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Kirby Smart, Bulldogs Preview Georgia Tech Game

ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart, along with several players, previewed Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.  They offered the following comments during Monday’s media session.

 

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Comments…

“I am excited for the senior class. I think you always remember your last game in Sanford Stadium, I certainly remember mine. It’s a special opportunity for these guys to thank their families and for our fans to thank the senior class that has really been a special one. They have had a chance to finish in the top probably five or six in the history of Georgia’s senior classes in terms of wins and that’s a pretty remarkable stat when you think about the senior classes that have been through here. They have done a great job for our program, certainly me personally and our staff personally. This is kind of the group that we came in with- freshmen rising sophomores. They’re heading out and we’re proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish.

We move on to Tech today who is, arguably, one of the hottest teams in the country as far as what they’re doing offensively. They’ve put four really good games together back to back, scoring a lot of points, and playing better defense this year. They are playing better on special teams as well.

So there’s a lot of challenges ahead of us anytime you play in this type of offense there’s a lot of challenges involved in it, especially getting prepared in a week.”

On if the offense will start to panic if Georgia Tech starts controlling the clock…

“I don’t think you ever panic. I think you take advantage of your opportunities. You just may have less opportunities. I think panic comes from within. It comes from pressing, trying to do things you don’t do, normally.

I think the number of opportunities or series or drives you may have may be less. Realistically it may be less, we may have less than most people because we have been a ball controlled time possession offense. Maybe not to the extent Tech is but we understand those games. And every offensive possession is critical, but when is it not? It’s always that way.”

On the injury update of Ben Cleveland and Monty Rice and the role of the  middle linebackers against Tech’s offense…
“The middle linebacker is critical against Tech’s offense. You have to do a great job but really both linebackers, to be honest, both linebackers have to be tremendous keyers.  They have to be able to read, react, be good tacklers, be athletic and be able to play in space.

 

As far as Monty (Rice) and Ben (Cleveland), Monty is probably not going to be available this week. He’s doubtful to be able to play. We think that he’ll get better quickly. We hope to get him back, but don’t know when and don’t know if it will be this week. But he will not practice today.

And then Ben is continuing along the same path. Ben’s cleared to play and he’s just getting over an ankle injury. That, coupled with his leg like we talked about after the game the other night, he’s just fighting back. We hope he’ll be back this week. He’s playing. He’s playing on punt team. Just trying to get him back 100 percent.”

On how much he thinks he can sub on defense against the triple option…
“It depends on how many guys can play winning football for you. It’s not a big sub-type game for them. They’re not in a lot of different personnel packages. But certainly can sub if you have quality players that can play.

I think part of morale, it really doesn’t have anything to do with Tech’s offense, it has to do with how many guys do you have that can play winning football. You want to keep guys out there fresh, you want guys to play hard. But I think it’s yet to be seen because we have had to wait and see how the guys read, react, play and key their plays and we’ll have the best players out there.”

On the injury update of Cade Mays, Kendall Baker, and Walter Grant…
“Walter (Grant) has had an ankle that’s been ongoing. He’s practiced and played with it. He played in the game the other night with it. Cade (Mays), we’re not sure if he’ll be available this week or not. He’s not going to practice today. But we hope to get him back soon, as soon as he gets cleared. Kendall (Baker) is very doubtful.”

On the coaching points for the first-year players facing triple option in college football

“There are a lot of coaching points. You have two or three hours? You can’t just define them in a few words. Eye control, discipline, toughness, tackling, it’s limitless. So you have to be disciplined. You have to do your job and you have to key things the right way. If you don’t, they expose you. The ball does a tremendous job of seeing when people are out of place, seeing when people don’t do things the right way.”

On if the team has worked on triple option throughout the season…
“We didn’t work on it the whole season last year. We did it in fall camp. We did it a few weeks during the season when we felt like we had an opponent that we had gone against that was similar to our offense. If they had similarities to offense we used an extra period to work on Tech but we didn’t do it every day of the week last year and we didn’t do it this year. We certainly had off-week, preseason camp, and we worked on Mondays the same amount we did last year but the difference is more who you’re doing it with and last year we were doing it with guys who had a lot more carry-over. This year it’s been new for a lot of guys. And that’s the biggest difference.”

On if Austin Peay was used as a reference point for the triple option…
“No. That’s not close to the same. It’s not the same offense. Austin Peay is really not a triple team to be honest with you. And these guys (Georgia Tech) are really unlike anybody we’ve played.”

On how the discipline varies between an offense like Georgia Tech and one like Auburn…

“There’s no similarities. I mean, you have discipline in all of football. Don’t take it that I mean you need discipline or you don’t need discipline against Auburn or Florida. You need discipline in football, period. But when I talk about discipline in this, it’s eye control. It’s patience. It’s doing your job over and over again and doing it exactly right. And it’s repetition.

You can’t get enough reps to get really good at it and you’re trying to multiply those reps in a small period of time and you can’t catch up to the number of reps they’ve had, blocking what they see, compared to us doing it in one week. So it makes it tough. And you just have to have kids that buy into it and love playing against it and care about it.”

 

On the wide receiving corps…
“We have good balance in the room. And we have great camaraderie. I think they all enjoy being around each other. They love seeing each guy get the limelight at different times. Tyler (Simmons) had some big games earlier in the year where he made big plays; he’s now just getting back. He had an injury where he was out of whack for a little bit and he’s played well the last two weeks, really, and he’s played well in practice. I think each one of those guys had a game where you’d say he’s the guy, he’s the guy.

You don’t have to have a guy. You can do it by committee. And those guys are talented. Just because you say, well, they don’t have a star-studded group, they don’t have a star – one of those wideouts could be on somebody else’s team and be a star. But we don’t sell individual goals, we sell team goals and we sell winning and that takes care of itself. A lot of those guys for selfish reasons want individual accolades but that’s not really how the NFL works. They’re not drafting a guy based on the number of receptions he has. They don’t do that. I mean, some of the best wideouts in the NFL came from SEC teams that didn’t have a lot of catches.

 

So we look at it as saying – hey, you’re going to develop as a player, team player and you’re going to grow on special teams and the next level will take care of itself. Right now we’re trying to win football games.”

On ‘Tech mode’…
“Focus, concentration, effort, toughness, competitive fibers. I mean, Tech is one of our rivals. I mean, who is not? So it’s like, next up. I mean, you look at our schedule, it’s like everybody’s a big rival. These guys are a big rival. And we have to do a good job against them because it’s a tough matchup, it’s a tough game to play. And we have to send our seniors out the right way.”

On senior WR Terry Godwin…

“Terry has grown as a kid. When I first got here his practice commitment was there, and he got better at it and he got better and he got better. And he worked at it. He’s gotten a lot better as a blocker. I think he’s gotten physically stronger.”

He’s been a really good wideout here the whole time he’s been here. I think the biggest thing Terry’s helped with is being able to play inside and outside, and he’s done it with really good work ethic. And he helps keep those guys level-headed in that group. There are some young guys in that group. He’s been kind of a good leader for the whole group the whole time he’s been here.”

On philosophy in scheduling…
“I think it’s hard to in the Georgia Tech situation, because it’s what they do and it’s a traditional rival. You don’t run and try to get away from that. If you’re asking me, ‘Do I want to schedule a triple option team?’ I’d prefer not. That’s not what I’m looking forward to playing. My whole thing in scheduling is I want to play as many good football teams as we can, and it’s never really been about the offense. It’s been about the home-and-home. And it’s been about the opportunity to play big games. I mean, that’s important to us in our future. It’s not really necessarily what offense they run, but given the opportunity I would rather play a style offense that we will play more often in our league.”

On Georgia Tech quarterbacks senior TaQuon Marshall and RS freshman Tobias Oliver…

“Extremely talented. I know both guys. We recruited TaQuon at Alabama; he came to camp a lot of years. He’s a competitive, tough – I think about the years he’s been there and the toughness he’s played with. And having him and Terry (Godwin) and Tae Crowder in camp kind of growing up, those kids coming from the same area over there. They do a tremendous job. They’re competitors. He’s a really good football player. And Tobias has done the same thing. He’s given them a new element. He’s really tough, able to carry the ball, does a lot of good things for them and they’ve got good football players. (Georgia Tech head coach) Paul (Johnson) does a great job with those quarterbacks.”

On senior OLB D’Andre Walker’s performance against Georgia Tech in 2017 and his consistency since…
“D’Andre kind of had a little bit of a breakout game. He got to play more in the game first and foremost. He got more opportunities. And he does a good job. He’s a good athlete. He’s tough to defend because he’s got long arms, he’s extremely athletic, he’s fast. So he’s your prototype outside backer-type guy to play with. So he does a good job playing in it. And he gets excited about playing against these guys.”

On if freshman QB Justin Fields’ run option will be an advantage against Georgia Tech…
“Absolutely not. Justin doesn’t do anything like what they do. And nor will he be able to come over and give us a picture of what they do. Because we’re not doing that with Justin. There will be no carry over there.”

On the ‘defend your turf’ mantra…
“That’s been a message all year. It’s not been about Tech obviously. It’s been about the teams that have been championship teams have defended their home turf. We have a bulletin board about it. When you win your games at home, it gives you a much better chance to win the East. When you win games at home, it gives you a much better chance of winning the SEC. And we’ve talked about that all along. And we want to continue to do that, and I think that’s a big part of it. Not because it’s Tech but because it’s our home stadium. And we want our fans to come out, support these guys, even over Thanksgiving break, it’s critical that we have the momentum and the fan base behind us to make it an advantage for us. But we want to play well for these seniors and these seniors want to go out on top.”

On the fluidity of defensive adjustments among the coaching staff during games…
“A lot. It’s a lot of moving parts. You’re trying to adapt quicker than they do. And (Georgia Tech) does probably as good a job as anybody in the country at taking advantage of your weakness. I mean, like I said before, when you have your doctorate, you have somebody with a graduate degree, master’s, doctorate, (Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson) is all the way up there; he’s as far as you can be in the option world. He’s able to see things from the field that most people don’t see because he watches it all the time. So if you make a mistake, he’ll make you pay or he’ll expose you on it maybe the very next play, maybe the very next drive. But he knows what complements what. So for us it’s having the right eyes in the right place for our players’ sake. If we don’t play something correctly, you better get it fixed quick.”

On explosive plays and first-year Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Nate Woody…
“Explosive plays, sometimes they come in bunches. Sometimes they come from downfield blocking. A lot of defenses don’t tackle as well as the year goes on. I know we’ve struggled with that at times, where we don’t tackle as well as the year goes on because guys get dinged up and injured. You don’t play as physical. You don’t practice as hard sometimes when you don’t have your pads on as long, guys take them off. Explosive plays may stem from some of that. I don’t know.

But as far as defensive coordinator, he does a great job. He was the defensive coordinator at Appalachian State; he was good when he was there. He has a great reputation. You think about the defense that we played against when he was here [at Sanford in 2017] and Jake (Fromm) had to come in the game. The guy does a great job. They play really hard. They play really physical. And he’s turned — that’s the biggest difference in Georgia Tech this year is the way they’re playing and how hard they’re playing on defense.”

On how Georgia Tech will adjust Georgia’s offensive approach…
“I always want to put people down by multiple scores, don’t you? I don’t know a game you go say, well, let’s keep this one tight for a while. I love the theories behind all this, but, I mean, yeah, I would love to get a lead if that’s what you’re asking. But that doesn’t put any more pressure to say that we have to have it. You’ve got to play the game you’ve got and you’ve got to do a good job managing whatever it is, whether you’re behind, ahead, doesn’t matter. You’ve got to do a good job managing it.”

 

 

#13 Jonathan Ledbetter | Sr. | DE

On some of the headaches you have to go through during this week of prep for Georgia Tech… 

“Cut blocks, most definitely. Yesterday we did a gauntlet in the weight room, something they created for fun to simulate a cut block. I just don’t think this game can be simulated. These guys just come out and it is what it is so we just have to go play.”

 

On how concerned you are about injuries when dealing with all those cut blocks… 

“Actually our coach just told us there is no statistic proving they have more injuries than any other football game. I really don’t care. We are just going to go play. We know what type of game this is every year, we are always hungry for it.”

 

On the confidence after facing Tech several times already and any messages you pass along to the young players… 

“I honestly think it is different every time you play them. There are so many options to what they do, you never know what is actually going to happen. So you have to be prepared for everything. I think getting our young guys comfortable in those situations and making sure everybody is helping each other out. Staying off the ground is the most important thing in this game, just staying alive and ready to run to the ball.”

 

On no one in the program having experienced a home win over Georgia Tech and the motivation behind that…

“I want this, and I know everybody on the team wants this. 2012 is the last time we won at home and we have taken a lot of disrespect from Georgia Tech. I know some people would much rather see us beat Georgia Tech than win a national championship, and we are not going disappoint. We are going to come out and play a physical football game, giving it everything we have.”

 

#5 Terry Godwin | Sr. | WR

On the importance of winning his final game at Sanford Stadium…

“It’s important but I’m not playing just for me, I’m playing for my other seniors as well and my other brothers. To send this senior class out with a win at our last home game would mean the world.”

 

On reflecting on his initial vision of his senior season despite being injured at the start…

“At the beginning, it was kind of rocky for me personally. Coming off the injuries and being able to help this team be where we are now is what we dream of. But we’re not satisfied of where we’re at now. We still have more to play.”

 

On the receiving group being more ‘balanced’…

“I wouldn’t more ‘balanced,’ I would say we’ve got more weapons. Like I was saying at the beginning of the season, to us, this is the best receiving core in the nation. We have guys that have proven they’re capable of going out there anytime against anybody and make plays.”

 

 

#18 Isaac Nauta| Jr. | TE

On big blocks last few games… 

“Those blocks are fun when you think you’ve made an impact on a play whether it goes for a score or just an explosive play. It is something that as the year goes on, I’ve put a bigger emphasis on and try to finish those blocks downfield. For example, seeing Tyler Simmons score while I was blocking all the way down field is a good feeling. On that particular play I got to the safety and if you can get to the safety then it creates a lot of opportunities for guys to make more yards and make more big plays.”

 

On struggle of playing triple option and having limited time of possession… 

“It can be frustrating with offense that they run, they hold the ball. They are running the ball and chewing the clock and that is what they are trying to do. They want to take away possessions from us. But offensively, when we get the ball, we need to score since our possessions are limited. On defense, we have to take the ball off of them and stop them to get the ball back to score. So it is definitely a challenge that aspect of the game. We are just going to do our part and get the ball in the end zone.”

 

On ensuring no slip-up in Georgia Tech game… 

“We know that we have to finish our schedule strong this weekend and the following weekend in order to do what we want to accomplish. We just have to go out and do what we have been doing, especially what we have been doing the second half of the year. I feel like we have really been clicking and playing well. We just have to continue going and get a big win this weekend. The good news is we can still get better. We see that every week on tape, ways that we can get better and I think we’ve gotten better each week. That is our main focus, grow regardless of who we play.”

 

On sending off seniors with good game on senior day … 

“It is super important. For these seniors, it is a huge game. I know coach (Kirby) Smart has said that he left with a bad taste in his senior year. That is something that we want to ensure that our seniors don’t have and we want them to go out on top.”

 

 

#15 D’Andre Walker| Sr. | OLB

On keys to defending the triple option offense … 

“Be fast and patience. Just getting all 11 defenders to the ball and then run back to the line of scrimmage. The option is a little tricky. You have to be fast, but at the same time you have to be patient.”

 

On playing last game at home… 

“It is going to be a big game for me. I want to make sure that I cherish it and live in the moment to really enjoy it…My mom, uncle, sister and maybe my niece and nephew will be in attendance.”

 

On avoiding slip up losses late in season and role of seniors taking program to new level… 

“We just have to get this game over with and see where we end up. I feel like we just have to prepare for each game…I feel like everybody plays a role, even the freshmen on special teams. We recruit guys that can play instantly so it is big effect. It will never get old the amount of talent that we have.”

 

On Tae Crowder’s development as a linebacker and what you remember when he made the switch from running back… 

“He used to come over for scout team and I guess he got tired of playing running back or thought he wasn’t going to be able to play so he came over to linebacker. Ever since, he has been getting better each and every year…I’m not surprised he has done so well, because he is a really good athlete.”

Georgia’s Justin Fields Named SEC Freshman Of The Week

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia true freshman quarterback Justin Fields has been named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week following his performance during the 66-27 win over Massachusetts, according to a league announcement.

 

This marks the first SEC weekly award for Fields in his career.  This is the sixth SEC weekly honor for the Bulldogs in 2018 after place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship garnered the Special Teams Player of the Week recognition following the win at South Carolina and quarterback Jake Fromm was named the Offensive Player of the Week after the victory over No. 9 Florida.

 

D’Andre Swift (Offensive Player) and sophomore Andrew Thomas (Offensive Lineman) were also honored after the win over No. 9 Kentucky and Swift was again honored by the conference following the victory over #24 Auburn.

 

Fields, a native of Kennesaw, Ga., went 5-for-8 for a career-high 121 yards and two touchdowns through the air.  He added a career-high 100 yards rushing and a score on seven carries during the Bulldogs’ victory.  Georgia’s 66 points was the most for the program since the Bulldogs blanked Troy 66-0 in 2014.

 

Fields’ 100 yards marked the first time a quarterback had led the Bulldogs in rushing since 2005 (D.J. Shockley vs. Boise State, 85 yards) and made him the first Georgia signal caller with 100 yards rushing since Quincy Carter went for 114 versus Kentucky in 1998.  Along with fellow signal caller Jake Fromm, Fields directed an offense that tallied 701 total yards on offense, which ranks No. 2 in school history behind the 713 tallied versus FAU in 2012.

 

The No. 5 Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 SEC) play host to Georgia Tech (7-4, 5-3 ACC) on Saturday.  The SEC Network will televise the matchup between the instate rivals at 12 p.m.

#5 Georgia Postgame Notes vs. UMASS, Nov. 17, 2018

*A Whole Lot of Offense:The Bulldogs tallied the second most offense in school history with 701 yards (426-rushing, 275-passing) on 62 plays. The school record is 713 against Florida Atlantic in 2012. Georgia’s 66 points was the most since a 70-6 win over Northeast Louisiana in 1994. With today’s 66-27 win, Georgia moves to 10-1 overall and the senior class improves to 41-11.  Senior Day is next Saturday against Ga. Tech at Noon (SEC Network).

 

*Quick Strikes: Georgia scored touchdowns on six of its seven possessions (3 plays, 66 yards in 0:57; 10-68 in 4:58; 7-80 in 2:57; 2-73 in 0:48; 3-72 in 1:00; 4-81 in 1:01) to build a 42-13 edge by halftime. The only drive that did not result in a touchdown came on a fumble on a punt return. Georgia had 431 yards of offense on 29 plays in the 1sthalf.

Sophomore QB Jake Fromm went 4-for-4 for 97 yards and one TD in directing scoring drives on the first two and then fourth possessions.  True freshman QB Justin Fields got the 3rdpossession, which featured a career-long 47-yard rush by him, and he capped an 80-yard drive with an 11-yard TD pass to junior Riley Ridley. Fromm returned for the fourth possession, and connected on a 71-yard TD pass to junior Tyler Simmons for a 28-7 lead.

Fields got the fifth possession and marched the Bulldogs 72 yards down the field for a TD in 60 seconds. The big play on this drive was a 54-yard reception to tight end junior Issac Nauta. Fields got the sixth possession and led another quick TD drive in 1:01 capped by a career-long 57-yard strike to junior Mecole Hardman to make it 42-7. Fields was 4-for-5 for a career-high 124 yards and 2 TDs in the first half.

In week three, Georgia scored 42 points in the first half against Middle Tennessee en route to a 49-7 win.

*Second Half Offense:The Bulldogs went 4-for-5 in scoring (3-TDs, 1-FG, then ran out the clock). Fromm started the second half and led the Bulldogs on a 4-play, 66-yard drive in 2:05 as freshman James Cook notched his first career TD on a 26-yard run. On the next possession, Fields returned and Georgia kicked a 40-yard field goal after going seven yards in four plays; On the 3rdpossession of the 2ndhalf, Fields led the Bulldogs to another TD (9-80 in 5:24) including a 30-yard run to give him 100 yards on the day. Fields finished 5-for-8 for 121 yards and 2 TDs. Freshman QB Matthew Downing took over in the 4thand led a TD drive covering 75 yards in six plays in 4:10 to make it 66-20.

 

*Scoring Defense:In the first half, Georgia held UMass to 13 points as the Minutemen ran 39 plays for 206 total yards. UMass won the toss and elected to take the football and then went three-and-out. UMass got its first touchdown after a Bulldog turnover, needing to go only 16 yards on four plays to cut it to 14-7 in the first quarter.  In the second half, the Minutemen scored 14 points overall with a 75-yard TD from Ross Comis to Andy Isabella to cut it to 59-20 and a 45-yarder from the same duo to make it 66-27 with 8:55 left. Isabella finished with 219 receiving yards on 15 catches. The catch total was the 2nd most against Georgia in school history and the most in Sanford Stadium, his yards was third most against the Bulldogs. UMass finished with 390 yards on 54 plays.

 

*Simmons Says Touchdown:Junior wideout Tyler Simmons enjoyed a big first half with a pair of touchdowns, one coming on a career-long 49-yard rush and the other on an 87-yard reception from Jake Fromm. Simmons finished the half with 49 rushing yards and 81 receiving yards on two catches. He is the first Bulldog to score a TD rushing and receiving since Mecole Hardman against Alabama in the 2018 National Championship Game.

 

*Rushing Attack: Georgia, the SEC’s rushing leader averaging 240.7 yards a game, tallied 426 including 168 in the first quarter. Freshman QB Justin Fields led the team with 100 yards on seven carries including a TD. Junior wideout Tyler Simmonshad a 49-yard scamper for the first score and a 7-0 lead with 13:01 mark in the 1stquarter. Earlier this year against Middle Tennessee, he had a career-long 56-yarder for a TD. Sophomore D’Andre Swift (9-for-49 yards) and junior Elijah Holyfield (6-for-50 yards, 1 TD) only played briefly in the first half.

 

*For Starters:Senior C Lamont Gaillard started his team-leading 39th straight game while on defense, the team leader in starts is senior DB Deandre Baker now with 32 including a streak of 14 with junior RS J.R. Reed the most consecutive on defense with 26. Redshirt freshman Eric Stokes made his first career start at LC after freshman Tyson Campbell had started the first 10 games at that spot. At RG, true freshman Trey Hill got his first career start with true freshman Cade Mays out today. Stokes and Hill give the Bulldogs 16 first-time starters this season. Hill is the third different starter at right guard this year due to injuries.

 

*Points off Turnovers: Georgia scored three points off one UMass turnover (interception by Tae Crowder to the UMass 30) while the Minutemen converted one Bulldog miscue (Terry Godwin fumble on a punt return) into seven points, needing to go only 16 yards. For the year, Georgia is now +4 in Turnover Margin, scoring 51 points off 15 turnovers on the year. Opponents have scored 23 points off 11 Bulldog turnovers this year.

 

*Captains: Today’s captains were seniors Terry Godwin and sophomores D’Andre Swift and Monty Rice.

 

*Up Next: Georgia (10-1) closes out the regular season by playing host to Ga. Tech (7-4) at Noon (SEC Network) on Saturday, Nov. 24. Tech beat Virginia 30-27 in overtime in Atlanta Saturday.

Bulldogs Defeat UMass 66-27, Produce 701 Offensive Yards

ATHENS, Ga. – Behind 701 yards of offense – just 12 yards shy of the school record – the fifth-ranked University of Georgia Bulldogs defeated the University of Massachusetts Minutemen 66-27 at Sanford Stadium on Saturday evening.

 

Georgia starting sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm produced a 4-for-4 clip with 97 yards and a touchdown before freshman Justin Fields entered the contest to accumulate 100 yards on the ground and 121 through the air with three touchdowns.

 

Five other members of the Bulldog backfield joined Fields on the ground with nearly 50-plus yards apiece and five combined touchdowns. Freshman tailback James Cook totaled 76 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the second half. In the first half, junior wide receiver Tyler Simmons guided the Bulldogs to 14 points with two trips to the end zone – one rushing, one receiving –  which made him the first Bulldog to register one of each in the same contest since Mecole Hardman in the 2018 CFP National Championship Game.

 

The Bulldog offense did not send freshman punter Jake Camarda to the field; all but two possessions resulted in points, due to a fumbled punt return and the end of regulation. Georgia played to the third down only six times. 66 points marked the most for Georgia (10-1) since its 70 against Northeast Louisiana in 1994.

 

“I’m proud of the guys,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “We challenged them to play hard, to start fast and not mosey around. We got things rolling and did some big things. I was really proud of the focus. The guys played hard…We’ve gotten a little better offensively and we’ll keep working on it. We need to get the playmakers the ball and peak at the right time.”

 

After the Bulldog defense forced a three-and-out to start the game, Georgia needed just three plays to run for 66 yards, fueled by a career-high 49-yard rushing touchdown from Simmons for the 7-0 lead, capped by a Rodrigo Blankenship extra point.

 

A second consecutive Massachusetts (4-8) three-and-out sent the Bulldog offense back to the field for a 10-play, 68-yard march. Three-straight Fromm completions were paired with a rushing attack from sophomore D’Andre Swift and junior Elijah Holyfield, who sealed the two-touchdown margin with a 5-yard trip to the end zone.

 

After a fair-catch squib from Georgia, Massachusetts acquired the ball on the Bulldogs’ 16-yard line. Four plays later, the Minutemen cut the Georgia margin to 14-7 with a 5-yard rushing touchdown.

 

In response, Fields directed a 7-play, 80-yard scoring drive, featuring a 47-yard rush from the first-year Bulldog. Under pressure in the pocket at the 11-yard line, Fields found junior wide receiver Riley Ridley for the touchdown and the 21-7 advantage.

 

After another Bulldog defensive stop, Georgia used two plays to reach the end zone for the 28-7 lead. Following a 2-yard Swift run, Fromm connected with Simmons through the air for a 71-yard touchdown.

 

Massachusetts tacked on a 34-yard field goal with 7:19 remaining in the half, but Georgia reciprocated on the next drive. A 54-yard Isaac Nauta reception from Fields placed the Bulldogs at the 3-yard line, where Fields used an elusive dash to the end zone for the 35-10 score.

 

Before the end of the half, Fields was presented another chance for point production: the freshman placed the ball in the hands of a sprinting Mecole Hardman downfield for the 57-yard touchdown. A second Massachusetts field goal secured a 42-13 score headed into intermission.

 

Cook opened and closed the first Bulldog drive of the second half with a 34-yard kickoff return and a 26-yard rushing touchdown, the first of his career. A Blankenship PAT sealed the 52-13 score.

 

After another Bulldog defensive stop, senior tailback Brian Herrien pushed his way into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown to conclude a 9-play, 80 yard drive. Massachusetts senior wide receiver Andy Isabella added his first of two touchdowns in the second half, but Cook returned to the end zone in the fourth quarter, evading several Minutemen defenders to finalize a 6-play, 75-yard drive with a 27-yard touchdown.

 

Isabella checked in with his second touchdown for the Minutemen on the night with 8:55 remaining, but the Bulldogs remained in possession to seal the final at 66-27.

 

Up next, the Bulldogs’ regular season comes to a close at Sanford Stadium on Saturday against Georgia Tech. Senior day is slated for a noon start time on SEC Network.

Swift and Hudson Named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District Team

ATHENS, Ga. — For the second year in a row the Georgia football team has a pair of players on the  2018 Google Cloud Academic All-District Team.
 
Sophomores running back D’Andre Swift and tailback Prather Hudson were chosen to represent the University of Georgia this year.
 
Swift, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., has a GPA of 3.42 and is majoring in journalism. This year Swift has been a huge asset on the field cumulating 186 rushing yards against Auburn contributing to a team-high of 808 yards on 116 caries with eight touchdowns.  He named SEC Offensive Player of the week twice this season. 
 
Hudson, a native of Columbus, Ga., has a GPA of 3.81 and is majoring in finance and sport management. Hudson has played in all 10 games of the 2018 season thus far and has logged 55 yards on 13 carries. He continues to be a standout on Special Teams.
 
First-team Academic All-District® honorees advance to the Google Cloud Academic All-America® ballot. First- and second-team (if applicable) Academic All-America® honorees will be announced in early December. 

The 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-District® Football Team, selected by CoSIDA, recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom. The Google Cloud Academic All-America® program separately recognizes football honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.

To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve appearing in at least 50 percent of their team’s games, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher on a scale of 4.00 and have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his current institution. 

The No. 5 Bulldogs (9-1, 7-1) will host the UMass Minutemen (4-7) on Saturday in Sanford Stadium. The game will be at 4 p.m. and televised on the SEC Network.

Bulldogs Getting Set For Minutemen

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart during the Bulldogs' practice on the Woodruff Practice Fields in Athens, Ga., on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

ATHENS, Ga. – Fifth-ranked Georgia held a two-hour workout Wednesday in preparation for its upcoming home game against Massachusetts.

 

Saturday’s contest will mark the second of three home games to close out the regular season for Georgia (9-1). Speaking on the SEC head coaches weekly teleconference before practice, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said the Bulldogs are looking forward to playing at home again.

 

“We’re excited about our second to last home game against UMASS, and Coach Whipple has got a great program and a really good team that scores a lot of points,” said Smart. I” know our players are fired up to get another opportunity to play at home in front of our home crowd in an afternoon televised game.”

 

Georgia enters Saturday’s game averaging 37 points a game while the Minutemen check in at 33.4 points a game. The Bulldogs scoring defense ranks ninth nationally, allowing just 15.8 points a game while UMASS surrenders 40.8 points a game. One of the featured playmakers for the Minutemen is senior wide receiver Andy Isabella. He is one of 11 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award which goes to the nation’s top wideout. He ranks second in the FBS in receptions (87) and receiving yards (1,479). Smart was asked about the challenge Georgia faces covering him.

 

“Andy is a great wideout, and they do a tremendous job of using his skill set so he’s never in the same place twice,” said Smart. “We do study where receivers line up each week. He’s not your normal receiver. He can be in the backfield; he can be in motion; he can be shifting. The guy has lined up at tailback, at the slot. We play defenses that don’t allow you to follow a guy with one person. They (Deandre Baker and Isabella) will get matched up at some point in the game but to travel with him is almost impossible.”

 

Smart was asked if the SEC is the best conference this season.

 

“I’m not the expert at that, I’d love to give you a great headline or great comment,” said Smart. “I have no qualms saying that our conference top to bottom is one of the toughest in the country. But to say this year, I probably don’t get to see enough football outside ours. You could poll a lot of other teams and ask them if they want come in this conference and you’d find out that way.”

 

Following the workout, redshirt-sophomore running back Prather Hudson and senior tight end Jackson Harris met with the media about the Auburn game.

 

#24 redshirt-sophomore running back Prather Hudson

On the opportunity to play more snaps this week…

“We’ll see how that goes. Fortunately, I’ve been playing on special teams, that way I can get a couple reps and get some more experience. However the game plays, I’m ready for it if the coaches call me.”

 

On the coaches’ message to the team this week being highly favored to win…

“Every team around the country is beat up at this point. A lot of teams struggle with focus. There’re so many aspects that go into the game and so many details, I think when the good teams get to where they’re supposed to be, they forget how they got there. So that’s the main thing, focus.”

 

On playing and practicing with running backs like D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield…

“You just watch how they practice because that translates onto the field because how hard they practice pays off in the big-time games. So you just try to take little bits here and there on how they play.”

 

#88 senior tight end Jackson Harris

On the team focusing and working on red zone situations…

“We’re not reinventing the wheel by any means, we’re just going to go to work every day. There’s definitely an emphasis we’re putting on the red zone. I think our work is going to pay off and we’ll see in the next couple games.”

 

On the opportunity to learn from offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Jim Chaney…

“He’s awesome. There’s a lot of attention to detail. He coaches us hard and that’s how we want it to be, too. He’s very knowledgeable at the game and we’re very grateful to have him.”

 

On enjoying the experience this season…

“We have one loss and two weeks to play in the regular season, we have a lot to play for. It’s fun. We’ll finish the season strong then we have the SEC Championship. Not to look ahead but there’s a lot to still play for. That’s what you came here to do.”  

 

On a related football note, due to heavy rainfall this week, the location for this weekend’s SEC Nation Presented by Regions Bank has changed from the University of Georgia’s Myers Quad to the Special Collections Library Lawn.  The new location is at the 300 block of S. Hull Street on the UGA campus. Airing live from 10 a.m. – Noon ET on Saturday, the show will delve into the storylines of Southeastern Conference football, the weekend’s biggest matchups and more before Georgia plays host to UMass at 4:00 p.m. in Sanford Stadium.

 

Saturday’s kickoff at Sanford Stadium is slated for 4 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.

 

Former Bulldogs Green and Gurley Nominated for NFL’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award 

ATHENS, Ga. – Bulldog greats and current NFL All-Pro players Todd Gurley and A.J. Green are two of 32 nominees for the fifth annual 2018 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, the NFL announced Wednesday.
The award honors the late Art Rooney, Sr., founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer.  Each of the 32 NFL teams nominated one player who exemplifies the value of sportsmanship the league aims to promote.  These nominees demonstrate integrity and honor on the field and are role models for players at all levels.
In 2018, Green is tied for 10th in the league with six touchdown receptions and is 18th with 687 receiving yards.  Gurley leads the NFL in rushing attempts (198), rushing yards (988), rushing touchdowns (13), total touchdowns (17), rushing yards per game (98.8) and scoring (108) this season.
The eight finalists will be decided by a panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community and will be announced on Dec. 14.  The winner of the NFL Sportsmanship Award is chosen by current NFL players, and will be announced during the CBS nationally televised NFL Honors show the night before Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 2.  The winner will receive a trophy and $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.

How the Bulldogs in the NFL fared in Week 10:

Browns 28, Falcons 16:

Nick Chubb: Chubb rushed for 176 yards, including a 92-yard touchdown, on 20 carries and added three catches for 33 yards and another score. Chubb’s 92-yard touchdown run was the longest by a rookie in NFL history and was the longest in Cleveland annals. Chubb stands 10th in the NFL with 579 rushing yards and is tied for ninth with five rushing touchdowns. Among rookies, Chubb is tied for first in rushing touchdowns, third in total touchdowns (six), third in rushing yards, and ninth in total yards per game (62.7).

Orson Charles: Charles had a 6-yard reception for Cleveland.

 

Saints 51, Bengals 14:

Ben Watson: Watson had a 1-yard reception for the Saints.

Shawn Williams: Williams registered 10 tackles and had a quarterback hit for Cincinnati. Williams is tied for fifth in the NFL with three interceptions.

Geno Atkins: Atkins posted four tackles for the Bengals. Atkins is tied for 18th in the NFL with six sacks.

Clint Boling and Cordy Glenn: Boling and Glenn started at left guard and tackle, respectively, and helped the Bengals accumulate 284 total yards.

A.J. Green: Green was inactive for Cincinnati due to a foot injury. Green is tied for 10th in the NFL with six touchdown receptions and is 18th with 687 receiving yards.

 

Bears 34, Lions 22:

Roquan Smith: Smith led the Bears with 10 tackles, including a sack, and defended one pass. Smith is seventh among NFL rookies with 63 tackles.

Leonard Floyd: Floyd had a sack and three quarterback hits for Chicago.

Javon Wims: Wims was a healthy scratch for the Bears.

Matthew Stafford: Stafford went 25-of-42 for 274 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions. Stafford is 16th in the NFL with 2,385 passing yards and 17th with 16 passing touchdowns.

 

Rams 36, Seahawks 31:

Todd Gurley: Gurley had 16 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown and he caught three passes for 40 yards for the Rams. Gurley leads the NFL in rushing attempts (198), rushing yards (988), rushing touchdowns (13), total touchdowns (17), rushing yards per game (98.8), and scoring (108 points).

Ramik Wilson: Wilson posted one tackle for Los Angeles.

 

Chiefs 26, Cardinals 14:

Chris Conley: Conley caught a 22-yard pass for Kansas City.

Justin Houston: Houston had an interception and a tackle for the Chiefs.

 

Steelers 52, Panthers 21:

Thomas Davis: Davis had six tackles for the Panthers.

Kirby Smart, Bulldogs Preview UMass Game

ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart, along with several players, previewed Saturday’s game against UMass. They offered the following comments during Monday’s media session.

 

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening comments … 

“Onto UMass. Our guys came in yesterday and were able to get some treatment and do some things, and looking forward to moving on to UMass and getting another chance to come play at home. It’s another home game for our seniors, one of the last two they’ll have at home. I know we have a really good senior class that has a chance to do some special things in terms of the number of wins in their career, and that’s been exciting for them, as well as the win last Saturday night. So with that we’ll open it up for questions.”

On the success of two-minute offense at the end of a half…
“I think the tempo of play sometimes speeds up. I also think defenses, a couple of the games you’re referencing, they played us differently. Sometimes defenses change during that time because they know the pass is imminent. When you have the threat of run and pass, especially against us, it makes it a lot tougher to defend, and Jake (Fromm) has done a good job managing the clock.

Our offense does that every week. They do it against us. We practice it really hard, but I mean so does everybody else. So it’s one of those things that I think we’ve been efficient at because of how much we work on it, but also because that’s Jake’s strength is being able to operate quickly and make good decisions with the ball, and he’s not afraid to hit check-downs.”

On playing non-Power 5 conference teams, especially after playing several games with a lot riding on them the past few weeks…
“I’ve spoken on this before as far as playing non-Power 5 teams. I think there’s two ways to look at it, you know. If attendance becomes a problem or continues to be a problem, which we haven’t had a problem here at the University of Georgia, but across the nation, sometimes people are saying attendance is on the decline. I think it’s important that you play quality opponents, but I also think, having coached at lower division levels, it’s important to their programs to be able to finance their programs.

I’m a big believer in the sport of football, and that’s at all levels. I think football teaches you lifelong lessons. I think football is very good for young people to be involved in, to feel like they are part of a team, to feel the failure, to feel the success. And you don’t get that at some of the levels without these games. Some of these programs financially can’t sustain without it. So there’s good and bad with that.”

On Ben Cleveland playing in punt shield and if he will return to the offensive line if other injuries arise…

“Yeah. Ben played in the game the other night when Kendall (Baker) came out, so Ben was able to get in the game and play. He feels better each and every day. We feel like he’s a really good shield protector, and with our coverage unit he hasn’t had to cover a lot, so that’s one of the safer things he’s been able to do for us. I’m not sure yet on Kendall when he’ll be back, same thing on Cade Mays. He’s going to be day to day as well. So we may be looking at both those guys having work to do to get back.”

On the announcement of future home-and-home games with Texas and Clemson…  “We’re excited. I mean I think when you come to the University of Georgia you want to play against the best. I’ve always believed in playing Power 5 opponents. Our fanbase will follow us anywhere. They want to go. We proved that last year. We’ve proven that over the history of time that the Georgia people will travel. They want great games. They want home-and-homes. And as a coach, I know going out recruiting, it helps.

The College Football Playoff has proven that they want strength of schedule. They want you to play good opponents. Who knows what the system will be 10 years from now. It certainly could all change, but I would argue that the better schedule you play and the better teams you play against, the more rewarding it’ll be 10 years from now.

I know 10 years ago from today nobody thought we’d be where we were. And there are some teams that probably could have benefited themselves by playing a tougher schedule. To go out and get these two teams in the same year, you know, you want to come to Georgia, you want to play against the best, and that’s what we want to build. We want kids that want to play against the best. So I’m excited for it and been looking at a lot of other opportunities as well.”

On why Brenton Cox did not play against Auburn…

“He has a little minor ankle sprain, should be back this week. He probably could have played the other day. It’s more a situation I didn’t think he was 100 percent.”

On the opportunity to evaluate players who haven’t had as much playing time this year if Georgia gets an early lead against UMass…
“Well, I think that’s a large assumption, first off, because I got respect for Coach Whipple, and I have seen him coach for a long time. There is probably an assumption in that they have a really good wideout. They have good personnel. We have to get better, and that’s what our focus is this week, on us getting better, our ability to grow young players. I put just as much emphasis in practice as I do in the game. So we’ll see how the game goes. If guys get to play, they get to play. I’m really focused on our practice today and how we can get better and get the younger players better so they can help us down the road.”

On his growing confidence in the run defense…
“I feel better. I think we have really worked on it. I think when you try to emphasize something, you get what you demand a lot of times, so we’ve certainly worked really hard to sure up those areas through technique, fundamentals, going against a pretty good run team in our offense.

We have gotten a couple guys back from injury. But at the end of the day I don’t think you’ve ever arrived when it comes to any statistic. I don’t know where we are now in the country in run defense, but we certainly know that coming down the road with UMass, Georgia Tech, and SEC Championship game, we have physical teams to play. So we have to continue to get better at our run defense, and that comes by how we practice.”

On if D’Andre Swift is now completely healthy after his groin injury and able to make big plays for Georgia…

“I mean, he may tell you that. I don’t know. He had the surgery over the spring, and that was something that he recovered from over the summer. He really came to fall camp and was moving around well. He had a setback in fall camp a couple times that it bothered him, and I think it bothered him early in the season some, but D’Andre has always been a competitor and works hard. He plays for the big moment, does a really good job. But I think the surgery was during the spring.”

 

On Massachusetts’ senior WR Sadiq Palmer…
“He’s talented. He’s got really good quickness. He separates. He double moves a lot. They get the ball to him a lot. I think he’s got a really good rapport with their quarterback. He’s a good football player. He’s one of those guys that is quick in and out of breaks, but he runs by people vertically. So I think it’s pretty easy to see when you turn the tape on why they’ve scored the points they’ve scored. Scored a lot of points in a lot of situations, and he’s a big reason why.”

On which positions have new competition within the team and potential new personnel emerging on Saturday…
“All of them. Every position on our team – every week, inside backer, every week, outside backer, probably more the second and third at the outside backer than the first. But defensive line. We’ve had changes in defensive line, and you all don’t write about who starts there, but we’ve had a lot of changes there. Secondary – we’ve had a lot of battles at safety, and rotating the dime, nickel and star.

Look at the offensive line. I think it’s changed every week, not necessarily out of competition, but out of health reasons. Wide receiver, it’s been that way. It’s changed throughout the year at wide receiver probably three times as to who started, based on who practiced well during the week. That’s been pretty consistent. I mean (Elijah) Holyfield started some games at running back. So that comes about through the work ethic you have during the week and putting a priority on how your practice matters, and that’s every position.”

On the rotation at safety between sophomore DB Richard LeCounte and freshman DB Otis Reese…
“It’s really not a rotation as much as it is personnel based. So depending on what the other team’s in, we play one or the other of the safeties. Otis is getting better. Richard is actually getting better. The best thing for Richard has been Otis’s growth. So I think that the motivation and the competition has made Richard better.”

On what redshirt sophomore DB Eric Stokes offers and his comparison to freshman DB Tyson Campbell…
“Very similar. They’re both young guys. They’re both really fast guys. They’re both track guys. They’re both pretty good tacklers. Eric’s played well in the moments he’s gotten to play in the game. And a lot of getting to play in our games is based on how you practice, so we see 2,000 snaps and you guys see 20 snaps. He’s done a really good job in the snaps he’s been in the game, and he continues to improve, and we’re really fired up about the way he’s been able to play. He’s one of the brightest kids. You teach him something, he knows it and he applies it to the game. And the moment he’s been in the games, the two big games have not been too big for him.”

On Smart’s assessment of freshman QB Justin Fields’ performance against Auburn…

“I see him growing. I see him getting opportunities to manage the game a little more. You got to see him do it probably a little more this time than he has before. And he had some freshman deals. He had the shot clock run out on him, and he had the scramble play that he’ll be the first to tell you he should have thrown it away. Those are the things that we see him do right in practice. We put time constraints on him, and he manages it well. And he’s made a lot of really good decisions in practice to throw the ball away; he didn’t in the game. So I mean, those are things he has to grow from, and he will and he continues to get better.”

On staying sharp against both inclement weather and a non conference opponent…
“I think that’s leadership. I think we’ll find out a lot about our team this week because it’s never about who we’re playing. I mean for you guys it’s about who we’re playing. But I’ve told you all every week that it’s not about Florida, it’s not about Kentucky. It’s not really about them. It’s just about how we work, because we worry about us. And that way when you get to this week, it’s not different. And we focus on us. As far as being inside, it’s not harder to have intensity inside. As a matter of fact, sometimes I think we’re faster when we’re inside, and the collisions may be greater. Space is probably the toughest thing, having everybody in a limited space. We have to do a good job of rotating where we do things.”

On how Smart evaluates special teams…
“We work really hard on it. And I think (special teams coordinator) Coach (Scott) Fountain and his staff of guys that help him with special teams have done a tremendous job. Our kids are committed to special teams. I try to make it the most important thing of the game, because I really think it’s a selfless part of the game where guys don’t get a lot of credit. I mean (punt/kick returner) Mecole (Hardman) gets credit, but the guys that are doing all the work up there don’t get a lot of credit. So we say it’s not for yourself but for others when it comes to special teams. And they’ve bought into that.

Now, statistically – we’re not really where we need to be, like on kickoff coverage, but it’s very misleading because of Rod’s (PK Rodrigo Blankenship’s) leg strength and his ability to get touchbacks, and the same way with punt coverage. We haven’t hit a lot of great punts, but we haven’t had a lot of return yards against us because our gunners are good. We’re good in both return units, and that’s thankful to Mecole as well as some guys that are committed to it. We do a composite at the end of the year that tells us where we rank across the board. We don’t do it throughout the season, but we do expose our players to where they are in the SEC and where they are in the country in terms of special teams.

And the other thing we do is we talk about momentum plays, and I thought the other night we had some huge momentum plays. A momentum play is a big play on special teams. Scott has a criteria for what that is, a tackle inside the 20 on kickoff, a downing the ball inside the 10, which Mecole did a great job and Jake (Camarda) hit a great punt. And then the thing that goes unnoticed is what Terry Godwin does to make a decision to get the ball in the end zone and be a decoy or fair catch the ball and get a 15-yard penalty. He did a really good job, and that’s something that changes field position, which I thought in this game was really big.”

On improving the run defense…

“Like I said earlier when she asked, I think it’s just work. I think going against our offense creates a more competitive run environment. I mean our guys are physical up front and can run the ball. So when we go against them in good-on-good, we really try to crank it up and challenge our defensive line and don’t shy away from practicing hard. The other thing is we’ve tackled better. We try to play with better technique. We’ve been healthier. I mean there was some time in there where we didn’t have as many 300-pound guys healthy, and we’ve got a couple more guys now that helped build a wall for us. Jordan (Davis) has been a big part of that. Although he was present at LSU and we didn’t tackle well, he’s been present since and we’ve tackled better.”

On an update for David Marshall and DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle…
“They both will not be available this week.”

On Smart’s assessment of the defense affecting the quarterback…
“I thought that was a big difference in the game this past week. I thought we were able to disrupt him. We didn’t always sack him, but we moved him out of the pocket, made him think a little bit, did some things that we hadn’t been doing, changed him up from the SEC Championship game. I think anytime you can give the quarterback a different picture or picture he’s not clear on, you have a chance to rattle him a little bit. We just have to do a better job of finishing on him when we can get to him to get the sacks and not hurries in pressures. Thanks.”

 

 

#11 Jake Fromm | So. | QB

On what’s been working well since the bye week…

“Execution. Everyone’s been playing off each other, everyone’s been in that groove right now. Hopefully we can keep it and keep rolling with it. It’s working out really well for us right now.”

 

On the offensive line working really well and keeping that confidence high…

“Those guys are doing an incredible job. Just keep doing what they’re doing, keep being physical, keep grinding on these guys. Auburn had a Sunday-caliber defensive line and our guys did a really good job with those guys and moving them. D’Andre [Swift] and Elijah [Holyfield] had really good performances so those guys are doing a really good job of playing at a high level and I hope they can continue to do that.”

 

On Fromm’s personal motivation during defining moments…

“I keep thinking about the reason I play football. God put me here to play football and glorify Him. So I think I best glorify Him when I’m playing at a high level. I’m working to be the best football player I can be. Just trying to serve my God, serve my teammates, serve my family, and be the best I can be.”

 

 

#44 Juwan Taylor | Sr. | LB

On preparing for the UMass game after coming off wins against teams like Auburn, Florida, and other ranked opponents… 

“It isn’t tough at all. It is the next game for us, the next opponent. We approach every week the same so there is nothing different about preparing for this game. Every week is the same for us, we prepare the same way for every opponent, no matter who we play.”

 

On what has been the key in the improvement of Georgia’s run defense… 

“I think it has a lot to do with the bye week that we had. Coming off the bye week, I think we have continued to improve over the last three weeks on our run defense. We just went to work on the bye week, focusing on what we need to focus on and worked on us. We are going to continue to improve each week and continue to practice hard these last couple of weeks of the season.”

 

On how much hitting goes on in practice and if that helps… 

“Going good on good is what helps the team and what helps everyone with their craft. We try to make everything perfect. Everything isn’t always going to be perfect, but we try to keep everything groomed up. Going one-on-one helps a lot with that.”

 

On the development of Tae Crowder at linebacker… 

“Man, Tae has come a long way. Honestly, I can say he works hard. We came in together and he is like my brother. He came in as a running back, which unfortunately didn’t work out for him at running back, but then he moved to linebacker. We had to toughen him up a little bit but he is a great player. He is very athletic and he has grown so much.”

 

 

#98 Rodrigo Blankenship | Jr. | PK

On playing a non-power five opponent… 

“We are just going into this week with the same mindset that we had last week against Auburn. We don’t want to take anybody on our schedule for granted on any given Saturday. Anything can happen in this country. We are going in with a mindset of being as serious as we can be and we need to have the same level of focus and concentration on details that we had last week. Hopefully, that will allow us to perform our best if not better than we did last week.”

 

On importance of future games schedule like Texas and Clemson… 

“I think it is awesome just to take different teams. You get to play some incredible talents and incredible teams across the country and from different conferences. It brings new challenges that we might not normally be preparing for, so I think it is going to be awesome to have such big historic programs like Georgia, Texas and Clemson to meet and cross paths. It will be an awesome opportunity for all the programs.”

 

On percentage of times he converted the fake field goal pass in practice… 

“I don’t really remember, but I know I completed it a lot more in practice than I did on Saturday. We repped it three out of four days in the week. I just threw it a lot better Monday through Thursday then I did on Saturday. It was a similar situation to LSU that coach did a lot of film work and saw that if they line up a certain way that they are giving us a look that we can make a play on. They lined up for it like we envisioned and decided to run it.”

 

On team’s confidence of special teams… 

“I think we definitely have confidence every week with the amount of talent that we contain on all of our special teams that we have the ability no matter who we play to have the advantage on special teams. That only comes with hard work week-in and week-out we have to grind. We have to focus and pay attention to as much detail as we can to every phase of special teams. As long as we do that Monday through Friday then we are going to have a chance to win that phase of the game on Saturday.”

 

 

#87 Tyler Simmons | Jr. | WR

On acknowledgement of receivers blocking… 

“Last year, we called them KOs. This year, we aren’t really giving out awards for them, but we still track them…I don’t think I’m leading in the category, but I know I’m up there.”

 

On competition in the receiver room… 

“Our room is very competitive. We have a lot of players that can go out there and can play at any given time in the game. If one man goes down, it’s next man up, so it can get a little chippy in the room. The blocking is right up there too with the catches and yards.”

 

On red zone offense struggles… 

“That is something that we have been practicing a lot, because we know we have been struggling on that phase of the game. We are emphasizing it at practice and we hope to get better at it this week.”

 

On timing of facing a non-power five school… 

“We take every game like any other one. Like Auburn, Alabama, we are going to take UMass the same way.”

Georgia’s D’Andre Swift Wins Second Straight SEC Offensive Player Of The Week Honor

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia sophomore tailback D’Andre Swift has been named Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in a row following the Bulldogs’ 27-10 win over No. 24 Auburn, according to a league announcement.

 

Swift split this week’s award honor with Texas A&M tailback Trayveon Williams.

 

This marks the second SEC weekly award for Swift in his career.  This is the fifth SEC weekly honor for the Bulldogs in 2018 after place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship garnered the Special Teams Player of the Week recognition following the win at South Carolina and quarterback Jake Fromm was named the Offensive Player of the Week after the victory over No. 9 Florida.  Swift and sophomore Andrew Thomas (Offensive Lineman) were honored after the win over No. 9 Kentucky on Nov. 3.

 

Swift, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., went for a career-high 186 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries (10.9 avg.) against the Tigers.  He also had a team-high four catches for 43 yards as the Bulldogs piled up more total yards (516) on Auburn than any team had since Oklahoma had 524 in the 2016 Sugar Bowl.

 

Swift’s performance included a 77-yard long touchdown run in the fourth quarter.  He is the first Georgia player to have two runs of 75 yards or longer in the same season since Herschel Walker in 1980.

 

The No. 5 Bulldogs (9-1, 7-1 SEC) play host to Massachusetts (4-7) on Saturday.  The SEC Network will televise the first-ever matchup between the two teams at 4 p.m.