little out of shape, but he caught up quick. He is very bright, conscientious, tough, and physical. All of the traits of a linebacker. He got to watch three of the best do it, and he learned from them. He is probably not where they were, but he is sharp. He cares. He has got a really good football coach, too."

 

On the praise from other coaches...

"Sean Lewis [Kent State head coach] is probably watching last year's tape saying that, because there were a lot of really good players on that team last year. This team, we are young. We have a lot of mistakes and a lot of things we need to clean up. I get it. If I was him, I would be saying the same thing, but I know different."

 

On the process of walk-on success...

"It validates it, but I don't know if they listen to it. There is no patience. We have been talking all of this week that growth requires patience. Some kids don't really understand what that is. Growth definitely requires patience. IF you don't get it right the first time or the second time, it requires patience. We are talking about growing this week and finding ways to get better. We have had each kid pick two things, write them down on an index card, put it up in his meeting room and then he is going to get up and show it where he did it. That requires growth. Those guys epitomize, Ladd (McConkey), Dan (Jackson), Stetson (Bennett), guys that grew. They were patient. It requires patience sometimes to get to where you want to go."

 

On the growth exercise...

"We change it up sometimes. It is something we are doing this week. We have done it before. We have different exercises where they post them and put them in their meeting rooms. It is on the door like your kindergarten teacher. You look at it and decorate your door. You see it every day you go in, and then you have to stand up in front of your team and show the video where you actually did what you said you were going to do."

 

On Zion Logue and Dan Jackson...

"Max effort guys. They epitomize what the culture of this program is. You are tough. You are physical. You listen. You try hard. you are selfless. They are all those things. That includes some talent. They have talent. You have to have talent to be here. You would not be able to play. Talent is not the overriding factor with those two guys. Caring about the program is. They set the tone. They were out there today in 90-something degree heat, and I went over to both of them. We were getting our touches in and bumping up and saying that we need to go to work. They drive that part. Not just them, but so many others like them create a good bond among the guys to work hard."



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On opposing coaches’ goals when offering exuberant praise to Georgia…

“So when they upset us, they beat somebody good. I mean, that's what they're doing. They believe they got a shot to come in here and and beat us and you want to build your opponent up the same way I respect his program. When you turn on a team's tape and you watch special teams, you find out within five minutes what kind of team they are. They are some of the leaders in the MAC in almost every special teams category, they have a great offensive system that utilizes a really talented quarterback, they have good skilled players, and they have a unique defense that's hard to prepare for. I have the utmost respect for what they've done, they've played probably one of the hardest schedules in the country.”

On Zion Logue and Dan Jackson’s growth this season…

“I don't even know where to begin with Zion. He's been a guy that sat behind the studs we had last year forever. I was laughing today because we had Bear [Alexander] and Christen [Miller] going down against the one offense and getting just drilled, and I was telling Bear and Christian, 'You got you got to do it to get better,' and Zion was just sitting there, and I said, 'Ask Zion, he spent three years down there.' He had three years of going against Jamaree [Salyer] and Justin [Shaffer], just every day. And now, he goes against the scout offensive line, and he's over there making those guys better. But those young guys have to go over and rep, and Zion just spent a lot of time working at his craft getting better. He still has a lot of things he can improve on, but he's not afraid to work at it. And Dan, same thing. Dan was an unknown that really worked his way to the point where he's a contributor, he's intelligent, he's reliable.”

On keeping the younger players focused…

“Oh, the tape does that. There's success to you guys in statistics. There's not necessarily success for us when you watch the tape and you caught a guy free, or you watch the tape and a guy didn't do his job ,he didn't strike the right guy, we gave up a gap. There's no perfect defense or perfect offense that we've played. We know that the winner will ask what we did in the fall, and what we're doing now is preparation for what is to come. And that includes getting better every day, regardless of who our opponent is. We're not out there just getting ready for Kent State, we're getting ready for the entire schedule we got. We want to get our players better. We're trying to get guys better for the first game next year, because we got some guys that may not play this year. So we're in the development business, and we do that really hard. We're not caught up in statistics or where we are right now because it really doesn't matter. They may get it outside from you guys and read it, but they're not hearing about it over here.”

On if the team’s defense is helped from the offense’s field position…

“I don't know. I think that the lead, the scoring on offense, has made other offenses play us differently. We haven't been in one of those kinds of games yet, when you get into a two-score, three-score lead. Sometimes, it puts a lot of pressure on the other side of the ball and the offense. It allows you to play looser at times on defense too, but our guys go against that offense every day. So, it definitely prepares us better to go against good people. Our defense is preparing every day like they're getting ready to play the best offense ever that week, because we know that they can be coming anytime in the future. We got a lot of guys that need to improve on defense. I continue to say that, you all continue to talk about defensive statistics, and I just keep talking about having to improve.”

On recruiting Malaki Starks...

"He's a great kid. He has a wonderful family with very disciplined parents. He was raised in a great family home. You knew right away he had great respect. When he walks in to talk to you, he looks you in the eye. Yes sir, no sir. He knows what he is supposed to do. We already knew he was a tremendous athlete. He ran really fast and jumped really high when he was a ninth grader here. I talked to his dad that day, and we knew he was going to be some kind of special player. We just didn't know how good he was going to be, and I still don't think we know. We just found out today on the practice field that there are a lot of things he can improve on and work on. He's got to get better. He's made some good plays, but he's also been gifted on some plays. He's been lucky sometimes when he had his eyes in the wrong spot that we have to keep working with him on."

On players he's seen that are similar to Darnell Washington...

"The combination of the athleticism and displacement, there are probably none. We had some guys when I was at Alabama, Michael Williams, that were big, more blocking guys, offensive tackle type guys. He has a receiving skillset that is unique, combined with that size. The best thing about Darnell is that he has been working so hard. You see it usually in year three in guys where you go, 'Wow, that guy has matured. That guy has practiced. That guy knows how to push himself'. And they start thinking if they go hard during the week, the game will be easy. I've seen more of that out of Darnell this year, and you are able to see that during the game. He doesn't get tired, he pushes, and makes plays."

On creating turnovers...

"Pressure. Pressure causes turnovers. That's it. When you have a guy flushed out the pocket, he's running for his life, he's moving. He doesn't have long or clean pocket. He simulates pressure, he thinks there's pressure. He thinks this backer is coming, this guy's coming. They don't know what is going on, and you create doubt. They make mistakes. That's created a lot of them."

On Trezmen Marshall...

"I think his two goals were to continue to work on his conditioning level because he is a guy who has struggled with his conditioning level. That was one of his big things. Could he play more snaps? Could he play a whole game if he had to? He's been a rotational guy. We want him to improve that. Some of his box fits are things that he can improve, but we have really been pleased with how he's played. He's played well and earned the right to roll in there and play. He's been with good players since he's been here. And to be honest, last year he went and played with those three guys, but he stayed with eh injury bug. It's really important that he stays healthy."

On Gunner Stockton in the scout team...

"Poise, great arm talent. He's probably played since being on the scout team. He hasn't had to deal with the information overload. A lot of times, you find out a lot about a guy on the scout team because he is looking at a card. There's no thought process. There's no, 'I have to say this, I have to do this.' You take the robot out and you play. He's played well on the scout team. A lot of the kids who came over there, there's no pressure because you are not in trouble if you mess up. It's the same way when you play defensive guys on the scout team. You look at your card, and a lot of times you play faster."

On scoring with special teams...

"We're not in protect mode. That's conservative. That's not what we want to be about. We are trying to score on every kickoff return, on every punt return. We're aggressive. We think are going to outwork and out practice people at those things to put pressure on them. Our goal is to strike fear in every part of the game in our opponent. That might be the one edge that puts us over the top. We are not telling them to fair catch it. We are telling them to be smart. We have to do a better job in that unit to create space."

Tags: Georgia
 
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