Head coach Kirby Smart discusses Georgia’s 21-14 win over Auburn on Saturday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium in this postgame press conference. 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.
00:14 Thoughts go out to Chamberlaine Smith (student photographer with Georgia Sports Comm that was injured during the 2nd quarter)
“I want to open up with thoughts and prayers going out to Chamberlaine Smith, the young lady that works on staff, got hit over on the sideline, a really scary moment. I know Brian (Herrien) felt really sick about it. It’s a tough deal. But hopefully she’s going to be OK, and I think she is.”
00:36 Thank you to the Dawg fans
“I want to thank our fans for sticking with us. I thought that they really pushed us through, and what an incredible atmosphere for us to play in. “
00:42 Opening thoughts about the game
“Good teams never quit, and we’ve got to do a good job of putting people away when we have an opportunity to. We have a lot of respect for Gus and this program, their staff. A lot of friends on their staff. Their kids played really hard. Our kids were very resilient to come into this place, lose momentum, obviously lose momentum, and be able to go back out and get it shows some fortitude and the ability to handle adversity. I’m really proud of our guys. With all of that said, it’s on to the next one. Texas A&M has a great team, a great program and we’ve got to get better. We’re not where we need to be, but I give Auburn a lot of credit for that as well.”
01:28 What did Auburn do differently in the 4th quarter to have offensive success versus the defense?
“They just got hot, got on a rhythm. It’s not like we went conservative. We didn’t call different calls. We were ‘bend-but-don’t-break.’ They hit some plays. They went tempo. I thought Bo (Nix) got a little more confident. We had a couple of busts and when you combine those things, guys get hot. It wasn’t like they didn’t move it earlier, because they moved it earlier, we just had some really big stops. We didn’t have really big stops on the later drives. We didn’t get behind the sticks. They did a good job of personelling, Gus did a good job of searching till he found something. We didn’t have enough answers to what they were doing. Earlier in the game, we did and we kind of didn’t have enough answers when we needed it most. But I’ll say this, they went out there the last time and came up with some big stops.”
02:26 And what did you do late in the 4th quarter to get back the momentum defensively, specifically on those last two series?
“One of them, I don’t know if we stopped them, they stopped themselves. That was the fourth down, right? The guy just missed the ball, it looked like to me. He was wide open. I can’t say that we stopped them. We got them to fourth down and they gave us a gift. So, we didn’t play the way we were capable of the whole game defensively. I was proud of the way they played earlier. The last drive was more of, they had to throw. They had no timeouts, they had to burn those. We were able to be aggressive and play the pass. It’s hard to do that when they have the run on those earlier drives.”
03:06 How big was the touchdown drive right before half-time?
03:42 Sack by Travon Walker… how has the freshman progressed as a player this season so far?
“It’s what I’ve been saying to our guys: We’ve got to find more ways to play the guy. He’s probably one of our better overall football players. And he’s playing on third down; he plays quite a bit. We’ve got to find ways to use the kid. He’s talented. And we’ve got to do a better job as coaches of finding avenues to help us, because he’s extremely athletic.”
04:19 Confidence in freshman to play players like Tyrique Stevenson
05:00 How big was Dominick Blaylock’s 51-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter?
“Well it certainly helped confidence for the wideouts. We got behind them, they were in a quarters coverage. I don’t know if their guy busted an assignment or blew it, but Jake threw a nice ball and Dom made a nice adjustment on that ball. It wasn’t hit in stride, he had to bend back a little bit. You know the difference in the game was probably our red area offense, because we were able to not kick field goals, and get touchdowns, where in past weeks we haven’t been able to do that. Hey look, I give all the credit in the world to Auburn’s defense. Coach Garner, coach Steele, their staff. Everyone talks about their front. They’ve got really good corners as well. But one of the biggest things is we’ve gotta get better offensively. That’s a good defense. But we’ve gotta get better offensively. Because we’ve got to be able to sustain drives, we’ve got to be able to get the plays equaled out. They had tremendously more plays than we did. And it probably took a toll on the defensive guys.”
06:01 Thoughts on winning your third SEC Eastern Division title
06:14 Jake Carmada’s punting
“Man he hit the ball good. I mean a couple of them didn’t turn over. But God, I don’t even know what was his average? He was hitting bombs. It was incredible. I hope he doesn’t have to punt 11 times in a game again, but other than that he punted the ball well.”
06:37 On Gus Malzahn calling a timeout before half-time…
“Yeah, it’s the age-old you’re never right as the head coach. Because you’re danged if you do and danged if you don’t. The good news is he took it out of my hands, I didn’t have to. So when he did that it made it a lot easier on me because they probably would have been booing me if I didn’t call a timeout. So it’s one of those where you’re playing cat and mouse, you’re trying to gain another possession but not give another possession. We were fortunate to get a run there the next play.
07:15 The defense weathering the number of plays Auburn’s offense ran
“Says we better get them back and ready for another war, because we’re a tired football team. What was it, 86 (plays)? 86 snaps, that’s the old Auburn with the tempo and you play all those snaps and for us, when we’re really efficient on third down, offensively and defensively, we don’t play all those snaps. But some of that is our own fault. We didn’t get off the field on third down, we let drives keep going and give them credit. They did a good job, but you can’t play 86 snaps on defense and be successful.”
07:57 Update on status of wide receiver Lawrence Cager
“Yeah, he’s just banged up, he took a shot, and it bothered him. A shot to the area, not a doctor’s shot, but he took a shot on the first play of the game I think, maybe, and it started bothering him.”
08:15 Recruiting class of 2017 that includes Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift are three-for-three winning SEC Eastern Division titles, thoughts?
08:35 Right guard substitution of Jamaree Sayler for Cade Mays
“To be honest with you Cade is a little beat up, we knew that going into the game, he’s got some soreness and he’s fighting through it, with Ben he’s beat up too, he wasn’t able to practice two days last week and he’s trying to come back, but his toe was bothering him a little bit and we felt like he just couldn’t do his protection stuff, so we felt like it was the best decision to go with Jamaree.”
09:05 Significance of winning the SEC East?
“Oh, there’s always significance. There’s significance in coming here and beating a ranked team in their place in an unbelievable environment. There’s a lot of significance to that and the East, but we’re worried about Texas A&M.”
09:23 Defensive lineman David Marshall’s big play in the 2nd quarter…
“The guy ping-ponged around. We had like eight guys miss him and he ended up getting him back there in the backfield. Big play. The kid has been warrior for us. He’s been around, been beat up. He’s dealt with all kinds of injuries. I didn’t think we were ever going to get that guy on the round. If it’s the play I’m thinking about, we got like three or four guys miss him in the backfield and then David got him down, which was a huge stop.”
09:49 UGA offensive line versus Auburn defensive line
“We rushed for 141. That’s tough to do against those guys. I’m going to be honest with you. You can go as anybody else in the SEC if you can rush 36 times and get 141 on Auburn. It’s not easy doing that. The difference is that some teams don’t have to rush it. They just throw it every down on them. I mean, those guys are physical. Our guys, I thought, matched up well. We’ve got a big offensive line. I don’t know how we did in pass pro? Did we give up any sacks? I think one early and Jake threw a couple of them away that we had some pressure. They’ve got good players, too. We’ve just got to keep getting better and we’ll continue to do that.”
10:30 Offensive production criticism …
“I think it’s more to do with a play to get you started. When we got started, we did pretty well. We tried to go tempo on them some because it had affected them. Other teams had gone tempo and hurt them. We actually went tempo and it probably hurt us because we had about three times on (first down) where we went tempo and it ended up second and 10. We’re trying to be aggressive. We’re trying to wear them down. We’re trying to change it up, mix it up. Look, they’ve got good players and at the end of the day, we’ve got to get better offensively to get where we need to go.”
11:15 Answering the call and consistency…
12:02 Do you have any regrets for choosing to chest bump Travon Walker after his sack?
12:16 D’Andre Swift’s 27-yard run before the end of the first half…
“Yeah that was huge. It was big. Look, guys, we want to run the ball to the outside. Everybody’s going to say, ‘Run the ball outside.’ It worked well when we were able to do it, but they’re doing things to take that away. Their game plan, they had guys as wide as I’ve ever seen them and they were not going to let you get out there at times. When we did, we had success. Late in the game, we couldn’t get outside, and it makes it tougher. Had some lost yardage plays. We’ll continue to search, find a way, and it certainly gets easier when we play really well on the perimeter. When we have guys outside making plays, it certainly loosens people up.”
12:56 Thoughts on the passing game
“They’ve got good corners. That’s what I’m saying. It wasn’t so much the pass rush to me. They’ve got a really good pass rush. I watched these guys play LSU, so Auburn’s defense playing LSU whose got one of the best passing attacks in the country, they covered them. 23 is a good football player. He goes out there and covers. Javaris Davis has played forever in this league. It seems like 4 and 13 have been there forever. And then 23 shows up and he’s covering people all over the place. So they did a good job out there, putting their hands on us and affecting us, and we didn’t win a lot of 50-50 balls
13:40 Biggest area of growth for the team through this point in the season so far?
14:07 Was winning the SEC Eastern Division title celebrated in the locker room after the game?
14:23 How about those f____in’ Dawgs!