Kirby Speaks: Georgia vs. Vanderbilt 2019 Presser – August 27, 2019

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Kirby Speaks: Georgia vs. Vanderbilt 2019 Presser – August 27, 2019

On the importance of this game and having an established team…

“It’s the first one, so it kind of is what it is. You always want to establish who you are and create that identity. You do it through camp, really. You do it through scrimmages and practices and meetings. They’ve begun to do that. They’ve begun to take on a personality as a unit on both sides of the ball and special teams. Nobody in the country knows what they have until they go out there and play.  There are so many kids that haven’t had to respond to the lights. It’s going to be really fun to see some of these kids grow up and play.”

On how pleased he’s been transitioning from camp mode to game prep…

“They’ve been good. They’ve really been locked in. Like everything, if you start on it too early they get burnt out with it and if you start too late you wish you’d done it earlier and had more prep. Although it’s Tuesday we’re at a Wednesday/Thursday stage and we still have two more practices to try to go back and change some things, tweak some things, and try to figure out what’s going to work best.”

On if James Coley will be on the field or in the press box…

“James (Coley) will probably be on the field. It’s what we’ve done in scrimmages and what he and I have talked about doing. We are open to looking at it different ways, but right now it’s probably what we’re going to do.”

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On what the offense will look like with the change in offensive coordinators this season…

“We did a lot of things with Jim (Chaney) here that we didn’t necessarily always do. You have more offense that you don’t always show. You try to use what you need. What you don’t need, you don’t use. There are things that we had in games that we didn’t use in the past and I’m sure it’ll be that way now. We want to be explosive. We want to score points. I think in college football nowadays you have to be able to score points. When. You look at the best teams in the country, they can do that, so we have to be able to score points. Whatever it takes to do that, whether it’s wearing people down or throwing the ball, we have to be flexible enough to do that.”

On who will be named the punter for the game…

“We really haven’t decided on any of that stuff yet. We are going to see closer to the game. Jake (Camarda) has done a good job, and a lot of these kids have played well.”

On if there was a specific area that he wanted to improve on during preseason…

“No, we talked about it defensively. We think we have to create some more negative plays. That has to be the focus for us. In the red area, we were not where we need to be in the country. Turnover ratio, we were not. Anywhere where we did not make our goal, was an area of improvement.  Our goals are pretty lofty goals when it comes to offensive, defensive, special teams. We didn’t make many of them. So that’s always an area we try to concern ourselves with. To be honest, special teams is always at the forefront because every game you watch, there are critical errors that are made and our intent is to try to put pressure on our opponent in every phase of the game. That’s what special teams is, a chance to put pressure on somebody.”

On recruiting junior college players for the potential play immediately…

“We want those guys to be able to play right away. We’re not always right. Sometimes they have an extra year because they can redshirt and still play two. No one takes a junior college player to not play him. There’s no intent in that. You’re able to see what you’re getting better because they go against better quality competition and also, they can come work out at your camp. When you get a kid to come work out at your camp, you have to be careful because you are comparing him to high school kids, but he has to look like your current players. He has to be able to perform at a high level.”

On the different Monty Rice would have made if he was healthy down the stretch last season…

“He’s smart, he’s bright. He plays with toughness. He probably plays better in the games than he does in practices because he plays so hard, with such good effort. He’s a difference maker for us because we don’t have a ton of speed at the position. He’s lightning fast when. You compare it to Roquan (Smith) and some of the guys in the past. He runs well and does a good job for us.  His future is bright as a leader for our defense and we need to him to play well.”

On when they start to make sure they have everything in place for this game…

“That was probably three or four days ago when we started on Vanderbilt. Just making sure that we feel good about our ability to manage the clock, our ability to get the signals in, our ability to do the kicking game and do it in an efficient manner.  It doesn’t stop, ever. And it doesn’t start anywhere because it’s just a continuum, but I certainly think the closer you get to a game the more you heighten your awareness to it. Especially as a head coach because you’re always trying to see everything and sometimes you try to see too much. You have to be careful.”

On what Brian Herrien has done in preseason…

“Brian, since he’s been here, practices and plays with unbelievable toughness and effort. Every cutup we watch on special teams when we’re doing drills, he’s at the front of the line, he’s competing. He doesn’t play on a lot of special teams but he develops. That’s part of his trade is that he can go do those things. As a running back, he’s picked up pressures this year better than he ever has.  He’s running really hard, tough yards. He’s caught the ball well out of the backfield. He’s kind of always done that but he’s never really been the limelight. I think this is a great opportunity for him. For a guy who’s had a really good camp and run the ball tough, he’s just kind of waiting on his opportunity and his opportunity is now.”

On how much the coaches manage D’Andre Swift in games and if they’d like to give him more opportunities this year…

“In his time here he’s been in the backfield with some good players. There may not be an opportunity for one guy to get 25-30 carries. The game is not built like it used to be, for the guys to carry that.  The people hitting guys are bigger, faster, stronger. There are a lot more licks. It just may not happen that way.  I know that should it be that way, that he has to carry the ball 25-30 times a game to win, I have no doubt that D’Andre Swift can do that. It all goes back to is that necessary. You do what you have to do to win. Sometimes have good skillsets, sometimes other guys are fresher. Sometimes it’s a rotation pattern. Some of our games have been lopsided where you don’t have a chance to get guys that many carries.”

On the luxury of having depth and talent at running back…

“The biggest benefit is at our practices because everybody is going against a good back at all times. When. You have one good back, that’s great and all, but you’re not actually wanting to hit him. You’re not actually wanting to practice against him because you’re scared to death and then your whole defense suffers. I’d like to think if you have five or six good backs and you send a couple of them down to defense for periods, then your defensive players get to thud and play on good backs. Plus, your special teams take a huge jolt because you have good football players playing on those. There are a lot of advantages. The tough thing is the management of it because everybody wants the ball. Let’s be honest, you guys want every guy to get 1000 yards and 1000 carries. I don’t have enough balls to go around to do that. I’m trying to keep them happy because you keep telling them how many of them are going to have 1000 yards.”

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Greg is closing in on 11 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.