Saturday, August 17, 2019

Dawgs Hold Second Scrimmage of Preseason in Sanford Stadium

UGA Sports Communications

The University of Georgia football team held its second scrimmage in Sanford Stadium on Saturday with temperatures in the 90s.

The Dawgs will have a day off on Sunday before starting preparation for Vanderbilt later in the week.

Following Saturday’s scrimmage, head coach Kirby Smart met with the media in the Butts-Mehre Building.

Opening Statement

“I thought we had a much more spirited scrimmage. It was still hot out there but probably not as humid as it was last time. We didn’t have the lightning delay this time. They started out a lot better, started out a lot faster. We got more competitive. I thought both 1’s units played better, which meant the 2’s probably didn’t play as well. There were some explosive plays in the scrimmage. I was proud of the competitive toughness. We had a lot of snaps out there. I think we had 135 snaps, which is basically two football games. We had a lot of special teams snaps mixed in too. The guys really pushed hard, they were hurting at the end. There were some really competitive goal line periods, red area periods, competitive 2nd and 10, third down- everything was pretty even across the board when we did 1’s on 1’s. So I thought that was good. We were able to get some of the playmakers the ball on the perimeter and made more plays in our passing game.”

On the overall progression of the team with the season two weeks away…

“We have a lot to work on. I am pleased with the effort. The effort that our kids are playing with, I’m proud of that. We’ve had some tough, physical practices and this group has not backed away from that. Our worst practice, by far, was last Saturday. I’m not saying today was our best, but it was to par with the other good practices.”

On how the team is holding physically…

“Pretty good. We have some guys beat up. We had a couple guys that couldn’t really go today. Knock on wood, no major, major injuries. We are going to have tomorrow off. Monday is going to be a light, light walk thru. This is where we say, ‘okay, we have to start getting them back.’ We have to get recovery. We have to get fluids. When you have 48 hours you feel like you can almost recover to the full extent. We are hoping to get everyone’s legs back. They’re hurting a little bit. Part of that is mental toughness and the grit, and they’ve been able to handle that.”

On the status of Julian Rochester, David Marshall, and Nakobe Dean

Nakobe Dean is banged up. He was not able to scrimmage today, but he is going to be fine. Julian Rochester is coming off the ACL repair. He’s practiced every day. He does some periods with us and he does others with a trainer where he runs and gets his mileage up, but not as much contact stuff. He’s doing a little bit of both. David Marshall does about 50 percent with us, 50 percent with the trainers. Julian and David are both older players who are not 100 percent so we’re trying to control their volume of reps, and also giving some of the other guys reps. They’ve practiced each day.”

On which group had the most explosive plays…

“The receivers did. Last scrimmage it seemed like some of the backs out of the backfield had some big plays but it was the wideouts as a group. Lawrence Cager had one, George Pickens had one, Tyler Simmons had one, Trey Blount had one. We had several guys have explosive plays. Explosive to me is well over 12/13 yards. Kearis Jackson had big one. We’ve seen great balance on the explosive plays.”

On the progress of the receiving corps…

“There has been progress, yeah. I think you can always do more and that is what we’re trying to do. I am very pleased with that group’s effort, toughness, resiliency, pushing through contact toughness. There are some balls that should have been caught that weren’t today, but that’s probably always going to be the case.”

On the progress on D’Andre Swift…

“D’Andre’s been good. He is a good leader in that group. He is very bright. Brian Herrien is probably the most experienced because he’s been here longer. Brian does not have as much volume of carries as D’Andre does, but Brian has practice experience and probably more reps just because he went to a whole spring when D’Andre was still in high school. Dandre’s been good.”

On Jarvis Jones assisting the outside linebackers…

“Running Backs coach Dell McGee brought him about. I was not aware that he was done with football and Dell said he was going to be back here in school. It was an awesome opportunity. I’ve had the fortunate of Kevin Butler, Chris Samuels- some really special players who have come back to work as undergrads. Jarvis is here every day. A lot of times you get those guys that can’t be all in, but Jarvis is all in. He is in there to learn. He helps set the tempo, set the standard in the outside linebacker room. He demands excellence. He played the position; he knows what it takes to play it. We have talented players at that position group, but a lot of those guys don’t have any experience. Here’s a guy that did it in the NFL and did it here at a high level. He’s from our state and played for one of our coaches. It’s a blessing.”

On making the decision on the 70 players who will travel to Vanderbilt…

It’s always tough. It’s tough at 80, 85, it’s tough when you travel 100. We know that what we decide there is not final. It changes week to week. There’s not a week that I think was exactly the same last year. Number one because of injury, but number two because of effort in practice. Michael Barnett didn’t travel, didn’t play, and then went on the scout team of defensive line, to starting on the defensive line against Georgia Tech. It can come full circle. We are going to have some tough decisions to make. We’re not going to make them right now. We have two weeks to finalize those choices.

On how much longer “camp mode” will last…

“Probably until Thursday. We’re going to start to work on Vanderbilt early, but not too early. We have a lot of games to play besides them. We are focused, as coaches, on a game plan for them, but with the players we are focused on getting better. You have to be careful when you have an opponent that you’re going to play- if you start too early, they’re just going to get tired of preparing for that. They want something new, new energy. We’ll probably introduce Vandy on Thursday or Friday.

On the competition at punter…

“Both guys Jake Camarda and Bill Rubright have played well. It’s been a good competition. Camarda punted well today, and Rubright punted a couple times as well. To be honest, I’d have to watch the tape. I’m a lot more worried about the hold up and the coverage, right now. We will judge the rest on tape.

On how much the receivers making explosive plays is because of quarterback Jake Fromm…

“I think all colleges that can pass the ball are explosive now. I’m not telling you guys they went out there and made 100 explosive plays, that’s not the case. I’d be worried about the defense. We have some explosive playmakers and we have a quarterback that throws the deep ball well. It’s really one of his better passes.”

On the progress of the defensive line…

”There’s a lot of guy rolling, there’s no one dominant player on that defensive front or defensive line. There’s a lot of good solid players. We may roll out there with six seniors that have played football- Michail Carter, Justin Young, Tyler Clark, Julian Rochester, David Marshall. It just seems like we have guys that have played a lot of football that are out there. As far as the younger guys, they are where the older guys are yet. You can’t be. That’s unrealistic to think that some of those guys are going to be where the older players are. They just can’t physically jump into that mold yet. Devonte Wyatt has done a good job, who I count as a middle player. Jordan Davis is one of those who is not a freshman and he’s not a senior, but he’s done some good things. Travon Walker is the one who has a chance to help us the most this year because he’s not really an interior defensive lineman. He’s more athletic, he plays on the edge. He can do more things in a sub situation.”

On wearing a shirt from current New England Patriot Isaiah Wynn’s camp…

“He sent it to me and I told him I would wear it at one of my press conferences. I saw the video of what he did with the kids before school started. He took a group of kids from his hometown community and bought them all back-to-school supplies and just did an unbelievable job. It’s indicative of what he did, that I asked him for one of his shirts. We read his quotes on #WinWithWynnWednesday to the team. He doesn’t a really good job with that.”

On who displaying toughness, defensively…

“I probably saw a little more toughness on the front, on the offensive line knocking us off the ball. There were some pops made, a couple goal line stops. Our backs are good players, they were able to make some space. Kenny McIntosh did some good things today. He continues to improve. He has really good balance and he’s been a good blessing. Lewis Cine shows up, he makes plays, he hits people. J.R. Reed had a couple good tackles. We just have to get our players on defense to play within the system. We still have some guys that want to play Rat Trap and do what they want to do instead of what they’re supposed to do. When do the Rat Trap stuff it hurts us.”

On the team responding to the heat…

“It’s been hot. Our guys haven’t complained about it. There have been a couple practices where we went inside at the end of practice, but start every day outside and do about 75 percent of practice outside. We did all of the scrimmages out there. I talked to some of the coaches that have been at our practices and some other practices and they say the same thing, it’s hot. Mentally, what are you going to do? It’s hot. Our guys pushed through it and I thought they did a good job today.”

On his assessment of Andrew Thomas…

“He’s been a leader. I think he has more stamina. He’s ability to lead and play hard longer has been good. His first two practices in camp I thought he played really physical. He has to continue to do that. He has to really be physical and be that right tackle that we need him to be. I’m pleased with him as a leader. He’s played with more consistently, I think, because he’s in better shape. He doesn’t get tired or winded and give up cheap sacks. He plays more consistently. He has bought into the whole culture of ‘I have to be a great player’. If he wants to be a great player he has to eat, sleep, get off his phone at night. He has to do all of the things that require him to be a great player. We are trying to get a little bit better at everything and he is a guy that has bought into that.”

On Stetson Bennett and who is behind him on the depth chart…

D’Wan Mathis is not able to go a whole lot. Nathan Priestley has been in there and he goes a good bit. He has been a blessing in disguise for us. He’s very bright, very athletic, really good arm talent. Coach Coley will tell you, he takes the best notes I’ve ever seen in the quarterback room. Within our system that’s important. You don’t get the volume of reps you want at the three. In camp he has, but his reps are going to start to dwindle. Stetson didn’t have as good of a day as he had last scrimmage. It’s not that he was bad today, he just wasn’t quite as efficient.”

On Kenny McIntosh and the number of running backs that travel…

“I didn’t see him today on special teams. He has reps on special teams, but I don’t know how he did on those. We don’t know how many backs travel. If we have seven backs that are really good, we’ll travel seven. If we have ten, we’ll travel ten. If they can help on special teams, they’ll be out there. We have traveled as few as four and as many as seven. Prather Hudson makes that number vary because he’s a really good special teams player. Those decisions that we have to make are going to be tough, but someone like McIntosh is a key to that decision because his value right now is going to be special teams.”

Friday, August 16, 2019

Dawgs Balance School and Practice in Fall Camp

UGA Sports Communications

The University of Georgia football team went through its second practice since staring classes earlier in the week. The Dawgs worked out for nearly two hours at the Woodruff Practice Fields on Thursday.

Temperatures in the low 90s and mostly sunny skies greeted the team for its 12th practice session of this year’s fall camp.

Graduate defensive back J.R. Reed and junior outside linebacker Walter Grant met with media members on Thursday to discuss the team’s progression.

J.R. Reed, Senior, Defensive Back

On practicing in the heat and going indoors from time to time …

“They let us inside yesterday. We had a really good practice yesterday — very fast practice. Today was not that bad as far as the weather, so we went outside.”

On starting school this week and preparing for the season …

“I am excited. Personally, I am really excited. I am glad everyone is here, glad to get out of the hotel and get used to everything — getting used to school, to the new practice schedule and those kinds of things.”

On what advice he gives to freshmen on balancing their schedules …

“I tell them to just enjoy class and go to your classes and don’t let it clutter you up. When it is time for football, it is time for football, but when it is time for school, just focus on school. Don’t try to do too much at once because then you will just mess up everywhere.”

On if the energy of practice changes when school is back in session …

“Sometimes it’s harder for the young guys to adjust because they have gone through the whole day of class and now they have to come to practice. So, it is kind of hard for them to switch their brains over to football. Sometimes they are tired, so it’s going to be a little tough for those guys, but for the guys who have been here it is really easy.”

On the secondary …

“I feel a lot better about if one guy goes down we have someone to plug in. Anyone can really play anywhere on that field. It’s not only depth, but we have people who know what to do, even the freshmen.”

Walter Grant, Junior, Outside Linebacker

On getting after the quarterback in practice...

"It is another way to get everyone after it every day. It is just something small to push us a little bit more. It gives us that extra push. I feel like we try and make a better effort at getting to the quarterback and getting after it a little more. Not much has changed as far as the standard. However, the bar has been raised, everyone else is now held at a higher standard. We have to push ourselves, your teammates have to push you. That is the standard set now. "

On the outside linebackers getting to the quarterback...

"It depends on what the play is. You just do your job. Sometimes you get to rest, sometimes you have to set the edge, sometimes you have to run with the running back, or drop coverage, it is all different."

On his position journey from offense to defense...

"It is just another way to go out there and get a better look. Nothing has changed that much. It is always fun. Any way I can help my team, I am always looking at it as a way to get me better. It helps me help someone else get better. There is nothing negative about it."

On Jarvis Jones helping the linebackers in practice...

"His tips are always good. You can benefit so much from a veteran. He has already been in the game, already been in the league a couple years. Whatever he can give back I am willing to take and everyone else is to take it in too."

Monday, August 12, 2019

Dawgs Mark Ninth Practice Of Camp

UGA Sports Communications

The Georgia football team returned to the Woodruff Practice Fields on Monday, logging two hours in full pads as temperatures remained in the 90s.

This marked the ninth preseason session for the Dawgs. Georgia will return to practice on Tuesday, then have the day off on Wednesday as fall semester classes begin.

The Dawgs will open the 2019 season August 31st at Vanderbilt.

Representatives from both sides of the ball spoke to media members after practice. The players included tight end Charlie Woerner, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, defensive back Mark Webb, and outside linebacker Walter Grant.

Webb, a junior from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, arrived at Georgia as a receiver, then switched early his freshman year to the defensive backfield. He has seen action in 27 games for Georgia, primarily on special teams, though he did start against Middle Tennessee State in 2018. Webb now has himself in line for even more significant snaps in 2019.

“It was kind of rough from the start, but it’s gotten smoother as time has gone on,” Webb said. “I understand the journey that I’m on and I see what Coach Smart has in store for me. It was rough, but I’m getting to the right place. … I wasn’t used to the defense, especially our defense. It’s very complicated and that was a big change for me, but I never second guess the move. Coach Smart has a plan for me.”

Woerner, a senior from Tiger, was reminded that Smart used terms like “a little lethargic” and “not the temperament or enthusiasm that I expected” to describe Saturday’s scrimmage. Asked for his take on that, Woerner said, “I think we let the heat get to us a little bit. It was pretty hot out there, but we should be used to that. We’ll have to pick it up for the scrimmage this Saturday. … It’s all mental. A big part of beating the heat is getting your mind right. You can’t succumb to the heat. You put on the pads and the helmet and add 15 pounds, and you’ve got to fight through it.”

Woerner also was asked about being the elder statesmen in the tight ends room.

“I’ve been leading the guys and helping them do what they need to do like learning the playbook,” Woerner said. “They’ve all done a great job. It really is a good group.”

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Dawgs Scrimmage At Sanford Stadium As Preseason Continues

UGA Sports Communications

The Georgia football team scrimmaged in Sanford Stadium for more than two and a half hours on Saturday with temperatures hovering in the 90s.

This marked the eighth session for the Dawgs. The team will get a break from the practice field on Sunday before having six straight sessions. UGA begins its fall semester on Wednesday.

Following Saturday’s scrimmage, head coach Kirby Smart met with the media back in the Butts-Mehre Building.

Opening statement:

We caught a little weather delay and had to go in for about 30 minutes because of lightning so it set us back a little. It probably wasn’t the type scrimmage I was expecting to have. There wasn’t the temperament or enthusiasm that I expected. We’ve gotten after it pretty good over the last seven practices or so but I didn’t think we had the same juice today. Both starting units were a little lethargic and didn’t have their timing. We had some busts on defense. There are some things to clean up and the good news is we have time to clean them up. The No. 2 units didn’t dominate the scrimmage, but they did some really good things. I thought the second offense and second defense had some positive things done. We have to make sure everyone is cleaning up things the right way and we have to create an identity.

What units matched up with each other and how did they do?

We go all ways with the ones versus the ones, twos versus the twos and the ones versus the twos on both offense and defense. The (second units) came out with a chip on their shoulders. The No. 2 offense had about a 13-play drive. They took the whole set and drove down and scored a touchdown. They did some good things versus the No. 1 defense and same thing for the No. 2 defense versus the No. 1 offense.

How many total plays did you get in?
We almost got our quota. We almost got our 140 or 150, I think we ended up with 115 or so because of the weather delay. We cut a couple of the kicking plays shorter and a little bit of the kicking and threes on threes short.

How has camp gone thus far?
I think at this point in camp it has gone great. Today wasn’t great. But up to his point we have had some really competitive, spirited practices. I have been very pleased but I wasn’t pleased today.

Are there concerns when a guy like Brenton Cox several days into camp ends up at an SEC East rival?
I don’t know if there are concerns. Brenton chose to withdraw from the University of Georgia, go into the transfer portal and he’s now at another SEC institution and we wish him nothing but the best and appreciate his contributions while he was here.

How did Zamir White handle the live tackling during the scrimmage?
He’s had some live tackling before today, we just haven’t had a live scrimmage. I thought he was really contact tough. He was running behind his pads, had a couple crucial short yardage runs and was able to churn it out for first downs. He did have some big catches. But he had a good overall day. He’s got to protect the ball and he’s got to protect the quarterback. Everyone judges him with how he does when the ball is in his hands but there is a lot more to being a good running back than that.

How did the wide receivers do?
It was up and down. There were some guys that made some plays, especially with the No. 2 group. With the No. 1 group, we probably didn’t have as many plays. There were a couple drops out there. But I have been pleased with the receivers work ethic and what they have done leading up to today. We’ve got to do a good job of getting the balls in their hands and giving them an opportunity to make some plays.

How is the defensive backfield developing?

D.J. Daniel has been a pleasant surprise. He has done a good job, he’s gone with the ones quite a bit. Tyson Campbell got dinged up a little bit today and hopefully he’ll be back. Eric Stokes has been going with the ones, Tyson with the ones, D.J. with the ones, Tyrique Stevenson with the ones, so they are all getting good work in.

How do you feel your offensive line performed today?
If you are not scoring points on offense, there are probably not going to be a lot of our lineman up for awards. And we didn’t score a lot of points today. At the end of the day, how well did we perform, what is our identity, what are you trying to create. There are some good players on that offensive line but good players have to play good.

How have the newcomers adjusted to starting practice?

I think mid-year freshmen, I don’t even see them as freshmen anymore. Lewis Cine made some plays, Nolan Smith, Nakobe Dean, all of those guys y’all have known about since last spring, they are kind of comfortable out there playing. The newest guys also made some nice plays. Those guys are kind of getting to be the guys who are like, ‘wow, this is my first scrimmage.’ The defensive lineman, linebackers got a lot of snaps today. Those linebackers are going to be ones we need to make plays on special teams, we are going to need them to be able to ‘make the bus’ on special teams. They are picking things up well. They aren’t ahead of the guys who are older than them, but they are making progress.

What about the excitement about Zamir White coming back from his injuries?
That’s human nature. When you see a guy go through what he’s been through, who’s not pulling for Zamir White? Every guy on our staff and every guy on our team has seen his ups and downs and the rehab he’s done. He’s been on the sideline for the whole year just working out and running. When he gets an opportunity to go out there and have an opportunity for some success, I think everyone is pulling for him. Defensive players, it’s not easy to pull for him because you have to tackle him. And it’s not easy tackling him because he’s a full grown man when he’s running the ball.

How has Brian Herrien done?

Brian had a good scrimmage. He’s out there working hard every day, he’s a lunch pail guy. He caught the ball out of the backfield, he protected, he had one long explosive run. Brian is a guy who loves football.

How is Stetson doing so far as the No. 2 quarterback?
Stetson had a good day today. He executed the offense. He was behind what seemed like the longest drive ever when the No. 2 offense scored against the No. 1 defense. He was really steady, consistent and that drive just kept going and going. He moved about the pocket well. He converted a lot of third downs. I am proud of Stetson for that because he has worked really hard. He still has some areas he can improve on, making his checks, two-minute situations.

What does it say about Cade Mayes that you are moving him around and trying him at a lot of positions?

First of all, Cade is versatile, he’s an athlete and we can’t let that be a detriment to him. If he needs to be in the starting five, we need to put him in the starting five. But his value is that he can snap, he’s an athletic center and if you can play center, left tackle and guard, you are pretty talented and bright. He’s really tough and plays physical.

Has anything jumped out about your defensive line?
I wouldn’t say anything has jumped out. The freshmen are all brand new so they are all a little overwhelmed. They are not out there knowing everything to do. And for the seniors, you have David Marshall coming off his injury and he doesn’t get all of his reps. Julian Rochester is coming off an ACL injury and he doesn’t get all of his reps. Those guys are kind of spot players. Tyler Clark and Mike Barnett gets a lot of the work and Jordan Davis has done some good work and Devonte Wyatt has played really physical and done some good things. Tramel Walthour is coming along as well. We have to cause more havoc with the guys up front.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Dawgs Complete Practice Number Six

UGA Sports Communications

Following a day off, Georgia held a two-hour preseason practice Thursday in helmets and pads at Woodruff Practice Field, it was the sixth practice of fall camp.

Representatives of the Georgia defense spoke to media after practice. The players included: junior defensive backs Richard LeCounte and Eric Stokes, as well as redshirt freshman outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari.

Richard LeCounte, Junior, Defensive Back

On how he is trying to accomplish excellence, not perfection...

“It’s all about the little things. I’ve definitely focused on the things I need to improve on in the offseason. Coach Smart definitely pushed me a lot to bulk up and made me pay attention to details I’ll need to see for my playing level to be where it needs to be. It’s all about getting to the next level to be able to help the team. So, now that it clicked, I feel like I can go play ball now.”

On what ‘details’ means to him...

“Details for me is the angle— the angle of the ball. Also details like being able to rely more on the safety to help me and make easier tackles, and also being able to rely on my teammates more to read by passes."

On how his body/athleticism is different in year three...

“It definitely feels better, I feel, you know, a lot stronger now. You know, I’m down with those big guys down there.So, I have a, you know, a lot of confidence in my tackling ability now. Also, I'm ready to attack the ball more."

Eric Stokes, Junior, Defensive Back

On Coach Dan Lanning and mentality of havoc…

“Coach Lanning during the spring kept saying he wanted, ‘Havoc! Havoc! Havoc!’ He kept grilling it in since the spring has started.”

On aggression at the DB position…

"We are pretty aggressive—I know that. We going to get out there and regardless especially with the havoc—that is something to build on."

On Zamir White and excitement surrounding his debut…

“I am just happy that he is really out there. I literally remember the first play of this year during camp and he burst through a hole and me, William Poole, all looked at each other like ‘Dang, he was really moving on them.’ So I am really excited to see what he is going to bring.”

Azeez Ojulari, Redshirt Freshman, Outside Linebacker

On what he’s seen so far out of the linebackers...

“We’ve got multiple guys who are just like ‘Go!’ They’re out there to play and will do whatever to make the play, and they’re all very valuable."

On what he’s had to do to improve his game/body...

“I’ve just been coming in every day, working hard every day to stay focused. I just keep pushing every day."

On the importance of getting play time during Sugar Bowl...

“It was a great experience for me to go out there and play a big game. It gave me the opportunity to show what I could do and just get better from that game to head into this season."