After the Georgia Bulldogs defeat in-state rival Georgia Tech 52-7 on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, GA, UGA head coach Kirby Smart discusses the game, gives an update on the team including wide receiver George Pickens and running back D’Andre Swift and much more!
There is a timestamped index with a typed transcript of the postgame press conference below the video. 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 give a big thanks to our fans. I thought they turned out and took over the stadium as they’ve done so many times when we’ve played (on the road). There was a lot of red in the stands today, and I’m proud of that. I’m proud of our seniors. The senior class that’s going out of here, somebody told me, may be tied for the second-most wins of any senior class to ever leave Georgia. They got the benefit of some extra games with the format we’re playing now, but the second-most wins in the history of our school, which is pretty incredible when you think about what the seniors have been able to do.”
00:42 On why UGA WR George Pickens didn’t play in the first-half and his ejection in the third quarter for throwing punches:
“I’ll address the George Pickens situation… He was suspended for the first half for a violation of team rules, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
“Unfortunately, he got an undisciplined penalty and when you make undisciplined decisions, regardless of what was done first, you pay a penalty for that. He won’t be able to play the first half next week. When you make emotional decisions, that’s what happens. So, we’re going to help Georgia and help him grow up.”
01:13 Update on running back D’Andre Swift’s injury:
“DeAndre Swift … I think he’s going to be fine, he’s got a shoulder contusion, and we think he’ll be fine, he should be back.”
01:20 After the turnovers and mistakes in the second quarter, what changes, what motivations were there at half-time?
“I didn’t address it at halftime. The kids understand. When you turn the ball over, it’s hard to be successful. The defense went out and had a sudden change and made some big stops. They didn’t make a stop once and cost us one (score). Then we had the surprise onside that we work on all the time. He had it, but he just lost it. He didn’t possess the ball and we turned the ball over. Our kids are resilient. They like to play, so when you have a sudden change, our defense is fired up. They want another opportunity to go out there and play, and I thought they did a good job of that.”
01:58 How surprised were you that George Picken’s lost his composure?
“Just disappointed. That’s the biggest thing. We don’t want to reflect ourselves that way and he’d be the first to tell you that he lost his composure.”
02:11 How did you feel your wide receiving corps performed today versus Tech?
“We did some good things, and we did some things we need to do better. We’ve got to put them in a position to be successful. We need to run the ball to create play-action and do more in that mentality. A lot of our scores were set up, either by punt returns, or one fumble in the end zone by those guys. We’ve just got to keep improving. I’m proud of the way the receivers have worked. They’ve had a ton of reps this week, and a lot of work through low volume of guys. We’ve got less receivers than we’ve ever had. They did a good job. I thought Tyler (Simmons) really stepped up during the week and had a good game.
02:54 Third-down defense:
“They continued to play really well. I mean, I thought our defensive guys played super hard. They’ve got an unbelievable challenge in front of us this week. It’ll be a whole lot different than the team we just played, I can promise you that. They have passion, energy, juice. They love just playing football. They love to get in those situations, and I think they were 3-of-17 or something. Our guys really enjoy that.”
03:19 Share your thoughts on Charlie Woerner’s first touchdown as a college player and Bulldog?
“Awesome. Think about how many blocks that guy’s had, and one touchdown. He told me before the game, he asked and said ‘what was your record against Tech?’ I told him 3-1, or really 4-1 if you count a redshirt year. He just said, ‘I want to go out on top so bad.’ For a kid who’s meant so much to our program, golly, the blocking value that he has had, and not getting as many catches as he deserved, for him to get that play was huge.”
03:58 Assess Jake Fromm’s performance at quarterback?
“We put a lot on him. You start talking about checks, making decisions, doing things. He did a good job adjusting. Geoff’s defense has always been good at disguising things, give you different looks. They did some good things. Jake made some good decisions when they got us. He threw the ball away a couple times and made good decisions. He’s got to continue to improve and play better. Jake gets us in and out of a lot of situations.”
04:42 Offensive coordinator James Coley:
“Yeah, I thought it was a great call by Coley. He talked about what they had done to him the last time and the next time they did it, it cost them. It was a great complementary call because the touchdown I guess it was to George whoever it was it was set up by what you’re talking about, they had done that earlier. They paid the price for it.”
05:09 Post-game atmosphere and celebration:
“I love Governor Kemp being in our locker room because that means only one thing, right? We’re fired up about that. This was the next step. For us we expected to win this game, we expected to dominate this game. We go on to the next one.”
05:33 What was the message at half-time?
“Wasn’t a big message. It was just players challenging players. That’s what it’s about. You’ve got leaders on your team, and when they don’t think you’re playing to your capabilities, we’ve got guys willing to challenge guys. As a coach, I love it when we challenge each other… I don’t have to.”
06:21 Update on injury and status of WR Lawrence Cager:
“He’s got an ankle injury, he had successful surgery on it (Friday). He’ll make a quick recovery.”
06:30 Follow up question, and answer, on the status of D’Andre Swift after he left the game and did not return with an apparent shoulder injury…
“I just talked about it… He’s got a shoulder contusion.”
06:37 Looking ahead to next weekend and the SEC Championship Game versus LSU:
“I’m excited. You earn the opportunity to play in this game. People will talk about a lot of games outside this, and this being a de facto play-in game and all these different things. The SEC Championship is the greatest environment, maybe in all of football. You can say the Super Bowl and all of this, but there’s no greater passion for a game than any place in the country when you talk about LSU and the University of Georgia. Don’t matter who’s playing in the SEC Championship. And I’ve coached in a lot of big games in my lifetime. The SEC Championship is the greatest atmosphere of passion and energy… That’s what you come to Georgia to play in; so, we earned the right to play in it. We’re going to roll our helmets out there and give it the best shot we can.”
07:37 Will Lawrence Cager be available for a bowl game?
07:42 Comparing the upcoming SEC title game to the previous two:
“I don’t know if anything can be learned from those, this is a different year. They’re all different, I guess we’ve played a different opponent each time, but we’ll prepare for these guys like we do anybody else. We’ll go through our normal week, you guys will make a bigger deal out of it, and we’ll prepare the same way we always to do, put the best plan together we can, and go throw our team out there.”
08:21 What are your initial thoughts on LSU QB Joe Burrow?
“They throw the ball really well, they’ve got one of the best backs I’ve seen on TV when he gets out there and breaks things open. The backs and receivers from last year, we played them. The quarterback is incredible. He was that way last year. People don’t give him enough credit for the athlete he is. He’s a great basketball player, he does good things. We know what kind of good things they do. They’ve got good football players. Guess what? So does everybody else in the SEC.”
09:17 Is it fortunate that D’Andre Swift wasn’t injured more seriously?
“I wouldn’t say fortunate. It’s never fortunate that a guy gets dinged or hurt, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. But he’s been dealing with that, kinda all year. He’s had shoulder contusions and it’s bothered him from time to time. But he’s a really tough guy.”
“He probably could have gone back in the game if he needed to. But he knew that wasn’t what we needed to do, we needed to rest him and get him ready. He’s been a warrior and a leader of this team. His spirit we’ll need next week because he’s got a lot of energy and emotion that we need.”
10:07 Talk about the freshmen on your defense?
“Great kids, leaders, got great leadership qualities. They’re on a young leadership group we work with and they’re both going to be great kids in the future. And they’ve made plays this year and they continue to get better. We’ve got to use those guys, because those guys have got great skill set. I think Dan (Lanning) and (Glenn) Schumann and Charlton (Warren) and Tray (Scott) have done a great job of kind of bringing those freshmen along.”
10:37 When you can appreciate beating your rivals?
“Well, you appreciate the season. We have a gala, we have an awards banquet where we recognize what we did for the season and you recognize the senior class. I certainly can’t wait to recognize those guys for everything they’ve accomplished. But, what we wanted to accomplish is in front of us. We’ve earned the right to put that in front of us and now we have to take advantage of it. We’ll worry about the offseason in the offseason.”
11:12 Team leaders:
“I don’t mess with them. When the leaders talk and they want to, I love it. Because when players challenge players, there’s no price tag on that. None. That’s all I would say on that, because it’s not about who, it’s not about what was said, it’s not about any of that. It’s just real. I don’t have to do it when they do it. That’s when you’ve got your culture right.”
11:43 Will you as a coaching staff watch the LSU vs. Texas A&M game tonight?
“Nah. We won’t do anything for their game tonight. We’ve got to get back and take care of our injuries and get our guys fresh and ready to play. We’ll be watching the game, sure, but not like as a group.”
12:06 What is your level of confidence in the Georgia offense?
“I think our offense has gotten better. I think they continue to improve. They work really hard. We’re nowhere near where we need to be. But we’ve got good special teams, we’ve got a really good defense. We’ve got an offense that has some really good football players that maybe hasn’t clicked on all cylinders, but they continue to work.”
12:45 How do you feel the way offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer played?
“I thought he practiced really well this week. Sam came to me this week and said, ‘Jamaree had a really good week of practice.’ We wanted to play him early in the game. I don’t know when he got in or where he went in at, but I know he earned the right to play. The more he practices well, the more opportunities he’ll get.”
13:13 What do you tell your team when it comes to “keeping their heads” in a rivalry game?
“Yeah, don’t be stupid. I mean, don’t be stupid. It’s just silly, it’s selfish, it’s undisciplined. It’s, ‘why?’ You ask yourself why. Why would I give up an opportunity over what we have next week over what? I always ask guys, ‘was it worth it?’ That’s what I always say. ‘Was it worth it?’ It’s not worth it to me when you hurt the team. But you live and you grow up and you love them. And look I love George Pickens. He went to the hospital with us on Friday and did an unbelievable job. He had as much charisma and as much care for those kids as anybody we had there. George is a great kid. He’s a freshman. I know now because I have my own children, that you have to love them and you have to help them. And you have to discipline your children. They do things wrong, then they get punished.”
14:11 How different is this 2019 LSU team compared to the 2018 Tiger team you face in Baton Rouge?
“Hard to answer. I don’t feel like I know enough about them. I know at the surface, from what I’ve seen with the teams we’ve overlapped with, Florida and Auburn. It seemed like we’ve had them on tape, so you get to see them. But I can’t answer that question because I don’t know. I know everybody talks about how explosive they are and how much more they do and they certainly are based on what they’ve been able to put up on the scoreboard. But I don’t know enough about that.”
14:49 James Cook’s patience:
“Love James Cook, man. James Cook is a warrior He works his butt off. Doesn’t cry, doesn’t whine, doesn’t talk about not getting the ball. He just plays on special teams and when you get him the ball he usually does good things with it. We’ve got to keep trying to find ways to use James.”
15:07 Thoughts on forcing Georgia Tech to punt a record 13 times in a game?
“Good for them…”