Photo by Dean Legge / Dawg Post

Kirby Smart: Probably Not the Day We Needed to Have Today

September 11, 2018


Head Coach Kirby Smart
On Natrez Patrick as a leader...
“Natrez is a vocal leader. He’s been a vocal leader for two years now. The kid loves the game, is passionate about it. He’s similar to (Jonathan Ledbetter), in that he practices hard and is not afraid to speak up. He isn’t worried about what people think about him. He’s done a good job commanding respect from his teammates as far as the way he practices.”
On Juwan Taylor’s evolvement on defense...
“I would say definitely in the linebacker unit he’s probably the hardest-practicing kid on our total defense. He gets respect from the way he practices. He is a vocal leader. He’s taken much more of a leadership role.”
On Juwan (Taylor) and Keyon (Richardson) developing into key components on the defense...
“Hard work pays off. I think this is a defense that the system allows you what you know, and if you have confidence in the system and you understand it, you can use the tools in the defensive system to help you be able to play. It’s not a system that says, ‘Just because you’re the best athlete, you play.’ You’ve got to understand what the offense is trying to do to you and how you can use the call we give you to help yourself. They both understand that. They’ve been here in the system for four years, and they understand how to use the system that helps them. They’re both really hard workers. Great special teams players too.
On Deandre Baker’s development..
“We evaluated him at Alabama. We thought he was a really good player. We didn’t pursue him as hard as we did some other guys. We were probably wrong. He had track speed. He was a 400-meter guy; he could fly. The first things you look at with corner are size, speed – he checked off both boxes there, but he’s a kid who’s developed and has gotten better. From the time we got here, we thought he was a good player. We thought some guys were in front of him. I was telling him the other day, ‘I remember it like it was yesterday’ – During training camp that first year, he was really competing for that starting job with (Juwuan) Briscoe and some other guys. We went with the other guys, and what happened, happened at the Ole Miss game. He got to go out there, and ever since then, he’s gotten better and competed and proved us wrong that he should’ve been out there the whole time.”
On the key four inside linebackers...
“They do a good job. What’s best is they all complement each other. Our ability to play all four of them helps keep them fresh. I thought Natrez made a couple plays Saturday he might not have made had he not just come from the sideline. So they’re able to go four, five plays, come back in, so you see max effort. I think sometimes at linebacker you play guys too long, you get tired, so those four guys have done a good job. Channing Tindall and Quay (Walker) are coming on. As they learn, they’ll be able to help us. They’re probably both a little more explosive and quick and fast, but they’re still learning and learning the defense, and that’s important for them. The other four know what to do well, and I appreciate how they practice.”
On where the competitive drive comes from...
“I think it’s just wanting to be the best. For me, it’s always been a passion to coach. For me, if you’re going to do something, I’m all in, whatever I do. It doens’t matter if it’s golf, checkers, or football. I just think it’s important if you’re going to spend the time that we spend – the time that I spend away from my family and my kids, and not getting to be around them. I know our coaches would feel the same way. You’ve got to give all you’ve got. I want these players to see day in, and day out, if they really try hard, and they really demand a lot of themselves to be successful in life – I don’t know that some of them realize the hard work they actually do. What they do here as players, it’s much harder than what they do in the real world. They’ve got to get up and go to class, work all day, go to workouts, do football, and then they do a 9-to-5 job, and they think that’s a little bit easier. I want them to be able to say that our coaches have set an example of giving everything they had everyday. That’s important to me.”
On what David Marshall brings to the defensive line...
“Strength. He’s powerful. He can play all the positions. He’s smart. He never complains. He’s the toughest guy in the room. He’s hurt all the time, but never hurt. At practice, he doesn’t complain. He’s a worker. He’s really strong. He’s at the point of attack so they don’t move him, and I think that’s allowed him to become – what you said – ‘an unsung hero.’ He doesn’t play a lot of third down. He gets us to third down.”
On the win this weekend for Colorado State Head Coach Mike Bobo...
“I texted him and told him, ‘You better never count a Bobo out.’ I’ve been in many a battles with him – against him and with him. Lifelong friend, growing up right down the road from him. Seeing what he’s endured and what his family’s endured. Amazing. To go through two losses that he had, and then come back and beat an SEC opponent when at some points in the game, they were 99 percent probable to lose, by the ESPN stats. He comes back and wins. And seeing him with his dad afterwards, and getting to see him hug his son, that’s just really what it’s all about. You don’t ever count him out, I can promise you that. He’s a great football coach and a really good person.”

Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.