• DAWG NEWS DAILY

Smart, Chambliss and Lassiter Prep for Home Opener



ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart along with players Chaz Chambliss and Kamari Lassiter spoke with the media Tuesday evening after practice and offered the following comments about their thoughts after the week one matchup against Oregon and the team’s upcoming home game against Samford.



Head Coach Kirby Smart

On preparation for Samford...

"I thought we had one of our best practices of the year yesterday, and we had one of our worst practices today. To be honest, I don't know where we are. I was really pleased for the way they approached yesterday. We had a lot of competitive periods, and they had a great practice that made a lot of guys better. Today, it was not so enthusiastic. It wasn't to the standard of what we need. We have another day tomorrow to get it better."

On Kamari Lassiter's unsportsman-like penalty...

"We don't worry about it much. We just show him the thing and show him the way to do it and go about. Then we move on."

On Ladd McConkey's versatility...

"It helps tremendously. We have some other guys who can help in a similar way he does, but we just have to get them caught up to speed and get healthy. They have to learn what to do. He's certianly a valuable asset. I think the biggest thing with Ladd is not overusing him. He can run himself into the ground, and he'll go as hard as he possibly can every day. That's not a bad thing, but it could be a bad thing. We jsut have to make sure we monitor him."

On if the penalty on Lassiter was the right call...

"I have no idea. I literally have not even thought about the call since the play actually. I don't get into the judgement of officials. It obviously wasn't a critical call because of the outcome of the game. It's certainly something I choose to stay in my lane on. I have a lot of respect for officiating. We bring them in and meet with them. They have a really hard job. I don't think they're every putting anything wrong."

On quarterbacks entering the transfer portal...

"I don't think it's hard. You have to be very fair and honest. They make decisions based on what's best for them, the team, and the program. I'm here to protect the University of Georgia. I promised to develop them. That's what we promised them to do along with Coach Monken and our staff. There's not a lot of places you can go to play for an offensive coordinator that coached quarterbacks and receivers in the NFL. Every kid wants to go to the NFL. Never has a scout come asked me how many reps or plays he got his freshman, sophomore, or junior year. They want to know what the finished product is. The end game is the goal. If guys want to stay and be a part of that, that's great."

On Bear Alexander...

"Continuing to grow, he's got to continue to grow in terms of understanding our defense and you know he had shoulder surgery, he's got to be more consistent in his approach in day to day work. You know he flashes but then he has a play where he doesn't give great effort, he's very similar to every freshman so every freshmen's in a different situation because of our depth chart but they're all similar, they're very inconsistent. There's not a freshman out there who's just been a model of consistency, that's not to be expected. What is to be expected is to give great effort, great toughness, and that's what we're trying to get out of all our freshman.

On the young wideouts in practice....

"They do a little of both [scouts and reps]. Two of those guys were injured, De'Nylon [Morrissette] missed almost all of camp, C.J. Smith missed all of camp and both of them have started to come along. I'm riding them really hard because I have high expectations for them and they can help us. They each have really good attributes and they both really want to help our team. They're great young men. They do everything right off the field, they do what they're supposed to do, they work really hard. Dillon [Bell] has gotten a lot of reps and should be able to help us, he's probably further along than those two only because he has not been injured but C.J. hit some high numbers on GPS recently. We're trying to bring him back slowly because he's had some knee issues and then De 'Nylon has had a couple good practices. We need to bring those guys along to get the depth we need to support our offense."

On how Mitchell and McConkey help the young wideouts...

"I think it helps them but our depth, they bypass that, you know AD and Ladd aren't veteran guys. They're one year guys and there really is very little upper leadership at that position. Marcus [Rosemy-Jacksaint] does a tremendous job leading them and Kearis [Jackson] sets a great example, Dom's [Dominick Blaylock] been away and back and away and back so its just a different kind of room in terms of the experience level but I am excited about those young guys and what they can do if they learn the system."

On the disappointing practice...

"Just the energy. Yesterday was great. Yesterday was as good as we've had. Like I said, we're flying around and competing. We did a lot of good-on-good drills. Today, it dragged from the beginning. It was not the tempo that I expect. We talk about playing to a standard. There's a standard at Georgia. The number one thing that you do at our place is you go out on Tuesday and practice really physically if you're going to be any good. We have some guys that didn't bring their own juice today, and they need to do that tomorrow."

On C.J. Washington's injury status...

"It's not an injury that you can really rehab. It's an injury that has to kind of heal itself. We do periodic checks with him. He's been here with us. He was here today. It's good to see C.J. It's really been a struggle for him, because football meant so much for him and to him. We still haven't given up hope that he can come back, but we're certainly going to take all the precautions necessary before we do bring him back."

On Chris Smith and other injuries…

"He's fine. Chris Smith is perfectly fine. He practiced all today. He's good. Nyland (Green) has a hamstring that's bothering him. It happened late in the game. He doesn't even know when. His hamstring is hurting him. He struggled today."

On why the practice performance was poor...

"I have no idea. I'm sure you think it's a message from me to wake them up. I'm just telling you the truth. That's all I come in here and do. The truth is, we didn't practice really well today. I can make up 1,000 reasons why, but I don't know why. I don't know what it's going to take tomorrow or the next day. I'm going to worry about today, and then I'm going to go out there tomorrow and worry about tomorrow."

On UGA coach Jes Sutherland impact, who formerly played for Samford...

"The film speaks louder than the coach. You've got the video, and you've got a game, and you've got systems. We've played Samford before in years past. I know Coach (Chris) Hatcher pretty well. It's usually more personnel-based, and the personnel is not the same. He's smart, and he does a great job for us."

On the nickelback position...

"We're always looking to find the best guys, the guys that give us the best opportunity. A lot of it depends on how we're playing defensively. We have weeks that we play zone, we have weeks that we play man, and we have weeks that we blitz. Each one of those guys is kind of a different nickel, and they have different attributes. You try to use the guy that can do the best with the attributes that you need. I thought (Javon) Bullard played well. He's going to have to play bigger and play more physical, because he's not a huge guy, but he's tough. He's hard to block, and he's smart. (William) Poole did a good job in coverage, and he's also doubling up as a corner. Tykee (Smith) is working his way back. He hit his highest speed yesterday that he's hit since being back, and we really need him to come back and help push Bullard and give us some relief there. We certainly have to play well at that position."

On the adjustments he makes after a poor practice performance…

“Not usually. We have certain things we have to do, we might change the order of it, we might change who we do it against, we might change the tempo of it. We challenged them really hard today, and some of them answered it, some of them didn't. We have to get more guys to answer the call.”

On what Chaz Chambliss brings to the team…

“Consistency, toughness, everything a football coach wants. He does whatever is asked. He's the last guy off the field every day, he stays out there after for extra work. He's probably mad today that he's got media to do. When I get up from office, he's out there still hitting the sled. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever been around. He and Brock [Bowers] spent their freshman year, staying out there after practice doing one on ones every day. He's just a tough competitor that you want in your program. He's got to continue to improve, be able to make some plays and rush the passer but he's a really solid run player for us. He does a good job.”

On Lassiter’s first start…

“He's very mature, he's very intelligent. He was dialed in, he sent me a text a couple of nights before the game and said, 'Coach, I'm really locked in,' and I can see it in meetings, by the questions he asked. You know when somebody's ready to play because of the way they practice. He was very intentional about his practices, when you looked at him, his eyes were in the right spot, he asked the right questions. Kamari is a kid you're going to have to just beat, because he's not going to beat himself. He is a great kid.”

On if yards after the catch is more about being coached or a natural gift…

“I would definitely err on the side of ability to do that. You can coach it, but I think the best guys I've ever seen do that, they were the best guys doing it in high school. So, a coach might take credit for it, but they had an innate ability to do that. Usually straight-line fast guys aren't as good at making them miss, and usually quicker than fast guys are better at making people miss. We try to practice it a lot to put it in those situations because that's how you get explosive plays, you make people miss tackles. We've had some guys you know like that. Isaiah McKenzie was certainly like that, but I don't know if we've had an elite one like that in a while, in terms of just making you miss.”

On what he has learned about the team’s run defense…

“Not as much as I learn every day in practice. We go against a really physical offensive line, and when we have really physical run periods, that are scripted to be that way during camp, and now I think I learned a lot more than then maybe I do in games. Every game is different. How are teams going to attack us? And somebody eventually is going to try and pry on that and we're going to have to go stand up against it. I don't know, we are not as big as we were last year up front, but we still have big players considering the other teams. It's just hard to find enough big guys in the defensive line. We still have four or five 300-pounders, but it's something we've actually harped on this week, is how we play the run better how we run the ball better. I still think we're at our best there.”

#3 Kamari Lassiter | So. | DB

On his performance against Oregon...

"Getting ready for the game, it was a lot of fun. We had a lot of passion. It was really fun because knowing you get to play against someone other than yourself, it was really fun. I had some nerves, but once I started playing with my guys, I relied back on my training."

On how he felt he played...

"I played okay. I feel like I can do a lot better, though."

On his preparation to dial in...

"It would go back to fall camp. Going into fall camp, I tried to flip the switch. Going into fall camp until last week, I say that myself and the team as a whole really dialed in and bought into the plan that the coaches had.”

On where the team goes next after beating Oregon...

"From here, we have to keep finding ways to get better. We can't get complacent. It was a confidence booster because we have been putting in work all offseason and summer, so to see it come to fruition, it is a good feeling. We can't just sit on that. We need to keep getting better."

#32 Chaz Chambliss | So. | OLB

On his post practice work...

"It all depends on the game plan that week. Depending on what I was good on in practice or what reps I need to get back. If I didn't strike good enough, after practice, I will hit the sleds. If I feel like my pass rush was lacking, then I will go hit the pass rush sleds or work with coach after practice. It is all depending on the practice before or the game plan of the week."

On his relationship with Brock Bowers...

"I met Brock before he even committed here. Me, Brock and (Brock) Vandagriff all knew each other through recruiting. It has built over time. We were all best friends throughout, and we have a really good relationship."

On encouraging the team to have consistency and toughness...

"It is holding the standard and not playing to the level of the competition but playing to our standard and knowing how high we want to play."

On the playing time preparation of the second and third string...

"We practice to a standard every week anyways. How we practice is how we play. Everybody on our team is held to that standard no matter what string it is. It is the next guy up.”