University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart met with media on the Southeastern Conference's weekly teleconference call while William Mote and Jamaree Salyer offered post-practice comments.
Head Coach Kirby Smart Opening Statement… "We are excited to be headed over to Auburn and play what we think is a good football team. They just won a big game on the road. I've known Coach (Bryan) Harsin for a long time. He does a tremendous job. It's a really tough place to play. I've always thought their stadium and the experiences I've had their, it's one of the toughest places to play in the conference. They have tremendous support and fans. Our guys have to be mentally prepared to go on the road in the SEC. We are excited for the opportunity." On Jackson Meeks… "He's a really good athlete. He has balance and body control. He has great size. He's a physical kid. Since being here, his pride in special teams ad pride in getting on the field, and in the receiver room has been tremendous. He has a really good attitude since he's been over here. He's a hard worker. We enjoy having him." On the return game… "We have a good unit there at kickoff return. We haven't really had many opportunities at kickoff return. We're getting a lot of touchbacks and things lot that. We're not getting a lot of opportunities. Punt return, we have had some opportunities. We've been aggressive. We've come after some, in terms of trying to block and hold guys up. We've had some very different looks by teams rugbying and kicking away from us. Kearis (Jackson) is our punt returner right now and it's not something we're looking to change unless we have to. If he's down or injured Ladd (Mconkey) is the backup." On defensive improvements… "We have to force more turnovers. We have to tackle better, especially on the perimeter and the secondary. We have to do a much better job of gap control upfront. Those are some of the biggest things we can improve on. Those come with opportunities and we have an opportunity this Saturday. We have to stay away from explosives, in terms of the ball getting down field." On the atmosphere at Auburn… "It's extremely loud. Most SEC places are, but they have incredible ability to affect the game in terms of noise and energy they bring. We are going to play the 11 guys on the field with our 11 guys and try to focus on that and prepare the best we can for that environment." On the run game… "You always try to take what the defense gives you. That was part of our game plan. That's why we have meetings all week to prepare. You put ideas together. Sometime your ideas work and sometimes they don't. You have to have another plan if things aren't going. That's what you do all off-season. We didn't do anything different in terms of our base run game. Just doing it more often and trying to have success doing it."
#56 William Mote | R.So.| SN
On competing for his role…
"We really only compete during the off season, and then once they decided, me and Payne (Walker) both did the same things last year, so it was really last year we competed. They kind of found suit that they liked me at punts and Payne at shorts, which after that happened, we all worked together. On punts, my main job is to put Jake (Camarda) in the best position we can to punt well. Payne's job is the exact same for Pod (Jack Podlesny), to make the process a lot easier, mainly with laces or placement of the ball."
#69 Jamaree Salyer | Sr. | OL
On his pride for his team…
"I am most proud of us being able to finish games. If you look at our past performances in the fourth quarter, we have to have our defense go back out on the field. To me, that is what I am most proud of, is our ability to sustain to be in shape, to have a fourth quarter shape and to be able to go out there. I know some games we didn't play all four quarters of the game, but the games we did, we finished the game for the defense, so I am really excited about that. As the areas of improvement it's probably communication, being able to communicate better as a unit and be on the same page. We have young players, so being on the same page as the offense in general and being able to execute at a high level is something we can all work on."
On his position…
"I feel comfortable everywhere on the line, honestly. But whatever the team needs. If the team asks me to be a long snapper, I go snap the ball if that will help us win. It doesn't really matter to me, I just want to help us, I want to win every game we play, and if they have me going as center, guard, tackle, I can play all five. Just because I feel comfortable at all five and I repped at all five this year. So, I am very comfortable at every position, and I feel like if someone was going down, I would be able to fill in and help the team win because that's what matters to me at this point in my career. This point of the season is winning games. We don't want to drop any games because of somebody going down and not having a replacement. I leave it up to the coaches where I play it doesn't matter to me, I just want to go play and help the team win."