• DAWG NEWS DAILY

Bulldogs Focused On Auburn




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

Georgia (8-1, 5-1 SEC) travels to Auburn to face the 13th-ranked Tigers  (7-2, 4-2 SEC) Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m., ET, on CBS.  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 senior wide receiver Tyler Simmons and redshirt freshman tight end John FitzPatrick 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 team is looking forward to the chance to go on the road and play a really good program and good team. It’s always an exciting place to play, the atmosphere there is always really good especially when these two teams get together. There’s a lot of tradition and looking forward to it.”


On the stakes of Saturday’s game compared to other weeks…

“It’s no different than any game we’ve had so far. There’s no difference in this game and the last three since the South Carolina game. I don’t know if the ramifications have changed. We have got an opportunity to win the East, and that’s really our next step is to worry about Auburn and take care of business for this game. It’s really about focusing on playing good because that’s what’s going to control the outcome of the game is how we play.”


On Georgia’s latest football building project…

“I’m excited about it. It’s a total new football facility. I’m most excited about the weight room, the team meeting room, the ability to have new meeting rooms, new office space for our coaches, basically an area for the players to dine and be able to be over here when they’re not in class. We’re just in a little bit of tight quarters right now, and it’s going to free up some space so that our guys can utilize the facility as much as they need to. It’s a big step for us. It’s not going to be an easy project. It’s going to take a little bit of time. I’m very pleased with them allowing us to have it, and our alumni helping fund it.”


On preparing his team for the weekly grind in the SEC…

“You don’t do it in season. You do it in the off season. You make every workout, every spring practice, every opportunity as tough and adverse as you can because in this league it’s that way week in and week out. I’m a big believer in sustainable focus. If you stretch people’s brain to be able to focus a little longer and be able to handle a little more and be able to be physically tough and mentally tough a little longer, it allows them to handle the season because the season is a grind. You prepare for that with every offseason workout, every summer workout, every spring practice. You’re constantly preparing for that.”


On Sam Pittman and what kind of head coach he would be…

“Sam’s got an incredible personality and kids gravitate to Sam’s personality. He’s a tremendous asset for our program. He’d make an incredible head coach given the opportunity. He’s a joy to be around. He’s done a tremendous job for our program. He’s been one of the major parts of the foundation, which starts with the offensive line and defensive line. He’s been a part of that ever since we’ve been here. He’s got a lot of experience, and he’s been in a lot of places. Certainly, he’s been a big help to me.”


Senior wide receiver Tyler Simmons

On going to Jordan Harris Stadium this weekend...

"All I can think about is 2017. The energy there. The fans. The environment. Auburn feeds off their crowd. It is a tough place to play. You just have to hone into the details. Staying focused. We do a lot of crowd noise throughout the week to prepare ourselves for that. Jake is doing different things with the snap count. Just to control the crowd and everything. It is just honing into the little details and just making sure we are prepared for that."

On how Auburn's crowd noise compares to other stadiums...

"It is definitely top three. Definitely top three in the SEC. Sanford Stadium is definitely one of the loudest. But, Tennessee, places like Auburn, South Carolina, places like that are always hard to play in."

On sharing a message with the younger guys on the team...

"I have definitely talked to Pickens about this week. Just because I know he was committed there for a minute. I know his emotions are going to be going wild. I know we are going to need him to make some big plays. Just telling him to stay level headed. Just hone in on the details and do what you know how to do. Don't try to do anything extra. Don't try to do anything outside of your job. Just do your job." 


Redshirt-freshman tight end John FitzPatrick

On playing at Jordan-Hare Stadium and what the team has told him…

“[The team] hasn’t told me any stories, they just told me to expect a loud environment similar to playing here and similar to playing in Neyland against Tennessee. It’s going to be a loud environment; hostile environment and we just have to lock in and focus on our calls.”

On George Pickens and his confidence…

“I guess during summer 7-on-7 is when we started to see it and then it just continued on, there was no drop off. We saw him make a one-handed snag that nobody would attempt to make with one hand and from there we were like ‘wow this kid is something.’”

On how Pickens’ confidence has helped him this season…

“I think knowing that all of us have his back, we want him to be on the field, we want him to be catching those balls, we trust him, and that’s given him that confidence he brings to every game.”