When meeting with the media Tuesday, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart expressed that he was not impressed with his defense’s performance against Kentucky.
The Bulldogs rank in the top ten nationally in total defense, run defense and scoring defense. They also are ranked 18th in pass defense and are allowing, on average, fewer than 4.5 yards per play. On top of that, the Dawgs’ D has two shutouts and has yet to give up a rushing touchdown through their first seven games this season.
When you look at Georgia’s defensive numbers this season it might impress you, but not Coach Smart.
“No, not close,” Smart said when asked about the production of his defense so far this season.
“Extremely sloppy in the last game, and you know, it’s sad. But when you watch that tape, there’s a lot more concern. Tackling, gap fits, if you went to a coach and said ‘watch this game,’ they would come in and say, ‘that is atrocious, tackling, fits, eye discipline, leverage, blockers,’ but walking around, whistling by the graveyard that everything is fine and we’re just OK, and we’ve got good defensive numbers, and that’s not the case when you watch the true integrity of it. You can’t judge it based on, number one, statistics, you can’t judge it based on a kid playing in the pouring down rain that’s not a quarterback, so, we haven’t been tested in that regard.”
Smart’s mindset is always about getting better, and he has expressed in the past that he’s not a big stats guy. He’s a defensive-minded coach, and it shows. He is also right in saying that his defense hasn’t really been tested yet. Georgia’s defense has yet to face an opponent that can threaten them both on the ground and through the air.
Florida’s offense might able to do just that. Quarterback Kyle Trask has improved throughout the season, and the Gators’ offense has many weapons. Running back Lamical Perine is a dangerous weapon out of the backfield. The Gators’ best pass-catcher is their tight end Kyle Pitts who has 391 receiving yards on the season, but they also have seven other offensive players that have over 150 yards receiving thus far.
For Smart, he looks at things through a microscopic lens. He wants his team to execute the little things and expects his guys’ best effort in the process.
“We’ve got to get better, and that’s what we’re doing this week,” Smart said.
Here is the video from Smart’s press conference: