SHARE

ATHENS, Ga. — The third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs conducted a two-hour practice Wednesday as they look forward to their first open date of the 2019 season this weekend.

 

Georgia is off to a 4-0 start including 1-0 in the SEC, and its next game will be Oct. 5 at Tennessee (1-3, 0-1 SEC). Before practice, Georgia coach Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Football Weekly Media Teleconference and provided an update on the Bulldogs. Selected comments from Smart are below:

 

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement

“We opened up practice yesterday after doing some film review and conditioning on Monday. On Tuesday, we had a good physical practice. We’ll get after it the next few days and start working on our next opponent which will be Tennessee off the bye week.”

 

On attendance in college football and scheduling to help the sport…

“I certainly think games like that (Georgia versus Notre Dame) are needed, especially right now. It’s really important. I think having a balance…to me it’s as much about fan experience as it is matchups. I think it’s really important that your fans enjoy coming to your games. They have a good atmosphere. You’re able to put a good product out on the field that they can enjoy. You can make the case that a lot of fans don’t like the lower level matchups, but a lot of those teams survive with what they’re able to get in guarantees for those games. It also gives at least us a chance to expand our fan base because a lot of fans get to come to that game that might not get to come to a Notre Dame game. They get to come enjoy Sanford Stadium and bring their kids and family members who might not otherwise get an opportunity. All that is good for college football. The matchup we had (with Notre Dame), the amount of electricity in the game and the stadium was awesome. You acknowledge that maybe every game can’t be that way but at the same time you want more of them.”

 

On the impact of having a rushing attack and the running game versus Notre Dame…

“Every body blow you give a team has a wear, has an effect, and we certainly felt like over really the last three years, the total effect of being able to give body blows does have an effect on teams. I think when you talk to teams after they play us, they definitely feel that’s the case. Never would I say if you can’t run the ball, you have to continue to run the ball, you got to be able to mix it up. You can’t be one dimensional in anything you do especially when you play a top 10 team. I got an incredible respect for Notre Dame or really any SEC team. They have to find ways to stop the run during the week, and most teams that’s the first thing they try to do is stop the run versus us. We got to have some things to lighten the box and allow our playmakers outside to make some plays. We did run the ball a little better in the second half at times (versus Notre Dame). There were some times when we had some breakdowns, and things they did to hurt us. I think a lot of that comes from the wear and tear and totality of the physical nature of running the ball.”

 

Meanwhile after Wednesday’s practice, graduate defensive tackle Michael Barnett and senior tight end Charlie Woerner visited with the media. Here’s a few of their comments:

 

Graduate defensive tackle Michael Barnett

On what the defense is working to improve on during the bye week…

“I feel like we just need to improve on our technique. Play calling, executing better, that’s just what we try and work on. We’ve got to block better, really just tune up our craft.”

 

On Justin Young stepping up and his impression of his performance…

“I know what Justin can do; we came in at the same time. It’s like with both of us, we just have to remain consistent and execute the plays that are called, not just trying to get off blocks really quickly so it’s really about execution, both me and him.”

 

On if the defense has an identity yet…

“We put our identity out there that we want to be relentless, attack the ball, and wreak havoc; but I feel like we can always improve. There’re some areas we need to improve on. … Last year was a different team, this is a new team. You’ve got new faces on the field, you’ve for freshman coming in and making an impact, I feel like we’re just trying to make a new identity. We’re going to leave the past in the past and the future, we’re going to leave that to greatness. We’re only looking at one game at a time.”

 

Senior tight end Charlie Woerner

On what the offense is working on during the bye week…

“Some people call it bye week; we call it work week. Offense is trying to work on a lot of communication things. Really hone in and execute on the passing game.”

 

On what he wants to work on personally…

“I am trying to work on my route running ability a little bit. Get more clean and crisp on it. Just communicating with receivers and tackles, just run game stuff. Just to be perfect every time.”

 

On how different it is not preparing for an opponent but working on himself…

“Especially with a week like this week you don’t have a team to look forward to at the end of the week you are more playing yourself and playing each other. Just have to work on those few things your coach gave you to be better. It makes it simple this week for what you need to do.”

 

On the tight ends making tackles…

“Perimeter blocks are a big thing for us. Especially when it comes to perimeter game or out zone stuff. Usually we are the ones who spring that play or if we miss it it’s not a good play at all. Especially out in the space in the perimeter they can be really hard. That DB has a two-way go. They are usually a little smaller a little quicker than us. It is usually a little tough to block but we work on it all the time in practice.

SHARE