Georgia Sports Communications/For Immediate Release/Oct. 5, 2016
ATHENS—–The Georgia Bulldogs continued preparations for their SEC clash with South Carolina by conducting a two-hour practice Wednesday at the Club Sports Complex on Milledge Avenue.
Earlier in the day, Georgia’s Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Coaches weekly media teleconference. He said the Bulldogs have had good, spirited practices this week and are excited to face another SEC opponent. He was asked about the play of graduate transfer defensive back Maurice Smith this season.
“Maurice’s maturity, his focus is where he’s made the most improvement,” said Smart. “He takes notes in meetings, he’s very professional in his work habits and sets a good example for guys that don’t know how to do that. He’s a senior, and he’s been through it before and played in a lot of games.”
Against the Volunteers, Smith tallied a career-high seven tackles, notched an interception and recovered a fumble he forced. He is tied for third on the team with 23 tackles this year.
Like the Bulldogs, South Caroline features a freshman quarterback in Brandon McIlwain. He became just the fourth true freshman to start at quarterback for the Gamecocks since they joined the SEC (1992). Senior Perry Orth started the first two contests for USC this year while McIlwain has started the past three games.
“Brandon’s got a strong, live arm, and he can take off,” said Smart. “He can create and extend plays and his ability to run some makes it hard to defend, similar to what we saw last week with Josh Dobbs.”
Smart was asked if the end of the Georgia-Tennessee game last Saturday could be used as a learning tool for the rest of the season.
“It can be if you allow it to be,” said Smart. “Any loss in general can be, the Ole Miss loss was bad and completely different as it was over before it got to that point. We certainly can use that to help us. There’s a lot of learning experiences from the Missouri game that went down to the last minute too. You teach a young team how to win by being in those environments.”