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UGA Football Coach Kirby Smart Talks "Disappointing" Tuesday Practice

November 15, 2023
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ATHENSUGA football head football coach Kirby Smart talked about the team’s preparation for its upcoming game against Tennessee with media after practice on Tuesday evening and offered the following comments.

 

On preparing for the pace of Tennessee’s game…

“I don’t think you can simulate their pace. They are really good at what they do. They are fast at what they do. We try to, but I don’t really delve into how we practice publicly. We keep that in house, but it is tough to simulate.”

On Amarius Mims…

“He has looked good. He played good. He feels more comfortable with each day. The highs and lows of that injury are pretty common. He feels good.”

On Warren Brinson and C.J. Smith…

“C.J. has been dealing with a knee injury that has been bothering him. He has had it off and on for a while. We are hoping to get him back soon. Warren had a calf injury. We are hoping to get him back. He hasn’t been able to do much this week. He felt it in the game some. We are hoping to get him back. He was out there today moving around.”

On Brock Bowers’ return…

“You are probably better off asking him that. He wanted to get back. I don’t think it was ever a rush. You don’t rush an injury back, especially somebody like that. You have markers to hit. When you hit the marker, you go to the next marker. Once you hit the four markers, it becomes are you capable of playing at a high enough level to contribute to the team? It was never about a number of days, it was about the markers. He clocked those off, and he went to the next step each time. He felt like he had the confidence to go out there and play, and he did that.”

On the passing offense…

“We had Nick Chubb and Sony Michel when we got here, so we would be fools to throw it more than we run it. They are both first round picks in my mind, It is really about your personnel.”

 



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On the importance of the relationship between a coordinator and an offensive line coach…

“I think I hired Stacy (Searels) before Mike (Bobo), but I am not sure of the order there. Maybe Mike was here but he was and analyst. We hired Stacy because Coach (Todd) Monken was really comfortable with Stacy. I was comfortable with Stacy. He has worked with me at LSU. I had worked with him at LSU. He is a really good offensive line coach. The hiring of Stacy didn’t have much to do with Mike. The coordinator of the offensive line is a big deal. That is his go-to guy. They want to have a good relationship and a good understanding and philosophies need to marry up. That was really important to Monken in that hire. Once we hired Mike, it was a no-brainer. (Searels) had already been a coordinator and had worked with everybody in the room.”

On what has stood out about Mike Bobo as a coordinator and play-caller…

“His ability to adapt to the personnel we have. He has a very rotating lineup. He has had this in and that guy out. He had two tight ends then he didn’t have two tight ends. Pearce (Spurlin) had been in twice. Lawson (Luckie) has been hurt. Brock (Bowers) has been hurt. He has had backs in and out. Backs in and out. The ability to teach concepts and have plug-and-play players, his development of the quarterback, his leadership and messaging to the offensive is critical because I am not over there all the time. He has to be the leader and voice of reason. He relies heavily on his staff. He would be the first to tell you he has an incredible staff. Dell (McGee), (Todd) Hartley, (Bryan McClendon) and Searels are incredible, and the analysts are incredible. When you put a good staff together, you get good decision making, innovative with a lot of ideas. They present each week to him so that he has good material to pick from.”

On Tennessee’s run game…

“It is the backs, the commitment to the run and the spacing of the receivers. They are not playing in a phone booth. They are playing in a big farm field. They have everybody spread out, so when a run spits, it is going to go for a long way before somebody gets to it. Your ability to tackle and fit runs is exposed at a three-times the level. They almost always have a good box count, meaning they got a hat on a hat and are at ana advantage. A man has to whip another man to be able to stop the run against them. Sometimes you don’t do that.”

On praising players who have returned from injury…

“That is just a snippet of what you saw. I praised a lot of guys in that moment. I don’t know what they pick and choose to play. That is something that I don’t have anything to do with. I am certainly proud of those guys. I was proud of a lot of guys that night. Jamaal Jarrett, he came back from injury twice. I am proud of all the players that come back from injuries.”

On if the crowd noise helps prepare for the atmosphere at Tennessee…

“I wouldn’t go play without it. I can’t tell you how much it helps. I don’t honestly know how much it helps. It is hard to measure that. Some teams can do it more than we do it, have a young offense and have a lot of penalties. You could have a very experienced offense, not do it and not have a lot of penalties. It comes and goes. A lot of It has to do with the situation of your team and the focus of your team.”

On focusing on the challenge of Tennessee after their loss last weekend…

“It was today. I don’t know if it was because of that. I don’t know what it was because of. They must be feeling themselves a little bit. I am a little disappointed. I don’t think it has anything to do with Tennessee. It was a disappointing practice. We have had about five really good Tuesdays in a row, but they were not good today.”

On the key to get the team refocused after a bad practice…

“Having a core leadership and good culture on your team to respond.”

On Jonathan Jefferson’s status…

“He’s good. His breath got knocked out of him, I think.”

On his advice to assistant coaches who aspire to be head coaches…

“Pick the right one. Be where your feet are. You have a good job. Do a good job at your job, and you will get more opportunities.  A lot of jobs out there are not better than the one you’ve got.”

 



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Series Flashback: Bulldogs Wins Historic Meeting On Dooley Field

The 2022 contest in Athens marked the first 1-2 (Associated Press ranking) matchup in Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium history and was just the third ever top five matchup. The Bulldogs, No. 1 in the polls but No. 3 in the initial CFP rankings, faced off against Tennessee who was No. 1 in the CFP. Along with CBS broadcasting the game, ESPN College GameDay and SEC Nation were all in Athens. Georgia emerged with a 27-13 victory. UT entered the contest ranked No. 1 in the county in points per game (49.4). Georgia’s defense limited them to 289 yards on 75 plays.

The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with UT 27-23-2 including winning the past six meetings. This is the longest streak of Bulldog success in the series. The Bulldogs are 6-1 against the Vols under Kirby Smart, the lone defeat coming in 2016 on a Hail-Mary by Josh Dobbs in Athens. He completed a 43-yarder to Jauan Jennings as time expired to lift No. 11 Tennessee past No. 25 Georgia 34-31.

Balance Signals Success

The Bulldogs are one of only three teams in the country who are ranked in the top 10 in both Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense. The Bulldogs rank sixth in Scoring Defense at 15.6 ppg and sixth in Scoring Offense at 40.6 ppg. The other two teams are Michigan (10-0) and SMU (8-2).

One of the keys to Georgia’s success is its third down defense. The Bulldogs are ranked seventh nationally with opponents converting just 28 percent of the time. In SEC action, Georgia opponents are a combined 26-for-84 on third downs (28 percent). The Bulldogs lead the country in converting third downs (56 percent). Georgia has converted 47 of 86 third downs (55 percent) against league opponents.

 
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