FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–UGA Sports Comm.
ATHENS —— The Georgia Bulldogs staged a two-hour scrimmage at Sanford Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It marked their 12th of 15 practices of the period as they work towards the annual G-Day intrasquad game next Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Following are excerpts from head coach Kirby Smart’s post-scrimmage press briefing:
‘’Scrimmage 2 is in the books. I was a little worried early. I didn’t think they had real good juice and energy in the ‘indy’ periods and the 7-on-7, but once the scrimmage started they had good energy, good enthusiasm. I was really pleased with the scrimmage. It was the first scrimmage since I’ve been here where I thought both sides of the ball did some things well. There were some momentum changes in the scrimmage, where one part of the scrimmage the defense did a little better, then one part of the scrimmage the offense did a little better.
‘’We did a lot of situational football today. Put the ball out there and say, ‘It’s coming out.’ Put the ball out there and it’s Red Area. Put the ball out there and it’s 30 seconds and need a field goal and one time out. Give ‘em some scenarios and play them out. We did about four or five end-of-the-game situations. We did a get-the-ball-back situation. We did a 2nd-and-10 and third down period, which the ball was live, so it was good practice for us. Good tackling and a good time to get out there and hit people. I was pleased with the way things went. Neither side really dominated. I can honestly say that. It was very a competitive battle. There were a lot of good things out of the scrimmage.’’
Was today a dress rehearsal for G-Day? ‘’This today was actually more like G-Day as far as you put the ball out there and just said, ‘Play.’ And we had the offense versus the defense, where sometimes we do One versus Twos and Twos versus Ones. We didn’t do that today. We went Ones on Ones, Twos on Twos, which is how G-Day is. We didn’t have jersey colors, but we did have Ones versus Ones and Twos versus Twos because I thought the competition would be better. That worked out good. It was a little more lopsided last time we scrimmaged because we did some Ones versus Twos and Twos versus Ones.’’
Encouraging week for the Defense? ‘’Tuesday wasn’t real encouraging, but Thursday was much better and then today, I can’t say that we dominated defensively out there. They certainly made some good plays. There were a lot of good hits, spirit, run-to-the-ball. When you’ve got good backs, there will be some missed tackles. When you’ve got a quarterback that can make some throws, there will be some one-on-one battles outside that you just don’t win. But I was very encouraged by how hard they played.’’
Encouraged by progress of the Offense, or still in wait-and-see mode? ‘’I think you’re always in wait-and-see mode as a coach, because you’re trying to get better. I think we’ve improved some things, but we’ve got some things we still need to improve on. We’ve got to be able to run the ball consistently better, and we did that early in the spring, but I can’t say that we did it the whole time today. There were times today when we ran it and didn’t get much movement and it started to be flashbacks, and we’ve got to be able to do that. We’ve got to be creative and get the ball to our playmakers in space and allow them to do things. We’ve got some plays to do that with. I think Jacob (Eason) specifically has taken good strides, but he has to continue to make good decisions and get the ball in the right spot.’’
How’s it been to have Nick Chubb at full speed this spring? ‘’It’s really good because the guy is really fast, physical, hard to tackle. His big road block has been to really work on catching the ball out of the backfield even better and become a weapon in that way. And he’s done a good job with that the past two scrimmages. I think his health, in itself. I mean, he’s a different guy this spring, compared to last spring for obvious reasons. I think you know more about last fall by what you see this spring out of Nick that he’s a lot closer to 100 percent. He’s certainly got a lot more burst and power.’’
On how to manage Chubb and Michel’s reps this spring: ‘’I think both Nick and Sony are both known quantities. Somebody that’s played three years in this conference over that amount of time. We certainly have those guys out there doing everything with everybody else, but they’re not going to get as many totes as some of the younger guys.’’
Progress of Jeremiah Holloman so far? ‘’The number one thing is, he’s very consistent. Most of these freshman come in and they’re very up-and-down, emotionally. ‘I’m really good one day and really bad another.’ This kid is just like that (hand making straight line across). He just stays level-headed, doesn’t get affected by criticism. He’s had some days where he’s been inconsistent catching the ball, but he’s never inconsistent with how hard he practices. He had the highest GPS for the receivers three straight days, meaning he’s running the longest. He’s really physical. You talk to the DBs and they say ‘This guy brings a little thump to him and he’s not afraid of contact. He made a couple of good plays today as well.’’
What lessons have you carried over from your first spring practice to this one? ‘’From first spring to this one, I’d say we are scrimmaging more, meaning tackling live more, because we did that a couple of practices last week where we didn’t do it last year. More situational football. Just put it out there, say ‘here the situation’ and make the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator call it, play it. End-of-game situations. I think every head coach I talk to talks about how you can’t practice those enough. So we’ve tried to make a lot of those things happen. The one other thing is, defensively, we have just not gotten any turnovers this spring. So I guess, tip your hat to the offense, but it’s been frustrating on defense that we haven’t gotten more. I mean, I don’t know that we’ve had a fumble strip out or knock out, any of that. And very few interceptions. So the offense is protecting the ball well.’’
Are you marketing G-Day internally the same as last year? ‘’I’ll be honest with you. We are marketing it internally. We’re doing the Red vs. Black and we’re selling that. It’s huge. I mean, you can’t imagine the effect that had on recruiting. When you talk to the kids we just signed, they all tell you that it had a great effect. So, our fan base should feel challenged. They should want to go out and have more than all these other teams have, because it does help in recruiting. It shows the passion and the energy that I know our fan base has. So that really is important. But as far as my concern for that, I like for our kids to have a great environment to play in all the time. I think you find out more about kids when they have to play in front of a great environment. But what number will we have? I’m not going to sit here and do over/unders. I don’t think it’s that important.’’