Smart, Logue, and Sorey Talk Prep for UAB
ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, senior defensive lineman Zion Logue, and redshirt sophomore inside linebacker Xavian Sorey Jr. met with the media Tuesday evening after practice and offered the following comments.
Head Coach Kirby Smart On how practice has been this week... "It's been good. Good tempo, I thought yesterday was nice and cool, had a great practice. Today was not the best Tuesday but not the worst. It was a little warmer but good energy and the guys practiced hard." On Daylen Everette against South Carolina, the challenge that Spencer Rattler posed... "Daylen played okay. He can play with a little more confidence. He's a good football player. He's still getting comfortable in the big games and in the big moments. He understands the defense and tackles well, he plays physical, and he's hard to block which in this league, it's a big man's league. You got to have some weight under you and be able to hold the point. As far as [Xavier] Leggett and [Spencer] Rattler, I've talked about them enough; they are really good players." On halftime locker room conversation against South Carolina... "Where did you hear that? What are you talking about, that I was going to get on them? I don't really know what you're referencing, I guess I would need better details that I was going to get on them. Not that I know of. We have a guy that works for the team, and he does a great job: Drew. He gave our team a message on Friday before the game and he spent the game with us. I don't really know what you're referencing as far as that goes. I have varying messages at halftime. It just depends on how we're playing, what's going on, if we're playing with emotion, not playing with emotion. I mean there's a lot of decisions that go in to how you approach it. At that time, I don't know what good getting on them is going to do." On if he reached out to Nick Chubb, his impact on the program... "He's an incredible human being first and foremost. What kid still goes back to their high school weight room, strength coach, program, track and works out the way he does? It's very rare in the sports world to find someone as humble and just a great person like he is. I reached out to him. I know he's probably flooded with all kinds of [messages] and people reaching out to him, so no expectation of anything in return. Just a lot of respect for him and what he did for this program in terms of toughness, buy-in, and giving back. I mean he decided to come back when he did. I thought it was in his best interest to come back but he certainly did UGA a favor returning too, and he had an outstanding year when he did. I talked to Ron [Courson] about it today, and I think he'll make a full recovery and bounce back. That's just who he is so he'll be ready to get back after it." On new clock rules, data on possessions and plays under new rules... "I don't really know. I actually sent a text to the analytics people we have a subscription to, and he sent me a text back immediately. I asked about week one, and he said 'it's more than we thought' but you can't judge it on one week. After week three last weekend, his numbers were in, and he texted back and said, 'it's right where we thought.' He said 21-22, I want to say that he said 175 snaps a game maybe. There's 170, so it's five snaps a game after three weeks. You can quote me on it because I said it, but I don't know that it's facts. I'm going off what somebody told me. They told me 175 to 170, so it's actually five plays difference. Is that the same thing you're hearing? Three plays per team? That makes sense because they're saying 5.5. So, three per team is six and what I was told was five and a half. That's not substantial but I don't know why I even feel like it's more than that. I feel like maybe they should study it by possession, and I have not done that math on possessions. It seems less, it seems faster, but I don't know what impact it has had. If you look at it by number of plays, then that's minimal. I mean, that's just minimal. Three plays per game? I mean three plays per game per team? I don't think that's a major deal. Possessions matter, but I can't sit here and tell you the possessions because I didn't ask for that number. If three plays are down, then it shouldn't be possessions down." On Kendall Milton and Roderick Robinson's condition... "Kendall's been in rehab. He's been rehabbing and working, and Roderick hasn't been able to practice with us. It hasn't looked good in terms of practice because they haven't been out there. I'm hoping that we can get them back. It looks doubtful that Roderick is going to be able to play this week. I'm still holding out hope that Kendall will be able to, but I can't say that because he has not practiced yet." On the team's success playing against crowd noise, preparation against crowd noise... "Well we haven't. I don't know what makes you think we aren't affected by crowd noise. What's the measure of that? It's tough man. See I think NFL teams don't experience it until playoffs. I think the SEC teams and the SEC environment, and I'm sure there's other conferences and I'm not saying we're the only ones with crowd noise. I know Florida went to Utah and that was a game I got to see where it was impacted. It's a major deal. I study it hard because I go through and watch third and fourth down reel of the league. Every league game and it's amazing to me the team that's on the road the number of times that it impacts third and fourth down. It's incredible and you try like hell to avoid those, but we haven't played in that environment. We haven't. I can't remember. Last year I think Missouri, we had a false start to open the game and maybe two others in the game. I can't sit here and tell you that it has not affected us. It affects us when you go into a tough environment. You just turn on crowd noise and try to simulate it. You prepare about doing a little less and taking a few plays out that are hard communication plays. Checks, motions, adjustments, you just got to be smart. I call them a relief play. You got to line up and go play and see if you can block them without doing too much. I don't think some coaches acknowledge that it's a six-penalty advantage to play at home in the SEC possibly. It's come out that way for us because teams have come out here and gotten five or six more penalties and average, and you got to try to find a way to avoid that when you go out on the road." On kicking competition... "We're always having competition. Like I said all along, it's always going to be open regardless. We're competing every week. The competition every week has been pretty consistent. They've been pretty even, but with the outcome of the game, we have to continue to open it up. We've did a bunch of different exercises to try to put some pressure on those guys today and we'll do the same thing throughout the week. We'll make a decision that's minute to minute and hour by hour." On Dillon Bell getting work, running back injuries steer offense towards using Bell on the run... "Well, he's got a package, and the package each week they try to expand it and go piece by piece because we think he's a very valuable receiver. That's what he remains, a receiver for us. His package the first week was a few plays and his package the next week was a few plays, and we've added plays every week. Yeah, he does pass-pro, he learns our protections and he's really a very physical player. Like he plays on special teams, he strikes people. He's 210 pounds so he's bigger than Cash and some of our other backs." On scouting players in the transfer portal... "Everybody has got a new staff that goes and evaluates every player. I've been told there are teams out there on the sidelines scouting our players in warmups because that's their job for their teams - to know something about that kid if he goes in. We're not that advanced. I'm not really that interested in it. Obviously, there is never a kid that goes into the portal that we would not consider unless we didn't like him coming out or had some reason not to recruit him coming out. I'm not going to go in advance and do that because you might scout a thousand kids, and ten of those thousand might end up going in. I can take that ten and go watch that when they go in. To be honest with you, when they go in, they all know where they are going. There's not been one kid that when he told me he was leaving that he didn't already have a plan of where he was going." On Jalon Walker's adding weight in the off-season... "I don't think he has bulked up. He's 240. I think he was 236, maybe 237 last year. Maybe he looks that way, or maybe I'm just wrong, but I don't want him bulking up, I want him fast. He's been an excellent edge rusher for us. He's developed as an inside backer, and I like him the way he is." On having players who can play inside backer and on the edge... "I think if you have an outside backer who can rush, it's a luxury to have an inside backer that can rush. [Xavian] Sorey has developed that skillset. When he came in, he was a natural, really speed guy, an edge guy. The element in pro-football, and really college football, has been how much speed can you get on the field? With all the passing, Jalon and Sorey give us an abundance of speed. They're two of our fastest players, and they're able to chase things down, run things down. They're both in the play on the screen. I hate it for both of them. They both had an opportunity to make a play, and neither of them did. But that's why they're out there - for those kind of plays." On Malaki Starks' recruitment... "I don't think you can get any more pressure on a good player because whatever they full amount of pressure is, it's the full amount. It doesn't get any greater than infinity. He's a really good player, and there has always been that. I think his home life - his mother, father, the community of Jefferson - he was really grounded. He was never, I don't want to say homebody, but he was really never interested in going all over the place. He reminded me of Charlie Woerner. He was like, 'I really just don't want to go to all of those places. I want to go to Georgia. That's what I want to do.' And he knew that. He came on since he was a ninth grader. I remember that. I can't even remember who the 'DB' coach was then, it was so long ago. It might've been - I don't know. He came over with his dad here as a ninth grader. He had just come off a broken leg from basketball. He ran really fast for us, and he had a really big frame. I thought, 'Man, this kid is going to be a really good player.' And he was playing quarterback. It's a tough evaluation. It's a projection for safety. Once we got to know the kid, he came up here a thousand times over three years, we just loved the character of the kid and the family and what they stand for. And really him - he's a great kid." On offensive line competition with Amarius Mims' injury... "[Xavier] Truss has worked guard and tackle, just like he always has. More tackle this week. [Austin] Blaske has practiced, and he is a tough dude. But he is hurting. He is trying his best out there, and the O-line is a position that you might get away with a little bit of an MCL because you are not out there in space running and cutting. But he is not 100-percent healthy. He's out there working. Monroe [Freeling] is out there working at tackle. Bo [Hughley] has been developing and playing some at tackle. Dylan [Fairchild] can go out and play tackle. Micah [Morris] can go out there and play tackle. Chad Lindberg plays tackle. We've got musical chairs. We're just trying to get it to where if the next guy goes down, we can get the best guy in." On UAB's Eddie Gordon... "Well, he's a great recruiter, a great coach. He's a hard worker. I have a lot of respect for Eddie. Of the people that we have had in the organization that have left - someone told me it was 24 guys that have come here and worked in some capacity and moved on to another on-the-field role or a role higher than when they were here - he was a guy that was loyal. He worked hard. He recruited a lot of good players here. He was right alongside Sam [Pittman], right alongside Matt Luke, right alongside [Stacy] Searels. He had a personality about him. He never backed down from coaching players hard, and I respect that in a coach because he didn't try to be their friend. He coached them hard, and he recruited them hard. And I've got a lot of respect for him. You see it in the way that his O-line plays. I know they are going to be wound-up for this one because I know that Eddie wants his kids to play well." On Dylan Fairchild's performance against South Carolina... "Dylan played well. I think the amount of time he played leading up to that game had helped him. He had played meaningful minutes. He had practiced with the ones. He's gone against our defensive line all camp, so I think he came in confident. He had a few errors, but they all did. He played well. Like I said, we think of him, Jared [Wilson], Micah as starters." On Javon Bullard's injury... "He hasn't been able to do much. He warmed up, didn't feel great in warmups, so we shut him down and hasn't done much this week in terms of practice. I asked him today, and he is underwater running, got a boot on, but he has not been able to practice." On the impact of the transfer portal making the high school recruiting pool larger... "You lost me on the last statement. How would our pool get larger? We're recruiting the top 10-percent. I don't think that part has changed. I think it has definitely changed at a different level. I don't think at the SEC level, the pool of the kids that we would be signing wouldn't be signing at the SEC. They would be signing somewhere else. If anything, it may have helped our walk-on or preferred walk-on program because those kids would've gotten scholarships other places. They're all taking kids out of the portal. I think that is the right of a coach, and you can look and point at some teams that have done an incredible job and have caught a program up really fast, versus some that you catch a year where you don't get enough out of the portal, and you don't have enough development and end up in a bad situation. I don't know because I'm not in the portal industry as much. We're going to look into trying to take a great player, but I'm not going to live and die by it. I'm going to develop players and bring them in from freshman all the way up." On Will Myers taking over as Director of Personnel... "He does a lot more than that [evaluating prospects]. We don't put evaluation on that position like some people do. Our coaches, my position coaches are always going to be evaluators. I don't believe in the system where once somebody comes in and tells you who fits your program. Matt [Godwin] didn't do that. He was a very valuable asset in terms of opinions and looking over the top. You have someone looking at all these players, someone looking at all of these players - who's comparing this row to this row. Who is comparing the receivers to the offensive lineman? That's a hard comparison. Which one is a greater need. That's what they help with more than anything. I don't really know how we found out about Will. He worked with [Will] Muschamp at South Carolina, so there is a little bit there. We had a couple other links. I think he had been over at UL-L, and I think a lot of the same family tree, coaching tree. We thought it was good to be around him in the interview, and he did a good job. He's very detailed and organized. That's what we needed in that position." On his coaches' jacket... "Everybody didn't like it. For me, it's the first one I pick up every time I go in there, and they said something about that they don't make anymore with the band at the bottom. I don't like the kind that hang loose. And there are 64 coaches' jackets in my locker that hang loose and only one that has a band at the bottom. So, I wear the one that has a band at the bottom." #18 Xavian Sorey Jr. | ILB | R-So. On the key to improving red zone defense to keep opponents out of the end zone... "It's definitely our standard here where folks don't score on us. The coaches really harped on that. On Monday, we went to the doctor to clean everything up and watch film. We just get better day by day and next week try not to let anybody in the end zone." On using Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Smael Mondon's early success as motivation... "We came in together, so just seeing them play, they motivate me. They push me hard, and they want to see me succeed. When we came in, we always said we wanted to be the three-headed monster like Nakobe [Dean], Quay [Walker], and Channing [Tindall] was." On the defense's pressure on Spencer Rattler in Georgia's win over South Carolina... "I feel like we didn't do good enough. We don't want anybody to score on us, so as a whole defense we didn't accomplish that goal. We're going to work on it this week and get better, grow from it, and learn from it." #96 Zion Logue | DL | Sr. On the pride surrounding not allowing touchdowns… “The number one thing we always speak about when we get in the red zone is, 'No one in our endzone.' That doesn't matter if the first group is out or the rotational guys. No one in our endzone. And we just have to take pride in that from week to week. We know that's where everybody's going to attack us right now, especially when they get down there, so we just got to stand on [the] 10 and really bow our necks and not let people in the endzone.” On the difference in red zone defense compared to the rest of the field… “It's just the space is a lot tighter. It's not really a threat for shots, maybe a play action, but once people get down there they're going to try to put the big guys in. We got to go bigger personnel and they're just going to try to move us just because it's the Georgia defense. They want to be able to say they ran it in on us and we know we have to stand on our principles and stand on our morals about that.” On expecting a high volume of passes due to Georgia’s historically tough run defense… “We talk about it throughout the week, but I think it really hits home when we get out there on Saturdays. Because, a lot of teams might try to go play action shots, or they might try to start out running a little bit just to keep us honest, but we know once that second, third series comes around it turns into a lot of play action. They might run it here once or twice sparingly, but we know a lot of teams probably will try to chuck it downfield on us and you got to be ready to transition and let's get to the quarterback.”