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  • Writer's pictureDAWG NEWS DAILY

Bulldogs Return Home to Face South Carolina

ATHENS, Ga. — The third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs conducted a two-hour practice Wednesday as they look forward to returning to Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium when they play host to South Carolina.

Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC) faces the Gamecocks (2-3, 1-2 SEC) on Saturday at noon, and the game will be televised by ESPN.

Before practice, Georgia coach Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Football Weekly Media Teleconference and provided an update on the Bulldogs. Selected comments from Smart are below:

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement

“Our guys are excited to get a home game and return to Sanford Stadium. We’ve got a game against one of our SEC East opponents, South Carolina. It’s a great opportunity to continue to improve, and we’ve got a lot of players that want to do that and perform well. We’re excited about the opportunity to play the Gamecocks.”

On Georgia defense not allowing a rushing touchdown this year…

“It’s always a point of pride. I think every defense in the country would tell you they don’t want to allow people to run the ball in. I don’t want them to throw it in either. It’s not like you can say I’m going to give up a bunch of passing TDs and not rushing TDs. We want to keep people out of our endzone all together. We’ve been able to do that at a decent rate. We’ve got a defense that has to continue to get better. We have to tackle better. We’ve got to force more turnovers. We’ve got to get more three-and-outs. We’re proud of the fact that we haven’t given up a rushing touchdown, but there has not been a lot of opportunities unfortunately because some of the times they’ve scored, they’ve scored from further out.”

On South Carolina’s recruiting compared to rivals Clemson and Georgia while building a program…

“It’s a challenge everywhere. It’s not just a challenge at South Carolina or that it’s not a challenge for us. The Southeastern Conference and the area we have a 10-, 12-hour radius around the city of Atlanta, and you talk about the teams that are in that area, there’s a lot of good football players. I think the teams that do well…are the ones that recruit to a culture, recruit to a format, and they have a certain criteria they look for in recruits, and they go find the best ones that fit their program. Then, they develop them. That’s important. You’re not going to win every single recruiting battle, none of us are. You got to go recruit the right kind of kids and do a good job of evaluating them. I think they do that at South Carolina. They do a good job of getting the right guys in their program. To be able to sustain success is tough anywhere in these conferences because there’s so many good programs.”

Meanwhile after Wednesday’s practice, junior offensive lineman Ben Cleveland and junior tailback Prather Hudson visited with the media. Here’s a few of their comments:

Offensive lineman Ben Cleveland On getting ready to play South Carolina at home... "We have had a very good week of practice so far. We have been figuring out what they have going on. Working on ourselves. It is going to be good to come out here at an early kick off. Hopefully the weather will play in our favor. And we will be able to get after them."

On short yardage situations... " I don't think it really has been a problem to get a yard or two. Sometimes the defense just lines up in a way we haven't prepared for. I feel like we are doing most everything right out front. Coming off low, coming off the ball sometimes the defense lines it up just right." 

On what they watch to prepare for games... "Every day we pick not a necessarily an NFL team whether it just be a scheme of plays or just a general group of things. We will watch professional tape and compare ourselves to it to see what they're doing. And what we are not doing and how we can do it differently."

On how South Carolina will challenge UGA defensively... "Definitely speed. They're without a doubt fast. You know they love to get in there and create havoc just like we do. I feel like it's the type of defense we have been preparing for all year. Hopefully we will go out and have the advantage."

Tailback Prather Hudson

On what the team has been improving on…

“You can always improve each and every day on basic little things like getting leverage on perimeter blocking and special teams making sure we have our assignments. Those little nitpicky things that we miss in games one, two, and three, those are the things we improve on.”

On what challenges South Carolina’s defense poses…

“Their d-line is obviously very, very good with (Javon) Kinlaw. Their back ends are experienced too so you have to be on your P’s and Q’s. There’s a lot of defensive back blitzes so you’ve got to be prepared for that.”

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