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  • Writer's pictureDAWG NEWS DAILY

Smart, Bulldogs Talk Prep for Tennessee

ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart along with four student-athletes talked about the team’s preparation for its upcoming game against Tennessee with media after practice on Tuesday evening and offered the following comments. Head Coach Kirby Smart On preparing for the pace of Tennessee’s game… “I don’t think you can simulate their pace. They are really good at what they do. They are fast at what they do. We try to, but I don’t really delve into how we practice publicly. We keep that in house, but it is tough to simulate.” On Amarius Mims… “He has looked good. He played good. He feels more comfortable with each day. The highs and lows of that injury are pretty common. He feels good.” On Warren Brinson and C.J. Smith… “C.J. has been dealing with a knee injury that has been bothering him. He has had it off and on for a while. We are hoping to get him back soon. Warren had a calf injury. We are hoping to get him back. He hasn’t been able to do much this week. He felt it in the game some. We are hoping to get him back. He was out there today moving around.” On Brock Bowers’ return… “You are probably better off asking him that. He wanted to get back. I don’t think it was ever a rush. You don’t rush an injury back, especially somebody like that. You have markers to hit. When you hit the marker, you go to the next marker. Once you hit the four markers, it becomes are you capable of playing at a high enough level to contribute to the team? It was never about a number of days, it was about the markers. He clocked those off, and he went to the next step each time. He felt like he had the confidence to go out there and play, and he did that.” On the passing offense… “We had Nick Chubb and Sony Michel when we got here, so we would be fools to throw it more than we run it. They are both first round picks in my mind, It is really about your personnel.” On the importance of the relationship between a coordinator and an offensive line coach… “I think I hired Stacy (Searels) before Mike (Bobo), but I am not sure of the order there. Maybe Mike was here but he was and analyst. We hired Stacy because Coach (Todd) Monken was really comfortable with Stacy. I was comfortable with Stacy. He has worked with me at LSU. I had worked with him at LSU. He is a really good offensive line coach. The hiring of Stacy didn’t have much to do with Mike. The coordinator of the offensive line is a big deal. That is his go-to guy. They want to have a good relationship and a good understanding and philosophies need to marry up. That was really important to Monken in that hire. Once we hired Mike, it was a no-brainer. (Searels) had already been a coordinator and had worked with everybody in the room.” On what has stood out about Mike Bobo as a coordinator and play-caller… “His ability to adapt to the personnel we have. He has a very rotating lineup. He has had this in and that guy out. He had two tight ends then he didn’t have two tight ends. Pearce (Spurlin) had been in twice. Lawson (Luckie) has been hurt. Brock (Bowers) has been hurt. He has had backs in and out. Backs in and out. The ability to teach concepts and have plug-and-play players, his development of the quarterback, his leadership and messaging to the offensive is critical because I am not over there all the time. He has to be the leader and voice of reason. He relies heavily on his staff. He would be the first to tell you he has an incredible staff. Dell (McGee), (Todd) Hartley, (Bryan McClendon) and Searels are incredible, and the analysts are incredible. When you put a good staff together, you get good decision making, innovative with a lot of ideas. They present each week to him so that he has good material to pick from.” On Tennessee’s run game… “It is the backs, the commitment to the run and the spacing of the receivers. They are not playing in a phone booth. They are playing in a big farm field. They have everybody spread out, so when a run spits, it is going to go for a long way before somebody gets to it. Your ability to tackle and fit runs is exposed at a three-times the level. They almost always have a good box count, meaning they got a hat on a hat and are at an a advantage. A man has to whip another man to be able to stop the run against them. Sometimes you don’t do that.” On praising players who have returned from injury… “That is just a snippet of what you saw. I praised a lot of guys in that moment. I don’t know what they pick and choose to play. That is something that I don’t have anything to do with. I am certainly proud of those guys. I was proud of a lot of guys that night. Jamaal Jarrett, he came back from injury twice. I am proud of all the players that come back from injuries.” On if the crowd noise helps prepare for the atmosphere at Tennessee… “I wouldn’t go play without it. I can’t tell you how much it helps. I don’t honestly know how much it helps. It is hard to measure that. Some teams can do it more than we do it, have a young offense and have a lot of penalties. You could have a very experienced offense, not do it and not have a lot of penalties. It comes and goes. A lot of It has to do with the situation of your team and the focus of your team.” On focusing on the challenge of Tennessee after their loss last weekend… “It was today. I don’t know if it was because of that. I don’t know what it was because of. They must be feeling themselves a little bit. I am a little disappointed. I don’t think it has anything to do with Tennessee. It was a disappointing practice. We have had about five really good Tuesdays in a row, but they were not good today.” On the key to get the team refocused after a bad practice… “Having a core leadership and good culture on your team to respond.” On Jonathan Jefferson’s status… “He’s good. His breath got knocked out of him, I think.” On his advice to assistant coaches who aspire to be head coaches… “Pick the right one. Be where your feet are. You have a good job. Do a good job at your job, and you will get more opportunities. A lot of jobs out there are not better than the one you’ve got.” #69 Tate Ratledge | Jr. | OL On growing up a Tennessee fan before coming to Georgia… “Growing up, it was my dad’s side of the family that were die hard Tennessee fans, so it’s what I grew up with. I went to a couple of spring games here and there. It was a team of choice around the house, but when the time came that I started getting recruited my dad told me that I had to make my own decision and put everything else aside. My dad told me ‘I’m not going to live my life through you, I’m a huge Tennessee fan but you’re not going to hurt my feelings if you don’t go there’. It just came down to picking what was best for me.” On how he feels about getting to start a game in Neyland Stadium… “I think part of being a competitor is that it is something you look forward to when you’re going into an amazing environment which almost every SEC team has. It’s basically you against the world in a place like that, and I think that feeling as a competitor is awesome.” On keeping the same level of play each week against good opponents… “I don’t think it’s difficult to keep that same level of play, that’s the standard here. I think everybody knows that, and I think we’re going to always get called out if we don’t uphold that. It’s something we have to fix, and I think we’ll make sure to do that tomorrow.” #19 Brock Bowers | Jr. | TE On his first snaps back after his injury... "I'm feeling pretty good. I'm a little sore after the game, but that's to be expected. Just haven't played in three or four weeks, or whatever. But yeah, I'm excited to go on the road and play at Neyland. I think it's going to be a fun environment to play in. I'm just excited." On getting to in play the final game of the season at Sanford Stadium... "I didn't have my mind really locked in on it [being the last home game of the season], but once I got out and there and suited up, it just felt kind of special being out there for the last time this season. It was just so cool." On his touchdown against Ole Miss... "The touchdown catch - we've repped that play every single day of every single week for like three years. That was like the first time we have actually ran that in a game because of the right coverage to throw the 'Y' the ball. It came up, and I motioned out and I saw them and thought, 'Oh man, this might be good.' It felt really good just getting back and scoring, and then being able to celebrate on the sideline with all the dudes. It was fun." #96 Zion Logue | Sr. | DL On the final home game of the season... "Saturday night was very emotional. I dropped a couple tears at different times of the day. The first one was during our religious service, then Sed hit us with it, and then seeing my parents right after the game, and just dapping everybody up. Just embracing all of those guys. Having Nolan [Smith] and Jordan [Davis} back - it was huge. Just to always see those guys, not even in a football setting, but when you see them when they come back to town and sit down to talk with them and ask how it's going at the next level to pick at their brains a little bit. But my favorite memory - probably just dapping everybody up that last time, and just enjoying everybody pregame, during it, actually getting the younger guys playing and going out there to dominate. Just having fun, honestly." On his relationship with Nazir Stackhouse... "That's my dog, man. Just knowing Naz, knowing who he is, knowing what he's overcome over his time of his recruiting process in high school coming to Georgia. A lot of people don't know that Naz has narcolepsy, so he's not allowed to drive. It's hard for him to stay active and awake. Just the daily grind that he goes through just to be a dominant player - I love him, and I tip my hat to him." On the offensive line being nominated for the Joe Moore award... "Well, they should be a three-time Joe Moore winner, so I'm just going to throw that out there. Those guys, they really pride themselves on that. On being the best offensive line in the country, which I believe. Like I said, they're very competitive, a very tight-knit group. They're going to work their tails off every day. They're going to give you everything they have on Saturdays, and I wouldn't rather have a better group of guys on my side." #2 Smael Mondon Jr. | Jr. | ILB On facing a Tennessee offense with three strong running backs... "With three different players that can have an impact, you just got to condition. I feel like, you know. How do you prepare? Just making sure you tackle good all practice, striking blocks just playing physical throughout the week in practice, so it carries over to the game." On the atmosphere at Tennessee and his advice to the younger players... "We're really on the defensive side of the ball, so it's different whereas like if we played offense, it would be loud and chaotic, but on the defensive side it's kind of quiet for their offense. So, we're just going to be able to communicate and stuff so I feel like it's not too much of a change on defense, I feel like versus if we were on offense." On Zion Logue comparing CJ Allen to Nakobe Dean... "I don't really want to compare nobody to nobody because then it leaves real high expectations. Yeah, he does remind me of Nakobe, even like how he runs and stuff like that and like how he moves, that kind of reminds me of how Nakobe ran. But yeah, CJ is real smart. He takes it real serious, like his preparation.”

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