Tuesday’s media period included Head Coach Kirby Smart, defensive back Kamari Lassiter, and inside linebacker Smael Mondon. The Bulldogs take on South Carolina to open SEC play in Athens this weekend, and the head coach and players addressed the challenges they face ahead.
Coach Smart was first to the podium and responded briefly to how practice has gone over the past couple of days saying, “better today than yesterday.” Last week Coach Smart discussed the excellent week of practice Georgia had, mentioning how it had been one of the best weeks he has ever seen since arriving in Athens to coach the Bulldogs.
Moving forward, Coach Smart was asked about South Carolina and the problems they present. Georgia’s head coach was very complimentary towards Spencer Rattler, admitting that he expects the Gamecock quarterback to hit on some big plays this weekend. Coach Smart said that South Carolina has big, physical, and fast receivers that will be a “big-time test” for his defensive backs.
Over the previous couple of games, Georgia has rotated multiple players at cornerback opposite starter Kamari Lassiter. Daylen Everette has earned the starting job, but players like Julian Humphrey, Nyland Green, and AJ Harris have all seen reps at the position. Coach Smart informed the media that the coaching staff is doing its best to replicate South Carolina’s game plan for this weekend and that the group’s performance could determine how many players see minutes this Saturday.
Smael Mondon took his turn following Coach Smart’s availability. Mondon is a freak athlete who the Bulldogs are thankful to have back after dealing with an injury during the offseason. When I asked Mondon what challenges this South Carolina team presents this weekend, he credited the Gamecocks’ athleticism, Rattler’s strong arm, their physicality at receiver, and their ability to run the football. Mondon also admitted that the Bulldogs defense has been working on finding ways to limit Rattler’s playmaking ability as he poses a threat when escaping the pocket.
Kamari Lassiter was the final Bulldog to take the podium. His defensive back group has a daunting challenge ahead of them this weekend as Georgia’s secondary will have their hands full with South Carolina’s receiving core. Lassiter told the media that the Bulldogs’ defense may need to prepare to cover for longer durations due to Rattler’s ability to extend plays.
Georgia may be without star safety Javon Bullard this weekend after he picked up an ankle injury against Ball State. Lassiter spoke highly of back-up safety David Daniel-Sisavanh, vouching that he is ready to fill in if his number is called.
SEC games are never easy, and the Bulldogs will struggle against a border rival. Another game means another opportunity, and Georgia looks ready to prove yet again why they are the number one team in the country.