Video/Transcript: Kirby Smart Vandy Week Presser – December 02, 2020

Home >

Video/Transcript: Kirby Smart Vandy Week Presser – December 02, 2020

Opening statement…
“First, I’d like to offer a big thanks to Greg McGarity and the service he’s provided to the University of Georgia as athletic director. He’s been a tremendous support to me, to our staff and our program. He and his wife Sheryl have embraced Mary Beth and our family from day one when we got here. He’s been very supportive. He’s been awesome with the different projects we’ve wanted to create and do. He’s been very supportive with that. He’s been somebody who I can rely on to help, and I appreciate Greg’s friendship. I’m happy for the next chapter in his and Sheryl’s life. They’ve been wonderful to the Smarts and to the University of Georgia, so I appreciate him. That’s very important to me.”

On whether he has had or plans to have a conversation with his kickoff team about Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller in regards to safety…
“Probably not. I’ve never had to have that conversation before. I’m not going to change and have the conversation now. We don’t account for the kicker in our returns. I don’t think anybody in the country accounts for the kicker. You assume that if you get to the kicker you did a pretty good job in the return game. We don’t plan on having a conversation about it. She plays a very physical sport, to be honest with you. I’ve seen some pretty brutal collisions without a helmet and without gear on, so I’m sure she can take care of herself when it comes to that. That’s not something that we really concern ourselves with, because we don’t assign anybody to the kicker.”

On the qualities he is looking for in the next athletic director, particularly from his position as the most high-profile coach at the University of Georgia…
“First and foremost, I think that everybody should know that I have complete confidence in President Morehead. He and I have got a great relationship, and we talk about these things. He’s appointed a wonderful group – an advisory committee – that he’ll meet and consult with. They’ll come up with some ideas, some candidates, and they’ll sort it through, and I have complete faith, trust and confidence in them. I know I also can communicate freely with President Morehead about it, and I know they’ll make a good decision. It’s not something that I concern myself with or something I’m worried about right now. I’m worried about playing Vanderbilt.”

On early signing period and whether he feels he and his staff have gotten a better feel to recruiting amidst COVID-19…
“I wouldn’t say that. It’s just weird. I feel like we know who we’re going to sign up to 90 percent of our spots, so that’s a given, and you don’t have that concern of, ‘Oh, no. He’s got two more trips yet. Oh, no. We’ve got to survive him visiting here and here.’ That’s not there, but you’re still concerned because they can have conversations and change their minds up until signing day. I think my concern would be — just like it’s been in the past — that I don’t know a lot of the valuable spots that we need, because a lot of that is based on juniors and decisions they have. It’s so hard to predict your roster for the next year and your needs not knowing who’s going to be here and who’s not. That’s the hardest thing for me, is figuring out where the pieces of the puzzle come from in terms of who you sign.”

On whether he has gotten further clarity about the blanket waiver for seniors and the effects it could have on the 85-man roster…
“They’re not going to count seniors, so if a senior chooses to come back, it’s not going to count against your 85. It’s going to be a bonus there, as I understand it. I’ll be honest with you, Chip, that’s not fair to those kids. I know y‘all are going to ask questions, and that’s your job, but it’s really not fair because they haven’t finished their season. They don’t need to make that decision right now. That decision is based on family, graduation, performance, NFL evaluation, so when you all are asking those kids those questions, it’s just bad. It’s just not good for them to have to answer that. They need to be focused on Vanderbilt and playing good, and when their minds go to the other, it’s not great. In their own free time, they can think about it all they want. But they’ve got to focus on playing Vanderbilt, hopefully playing a bowl game, avoiding COVID. There’s a lot going on before they have to make that decision. As far as the seniors go, they’d be able to stay. I think that’s a great thing, because they get a chance to possibly graduate. There are so few redshirt-seniors on any team anymore. It just doesn’t happen. We’ve got Ben [Cleveland] and Prather [Hudson], but those are the only two. For the rest of the guys, it would be an opportunity to graduate from college and possibly play again.”

On his interactions with interim athletic director Josh Brooks…
“He’s had a wide range of experiences in college athletics all over. He’s a good, logical choice to be the interim, and I know he’ll be a candidate who is looked into deeply.”

On the way his young offensive linemen carried themselves against South Carolina…
“I was proud of them. I was happy for them. They got to go in. [Sedrick] Van Pran got to go in and play. Broderick [Jones] got to go in there and play. That was great for those guys to get some of that experience. In the past, it happened so much more often, and now the times we live in now there’s not many SEC schools that are getting to do that. It was a reward for them, but I look forward to seeing them grow and get better. They can do that every day in practice.”

On the senior class’ chance to be the winningest senior class in Georgia history and whether he has spoken with the seniors about it…
“Yeah, we talked about it leading into the last game, once on a conversation we had on Friday. I have belabored the point. I just think it’s something that keeps you motivated. If that’s something that motivates you, you know. Legacy is important, that means something. Certainly, there have been a lot of great senior classes. I told them that we when we were just talking about it with last year’s senior class that they had the ability to tie it. If this year had been a more traditional year with the extra games this group probably could have shattered it—they could have beat it by two or three. With only the 10 games and the possibility of a bowl game, they’ve got to win out to put themselves in that position. I know that it matters to a lot of them.”

On where the offensive styles differ for Vanderbilt this season with Todd Fitch as offensive coordinator…
“Well, he’s opened things up more. He’s also having the deal with freshmen quarterbacks which is tough. He’s done a really good job with the two freshmen. He’s got them playing well, very, you know, what’s the right word? There scheme does enough to give their freshmen a chance to be successful. They go tempo to ease things on them, to simplify defenses on them. If you go fast enough, defenses can’t do a lot of things. So, that simplifies it for the young quarterback. He’s a great RPO thrower. They do a really good job up front of getting a hat on a hat, and getting the numbers game right for them. The quarterback is a good athlete. Both of those kids are pretty good athletes, and are able to make plays with their feet. They can hurt people. He does a good job of changing it up, mixing it up. He opens things up to allow his guys to make some plays. I have been very impressed with what they have done this year.”

On the lack of clarity about the junior class heading into the early signing period…
“The seniors are going to get an opportunity to come back and would not could against your 85 is what has been suggested and what I think is going to be in play. I don’t know that 100 percent but that is what I have been told. The seniors are not of concern. The juniors are always a concern but that is no different than any year we have every been here. Your juniors are not declaring in or out prior to your signing class being formed. The unique thing is more and more kids are signing in December every year. This year more than ever because there’s nothing to wait for, there is not going to be visits in January. You know a higher percentage of kids will sign in December, therefore you are filling holes that you don’t know if you have yet.”

On the progress of Arian Smith…
“Arian [Smith] has a lot of works guys. Look, y’all will be the best in the world at putting him out there because he caught a touchdown pass. He has to grow and get better. He doesn’t know our complete offense. He doesn’t know our route tree. He’s getting better. He doesn’t know who to block on a run-play. He’s got to get better and he will. He works really hard. It means so much to him, and I was so proud that he got an opportunity to jump out there and go play and makes some plays because he is talented. We want to find a way to get him on the field and get him the ball.”

On an injury update on Richard LeCounte, Jordan Davis and Kendall Milton…
“Jordan [Davis] has been able to do more and more each day. He’s got the pads on out there. He is getting closer. Richard [LeCounte] is in meetings, doing walkthroughs. He has pads on not. He has not taken any live reps or anything, but he’s getting closer. Kendall Milton is hitting high speeds running straight ahead. He’s working individual drills. He’s getting in some drills and things, but he’s not cleared yet. I don’t know if he will be cleared for this weekend.”

On the progression of Daijun Edwards since Kendall Milton’s injury…
“It’s been great. It hasn’t been much different than before. I would say that you got to see him the other night more, and I thought he did a really good job running it. He’s a great one-cut runner. He never takes a direct hit. He’s able to get yards after contact because his center of gravity is really low. But, I wouldn’t say he has progressed more or less because of Kendall [Milton] being out—he just got more opportunity the other night with Kendall being out because Dell [McGee] does a good job getting those guys opportunities in practice.”

On whether he has any indication on where it stands with the Missouri makeup game…
“I don’t really know much. I mean I certainly hope—I’m hoping for [December] 12th, but I think they possibly have two makeup games. I don’t know where it is going to end up happening. I know that we are supposed to find that out soon, as these games this week get confirmed and people don’t have issues. We are hopeful to find out soon, but I don’t know too much.”

share content