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Coach Smart and Players Continue their Preparation for Missouri



ATHENS, Ga. --- University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart, along with a pair of players previewed Saturday’s SEC matchup against Missouri. The Bulldogs and the Tigers kick-off at 12 p.m. ET in Athens, Ga.

University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart met with the media on the Southeastern Conference’s weekly teleconference call while juniors Jaylen Johnson and Warren Ericson offered post-practice comments.

Head Coach Kirby Smart


Opening Statement…

“We are excited to get another home SEC game. It’s an early kick, 12:00 pm. We are challenging our fans to come out, support us, and be there bright and early. We are working on constant improvement. That’s the stage we are in right now, working really hard against each other to grow and get better as a team.”

On takeaways from the Atlanta Braves World Series win…

“There are always lessons you can learn from other teams in other sports. We try to corelate those when they do. Try to give the (players) messages of perseverance. Baseball is a really long season. A lot of games. Our sport is a little different, in the number of games. The physicality is certainly there in ours, when it come to that. A lot of our guys are Braves fans. I know they follow them, but our focus right now is on Missouri and getting ready for them. But, where we can use lessons like that, we always try to.”

On what he learned under Coach Richt in 2005…

“Just a lot about the game of football. Learning the management of it. I was a young coach then. I had been graduate assistant for two (years), a fulltime coach for three (years). A lot about recruiting. A lot about relationships. Coach Richt’s demeanor and leading of the team. Things like that. That was a valuable year, probably most because I was on the other (offensive) side of the ball. “

On the CFP Top-4 head coaches all being on the 2015 Alabama staff…

“It’s probably not a coincidence. I think that a lot of it comes from where are you coaching at? How fertile of a recruiting area is it? When you win you have people on your staff that get jobs. So, number one, you have to recruit well and you have to win to get that opportunity. When that happens, you usually get good opportunities. A lot of guys that you are referencing are at really well established universities that have an opportunity to recruit well and be successful. Their administration supports them at those places. Probably why those guys went and got those jobs, they were good jobs, in terms of being able to win and do things. I think that has a lot to do with it. Obviously Coach Saban and his influence is a big piece of that. There are a lot of teams out there that have people from the Alabama staff. I think if you did a study, there would be somebody from almost every staff that has one time or another overlapped (at Alabama). A lot of guys overlap over time.”

On Darnell Washington and Arian Smith…

“They both are really doing well. Darnell’s foot is almost fully recovered. His stamina continues to improve. Being able to play snaps and do things. He’s done a nice job pushing through. He’s gotten better each week. Arian, kind of the same way.”

#23 | Jaylen Johnson | Jr. | WR

On earning playing time… "It’s always going to be hard to crack the lineup at any position at Georgia because of the talent and the depth we have. You’ve got to do what you can, know your role, embrace it, and you must give every play 100% effort. That’s what I try to do every day; focus on me and try to make myself the best player I can be to help the team."

On being the No.1 ranked team…

"It’s definitely cool to be number one. I’d be lying if I said it wasn't, but you can't pay too much attention to it because out of the last seven number one teams in this ranking, only one won the national championship. So, it’s kind of rat poisoning like Coach Smart says, we haven't proven anything yet, all we have done is secure a spot in the SEC Championship, which is not what we want to do. We want more than that."

On practicing with the team…

"It’s definitely good every day here. Iron sharpens iron. I’m going against the top quarterbacks in the nation, and I love it because I wouldn’t want it any other way. It makes the game easier because we’re going against probably the best competition we’ll see in practice every day. Our battles definitely make us better on both sides."

#50| Warren Ericson | Jr. | OL On the Atlanta sports curse... "It certainly seems like there has been an Atlanta sports curse going on. I think that tonight was hopefully the start of something special for Atlanta sports getting on the right track. What a huge win. That was so much fun to watch. I think that’s really cool for the state of Georgia and Atlanta in general."


On Zamir White's touchdown run against Florida...

"Going into it, we were going to run a counter play. We knew we had the right leverage going up to the line. We saw where they were shifted over. I knew what I had to do. I knew had to get a strong kickout in order to open up that seam for him to run. As soon as I got enough space, I saw him go down the field, and there were no blue jerseys left. I was so pumped. I sprinted down as fast as I could. That was such a cool moment to finish off the game."

On how the University of Georgia helps him grow as a person...

"There is a long list. There is a lot. I would say it is how you carry yourself as a man, how you treat women, how you do the little detailed things right to make the big picture right, respect for others and communication. There is just a huge list. I completely owe who I am today and who I continue to want to be to the University of Georgia and Coach Smart and his coaching staff. They have taught me so much about being a man."