After the Bulldogs 24-17 victory over the Gators, Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart discusses the win. There is a timestamped index of topics Kirby discusses in the video below. Just click on the time mark to open a new tab and the video will play at that timestamp or you can follow along as you watch the presser in its entirety by clicking on the video below to play it.
00:00 – Opening Statement
“I want to reiterate what a privilege it is to play in this game. I know a lot has been made about my opinion or our opinion of where it’s played, but it is an incredible venue. That’s regardless of the outcome of the game. Both fans on each side, I think our kids really enjoy that. It’s great for College Football. A special opportunity and the City of Jacksonville has been great with that.”
“Coming into this game, win or lose, we wanted our leaders to guide us. We talked long and hard throughout the week about composure, discipline, and physicality. We tried to really make it simple for our guys — don’t lose your composure, no stupid penalties, no fighting, no chippiness, discipline, just do your job and then physicality is who we are. We embrace that each day. We had guys stand up and talk about it. Then we delivered a good message to them, I thought, Thursday and Friday about Michael Johnson, probably one of the greatest track athletes to ever be in a U.S. uniform. He embraced the pressure. He embraced it. He wore gold shoes with the expectation that he was going to win both races (the 200-meter and the 400-meter) and we kind of showed them a special about that. I really thought our players embraced the challenge today. Blocked the outside noise.”
“We know that we control how we play. We control what we do by how we play and the outside noise is just that. Our kids ground and worked hard so I’m proud of them. Played really physical, played really hard. Give Florida a lot of credit. That’s a really good football team. I’ve got a lot for Dan and their program. They do a tremendous job. Our kids were resilient today and I think you guys saw that first hand.”
01:40 – Quarterback Jake Fromm’s performance and third-down success
“Yeah, start with the positive, third down was really good. We were able to convert some big third downs, some down and distances that your… (Florida has) been really good on third and long. Tebow talked about this morning on SEC Nation. It’s tough to convert those long-yardage third downs. When Jake has time he’s really efficient. I thought our receivers gained a lot of confidence throughout this game. We had all of them there and accounted for. They were all healthy. They played well too, to help Jake. But let’s be honest, those five guys up front were blocking some pretty good pass rushers one on one and that was probably the difference in the game.”
02:27 – Wide receiver Lawrence Cager and his return from injury
“He was determined from the start. He was on the side running, he was doing things, he was wearing Kevlar pads. He did everything he could. He rehabbed extra. He couldn’t do any more than he already did to get out there and play. His biggest concern for me was conditioning.”
“He had to come out on a couple of plays. There were some plays we would have liked to have gotten to him that he wasn’t able to sustain. It wasn’t injury, it was conditioning. You can condition on a bike and swim and run, until you get out there and run routes, it’s different. He was able to do a little bit of that but probably not to the level he needed to.”
“Just proud of him. He’s a competitor. I’ve known him since he was in high school and he had a big game. He had a big game but so did a lot of other guys in that Georgia uniform.”
03:46 – On defense and limiting Florida’s ability to run the ball
“That was the plan going in. We wanted to suffocate the run and make them one-dimensional. They’re going to make plays on you, now. They’ve got as good a group of receivers as anybody. I’m telling you, there’s four guys that are going to be playing in the NFL, and I’m including the tight end. But they’ve got good wideouts and that was my concern coming into the game. We knew that we may have to give something up to get something back. But we felt like we had to play for the pass and you had to stifle the run in order to make them one-dimensional. The flipside of that was I didn’t think they’d be able to do what they did us. But early on it was almost like mirror images. We couldn’t run the ball but we were able to throw it.”
04:33 – On offense and sticking with the run game, are you being stubborn?
“Oh, you’ve got to. If you don’t run the ball in this league, pass rushers will chew you up. When they see pass every play, they’ll feast. It’s like sharks in the water. They’ll attack you. You’ve got to keep them honest. You’ve got to wear them down. I know y’all don’t believe in it and y’all think it’s boring and y’all hate it and it’s not explosive, I get it, okay. But in this league, you’ve got to have the threat of that in order to sustain.”
“And look, we have not arrived. We have to get better. There are a lot of things we have to work on and we’ve got some really tough teams coming up to play and that’s what I reiterated to our guys.”
05:12 – Senior running back Brian Herrien’s catch
“I’ve seen quite a few of those. I’ll be honest with you: that guy has got a skill set. I mean, he talks about it from baseball all the time. I saw it; I saw him in high school playing basketball. I’ve seen him do catches like that, crazy catches. It actually didn’t surprise me that he made it, because he’s Houdini when it comes to those.”
05:34 – Tight end Eli Wolf had a couple of clutch catches
“It was clutch. He wanted it. He’s been beating himself up for a couple of the drops he had, the South Carolina one and things like that. He ran a great route. We knew what coverage they were going to be in and how they were going to play us. Todd (Grantham) thinks very similar to how I do and felt like that’s the philosophy.”
“You try to win the game when you get an opportunity to and that was our chance to win the game. If we don’t complete that pass, y’all are all sitting here saying, ‘what’d you do that for?’ But you’ve got a chance to win the game and that’s the life we lead as coaches. We make decisions based on what gives us the best chance to win the game.”
6:15 – Spending time with Jake Fromm
07:01 – Did the team answer questions?
“I’m not sure how to answer that. Because I never really doubted this team. I mean our team doesn’t listen to the outside noise. We had four turnovers and played really poorly against an SEC opponent, and then we played in an absolute monsoon, and we’re all asking ourselves. You guys don’t see it every day. We see these guys make plays, we see them do things that you guys aren’t privy to. So there was not a doubt. Now I was concerned about making plays on our defense and blocking them and covering them. I’m not sitting here and telling you I thought we were going to come in here and just torture them and be 12-for-18 on third down. But I knew we had a good team. I know we could throw the ball.”
7:52 – Winning the line of scrimmage
08:55 – Junior running back D’Andre Swift
“Well earned, you know what I mean? It was like a 2-yard carry was well-earned, a 3-yard carry was well earned. Teams are doing things that I see, I don’t know if you guys see, that aren’t normal. They’ve got five defensive linemen in, mostly people have four, and a lot of them are taking risks when they do that, too. We’ve got find more ways to expose that. They know that we’re hell-bent on running and they’re hell-bent on stopping it. There’s two ways to go head to head and if we had not converted on third down, we might be sitting here talking otherwise.”
09:50 – Georgia offensive line pass protection and Coach Sam Pittman
“I thought Coach Pittman did a wonderful job last night. In the offensive only meeting, I get to sit in on Friday nights and leave the defense along so they don’t get sick of me. Sam stood up. Sam never talks and said “I’ve got to say something, I’m just a fat O-line coach, but they asked me earlier in the week do we need to protect these guys, take the backs, the tight ends and chip these guys. I told them no, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to let these guys go play, we’re going to let them play in space and we’re going to block them and I’ll be glad if we didn’t do that. Our guys pass pro pretty well. I’ve known that. There’s criticism out there, but our guys pass pro pretty well and they showed that tonight. We made plays down the field with the pass pro.”
10:57 – What were the expectations for Lawrence Cager when he transferred to UGA?
11:39 – The University of Georgia fans turning out and their energy
“It shows that Dawg Nation is all in. There were some tough ebbs and flows in that game, their fans got back in it, our fans got back in it. But that’s what it is. It’s a helluva rivalry game. I’m just proud of the support that our fans provided for us, even if they did think Jake couldn’t throw the ball.”
12:11 – What have you learned about this team?
“I’ve learned that we’ve got to get better, I’ve learned that we’ve got to be more consistent, you could easily say where was that team some other weeks. We’ve just got to play to our standard and to our level of confidence. I thought our team gained some confidence. Win or lose this game, I was going to come in here and have the same demeanor. You guys were going to have a different message win or lose this game. But win or lose this game, we’ve got to play Missouri next week, and they’ve got a good football team. The toughest job for us in moving forward, is grounding this team and making sure they understand the quality of team we’ve got to come and play next week.”
13:00 – On hanging out with Jake Fromm this week
13:51 – Containing Florida tight end Kyle Pitts in the second half
“I was waiting on that one. That was the Notre Dame game all over again. I knew they did some good things to target the tight end. That tight end is as good of a player as I’ve ever seen at that position. He is a dominant, freaky, long, hard-to-matchup with dude. And they have good ways to get him the ball. I mean, y’all want us to throw it to the tight end. That dude is good, that dude is really talented.”
14:56 – The offense’s response
15:11 – The evolution of defensive lineman Jordan Davis