Kirby Smart SEC Weekly Wednesday Teleconference Interview: Georgia vs. Kentucky Week

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Kirby Smart SEC Weekly Wednesday Teleconference Interview: Georgia vs. Kentucky Week

Kirby Smart
Kirby Smart

On Wednesday, UGA Head Coach Kirby Smart appears on the weekly SEC Teleconference call for Georgia vs. Kentucky. The Bulldogs are set to play the Wildcats on Saturday, October 19th. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m. EST on ESPN.

00:00 Opening Statement

01:13 How does Kentucky QB/WR Lynn Bowen compare to some of the other athletic QB’s Georgia has had to face? – From Bulldawg Illustrated’s Murray Poole.

02:58 How has your team responded since Saturday’s loss to South Carolina? – By Steve Moulton

03:27 Assessment of Kentuck running back Kavosiey Smoke – Steve Moulton

04:19 Thoughts on the Wildcats’ defense? – Follow up from Murray Poole

05:05 How does the leadership on the 2019 Georgia team stack up? – By Steve Moulton

6:10 UGA placekicker Rodrigo Blankenship – By Steve Moulton

Opening Statement

“We’ve got our guys excited, we’ve a big homecoming game against Kentucky and we’re looking for a great atmosphere. It was one of the toughest, most physical games we had last year against a really physical defense. I think their staff has gotten them really physical when you look across the board. They’ve been able to run the ball and stop the run the last couple years in the SEC, so it’ll be a physical battle come Saturday night.”

On how the team has responded since Saturday…

“They’ve been great, in really good spirits. Monday and Tuesday, we acknowledged we’ve got to do some things better and they’ve bought into that, to be honest with you. It’s been good practices and the focus has been really good.”

On Kentucky tailback Kavosiey Smoke…

“Physicality. He blocks well, he runs, has a good pad level. He’s like a younger version of Benny Snell. He doesn’t go down at first contact, he’s a yards-after-contact guy. I remember him well coming out of high school and know he’s a really good football player. You can see the kind of toughness and energy he plays with during the game. I’ve seen him jump receivers for not blocking and bring really committed to being physical.”

On Kentucky’s defense after losing a number of players last season…

“They had a senior-laden defense. They were probably, in a long time, had the most four-year seniors across the board, were a very veteran group. It seemed like those guys had played there forever. And there’s still four or five of them and a couple guys who have subbed in-and-out that are still there and playing. They have a lot of similarities to last year’s defense as far as scheme. They’ve probably been a little more of four-down than three-down and that’s a slight change for them.”

On Georgia’s team from a leadership standpoint…

“Probably one of the best we’ve had. As far as offensively, we’ve got really strong leaders on that side of the ball and they do a tremendous job. There’re so many guys with experience – D’Andre (Swift) has led, Jake (Fromm) has led, Andrew (Thomas) has led, Solomon (Kindley) has led, I mean there’s really a good core group of guys there. Defensively, it’s probably done a little more by committee and by coaching staff. There’s probably less guys there. Obviously J.R. Reed has had a big impact, Monty (Rice) has, Tyler (Simmons), Azeez (Ojulari) is stepping into that role as a young player, probably a little more offensively than defensively, but they both have worked really hard. A big part of leadership is the accountability and having the right attitude to approach people the right way. I feel like our guys have done a great job of that.”

On talking to Rodrigo Blankenship after Saturday’s game…

“We all grabbed him immediately afterwards because I love the kid, I love what he stands for. There’s not a guy on our team that prepares any harder or goes through a better routine of how to prepare for things than [Rodrigo]. He sets a great example for young player in work ethic and the way to grind. There’s not a lot you can do or say to make him feel better but you just love on him, you let him know that you’re there for him and that we’re a team and we’re all with him and it’s not all on him.”

Following practice, redshirt-freshman wide receiver Kearis Jackson, sophomore offensive lineman Cade Mays, and junior inside linebacker Monty Rice met with media:

R-Freshman wide receiver Kearis Jackson

On his injured hand…

“My hand is doing pretty good. I have still been doing extra work outside of the training room. Just putting my hand in a bucket of ice every day before I go to sleep to strength up my hand. So far, I am on a good track right now. I am getting all my strength back, so that is good.”

On his emotions hurting his hand again at college…

“It was very frustrating of course. Being the first game of the season and having an injury. A hand injury like the way I did it was very frustrating. I did not let it affect me. At that point that was when I got close with God, I just starting praying more. That is when blessings started coming my way. I was then being a bigger blessing for my teammates as well. Just being encouraging because I know how it is being on the field and having that person outside of what you are doing on the field. Just pushing your teammates every day. Just trying to be a bigger influence on them. And just still be a part of the team. Even though I am not on the field I was still able to encourage guys to keep going, keep fighting.”

On the pressure the wide receivers are under…

“We are a very talented room. Of course, we are down guys right now. But the room is very talented. For us to come back and guys to step up. We are getting a lot of reps; we are still talented enough to go out and perform the way we are supposed to perform.”

Sophomore offensive lineman Cade Mays

On last weekend’s loss…

“The best thing about college football is this Saturday we get another opportunity. We are learning from our mistakes; we obviously did not execute the way we needed to. This Saturday we are going to do that.”

On Coach Smart saying the offensive line is one of the best in the country…

“We are looked at one of the best, if not the best groups in the entire country. We just have to go out and prove that every Saturday. If we don’t everyone who is saying that does not matter.”

On if there was an attitude change this week…

“Absolutely, it definitely woke us up. Let us know we have to go out and perform better.”

Junior inside linebacker Monty Rice

On spotting a quarterback like Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden…

“As a QB spot, you’ve just got to keep your eyes on him. If he breaks the pocket, you’re going to get him. Lynn Bowden is extremely elusive, real fast, and he can throw the ball too so people in coverage stay in coverage until he breaks the line.”

On injuries affecting the mentality of the team…

“[Injuries] happens. It’s a part of the game, that’s what comes with it, but Mr. Ron (Courson) and his staff gets whoever the rehab they need to get them back as quick as possible.”

On using the week to get back at it in practice…

“It’s been fun to get back to practice and get back working again to get better.”

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