WATCH: Kirby Smart Talks Preparations for Tech

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WATCH: Kirby Smart Talks Preparations for Tech

 
 
On Tuesday practice…
 
“We had a pretty physical practice. On Tuesday, it’s our day to get after it a little bit more today than others. We had some pretty good cuts, had a lot of guys on the ground. I thought our scout team did a tremendous job trying to get us a picture. Certainly not exactly the speed Tech is going to give us, but we’ve had a couple kids who have been on the scout team for a few years now – (Steven) Van Tiflin, (Willie) Erdman, Prather (Hudson) – those guys are unbelievable at how fast they go out there and try to mow people down. We appreciate their effort and what they do to give us a good picture.”
 
 
On the challenges of a triple-option offense…
 
“The challenge is eye control. Football, to be honest with you, has changed so much in the last 20 years…that’s nothing what this is about. This is about physicality, toughness, getting down in the dirt – backyard football. I went and watched my son play in a 6-year old tackle football championship, and I saw 6-year olds, 7-year olds, 8-year olds playing, and that’s what they were playing. 11 people in a box, and all of them hitting each other and tackling each other and tackling the man with the ball. Looks like a scrum sometimes. What a lot of people don’t do, they spread you out. Tech does a tremendous job playing physical. Some guys don’t like to get physical. If you don’t like physical, you won’t like this game.”
 
 
On the approach for facing an annual teamtriple-optione option offense…
 
“We did a lot of that the first year because I certainly didn’t feel comfortable with it the first year. We studied people, did all kinds of things to prep for the first year. We certainly didn’t finish very well, but I think a second-year experience is helpful. There’s nothing I can say that we just went out and reinvented the second year, we made some good plays last year, and we had some good players out there. But we look at things every year, try to get better at third downs, and do the same thing with triple option, and get good ideas from different people and try to learn them.”
 
 
On what characteristics of the Georgia defense will make them successful against Tech…
 
“A lot of playing Tech is attitude. I want to hit, not be hit. I want to attack, not be attacked. That’s the approach we’re taking. We have to do a good job of selling it to your players, and I think the teams that defend it well are really the ones that enjoy playing against it.”
 
 
On how this senior class has elevated the Georgia program…
 
“I don’t know the numbers on that freshman class when they arrived, but I would argue there’s not a lot of them left because it was a really large class…since we arrived, whether by transfer, by grades, by dismissal, it seems like that class has really shrunk. Now, I don’t know the official numbers, but the ones that have stayed, the ones that have pushed through, the ones that have bought in, have really helped our program. They have a chance to be one of the top-4 senior classes that have every played here, which is pretty incredible.”
 
 
On the definition of roles each year…
 
“I think it’s on an individual basis. Certainly for every senior, there’s a guy that has had to expect his role for that year, but that doesn’t mean his role is going to be that for the next year. Keyon (Richardson) is a great example. Keyon has helped our team; he’s played on some third downs, but I mean he will tell you he wants to play more, but he’s really been a good special teams player. He’s started on punt, he’s started on some kickoff coverage, he starts on punt return, and that’s become his role. He gives us great effort; he was our Special Teams Player of the Week last week. There’s a great guy who gives us a great example. There’s (Jonathan Ledbetter), who early on, didn’t have as big a role some of the other guys were here. He played, but he didn’t have as big of a role as he does now. J.R. Reed was a scout team player for a year because he couldn’t play. Now, he’s a veteran leader and a redshirt junior who’s doing a good job. This senior class that sits across the front row, each one has their own individual story, and each one has bought into the program and given their blood, sweat and tears for whatever their role is.”
 
 
 
 

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Greg is closing in on 10 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.