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  • Writer's pictureDAWG NEWS DAILY

Bulldogs Back Home Against Missouri

ATHENS, Ga. – The sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs conducted a two-hour practice Wednesday with the Southeastern Conference game against Missouri on the horizon.

Georgia (7-1, 4-1 SEC) plays host to the Tigers (5-3, 2-2 SEC) Saturday at Dooley Field in Sanford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., ET, on ESPN.  Before practice, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Football Weekly Media Teleconference and provided an update on the Bulldogs.

After practice, Bulldog graduate tight end Eli Wolf and redshirt freshman wideout Kearis Jackson met with the media to discuss the upcoming contest with the Tigers. Selected comments from Smart and the student-athletes follow:

Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement

“Our guys are happy to return home after a neutral site game last week. We’re excited to have a big atmosphere, a 7 o’clock start with Mizzou at home. We’re getting prepared and got a lot of work to do in the next three days to get ready.”

On senior Tae Crowder being a semifinalist for the Butkus Award 

“{Tae is} A story of perseverance. He was a very lightly recruited kid as far as I know, I was not here. They took him the last couple of days, took him as a big, athletic running back. He just transformed himself, he kept working hard. We got here, and he wanted to play. He came and talked to me and said he wanted to play special teams and one thing led to another, and he’s turned himself into a good inside linebacker. He’s smart and instinctive for a kid who didn’t play much defense his whole life. He plays well in space. He’s a good athlete. Tae’s been a really positive success story and a great kid I thought he played well against Florida, and he continues to grow and get better. We’re proud of the leadership he’s provided. He’s got a really good understanding of our defense.”

On the biggest challenges facing Missouri Saturday

“Barry (Odom) does a tremendous job. They’ve got a great program. They’re really good on special teams. They have no weaknesses when you look across the board on special teams. They’ll be one of the best teams we’ve played in regards to that. Defensively, they’re big and physical and always presented a problem. They’re hard to run the ball on, a top 15 team in almost every defensive category. Kelly (Bryant) is an experienced player who has played in everything. He’s played in all kinds of big games. The atmosphere is not too big for him. The weapons they have on offense with the things they do, they can create a lot of matchups for us.”

Graduate tight end Eli Wolf

On the tight ends role in the Florida game...

"With our role in the last couple games with blocking, specifically perimeter blocking. It felt good to get a little bit of love in the pass game. Everybody loves catching passes but we will do whatever it takes. I don't think there is any animosity in our room. We are willing to do whatever it takes to win a football game But, it was nice to get a couple passes thrown our way."

On the third and seven call from the Florida game...

"We practice scenarios like that, like we need a first down four minute drill. We run through every scenario possible on Friday just to make sure we are ready for the game. So I knew that call was in the arsenal. Didn't know if he was exactly going to call it. But when I heard the call I was like here we go and let's get it done. We went out and executed the play. They were playing man so I knew if I got leverage on him and broke out, then Jake got some pressure in his face so he put it right where it needed to be.I made a little bit of an adjustment and went right over the defender. It was a good play by everyone on the offense board."

On the game this week...

"I am from Ohio so this isn't chilly at all for me. I think it feels good, it's football weather. I think any scenario we are going to be out and ready to play. It happens to be a night game so we are going to go out there and execute."

On the team using six linemen on some plays...

"When an extra guy come in the tight end becomes a tackle so you have twelve people,  a tackle will come in, a tight end will come out a wide receiver will come out. Just gets another body in there. We have plenty of bodies on the O line. And they especially do a nice job on the run game. It is always helpful to switch it up a little bit."

Redshirt freshman wideout Kearis Jackson

On the intensity of practice ahead of Saturday’s game… 

“Practice has been intense this week knowing know that we have to go against a big, physical team in Missouri. They have a great football team, they’ve got athletes on both sides of the ball. We have to come prepared and ready to go.”

On facing DJ Daniel in practice…

“DJ’s a pretty physical guy. He’s very physical off the line, he’s got good hips, good feet. He bring a different aspect to the game. Even since Tyson (Campbell) has been down, he stepped up and has been playing pretty good and gives us a good look in practice on offense when we go good-on-good. … He’s really physical in practice; really all our DBs are good. We get good one-on-ones during practice. We’ve been talking about the last couple weeks needing good one-on-one matchups in practice each and every day.”

On Missouri’s secondary…

“They’re very physical. They’re big outside, I mean both corners are physical, they’re big. They play a lot of one’s so we have to be prepared to take shots and stuff. So, they’re good on the back end, they’re physical, they’re big, and just got to be able to attack and be physical on the line.”

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