After Saturday nights game against Vanderbilt, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was combatted about his team’s performance. Smart was elated to see the Bulldogs get the win but knows that UGA will have to get better in some areas.
“We grew up some tonight, but guys, we haven’t scratched the surface of where we can go, we have so many things that we can improve on,” Smart said following Georgia’s 30-6 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville.
Georgia had a plethora of players that experienced firsts on Saturday night. Lawrence Cager, Kearis Jackson, Demetris Robertson, and Matt Landers all caught passes for the first time for Georgia in their careers. The long awaited arrival of Zamir White came in the third quarter, and when he entered the game the crowd chanted “Zeus!” as he ran onto the field. A number of new defenders also saw playing time for the Bulldogs.
“Those guys busted their tails. D-Rob’s been busting his tail, he got an opportunity to make some plays. I thought he was very comfortable. He was dominant on special teams as gunner holdup, which he gets no credit for. He and Matt Landers had a dominant of performance as you’ve ever had out there. He goes as kind of an unsung hero, and Zamir did a tremendous job when he got his opportunity.”
Kirby then praised the Georgia fans that traveled well. Red and black colors took up about 70 percent of Vanderbilt Stadium.
“First off, I’d like to thank our crowd, our fan base. I think it was pretty obvious that they seemed like they took over the majority of that stadium. It felt like a home game with the people there, the fourth-quarter lights. It was pretty special. I think they travel well, I think Nashville is a great place to go our and fans came to be part of it.“
Kirby mentioned in his opening statement that his team needed to get better, but midway through the post-game presser, he talked about what went well, and what will happen in the next coming days.
“We have a chance to be explosive offensively and we’re going to try to be aggressive defensively. I really feel like the backs. The wideouts, they had some chances to make some plays. George Pickens would have caught one of those if he had the opportunity. It was just out of range for him. A couple of the other guys made good catches and made plays, so I feel good about that. All we’re doing is we’re going back to work on Monday. We’re going to go good on good and we’re going to put the hammer down and find out who’s going to get better. We’ve got 72, 73, 74, 75 players, 77, all the way up that want to be on this trip. They’re going to come out and try to take someone’s job.”
Georgia’s defense held Vanderbilt’s offense to just six points and 225 total yards on offense. In the second half, Georgia’s defense had four straight three-and-outs. Monty Rice and Mark Webb led the Bulldogs in solo tackles with seven each, and Azeez Olujari had six tackles. Olujari and Channing Tindall also received credit with half a sack.
“I thought the momentum swung a little bit. Guys started playing a little more aggressive, a little more comfortable. We affected the quarterback on a couple of those where we got to him. We can have a good defense because we’ve got a lot of speed. We need some more activity up there in the front. We need to make some more tackles. We need to stay off people’s facemasks because we basically gave them 45 yards and two field goals on undisciplined penalties.“
As a whole unit, Georgia played an almost complete game. There were a few lulls here and there, but that usually comes with the first week and that very first game. Georgia returns to practice on Monday to prepare for their upcoming game against Murray State in Athens on Sept. 7th at 4 p.m.
Here is Kirby Smart’s post-game presser: