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Kirby Smart: "Our Guys Are Fired Up To Play Georgia Tech"

November 23, 2022
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ATHENS — University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart offered the following comments during Tuesday’s media session after practice. 

On how practice has been this week… 

“It’s been great. Guys are fired up and understand the importance of the game. We had a really good practice today and a good practice yesterday.” 

  

On Chris Smith’s growth during his time at Georgia… 

“His toughness and leadership. He was always a competitor, a great kid, comes from a great family, great high school background, played corner, played everything we asked. If anything, he’s grown as a leader, he’s probably had some anger management moments where he’s gotten really upset out on the field and he’s matured so much. I can still remember him trying to fight guys at practice because I made him run one day for other guys’ academic problems and he was ready to kill somebody. He’s just gotten so much more mature since being here and he’s such a great leader. So, thankful that he’s come back.”  

  

On if the other coaches have talked to the team about their experiences in the rivalry… 

“Not really. I thought about letting guys share, but most of the guys here that would share were here while I was here, and we’ve share some videos, some history, some video footage, that kind of thing, but I don’t know if kids care about that. I really don’t. Everything is relative to them. They see us, and they’re like, ‘Oh, they’re dinosaurs.’ They don’t look at it as relevant. What’s relevant to them is that probability doesn’t equal reality, and you can’t go off probability. These games are decided on the grass, not on paper. If we learned anything last week, it’s that probability doesn’t equal reality. You have to go out and play good.” 

  

On Georgia Tech’s efficiency creating turnovers… 

“Their defensive coordinator does a great job. They attack the ball, man. They’ve got visual, intentional strip outs. That’s what we want our guys to do. We always say we’re competing with the other team to cause more turnovers than they do, and they do a great job with it. They’re plus-10 [in turnovers] in their wins, and they’re plus-one in their losses. They’ve got a really good turnover margin.” 

  

On the number of seniors that will participate in Senior Day on Saturday… 

“Not a clue. I haven’t thought about it since Monday when I mentioned somewhere between 20 to 25. No clue.” 

  

On Adonai Mitchell’s progress… 

“Yeah, he’s practiced some. He’s been out there to take some reps and things. He took a few today, I wouldn’t say that he’s 100%, I wouldn’t even day that he’s close to playing, but he’s done more this week than he has any other week. He’s closer than he’s ever been, so I’m hopeful.” 


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On the team’s minus-two in turnover margin this season… 

“Turnovers are hard to control. I would love to say that we control them. For whatever reason, in the seven years that I’ve been here, we’ve never really been great. I think one year we had a really good turnover margin, maybe the first or second year. But outside of that, we never really have turned the ball over a lot offensively, so the margin becomes the defense’s problem when you don’t turn it over a lot. We’ve dug into a different stat which is explosive plays and explosive play differential. We think that a greater indicator in wins and losses is the explosive play differential. When you add our runs and passes and you combine that against what the defense has given up, we haven’t had a game that we weren’t less than four positive. That indicator, actually, in the SEC, is a greater indicator in what’s won games. I don’t know why that is, but Ole Miss, ourselves, Tennessee, Alabama are the four greatest differential teams in terms of explosive plays over their opponent. We dig hard at that, but it does not lessen the value of a turnover, because turnovers are critical and the greatest equalizer there is in sport. Really, when you think about how did Georgia Tech beat Pitt on the road, turnover margin was a critical factor in that game. So, it’s something that we’ve got to continue to improve. We keep selling to our players that if we’re a lot more explosive than the opponent and we don’t give up explosive plays, and it we got positive four over what they get, so if we get 10 of them and they get six of them, then we’re going to have a greater chance of winning the game.” 

  

On why Mitchell wasn’t eligible for the tightrope surgery… 

“I don’t know the technical reason, but Ron [Courson] could tell you. We asked Ron that a long time ago. To have a tightrope, you have to have a certain kind of injury. When they go to MRI scan it, you got to have something floating around in there. He does not have that. It wouldn’t have helped him, it was a different deal. So when you get the tightrope, you got to have a certain kind of high ankle sprain, it has to tear completely off, his was not that way. His was a grade one-plus, or a grade two I think it was, and you have to have a worse than that in order to have the tightrope.” 

  

On if Mitchell’s MRIs showed different things after Samford and later on… 

“Well, there’s no difference between the two MRIs. There’s never anything seen between the first MRI and the second MRI that showed there was anymore damage. It just bothered him more, he felt like he tweaked it. But there was no shown damage or showed anything in there from the second time they MRI’d it. So, there was never a tightrope opportunity from either time.”  

 

On Tate Ratledge... 

"Tate's practiced everyday, but Tate practiced last week every day. It's going to be a matter of how much he can play." 

 

On Broderick Jones... 

"Broderick's done a good job. He's a good leader. He's really athletic and great at pass-pro. He continues to get better. There's times that I wish he would get more strain and more push, but he's a guy that really buys in and coaches the other players. I really just appreciate how much he means to this program and how much maturity he has. The first time he got here, he was raw. He's a come a long way." 

 

On a description of explosive play differential... 

"I think it's 12 and 15. 12 for run, and 15 for pass. Might be 17 pass, I forget. We have an analyst in here that does it, and we do a chart for it for every game, every team in the SEC. It shows how many wins and losses they have based on explosive play differential. I want to say it's like 45-4 if you win the explosive play differential, whereas the turnover margin is not 45-4. We've proven that because we've lost the turnover margin several times and still won.  

 

On Arik Gilbert... 

"He's doing well. He continues to grow. We're just trying to help Arik as a person and a student right now." 

 

On each team in this rivalry being led by a former player... 

"It's just the circumstance, I guess. That's just the way it happened. I don't really know what it means or if it's relevant. It's just the first time it's come out that way in awhile." 

 

On probabilities within the game... 

"Probability is all the stuff that's out there that is noise. The people that think why is Michigan favored by 20-something and then they're in a tight ball game. Why is Ohio State favored by whatever they're favored by? Why is Florida favored by whatever? Why is UCF favored by whatever? Why is Tennessee favored by whatever, and then it changes? It's not reality. It's just what some person in Vegas or some person sitting in this room thinks. Probability doesn't equal reality. Reality is what you do on the field, and you control that by how you prepare. I'm a lot more worried about preparation than I am probability." 

 

On what he loves about his job... 

"I love the relationship with my players. I love the opportunity go from being a freshman that doesn't know what he is going like Lewis Cine to a first-round pick. An opportunity for a guy like James Cook who gave everything he had to this university to go and become an NFL player. An opportunity for a walk-on like Dan Jackson to come here and live his dream and go play for UGA. That's why I do what I do, not really anything else." 

 

On Georgia Tech's success on defense... 

"Havoc. They cause havoc. They stunt and move people. They fire people. They blitz people, and they cause turnovers. They're bought in. They play really hard. Credit to Coach Thacker and what he believes in, but they're playing really hard. They're athletic and move around a lot. They do a good job." 

 

On Georgia Tech Head Coach Brent Key... 

"He's got great leadership qualities. He played under what I thought was one of the best staffs that he been around. When he played there, it was George O'Leary. The job that he did there goes unrecognized. It was during some of the time that I was playing here. He had some of the best Georgia Tech teams there qere. They were so physical, so competitive. I think Brent playing under him shaped him into who he is and who he's becomes as a coach. What a tremendous job he did, and know Brent is doing. Brent's done a tremendous job in recruiting for a long time, and he still will be. I don't know if he will end up there, or somewhere else, but he is going to be a good football coach regardless of where he is." 

 

On Todd Monken's nomination for the Broyles Award... 

"He's been incredibly innovative with our offense. When you think about a guy that has had arguably one of our best wide outs out all year and do what he has done with running-backs banged up, guys in and out of the lineup at receiver, and still do it the way he has done it. What he has done with Stetson and his ability, I think offensively our numbers speak for themselves, especially when you play in a league we play in. It's tough and a really physical league. He's done a tremendous job, and he recreates it every week. I think if you polled the coaches he plays against, they'd be the first to tell you that he is hard to prepare for because there is run and pass involved. He does it with an NFL-style that kids like to play for. The fact that he is up for the award, I can't think of anybody better who deserves that award based on what he has done offensively with what he has had to work with." 

Tags: Georgia
 
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