WATCH: Kirby Smart and Dan Mullen Discuss Their Teams and the Upcoming Game

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WATCH: Kirby Smart and Dan Mullen Discuss Their Teams and the Upcoming Game

Opening Statement

“We’re excited to play in a top 10 matchup down in Jacksonville against a really good Florida team. Any time you get to play in this kind of border war neutral site game is a special event. Our kids are excited and looking forward to it. This is a great opportunity, and we’re preparing to go and got two more practices before we finalize some walk- through stuff Friday and then head to Jacksonville.”

On the freshmen and their first experience in this setting in Jacksonville

“Those young kids I look at them as veterans. I always tell people that everybody talks about how many starters a team has back but by this time of year, everybody that has started has already played in a lot of big football games.  Big games are big games. The more you play in them, the better experience you have and the more confidence you gain. I don’t think these kids nowadays coming out of high school are intimidated by those kind of environments so I know they will be ready to play.”

On the development of freshman linebacker Nolan Smith

“Nolan’s development has been great. He’s very intelligent. He’s one of the kids who comes in and meets extra. You can tell it matters to him. He wants to play well. He studies his opponent. He’s a very bright kid with an extremely high motor, and he’s continuing to get better every game.”

On the team’s identity at this stage in the season

“Resilient. Tough. Gritty. We’ve been in some really, really tough battles, especially fourth quarter battles with the Notre Dame game, the South Carolina game and the Kentucky game. All those games went down to the wire. We’ve shown some resiliency, we’ve shown no quit. The physical toughness and aggressive play that you want to have, I think our guys have shown that.”

On the development of the offensive line during the bye week

“Well, number one it seemed like it was the first time that everybody was healthy at the same time. We were very fortunate to get some good work done during the bye week and have everybody available to us across the offensive line outside of (Justin) Shaffer who has been injured. We were able to get a little more continuity and able to develop some of the younger kids and get them some more reps during that week. I was pleased with that. They’re excited for the opportunity to play against an elite front with quickness, speed, physicality, pass rush and high motor guys. They’re going to have to rise to the occasion because they’re going to go against one of the most productive fronts in the country.”

Junior offensive lineman Andrew Thomas

On getting ready for the game this weekend

“We have prepared a lot for the Florida defense. They wreak havoc, that is what we call it. They get a lot of sacks, a lot of turnovers, we just have to be ready.”

On Florida’s pass rush

“All those guys from Florida they are very fast and athletic. I think we will be prepared we have been working really hard this week. The defensive line has been helping us get ready for those guys.”

On Jake Fromm’s confidence level after the past few games

“I don’t think Jake’s confidence level has changed. Jake always stays level headed regardless if we are playing really well or if we are not. I think that’s what makes him a great leader because he stays the same all the time.”

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.