Daily Dawg Thread: September 27, 2023

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Daily Dawg Thread: September 27, 2023

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Video/Transcript: Kirby Smart Post-Practice Presser – September 26, 2023

On how practice has been this week… 

“It was good yesterday and I thought it was good today. We had a lot of things to clean up today so I didn’t love the results, but I loved the energy, focus and the enthusiasm. We know it’s a rivalry game. Our guys are passionate about this game and I thought they practiced hard. Not always smart but we got after it today, had a good physical practice. It’ll be a physical game, so we need to be ready for it. Expect for it be hot and practice in the heat.” 





On what Auburn is doing defensively to create turnovers… 

“They get a lot of havoc. There are a couple clips against [Texas] A&M you know they’re punching balls out. You can tell they are coaching it, and they are violent, stripping at balls, going after it. That’s the growing rate in the country. You got to protect the ball at a higher rate now than ever I can remember. The art of getting turnovers and forcing them is so hard and coached upon on defense. It’s almost double that on offense now, protecting it, so the two are like meeting in the middle. They are protecting it more and we’re coming after it more and it just keeps raising the standard of people getting after it. They’ve done a good job of that. They’ve also got some interceptions and that’s helped with that.” 

On chances that Ladd McConkey plays against Auburn… 





“I don’t know. He did some things today. He got to practice. He didn’t do much Monday. He ran routes and caught balls and then today he got in plays and ran routes. I saw him some, but I didn’t get to see enough to really judge him. I’m going to go watch the tape of what I went over with him and see what he looks like. We’re just trying to progress him back slowly whether it’s this week in a role or whether it’s the future. Not trying to rush him back.” 

On Payton Thorne and Auburn’s offense… 

“Extremely athletic. Robby Ashford is an elite athlete. He is so fast and so quick, but the thing is Peyton Thorn is a great athlete too. He can take off, run anytime and he can do all the same runs. He’s made some pretty impressive cuts and touchdown runs. They both are really good athletes.” 

On what he’s seen from Roderick Robinson and Kendall Milton this week… 

“Roderick hasn’t gone much. He’s been in the training room dealing with the high ankle. Kendall was able to go some today and did some stuff. I saw him out there. I didn’t get to see how much he did or how he looked doing it. I’ll evaluate that on tape, but he was able to take reps and go, cut and do some things.” 

On differences of Georgia-Auburn’s rivalry compared to Alabama-Auburn… 

“They’re both rivalries. I mean Georgia-Auburn is a border-war rivalry. For Alabama, Auburn is obviously an in-state rivalry. That’s on another whole level of difference from being over there because they live with that for 365 days. We share that with several other out-of-state rivalries. There is no diminishing of a rivalry. I tend to agree with coach [Hugh] Freeze. It’s not about hate for me. I don’t look at it as ‘I hate any of their players.’ I recruited a lot of them. I don’t look at it and say ‘I hate any of their coaches’ because I like a lot of their coaches. I’ve known all those guys for a long time. I have a lot of respect for Hugh. I look at it as a hell of a fierce rivalry and that’s really why you do this business. Why you get in this business is to play in these types of games and this type of atmosphere. Fanbases won’t like to hear that because they like to hate each other. There’s not a lot of difference between our fans and their fans a lot of times. In terms of where they are from, their players are similar to our players. So I have respect for them, not hate.” 

On if the offense is installed or still developing… 

“I don’t know how to answer that. You’re never fully installed ever. If you say that you’re fully installed, you’re saying that you can’t get better or that you can’t do anything else. So, you’re constantly looking for a better way or a new play or something to do. We do have what we have, and every offense carries over plays, and they might present it a different way or change it up. There are coaches all over America watching games on Sunday to see a new wrinkle. Not necessarily a trick play, but just a different way to do the same thing.” 

On explosive play margins, run-pass definition and the importance of defensive success… 

“Well, I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t actually know the number. I think it’s 15 to 20. 15 run and 20 pass, but we changed it over the last couple of years because we have what we call ‘big play’ that was 12 and 15, and then we had ‘explosive play’, and it was 15 to 20. People tend to slant those to whichever one is more favorable to them, meaning if you have a bunch of those that fit in the medium area in between those two borders, you say ‘hey we had the most big plays’ or ‘hey we had the most explosive plays.’ So, coaches across the country kind of tilt that and when we do a stat — one of our quality control guys does it — I want to say its 15 to 20 but I can’t verify that. It’s differential more than anything. We’re not even leading the SEC in differential the way we do ours, Kentucky actually is. We’ve given up slightly fewer than them, but they have gotten slightly more than us. So, the differential is just like one or two ahead. Last year we were second almost the whole year to Ole Miss because of all the explosive [plays] they had. Ole Miss is actually the one who sent the chart to us and I kind of fell in love with because it showed a greater indicator of who won and lost than turnover margin. I can’t answer your question on the exact number of yards.” 

On status of Javon Bullard and Mykel Williams… 

“Mykel did some exercise today and felt better. Hoping he’ll be able to go, but don’t know that yet. We’ll probably know more tomorrow. Javon was able to do more today, and he felt the best he had. He did walk throughs, he ran on the side, he did some scout period stuff. Again, those guys are probably going to be very close right there with Ladd and Kendall so it could be into the weekend before we know.” 

On gameday time element differences with home and road games… 

“They would be with the exception of traveling to the game site. Obviously here, we travel to the game site and we’re 15 minutes away or whatever, but it’ really close. In these towns we play in, sometimes you don’t stay in the town. The travel from where you stay to where you are going dictates you have to move things up. We stay in Montgomery, so we can’t click our heels together and appear in Auburn because it takes an hour. Sometimes we have to move our time markers, I call them, up some. Well, their traffic has been tough getting there from there to the game because of gameday traffic. We get escorted through it but sometimes we’ve found that it takes a little longer than normal, so we have to move things based on our history of what that travel took two years ago.” 

On Warren Brinson’s development since arriving at Georgia… 

“He’s worked hard. He’s gotten more opportunities. He’s trained behind some really good football players who are gone, and he’s developed. He’s gotten tougher. He’s gotten more physical. He’s gotten stronger. He’s more disciplined, so he’s improved. When he plays within the scheme of things, he’s pretty athletic and twitchy. He has to do that first and play hard – and play more snaps. I mean, he’s got to play more snaps than he’s ever played, so that’s important.” 

On Dan Jackson taking more reps at safety… 

“He’s done good. Dan, when he’s been healthy, he’s played really well. He played a dime role two years ago, and then last year he dealt with the injury most of the year. That was really frustrating for him. It set him back. He’s just now, to me, just getting back to his old play speed. He can run. Dan has good play speed, and he has good eyes. He understands our defense and recognizes things, so I was really proud of him the other night. I thought he played well, and if Javon [Bullard] can’t go, we’ll need him to play well again.” 

On his evaluation of Micah Morris against UAB… 

“He did a good job. He came in there and gave those guys a rotational blow. I think that’s important when it’s hot and you’re playing in early fall. He jumped in there and competed and played. He’s really physical. He had a different presence that the other guards at times. He has some strengths that they don’t have, and he has some weaknesses that they don’t have. We have to measure those within each game and see what we need.” 

On Marvin Jones’ progression this season… 

“He had gotten better. I thought he had a good week of practice this week so far. He was crushed when he didn’t get to play in that game [South Carolina]. He’s recovered from all that. I think he is getting better, and he understands our defense in terms of knowledge and system. A lot of those guys in that room are young and new. He’s been able to grasp that and have a feel for things. I’m hoping he comes along and starts making some plays.” 

On the expectation for Carson Beck on explosive plays… 

“I think he’s done a good job. I mean, we had the one drop intended for Arian [Smith], but he works really hard on it. He spends extra time after practice – he’s probably out there right now because he had an opportunity to grab it. He probably overthrew Jackson [Meeks] a little bit, but Jackson will tell you that he didn’t extend the play probably the way the other guys did. It’s different timing with different receivers. He probably put too much air under it rather than hitting him right in stride. I think he has done really well with the deep balls; I really do. I don’t listen to the noise out there. We’ve missed a couple because they have been covered. He’s overthrown a couple, but a lot of that is the aim. Are we leading the receiver to the open grass or are we leading the receiver to a landmark? There is difference in the two, and sometimes it’s the quarterback and sometimes it’s the receiver. We’ll continue, if we can run the ball well, to have an opportunity to take shots down the field.” 

On his impressions of Auburn’s Eugene Asante… 

“He’s an athletic dude. He’s the kind of linebacker that everybody is playing with now, and a lot of teams in the NFL are playing with. He’s quick, he’s fast, he’s twitchy. He can blitz. He can play in space. He closes so fast. He covers down. A lot of his plays have been cover down, strips outs – cover down, effort plays, I call them. We showed our guys him, and then we showed the scout linebackers how hard this guy plays. Coach Searels was with him there in North Carolina, and he has played very well this year. He’s a force.” 

Dawgs in the NFL – Week Three

Former University of Georgia football players D’Andre Swift and James Cook currently make up two of the top three rushers in the National Football League with 308 yards and 267 respectively. Other notable performances during week three include Isaiah Wynn, who started at left guard for the Dolphins as Miami garnered 728 yards of total offense, and Roquan Smith, who had 12 tackles for the Ravens and is fourth in the league with 33 tackles.

Bills 37, Commanders 3

James Cook, RB – Carried the ball 15 times for 98 yards for the Bills on Sunday. Also reeled in three passes for 14 yards in the win. It was his sixth consecutive game with 50 or more yards from scrimmage. He currently ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards with 267 on the year.

Leonard Floyd, DE – Started at defensive end for the Bills, recording three total tackles, two tackles for loss, and two sacks. With two sacks on Sunday, Leonard Floyd surpassed the 50-sack mark on his career, with 51 total.

49ers 30, Giants 12

Azeez Ojulari, OLB – Inactive for the Giants on Thursday night (hamstring).

Andrew Thomas, OT – Inactive for the Giants on Thursday night (hamstring).

Lawrence Cager, TE – Dressed but did not see any game action for the Giants playing zero snaps.

Chris Conley, WR – Was elevated from the 49ers practice squad for the game playing nine snaps but did not record any statistics.

Charlie Woerner, TE – Played 33 percent of downs for the 49ers, recording no statistics.

Browns 27, Titans 3

Monty Rice, ILB – Recorded one tackle for the Titans in the loss.

Lions 20, Falcons 6

John Fitzpatrick, TE – Dressed but played zero snaps for the Falcons in the loss.

Lorenzo Carter, OLB – Recorded one tackle for the Falcons on Sunday.

Packers 18, Saints 17

Quay Walker, ILB – Started at inside linebacker for the Packers playing all 61 defensive snaps recording seven total tackles.

Devonte Wyatt, DT – Registered two total tackles for the Packers in the win.

Dolphins 70, Broncos 20

Isaiah Wynn, OT/OG – Started at left guard for the Dolphins and played 100 percent of the offensive snaps as they gained 726 total yards, just the second time in NFL history a team has garnered 700 total yards in a game.

Channing Tindall, ILB – Played nine snaps on defense for the Dolphins, registering two total tackles.

Chargers 28, Vikings 24

Tre’ McKitty, TE – Played 10 total snaps for the Chargers, recording no statistics.

Jamaree Salyer, OT/OG – Started at right guard for the Chargers and played all 66 offensive snaps as they gained 475 total yards.

Lewis Cine, S – Served in a reserve safety role for the Vikings, playing zero snaps.

Patriots 15, Jets 10

David Andrews, OC – Started at center for the Patriots, playing all 72 snaps as the Patriots gained 358 total yards of offense.

Mecole Hardman, WR – Played two snaps for the Jets recording no statistics.

Texans 37, Jaguars 17

Tyson Campbell, CB – Started at cornerback for the Jaguars recording three total tackles.

Travon Walker, DE – Started at defensive end for the Jaguars registering four total tackles including two tackles for loss.

Colts 22, Ravens 19

Ben Cleveland, OG – Served in a reserve offensive lineman role, playing zero snaps.

Roquan Smith, ILB – Started at inside linebacker for the Ravens recording 12 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and one defended pass. His 33 tackles on the season have him tied for fourth in the league in tackles.

Isaiah McKenzie, WR – Played nine total snaps for the Colts, catching one pass for three yards in the win.

Seahawks 37, Panthers 27

Justin Houston, OLB – Played 49 percent of snaps for the Panthers registering two tackles in the loss.

Chiefs 41, Bears 10

Malik Herring, DE – Played 35 percent of snaps for the Chiefs, recording three total tackles.

Cardinals 28, Cowboys 16

Jonathan Ledbetter, DT – Started at defensive tackle for the Cardinals posting four total tackles.

Steelers 23, Raiders 18

George Pickens, WR – Started at wide receiver for the Steelers, catching four passes for 75 yards in the win.

Darnell Washington, TE – Played 47 percent of the offensive snaps for the Steelers recording no statistics.

Broderick Jones, OT – Served as a reserve offensive lineman for the Steelers, playing zero snaps.

Zamir. White, RB – Played one snap on offense and 12 snaps on special teams recording no statistics.

John Jenkins, DT – Started at defensive tackle for the Raiders recording six total tackles including a tackle for loss and a QB hit.

Chris Smith II, S – Inactive for the Raiders on Sunday (Coach’s decision).

Eagles 25, Buccaneers 11

Jordan Davis, DT – Recorded three total tackles for the Eagles.

Jalen Carter, DT – Recorded one tackle for the Eagles including half a sack and two forced fumbles.

D’Andre Swift, RB – Started at running back for the Eagles while rushing 16 times for 130 yards. Also caught one pass for eight yards in the win. His 308 rushing yards rank second in the NFL behind Christian McCaffrey.

Nolan Smith, OLB – Played six snaps on defense and 13 snaps on special teams for the Eagles, recording no statistics.

Kelee Ringo, CB – Played 15 snaps on special teams for the Eagles, recording no statistics.

Jake Camarda, P – Punted four times for the Buccaneers for an average of 57.5 yards with a long of 74 yards and two punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Camarda currently leads the league in average punt yardage and is tied for third with seven punts downed inside the 20-yard-line.

Bengals 19, Rams 16

Trey Hill, OC – Inactive for the Bengals on Monday night (Coach’s decision).

Matthew Stafford, QB – Started at quarterback for the Rams, completing 18 of his 33 pass attempts for 269 yards and one touchdown in the loss.

Derion Kendrick, CB – Started at cornerback for the Rams, playing all 77 defensive snaps while recording six tackles and two defended passes.

Warren McClendon Jr. – Inactive for the Rams (Coach’s decision).

Practice Squads

Falcons: Justin Shaffer, OL

Buccaneers: Richard Lecounte III, S

Commanders: Jake Fromm, QB

Reserve Lists (IR, PUP, NFI)

Eagles: Nakobe Dean, ILB 

Seahawks: Kenny McIntosh, RB

49ers: Robert Beal Jr., DE

Packers: Eric Stokes, CB

Ravens: Nick Moore, LS

Rams: Stetson Bennett, QB

Titans: Kearis Jackson, WR/PR

Browns: Nick Chubb, RB

Baseball: Coach Johnson shares roster insights

Ike Cousins head baseball coach Wes Johnson and his staff are getting their first extended look at the Bulldogs with full-team workouts underway at Foley Field.

Benefits of the Veteran Additions

“It’s been fun. It’s been a challenge. We got 17 new guys out of the portal. You start to look at different dynamics. It’s one thing to have 17 new players, but then you think about it, it’s 17 new players from other programs. One of the big things I’ve been really hammering is we have to establish a normal. They’ve had a normal, and that’s 17 different normals in a sense at other programs. How do we do things? That’s been good, that’s been fun.  That’s what you have to do to get your locker room right and get everybody on the same page.

“We’ve had a few scrimmages and finally got to see a lot of our new players. How are they going to react when the lines are painted? They are playing against live pitching in a game setting. It’s been good, and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but there were some positives.

“Guys with experience who have had success at a high level carry a different kind of confidence. That becomes contagious, and that’s what we’re hoping for and what we’re seeing from some of those guys. And what’s funny, you’re already seeing that with some of the guys that were here last year and are starting to feed off that.  That’s something you have to keep going because in baseball you’re going to have a bad game or bad week. Can we stay positive and keep our momentum going.”

Identifying Guys to Bring In

“The biggest thing we did was look at it analytically. We play in the best league in the country. We have to look at how are they going to perform in our league? It’s one thing to perform in another league, but how are they going to perform here? Did we like what we’re seeing? In this age of college baseball, a lot of good teams are older and have experience. If they were in a league that we really didn’t know, we’d look at their strikeout-to-walk ratio. Also, you do your regular background stuff by calling coaches, other people, trying to figure out for example, if this guy is good in the clubhouse? When they check out, you go right after them.”

Options in Lineup

“We wanted lineup flexibility. You look at teams in our league, and they have a really good righthander with a good slider, and that gets a lot of really good right-handed hitters out. So, you better have enough left-handed bats in there when you face that guy to be able to attack that guy and give your team a chance. And vice versa too. You think about Texas A&M, and they’re loaded with a lot of left-handed pitching. We have them this year so you’re sitting there saying, I need a lot of right-handed bats. The other thing we pulled off a little bit of is some defensive flexibility, so we’re excited about that as well.”

First impression on the new pitchers

“We’ve got some pitchers who have experience in the postseason. We have Daniel Padysak (pitched in the World Baseball Classic), and you’re going to see some good things from him and from Josh Roberge (pitched in the DII and DIII World Series). Brandt Pancer is from Stanford, and he’s pitched in Omaha the past three years, so he knows what he’s doing. Brian Zeldin was at Penn last year and threw in a (NCAA) Regional in Auburn.  Zach Harris is off to a great start too; I could keep going about a lot of guys. We’ll see how they do against our hitters because I think we’re extremely offensive, and we’ll see how they react to that. Of course, I’m using the Trackman strike zone too so it’s going to be little tough on them. They’re going to have to throw it in that box for it to be a strike. We’re still learning a ton about all our guys.”

Evaluating the Pitching Staff

“I came in day one and told them I don’t care what your stats were last year. I don’t care what you’ve done or haven’t done. It’s irrelevant. You have a fresh start with me. I think that has given a few guys a jolt of energy or second life whatever term you want to use. They have come out and shown some things. They’re going to have to continue to progress. One of the guys came out and showed he’s going to be able to throw strikes. We’ll see how many more times he can continue to do that.”

Goal of Fall Baseball

“We have an individual development plan for each guy, so our goal is to get better at that every single day. If we do that, and I get asked a lot about winning, for me winning is getting your players better every day. We had a young man throw a ball harder than he’s ever thrown it, and he was extremely excited. But I told him, hey that’s yesterday’s newspaper.  If we’re satisfied there, then we’re in trouble.  We got to continue to get better. That doesn’t mean he’s going to continue to throw harder, but maybe his slider gets better, or his command gets better, or he controls the running game better, all of these things.  For us, it is every single day being consistent and continuing to get better.”

The Bulldogs will play the University of Florida in the annual fall 10-inning exhibition game in Jacksonville, Fla. on Friday, Oct. 27. The exhibition will be at 6:30 p.m. and played at 121 Financial Ballpark, home of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. The Bulldogs are the visiting team this year. Tickets will be $15 and include a 90’s themed post-game concert featuring performances by Vanilla Ice, Young MC, Montell Jordan and Tone Loc. Tickets are now on sale online via Ticketmaster at the following link: https://gado.gs/avk

On Nov. 5, Georgia will conclude fall workouts with an exhibition against Kennesaw State at Foley Field starting at noon.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.