ATHENS, Ga. –The Georgia Bulldogs continued preparations for their upcoming Southeastern Conference contest with Kentucky by conducting a two-hour workout Tuesday.
The following are comments from Georgia head coach Kirby Smart after Tuesday’s practice as he said the players displayed really good enthusiasm and were competitive as they get ready for a physical game with the Kentucky Wildcats.
How much does quarterback Stephen Jackson factor in to what Kentucky likes to do offensively?
“He’s a major factor. He can pull the ball and run at any time. I think he makes really good decisions on when to pull the ball. They are not all designed runs; they just give him the option to pull it. He’s improved immensely from the time he’s got there as a passer. He’s a much better passer this year. They’ve got a really good scheme. I think Eddie Gran (offensive coordinator) does a really good job.”
Were you happy with the tackling in practice today after saying you weren’t happy with it last Tuesday?
“I think I mentioned I haven’t been happy with the tackling the entire time. I think to be a physical football team, you have to practice physical and hit people and thud and wrap up. We’ve got pretty good backs. There’s not been a day that I’ve been really happy with our tackling. There’s been some games that I’ve been more pleased than others but not practice. We have to continue to work on it and players have to hold each other accountable.”
What adjustments can you make with the defensive front or is it as simple as getting back out there and just trying to be more physical than the other team?
“A big thing is going to play the next game. You got to strike, work on technique. You have to go back to work and that’s what we’re doing and continue to work on getting off blocks. Every football game comes down to blocking and tackling because we all got plays. Who is going to block and tackle better?”
How has Mecole Hardman done going from defense to receiver plus serving as a boost in handling kicks and punts too?
“He has been a great boost. As far as what he can handle. I know there are a lot of college football players who are the returners for punts and kickoffs. That’s not a concern. He usually runs 8,000 yards at track practice, and we’re just asking him to run about four or five hundred in a game. I think he can handle the workload, and the ball is not real heavy so he can carry it and he’s doing pretty good.”
After a game where you struggle on offense, do coaches have to fight against trying to reinvent the wheel or do you keep doing what you’ve been doing?
“You’re always trying to reinvent the wheel. You look for new ideas, new plays but you can’t throw everything away and start anew. You got certain plays you run and you’ve run them since camp. You try to window-dress them some different ways. You try to execute better, protect better, give the quarterback a chance, maybe give him some easier throws but you’re not trying to change everything.”
The SEC is always very competitive and what does it say about your team that it has a chance to go undefeated against the East Saturday?
“Our goal is to win every game. That’s the next step. These seniors have an opportunity to do something that no Georgia team has ever done and that’s beat every team in the East, and that’s the goal, the goal to send them out on top at Sanford Stadium.”
The Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC) play host to the Wildcats (7-3, 4-3 SEC) Saturday at 3:30 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally by CBS Sports.