Saturday, September 23, 2017

Post Game Quotes

UGA Sports Communications

Head Coach Kirby Smart

On the win: 

“We came out and played with a lot of toughness. Our mantra all week was discipline, discipline, discipline. I thought we executed pretty well.” On the first offensive play of the game: “I had gone to Jim Chaney and told him I’d like to open with that and he said they had been talking about the same thing. We felt like there would be some players peeking in the backfield, and Terry Godwin got behind them.”

On the defense: 

“We finally had a couple of turnovers. It’s been a long time coming. I can’t say enough about our defensive staff. They have worked really hard with the defensive group.”

On Jake Fromm:

“The kid is stepping up. He’s starting to play. He’s always had that in him. He’s a good leader. He did a good job managing the game.”

On Tennessee: 

“Humility is a week away. Whether we’d won or lost this one, we’d have to refocus and concentrate and get ready to do it again.”

On being physical: 

“It’s important to be physical. You can’t fake physical. You have to live it, breathe it, eat it.”

On the fans: 

“The crowd was electric. The students were awesome. They were there in pregame warm-ups and that was really good to see. We need to keep doing that.”

Junior Defensive Back DeAndre Baker 

On recording the team’s first interception of the season and the third of his career:

“It felt good. It came from a good rush from the D-line and the linebackers dropping in their zones, so [MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald] had to put a little bit of air on it. I thank those guys… We knew it was coming eventually.”

On Dominick Sanders’ 13th career interception — which tied the school record and the record among active FBS players — which came right after:

“We have a saying in the defensive back room that “turnovers come in bunches”. So I knew it would eventually come sooner or later.”

On the early 14-0 lead surmounted by the Georgia offense:

“That was big. That gave the defense a little cushion, but we don’t really worry about the offense. We want to make sure that we stay focused and worry about our defensive assignment.”

Senior Outside Linebacker Davin Bellamy

On holding the Mississippi State offense with no touchdowns:

“That was big, big. We wanted to make a statement. This team that we have is a very humble team and we’re very disciplined. We knew that would come down to the winner of this game, and we wanted to make a statement with our helmets instead of our mouths.”

On the confidence level among the defense after the win:

“It’s the same that it was last week, just with how we practiced. We practiced physical every day, full padded-up. You saw the results of it. The team right now… in this league you’ve gotta be ready every week. We can’t be too high on this win, because we’ve got to go to a tough environment next week and play some football.”

Senior Tailback Nick Chubb

 On what this win means for the program: 

“It’s a great win. Every win is great, but we’ve got to enjoy it for tonight and prepare for next week.”

On playing at Tennessee for the first time since a season-ending knee injury in 2015:

“Yeah, I’m ready for it. It’s a blessing. Last time I went up there, all that happened. It’s a blessing for me to go up there and be able to run like I always have been. I’m looking forward to it.”

On achieving offensive balance with 201 yards passing and 203 yards rushing:

“[Balance] is pretty much always the game plan. We take what they give. I thought we did a great job with that. We just look forward to carrying it on.”

Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen 

On his impression of the Georgia team: 

 "They've got a ridiculous amount of talent, that's evident."

On the caliber of the Southeastern Conference:

"The great thing about the Southeastern Conference is you usually end up playing a better team the next week. It's not always about the one game in this league. It's multiple games. Can you get through? They said we had one of the toughest schedules in the country to start out the season, and on the road against a top-10 team this week, and on the road against a top-10 again next week. Kind of funny to hear about how down the SEC is. Everybody talks about how down the SEC is, well we're playing our third straight top-15 team, all conference games. I don't know how down the league is, not in our schedule."

On the overall Mississippi State performance:

"Two interceptions hurt us, those are drive killers. You know what you need to do, you come on the road against a great team, and you got to win, and you lose the turnover battle, you don't tackle extremely well, the first half they won the kicking game, with the punt yardage early in the game. It's all the little things that you need to to win on the road that we didn't really do today."

On taking advantage of opportunities:

"We know they have excellent running backs, and they're all top running backs. So we know they have excellent backs coming in, and I don't think we capitalized as well as we have been the past couple weeks. Just little things like that we'll get fixed up and coached up from our guys and refocus."

On the team's response to the first touchdown:

"We had poor communication in the back, and we didn't get in the right coverage."

Junior Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald 

On the game:

“I think we came out with a good attitude. We played hard, there’s no doubt about [that]. We didn’t go out there with a bad attitude, bad mindset. We just have to execute.”

On the lack of execution: 

“I saw it throughout the week at practice, having to redo a lot of plays a lot of stuff, missing a block, it rolled over into the game.”

Adjusting to Georgia’s speed: 

“We knew they were going to be fast and we knew they were going to be physical just like last week. We just have to execute. They’re fast, physical, and they’re a very good defense and they executed very well. We just didn’t go out and play a good game.”

On playing at Sanford:

“Growing up, you know hear the fight song all the time. I’m pretty sure my alarm clock was part of the fight song. So it kind of just brought me back to when I was younger but I mean, I said all week its another game that I had to come out and win and it just didn’t happen.”

On the interceptions:

“Good defense. They made a good break on the ball on the first one and threw it a little wide of the receiver on the second one and popped up in the air and intercepted it.”

Defensive Linebacker Braxton Hoyett

On the game:

“We just didn’t get it done up front tonight. I feel we came out a little flat. We were ready but I just feel like we’re a little complacent at times. It led to this loss but we’re going to bounce back and go to practice on Monday.”

On the first defensive play of the game:

“It’s just something we should have expected honestly. We knew coming up the game they were going to try something. I felt like we were prepared for it, [but] it happened. I can’t even make an excuse for it. They came out with a trick play and they were gone.”

Complacency in practice:

“We were trying to get ourselves together and I felt toward the end of the week we got ourselves together. I feel like we came with a game plan and if everyone would have done their jobs we would have won this game. Everybody didn’t execute like we needed them to today.”

On playing today:

“I feel like we played hard, we played well today, some unbelievable effort today, but I feel like it came down to execution and just the middle part of the game.”

On the Georgia backs: 

“Their backs were good, we knew that coming into the game we had to tackle their backs and we just didn’t do a good job with that tonight. Basically our job was to make the quarterback throw tonight and he really didn’t have to anything much because we were missing tackles so it’s something we have to work on in practice.”

Uga Whips Bully 31-3

UGA Sports Communications

The 11th-ranked Dawgs were impressive in nearly every phase of the game Saturday evening as they took down No. 17 Mississippi State, 31-3, in front of a capacity crowd of 92,746 at Sanford Stadium. 

The Dawgs from Athens improve to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in Southeastern Conference action this season, while Mississippi State picked up its first loss of 2017 to fall to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league play. 

In an all-around sound performance, Georgia out gained Mississippi State yardage wise by a 404 to 280 total. MSU came into Saturday’s contest averaging an SEC-best 47.7 points and 493 yards per game.

Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm hit 9-of-12 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns, while a balanced rushing attack featured a quartet of Dawgs that included Nick Chubb with 81 yards, The "Philly FlashD’Andre Swift with 69, Sony Michel with 32 and Brian Herrien with 21.  

Definsively, redshirt-sophomore defensive back J.R. Reed led Georgia with 10 tackles, while both Deandre Baker and Dominick Sanders recorded interceptions — Georgia’s first of the year. On special teams, sophomore place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship continues his torrid pace on kickoffs with six touchbacks and added a 49-yard field goal. 

“We came out and played with a lot of toughness,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “Our mantra all week was discipline, discipline, discipline. I thought we executed pretty well.”

It took just 10 seconds for Georgia to get on the board on its first offensive possession. On a flea-flicker play, Chubb tossed the ball back to Fromm, who found Terry Godwin open down the middle for a 59-yard score. 

On the next offensive possession, Georgia put the ball in the end zone once again — this time Chubb ran it in from 7-yards out to cap off an 8-play, 78-yard drive. The Bulldogs from Starkville added a field goal in the second quarter and the two teams went to the half with Georgia leading 14-3. 

The second half started much like the first for the SEC East Dawgs. This time, Chubb took a direct snap 28 yards on UGA’s first possession to give the home team a 21-3 lead. 

As was the case most all night, Georgia’s defense came up with a big play as Baker picked off a Nick Fitzgerald pass to set the Dawgs up in Mississippi State territory. Georgia converted on a 3rd-and-1 as Fromm hit sophomore tight end Isaac Nauta across the middle on a play action pass. 

Not to be outdone, Baker’s teammate Sanders picked off a pass on MSU’s next possession to set up a 49-yard field goal by Blankenship. The Marietta, Georgia native connected from that distance to give Georgia the final 31-3 advantage. 

“We finally had a couple of turnovers,” Smart added. “It’s been a long time coming. I can’t say enough about our defensive staff. They have worked really hard with the defensive group.”

Next up, Georgia heads to Knoxville, Tennessee to take on the Volunteers in a nationally-televised game on CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET this coming Saturday.

Post Game Notes

UGA Sports Communications

Defense Stellar Versus MSU

No. 17 MSU came into the game averaging 47.7 points/game (No. 1 in SEC/No. 9 nationally) and 493 yards/game and tonight was held to just 3 points and 280 yards of total offense, the first time in the Dan Mullen era they’ve been held under 300 yards. In the first half, Georgia limited MSU to only 133 yards and a field goal. Also, the game ended with a stop by the UGA defense at the 2. Redshirt sophomore DB J.R. Reed led the Dawgs with a career-high 10 stops while junior ILB Roquan Smith had eight stops.

Junior DB Deandre Baker snagged the Dawgs’ first interception of the year and the third of his career late in the third quarter. His pick led to Georgia’s fourth touchdown of the game to put UGA up 28-3. Senior S Dominick Sanders went airborne to catch his first interception of the year after J.R. Reed tipped a pass on MSU’s next possession. Sanders now has 13 interceptions in his career, tying him for the top spot on the NCAA active list and with head coach Kirby Smart and three others for fifth in the school record books. Sanders returned the pick 15 yards. He now stands No. 2 on the school’s all-time list with 311 return yards behind Hall of Famer Jake Scott (315).

Series History: 

For the first time in the series, both teams entered the game ranked in the top 25, and it was No. 11 Georgia with a 31-3 victory over #17 MSU. Georgia leads the all-time series 18-6 including 10 in a row in Athens.Tonight marked the biggest margin of victory over MSU since a 47-0 shutout here in 1997.

Quick Strike:

Freshman QB Jake Fromm connected with junior WR Terry Godwin for a 59-yard touchdown on the Dawgs’ first play from the line of scrimmage and Georgia never looked back. The pass came after Fromm handed off to senior TB Nick Chubb and he tossed it back to Fromm. This was a career long for both Fromm and Godwin. This was the first time the Dawgs scored on the game’s opening play since current Denver Bronco Isaiah McKenzie took a handoff 55 yards for a score in 2016 against Louisiana. The last time Georgia scored on a passing play on the first snap was in 2014 when Hutson Mason hit current Kansas City Chief Chris Conley for a 35-yard strike versus Charleston Southern in 2014. The Dawgs won both of those aforementioned contests (35-21 and 55-9, respectively).

Godwin finished with two catches for 80 yards. Fromm completed the first two quarters a perfect 8-for-8 for 160 yards and a touchdown and finished the game 9-for-12 for a career high 201 yards and 2 TDs. He threw his first incomplete pass on his first attempt of the third quarter.

Ground & Air Combo Makes It 14-0:

On the UGA’s second series, a trio of Dawg backs ran for 41 yards, including Nick Chubb’s 7-yard scoring scamper to put Georgia up 14-0 at the 6:16 mark in the first period.  Overall, The Dawgs stayed perfect in the Red Zone this season, scoring all 13 times. However, Fromm mixed in a 16-yard strike to senior WR Javon Wims and a 21-yard pass to Godwin (on a 3rd-and-5 situation) on the drive. Chubb took a direct snap on a 3rd-and-1 situation during Georgia’s first possession of the third quarter and ran 28 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Chubb now has 39 career touchdowns, which is third in UGA history, and is fourth with 35 career rushing touchdowns. Chubb finished the game with 15 carries for 81 yards and two scores.

Kicking Continues:

The Dawgs have benefitted from their kickoffs and punts through four games this season.  On Saturday night, redshirt sophomore PK Rodrigo Blankenship extended his streak to 14 straight touchbacks on kickoffs dating back to his final kick of the Notre Dame victory. Opponents have just 99 kickoff return yards on five returns through a total of 22 kickoffs this season. In addition to four extra points, Blankenship also matched his longest field goal with a 49 yarder at the end of the third quarter to put Georgia up 31-3. Graduate transfer P Cameron Nizialek launched his first punt 46 yards and with the help of Sony Michel and Mecole Hardman’s coverage, MSU called for a fair catch at its own 10-yard line. Nizialek had a 44-yard punt on his second try and MSU fair caught that one as well at its 40-yard line. He had a game-long punt of 53 yards in the fourth quarter and MSU called for a fair catch. Opponents still have just four returns for -4 yards in 2017.

Back In Action

Senior DB Malkom Parrish saw his first action of the season for the Dawg defense. He sustained a foot injury before Georgia’s opener. Senior TB Sony Michel, who sat out the Samford game with an ankle injury, also returned.


Georgia is -1 in Turnover Margin this season. Opponents have forced six turnovers and turned them into 17 points while the Dawgs have forced five turnovers and registered 14 points. Freshman TB D’Andre Swift caught Fromm’s seventh consecutive completion to start the game and then fumbled. MSU failed to score in its next series and punted to the Dawgs. Deandre Baker picked off the third pass of his career (first for the Dawgs this season) late in the third quarter. Georgia scored a touchdown on the next series. On MSU’s next series, J.R. Reed tipped a pass that Dominick Sanders caught for an interception.  Rodrigo Blankenship sent a 49-yard field goal through on Georgia’s next possession, matching his career long.
Next Up:

The Dawgs (4-0, 1-0 SEC) go to Tennessee (3-1, 0-1 SEC) on Saturday and CBS will televise it at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Aaron Davis Named To Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

UGA Sports Communications

Georgia senior defensive back Aaron Davis was named to the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team on Thursday.  Davis is one of 11 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) selected based on their commitment to community service.

For 26 years, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) has recognized a select group of college football players committed to making a difference in their communities.  There were also 11combined players chosen from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Divisions II, III and the NAIA. 

Davis, a Finance graduate and native of Locust Grove, is one of four players from the Southeastern Conference on the FBS 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Georgia leads the nation in Allstate AFCA Good Works Team honorees with 18 since the award’s inception in 1992, including six in the last seven years.  The Dawgs’ previous Good Works Team honorees are Alec Millen in 1992, Travis Jones in 1993, Brian Smith in 1995, Matt Stinchcomb in 1997 and 1998, Brett Millican in 2000, Jon Stinchcomb in 2001, David Greene in 2003, D.J. Shockley in 2005, Quentin Moses in 2006, Kelin Johnson in 2007, Jeff Owens in 2009, Aron White in 2011, Aaron Murray in 2012, Chris Conley in 2014, Malcolm Mitchell in 2015 and Jeb Blazevich in 2016.

Davis, a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, has volunteered for a variety of community service opportunities during his time in Athens.  He is a member of the UGA Athletic Association’s Leadership Academy (L.E.A.D.) and has given his time to the following activities and many more: spokesperson for “No More,” which is a public service announcement against domestic violence and sexual assault; visitation at Camp Sunshine, which is a camp that provides support programs for children with cancer and their families; worked with individuals involved who are part of Extra Special People (ESP), which is an organization that assists with individuals with developmental disabilities; speaker at the UGA Athletic Association’s “Learn, Play, Excel” program, which has UGA coaches and student-athletes visit and talk with elementary and middle school students on topics such as education, leadership, anti-bullying, respect for authority and the value of participation in athletics.

On the field, Davis has started the last nine games for the Dawgs, bridging the 2016 season, and a total of 33 in his career. The former walk-on has 151 career tackles to go along with 8.5 tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and four interceptions.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Practice Report

UGA Sports Communications

The 11th-ranked Dawgs conducted a two-hour workout in full pads mostly in their Indoor Athletic Facility Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, head coach Kirby Smart took part in the Southeastern Conference Football Coaches Weekly Media Teleconference and said the Dawgs (3-0) will be facing a tough opponent Saturday night in 17th-ranked Mississippi State (3-0, 1-0 SEC).

“We’ve got a big SEC home opener,” said Smart. “I have a lot of respect for Dan (Mullen). Defensively, they’re doing a lot of really good things. Nick Fitzgerald has proven to be one of the premier quarterbacks in the country. We’ve got some great challenges ahead of us, and I look forward to a big-time matchup.”

MSU enters the contest leading the SEC and ranked ninth nationally in scoring, averaging 47.7 points per game while surrendering just 9.3 points a game. Fitzgerald is the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week while State’s Darryl Williams (OL) and Jeffery Simmons (NG) also were recognized by the league for their performance in last Saturday’s 30-point win over 12th-ranked LSU.

Smart was asked about the development of Georgia’s true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm who has started the past two games due to sophomore Jacob Eason being sidelined with a knee injury. Fromm is 34-for-57 for 449 yards with five touchdowns, one interception and two fumbles.

“We’ve talked to him about decision-making,” said Smart. “I don’t like to talk about outcomes and wins or losses. You try to make it more about the decision-making. When you’ve got an opportunity to make a play, we want him to be confident and do that. When you’re not sure, it’s okay to throw it away and play for another down. When you scramble, get rid of the ball or slide, don’t turn the ball over. The mistakes he’s made have been those kinds of things as opposed to just making good decisions. We continue to encourage him to make better decisions.”

After Wednesday’s workout, selected players met with the media and discussed their preparation this week and fielded questions regarding MSU.

“We’re approaching them like any team, we know we’re going to have to play hard and physical, and we need to protect and communicate with each other,” said redshirt freshman offensive lineman Solomon Kindley.

Kindley added that he is excited to be contributing now after being redshirted last year and then being hampered with an injury earlier this season. He made his first career start last week in the win over Samford.

“The difference between last year to this year is my weight and working on the mental part of the game, also staying in the film room,” Kindley added. “We have a great nutrition program, and I’m eating right. I’m at 330 now. It was frustrating when this season started because I wanted to play but I couldn’t because of my ankle. However, I know when it’s time to get called up, I have to be ready.”

“Jeffrey Simmons is a great player, and we have to aware where he is always,” said senior fullback Christian Payne. “He’s got a lot of moves; he’s quick and a big nose tackle. We’re all looking forward to the challenge.”

Kickoff Saturday for the Georgia-MSU contest will be at 7 p.m., and the game will air on ESPN.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Practice Report

UGA Sports Communications

The Dawgs worked out for a little over two hours on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for their SEC opener this Saturday at home against 17th-ranked Mississippi State.

Following are comments from head coach Kirby Smart, as well as selected Georgia players:

Opening Statements

‘’It was a little bit warm out there. The kids started out well and some of them ran out of gas toward the end. We got a lot of reps. I thought it was a physical practice, which we needed because they’re (Miss. State) a very physical team. But we’ve got a lot to improve on, they’ve got a hard quarterback to defend and they’ve got a big front. So, we’ve got a lot of challenges this week. I’m excited about where the team is and I’m looking forward to finding out how our guys respond to playing a team that’s big and physical, kinda similar to us.’’

How much of a measuring stick is this game in terms of where your team is right now?

‘’I think it will be a similar measuring stick the following eight weeks. I really don’t think there’s anybody really clear-cut head-and-shoulders above in the SEC, probably outside of Alabama. And then you’ve got everybody that can play everybody. So we’re going to find out. Thing is, regardless of the outcome, we’ve got a big one coming up next week. So that’s what we know and we’re really looking at it day-by-day we’re trying to get better, trying to get every player on our team a little bit better. A little bit better on special teams, a little bit better on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.’’

Do you see that every day, that improvement you are talking about?

‘’You don’t see it every day. I see it in small movements. Some players get better every day and some players don’t. Some players regress. I think the hardest thing right now is the group of true freshmen who maybe aren’t playing a lot. They’re just playing a little. It’s really hard for them to focus and get better because they don’t think they’re going to play. They’re a play away, like Jake Fromm was, from being in there. I don’t think you can get that across to them. A lot of times it takes actually getting thrown into the fire to realize how important practice is.’’

How much have Jacob Eason and Malkom Parrish been able to do in practice the past two days?

‘’Jacob is throwing the ball, done some drops. He got to take some reps. Y’all got to see him throw a little bit out there. Malkom has done probably 30 to 40 percent of a normal workload. He does all of ‘indy’. He takes a lot of reps in practice. I say a lot, but I mean more than he was taking before. But he’s taking about 30 to 4 percent of the reps that he’d normally take. We’ve got him on kind of a pitch count. He had 16 plays yesterday. He had about 30 or 40 plays today and we’ll try to keep increasing that.’’

When Jacob Eason is cleared to play, will he return to his starting job?

‘’I don’t know that that’s a fair question. I think the question is, No.1, what is ‘cleared to play’? Is that 100 percent healthy or is that emergency backup? I think a lot of that is determined by how Fromm is playing. We’ll make that decision when the time comes. It’s not like we’re going to sit here and make an ultimatum. It’s going to come as his health improves.’’

How important is the matchup with (MSU defensive lineman) Jeffery Simmons and your guards?

‘’He’s a very disruptive player. I mean, he’s probably one of the best inside players in the entire SEC, if not the country. I recruited him out of high school, remember him well. Great player. So he’s very disruptive. As far as matchups, we’ll have one person on him, we’ll have another person on him. If we pull somebody, it might be somebody else. It could be anybody on him. The most important thing is that we use good technique, keep your pad level down and outwork him. But he’s a really good player and he is extremely disruptive.  So you’ve got to find ways to block him, find ways to get away from him.’’

D.J. Looney is on the staff at Mississippi State.  What kind of dynamic does that create when someone there knows your personnel?

‘’Everybody knows our personnel. They’ve got tape and they watch tape. What does he know that Todd Grantham doesn’t know? I honestly don’t think that there are any secrets. What we’ve put on tape, in all of our games last year and this year, is the same thing Looney saw the whole time he was here. I’m extremely happy for D.J. Looney. I think he’s a great coach, great recruiter. He did nothing but work his tail off while he was here, and he got a great opportunity to go back to his alma mater and coach.’’

Based on what you’ve seen so far, what do you make of the SEC, compared to other years you’ve been in it?

‘’I don’t have to make anything of it. I know what this league’s made of. I mean, it’s trench warfare.  It’s every week, buddy. You’d better get ready because I promise you everybody you play has good players, good coaches, good fan bases. I mean, everybody can say, ‘it’s up, it’s down, it’s parity.’ They can say whatever they want. When you come in this league and play, you find out real quick that it’s physical week in and week out.’’

How do you feel about your passing game, how it’s developing and particularly being able to get downfield?

‘’We throw it deep every day in practice. We’ve got receivers that can win vertical patterns. We’ve got quarterbacks that can throw vertical patterns. We’ve got to win against their guys. At the end of the day, you’ve got to open it up some. You’ve got to loosen the box some. You’ve got to block their guys. We’ve got to be able to run and throw. Same as last year. We’ve got a freshman quarterback that I think is playing good. We’ve got to go out there and let him play. He’s got to make good decisions, but it’s not just about a vertical passing game. It’s about blocking somebody at 6 technique. It’s about blocking Jeffery Simmons when you call that vertical passing game. There’s a lot that goes into it, more than just chuck it deep.’’

How did the process play out with Rodrigo Blankenship becoming the kicker?

‘’Rod has been nothing but positive. Rod’s one of the best teammates on this team. He sits right there in that seat (pointing to front row) in every team meeting, and he’s on the edge of his seat. He’s so excited to be a part of this program. He’s done nothing but work his tail off. So I was very happy to be able to reward him on what he’s done.’’

Regarding Rodrigo’s success on kickoffs, is it more of technique or of working with (strength coach) Coach Sinclair?

‘’I’ll be honest with you. I couldn’t tell you. I think his dad’s had a lot to do with it. He came out here and worked hard in the off-season. He felt like he got stronger through the weight room some. But some of it, he changed his approach. I know his dad worked with him on it. I know he felt much more comfortable about it and had more competition. He raised his competition level up to beat the competition.’’

Lorenzo Carter
(Photo by Caitlyn Tam)
Cameron Nizialek has had a good start to the season.  What are the advantages of having a good punter?

‘’It flips the field position, man. I mean, it’s just obvious. Number one, he gets it off fast. Number two, he’s been consistent. Number three, he just changes the field position. He’s had a couple of punts that were bombs. But we measure punts by hang time. You guys measure them by yards. So if you kick it 63 yards in three seconds, that’s not good. So we look for hang and distance to match. He’s done that probably, but twice he hasn’t. And if not for Jayson Stanley, Lorenzo Carter and Roquan Smith, some of those may get returned. So it’s a combination of punt and coverage. But it’s obviously better than it was last year. We have to keep that up, though, and the coverage concerns me. It’s not necessarily his kicking. It’s making sure we are covering, because Mississippi State is really good at holding people up.’’

What’s the thing that really stands out to you about Mississippi State’s defensive line?

‘’Get off. Size. I mean, they’re relentless. They play a lot of guys. They get off hard. They’ve got something like 20 guys on the roster from the Mississippi jucos that are really good players. They’ve got great size, great length. They bat balls. They’re a good defensive line, man.’’

How difficult is it to find and evaluate kickers and punters?

‘’It’s a hard evaluation process because you don’t really ever know. I was at Alabama for 10 years and we didn’t always get it right. We thought we had a great one and then he wasn’t. You never know. With him (Nizialek) we knew he was free. He didn’t cost us anything. He’s a grad school transfer that walked on. Great for him. He did an unbelievable job and he’s won a job. He saw an opportunity and he seized it. To be honest with you, I never saw him kick at Columbia. He came to a game and said, ‘I want to come to Georgia.’ I said, ‘Oh, you punted there last year. Great, come on. We’d love to have you.’ There’s no loss of value for us, and look what we got out of it. Coach (Shane) Beamer and Coach (former coach James) Vollono were the guys that he had a relationship with, the guys he reached out to. So we kinda fell into that one.’’

2018 Schedule Released

The Southeastern Conference today announced the football schedules for all 14 SEC schools for the 2018 season. 

With 13 playing weekends, the 2018 schedule includes one open date for each team and conference contests scheduled each week beginning the second weekend of September.

Each SEC team will play eight conference football games to include six games against division opponents and two games against non-division opponents. One of the non-division opponents will be a permanent annual opponent and the other non-division opponent will rotate each year.

The season begins the weekend of September 1 with 14 games, including five neutral site games on opening weekend. 

The 2018 season will culminate with the SEC Championship Game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, December 1. It will be the 27th edition of the game and the 25th in the city of Atlanta. 

The complete list of 2018 football schedules can be found on the SEC’s official website,


Sept. 1                   AUSTIN PEAY
Sept. 8                   at South Carolina
Sept. 15                 MIDDLE TENNESSEE
Sept. 22                 at Missouri
Sept. 29                 TENNESSEE
Oct. 6                     VANDERBILT
Oct. 13                   at LSU
Oct. 20                   Open Date
Oct. 27                   vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 3                    at Kentucky
Nov. 10                  AUBURN
Nov. 17                  UMASS
Nov. 24                  GEORGIA TECH

Dec. 1

SEC Football Championship (Atlanta)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Press Conference

UGA Sports Communications

Two top-20 teams meet this Saturday at Sanford Stadium when the 11th-ranked Dawgs take on 17th-ranked Mississippi State at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. 

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, along with several players, previewed this weekend’s Southeastern Conference opener. They offered the following comments. 

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening statement … 

“Welcome, guys. Looking forward to a great opportunity to play a really well-coached, good football team both sides of the ball — very explosive. I have a lot of respect for Coach (Dan) Mullen and their program, having gone against them for a long time my previous stop. I think they're a very physical team. They always are. Very hands-on on special teams. I've always had respect for his special teams units. He seems to always find really good quarterbacks, especially dual-threat guys. He's known for developing those type of guys. He's done a good job with their overall program.

Defensively right now they're playing as good as anybody in the conference — playing really hard on defense, playing really physical. So, they've got a very good team.

We are excited for the matchup. We obviously need to make the home atmosphere special, make it tough for them to play in. I am encouraging all the Dawg Nation to be there, which I know they will, be loud and proud.

On Mississippi State junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald … 

"I didn't know much about Nick [in the recruiting process]. He was kind of under the radar. Just goes again to show what Dan has been able to do with quarterbacks. He saw something in the kid. He's unbelievably competitive, physical, big. I mean, he did it with Dak Prescott. Dak was not a highly recruited guy. A guy with good size, dimensions, has the ability to throw the ball, but can run. Nick played in a little bit of a different offense at high school. He's developed as a quarterback. To see him this year compared to all the games we watched last year in the off-season, he's one of the most vastly improved players because he's not one-dimensional any more. He was really a runner last year. That's not the case. I saw that same growth with Dak Prescott during his time at Mississippi State."

On MSU defensive coordinator Todd Grantham … 

I've known Todd for a long time. He used to come and talk ball with us when I was at LSU on Nick's staff. We would share ideas, pressures when he was in the NFL. I have communicated with him when we played like opponents when he was here and we tried to help each other back and forth. I think Todd does a tremendous job. He's very smart, very knowledgeable, knows how to attack protections. He's a guy that's constantly working on getting better. He's got these guys believing and playing really hard, really physical. Got some good players. Got some big guys up front. They're playing hard. He's got some fast guys. They just seem like they have a lot of guys they play. They use them well. They use them to their strengths. They moved Jeffery Simmons around. Got good players, good guys in the secondary. He has those guys believing in each other and they're playing really hard.

On Nick Fitzgerald being an ‘under the radar’ recruit and the advancements he has made… 

"He played in a system that didn't really show off some of his skill set. When you take a guy that's running option, those kind of things in high school, sometimes you take that with the idea that this guy is going to grow into something. I've seen quarterbacks like that turn into great tight ends. That wasn't the case with him. Dan took him and developed him and worked really hard with him. He's got a lot of family members. He's kin to Charles Pledger, who played here with me. He's been telling me about the guy ever since he got over there. He's done nothing but get better every time."

On similarities between Fitzgerald and Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush…

"I think Wimbush and Nick are very different type guys. Nick is a unique quarterback with his length, ability to see over. He's a lot faster than you think, deceptively. He doesn't look as if, when you talk to people that played him, he's running real fast, but he is. I think that's different. Wimbush had a little bit more quick twitch. This kid is long and fast. When you get loose on him, you see him running away from SEC defenses. You didn't see that with Wimbush. They didn't play SEC defenses. This guy has gone up against the kind of defenses we've had repeatedly. He's faced that a bunch. He's a good player. We're excited for the opportunity to compete against him."

On Georgia’s offensive line … 

"I think you're always tweaking. I think you're always looking for the best players. We have who we have. We try to get what we have better. I think that's an area that obviously we can improve on. Each guy that's played has done some good things. Kendall Baker has shown some good things, has some mishaps. Same with Pat Allen. Solomon Kindley is getting more steady in there. He has to continue to improve. He gives us something that we don't have, but we only have kind of so many options. You got to use the options you got best. We'll continue looking at guys across the board. Some guys may get some looks at guard."

On the emergence of redshirt-sophomore DB J.R. Reed … 

“We found out about J.R. really through the recruitment of Deangelo Gibbs. He's a relative of Deangelo. Good friends, grew up together. Deangelo kept bringing his name up, his family did. His father Jake being from right down the road. As far as him becoming a starter, he kind of emerged in the spring. He was on the scout team last year. We didn't know while he was on the scout team what caliber of player he was going to be. You just look at a card. You don't actually run our defense, you run the other team's defense. We saw athleticism, but didn't know whether he was going to be a starter or not. We knew at the end of the spring that he was going to be a starter. He is impressive both mentally and physically. He practices really hard. That gives him a competitive advantage. He's been a good pickup. He's been a savior in some sorts because of the thin secondary we've had."

On giving defenses different looks on offense … 

"I think it's important. I think it's probably overrated a little as far as shotgun, offense, “I" offense. I mean, at the end of the day, you got to run the ball, you got to stop the run. It's how you do it most efficiently. Some of that is based on your personnel, what your guys do good. I think defensively the way teams look at is, when you're in the shotgun, it's not like it's a secret. When you're in the “I", it's not like it's a secret. They can look at those things, see it, try to get tendencies off it. I think every coach in America is trying to break his tendencies. I think it's a little overrated as far as what are you: “I", the shotgun. I don't know many teams that don't go under center, don't go under shotgun.”

On the progress of sophomore QB Jacob Eason and how freshman QB Jake Fromm has looked … 

"Jacob is recovering well. Hope to get him out there today to do some things. He's running, moving around. We'll get to see how he goes. I haven't got to see him in three days. We'll find out more today where he's at. As far as Jake Fromm, I think he continues to improve. He's got some areas he's got to improve in. He's making better decisions more consistently, which for us, the quarterback position is a decision-making position. We're not asking the guy to go out there and scramble around and make runs. We have to get him to make good decisions. As long as he does that, we can play winning football. He's improved in that area, but has some growth to go.”

On the key to senior OLB Lorenzo Carter’s intensity … 

"Let me say this. He turns on the aggression in the game, but that doesn't make you a savage. He plays aggressively in the game. That's the way you should play. The guy plays with relentless effort, which we talk about all the time. An uncanny ability not to be denied. He's not going to let an offensive tackle or running back stop him. As far as how you cut that loose in somebody, I think everybody's different. Some guys are motivated through fear. Some guys are motivated by self-motivation. Some guys, they want to be yelled at to get them going. Lorenzo is a self-starter. He plays hard without encouragement. He plays hard because that's who he is.”

On tight ends getting the ball more … 

"I always redirect all that to what is the performance of those guys. Are they blocking well? Are they doing the things they have to do? Are they able to open up play-action? At the end of the day, you kind of get how you practice. Guys practice the right way, they play physical, they block, then they usually get rewarded because our run game is better, the play-action game is better. If they don't do those things, we usually don't have a lot of success. We have some improvement in that area, and we have to play better in that area."

On if hype increases because it is an SEC game…

"I don't really know when you say 'ratcheted' up. Every week is the same level intensity for me. We don't take opponents lightly. It's not like we say, okay guys, SEC this week, let's go practice harder, practice longer. We have a plan, we have a process we do each week. We follow that process each week. I don't think it's let's jack it up, crank it up. That wouldn't be fair to the opponents we just played. But as far as where we are, I think playing a team like this this week will tell us a lot. It's hard to say. I'm not going to sit here and say we've arrived, because I don't think that's the case. I think we've improved. I think we have to continue to improve to beat the teams we have on our schedule."

On the young running backs and the future of the Georgia backfield … 

“I don't know they've been given an opportunity to prove. They got to run the ball against Samford. I don't know how many carries it was. I think you earn that by the way you practice against our defense who is pretty good at stopping the run. You earn that by how you protect the ball against our defense in practice. They get to go against them each day. They earn that by going against blitz pickups against our guys each day. They continue to develop in that category. So it's important for them. Just because they went out against Samford and played well, I think that's great, certainly makes me feel better about them going out and doing it in a game, but they still have something to prove to everybody. I think what those guys have done is take on a role in our special teams. Nobody gives Elijah Holyfield credit, but he's the guy blocking on kickoff returns, Brian Herrien covers kicks, D'Andre Swift covers punts and kicks. Those guys are very valuable in what they do."

On what Georgia is missing without the services of senior DB Malkom Parrish … 

"Depth. Simple. We just don't have a lot of depth. I think that's important to have in the secondary where you play sometimes upwards of 80, 90 snaps. You got five and six guys on the field. When you don't have extra guys to sub and play, it makes you very thin."

On the status of junior wide receiver Michael Chigbu and junior ILB Rashad Roundtree … 

"Chigbu should be good to go. We expect him out there today. We'll find out more. Rashad has been going through some concussion things that we've had to handle protocol with. Hopefully we get Rashad back soon. Chigbu will be out there today.”

On the team being in-sync on the sideline … 

“To me we're doing everything we did last year. Maybe we're doing it more efficiently. I certainly think everybody's into the game every game. They better be. If they're not, they shouldn't be on the sideline. I think organization is important. I think making sure you understand the situations in the game that come up. I mean, people substitute on offense, substitute on defense. You're always trying to stay on top of that and in tune with it. But I don't know that it's much different.”

On if Malkom Parrish will be available Saturday … 

"We hope to see today. Again, we're going off last time I saw him do anything was really Thursday. Today we're going to be able to do more with him. We hope to be able to get him back this week. I can't tell you anything until after practice today.”

On Georgia’s special teams and the play of junior wide receiver Jayson Stanley on the coverage unit … 

"I don't think people give Jayson Stanley enough credit. If you go back and watch the tape, the guy has been dominant in coverage, like kickoff and punt. Now, fortunately with the ability of our specialists to kick it higher, deeper, longer, hang time, he's getting to show those skill sets. They're also making it where we don't know what the coverage unit does because they haven't had to cover. They're covering, but the balls aren't coming out. I like that just as much. Rod (Rodrigo Blankenship) has done a tremendous job. I can't say kickoff coverage we're a lot better than last year because Rod has kicked the ball out of the end zone. That's a great problem to have. You get to find out more when one comes out. Then punt coverage, done a good job of bombing it. Jayson has been all over it. We've had several fair catches. Those coverage units, we've worked hard on them. I think they're improved, but they don't get tested as much as they used to.”

Senior Tight End Jeb Blazevich

On what he has seen on video of Mississippi State…

So far tracking the LSU game, it is glaringly obvious that coach (Todd) Grantham, coach (Jeremy) Pruitt, coach (Kirby) Smart and coach (Mel) Tucker all come from the same circle with different wrinkles. I think the defenses are somewhat similar to what we run and things that we’ve seen before.”

On Jake Fromm’s play through the first three games…

“I’m so proud of him. He is an awesome guy and has a crazy, hard work ethic. He just wants to be the leader of this team and he isn’t afraid to step up and do that. I think he’s not afraid of taking chances and he’s not afraid to put himself out there and he just gives it all he’s got. He is getting his reads right and multiple checks at the line. It was a weird schedule last week with the hurricane affecting us but I think he did a good job at staying consistent.”

On the involvement of the tight ends in the passing game…

“We are just trying to win games and we are winning games, so however we need to do that that’s where our head is at. Obviously when we called those passing routes, it is up to us to get open and if not get other guys open. As long as our passing game as a whole is doing well and we are able to contribute to that then that’s all we care about.”

Junior Inside Linebacker Roquan Smith

On facing Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald…

“I think it is a huge challenge. They pride themselves on running the ball and we pride ourselves in stopping the run. So with them coming into Sanford, I’m looking forward to it and it is a great opportunity. He can throw it and run the ball so he is an awesome guy, an awesome athlete.”

On similarities between Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush and Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald…

“They are definitely both dual threats but they are two different style of runners as well. Nick is a bigger guy and what not but I’m just looking forward to the opportunity. It is all just form tackle technique at the end of the day so the bigger you are, the harder you fall."

On the SEC opener and the matchup between two top-25 teams…

“At the end of the day, we have to keep the main thing, the main thing. It is just the next game on the schedule and we just have to take care of it like its the next game on the schedule.”

Junior Wide Receiver Terry Godwin

On Jake Fromm’s development…

“Just for him to go out in Notre Dame in that type of environment and put on the show that he put on, that’s amazing because he’s a 18/19-year old kid. Being in an environment like that and being able to keep his poise in the pocket. To come home to Sanford Stadium for his first career start here, it was amazing for him to go out there and get that win for us.”

On former Georgia safety Jonathan Abrams

“I actually talked to Jon earlier today. Just to see him out there doing his thing, that makes us smile. For us, he’s still a part of this Dawg Nation, and that’s something that we lean on. Even when he left here we still kept in touch, and still communicate to this day. For any Dawg to leave, it’s tough to see them go because you build that bond with them, and no matter where you are, you’re still going to keep that bond and communicate with them.”

On starting conference play…

“For me it feels like any other week. I’m going to prepare my mind the same way I did last week and the week before that. We just have to come out there ready to play. I’ve had the mindset to go out there and play hard every day, no matter who our opponent is. Just keep pushing and give it my all.”

Redshirt Sophomore Defensive Back J.R. Reed

On the lack of interceptions from the secondary…

“Yeah it’s a major talking point. We’ve got to work on our hands. We’ve got to catch those. I dropped one, Aaron Davis dropped one, Tyrique McGhee dropped one. We have the opportunities, so it’s not us getting opportunities, it’s just us taking them, catching them, keeping them.”

On Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald…

“He’s a big guy. Watching on film, he wants to win. He doesn’t slide at all. He’ll score, and that’s the biggest thing that makes him tough to bring down.”

On the surge of quarterbacks who can pass and run the ball…

“I think it’s the new age quarterback. I think that’s what quarterbacks are coming to. You’ve got to be QB 2.0. You’ve got to use your feet and run the ball. And so it’s a different thing, and it puts a lot of stress on the defense. Defense has to adapt to that. I think we’ll be able to do that."

On Reed’s father, Jake, and Mel Tucker’s common NFL background…

“It’s actually crazy. Some of the stuff my dad says, Coach Tucker says, and I just kind of laugh to myself, and so people are like, ‘What are you laughing about?’ And I’m like, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ Like stuff about film, stuff about players, little things that’s almost NFL-talk. You guys are saying the same thing, so someone must be right.”

Tennessee Game Time Announced

The Saturday, September 30th, SEC football game between Georgia and Tennessee in Knoxville will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET and be televised by CBS.

This will be Georgia’s first appearance on CBS this season.

The Dawgs’ all-time record on CBS is 48-38-1.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Post Game Notes

UGA Sports Communications

Chubb Hits Century Mark In First Half:

Senior tailback Nick Chubb tallied 13 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown in the first half and for the game finished with 16 carries for 131 yards (8.2 avg) and 2 TDs. This was Chubb’s 19th career time with 100 or more yards, which ranks second in school history (Herschel Walker, 28). Chubb scored on a 32-yard run at the 1:45 mark in the first quarter after freshman quarterback Jake Fromm opened a hole with a block on linebacker Dorsett Johnson. Chubb then went in from 14 yards in the third quarter. Chubb now has 33 career rushing touchdowns, which ties Garrison Hearst for fourth on the school’s all-time list. This marks the 11th time in Chubb’s career that he has had two rushing touchdowns in the same game.

Chubb’s first scoring dash came after Fromm hit sophomore wide receiver Riley Ridley for a 47-yard catch on the opening play of the drive. This was the shortest drive (two plays) and quickest drive (27 seconds) for the Dawgs this year. The Dawgs had 459 yards of total offense (284-rushing, 175-passing)

Fromm & Firsts:

Sophomore wide receiver Mecole Hardman hauled in his first career touchdown from Jake Fromm to put Georgia up 7-0 in the first quarter. A second first came from freshman tailback D’Andre Swift who scored his first rushing touchdown on an 11-yard run to give the Dawgs a 42-7 edge. Swift finished with nine carries for a career-high 54 yards and one TD. Fromm also connected with junior wide receiver Terry Godwin for a 51-yard score (a career long for each). These were Fromm’s third and fourth touchdown passes of his career. Fromm finished 8-of-13 for 165 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

Fromm’s primary target on Saturday was Godwin. He finished with four catches for a career-high 98 yards and two touchdowns, also a career high. Current Denver Bronco Isaiah McKenzie was the last Dawg to have two touchdown catches in one game versus Missouri in 2016.

Series History: With tonight’s 42-14 win, Georgia improves to 3-0 overall and 2-0 all-time against Samford.

Defense Flexes:

In the first quarter, Georgia held Samford to 16 yards (14 passing, two rushing) as they held the ball for only 3:38. Then in the second period, Samford registered 105 yards and scored a touchdown on two trips to the Red Zone. Georgia stalled Samford’s final drive of the half as redshirt sophomore J.R. Reed blocked a 36-yard field goal. This is the first blocked field goal for the Dawgs since Ray Drew blocked one versus Georgia Tech in 2014. Overall, Samford finished with 249 yards of total offense. (22-rushing, 227-passing) Junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith led the team with six tackles while senior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter had four stops, including two sacks. Freshman inside linebacker Monty Rice had a career-high five tackles.

Long Drive:

The Dawgs scored their first touchdown at the 3:48 mark in the opening period after starting at their own 13-yard line. This 87-yard scoring drive on 10 plays is the longest for Georgia this year after going for 86 yards versus App State and having an eight-play scoring drive on another possession versus the Mountaineers. Jake Fromm connected with Mecole Hardman on a 3rd-and-goal situation from the 5-yard line.


Redshirt freshman right guard Solomon Kindley started for the first time while junior left guard Kendall Baker started for the second time in his career (also got the nod at Notre Dame). On defense, sophomore defensive back Tyrique McGhee got his first career start.


The Dawgs collected a fumble and gave up a fumble versus Samford. They are now -2 in Turnover Margin this year. Opponents have converted five miscues into 17 points and Georgia has scored 7 points off three turnovers. Jake Fromm fumbled at the 4:58 mark in the first quarter to give Samford the ball at the Georgia 25. Samford had a field goal blocked on the ensuing possession. It marked Georgia’s first Red Zone stop this year after three touchdowns and two field goals were scored by the opposition in 2017. Senior N John Atkins wrestled away a loose ball on Samford’s first possession of the second half. Nick Chubb scampered in from 14 yards out after Georgia got the ball.

Dawgs Beat Tech

UGA Sports Communications

The Georgia volleyball team defeated Georgia Tech 3-1 at the Ramsey Center on Friday, powered by an explosive crowd of 2,063 at the Ramsey Center.

Rachel Ritchie led the offensive charge for Georgia (10-3) with 19 kills, as T’ara Ceasar drove the defense with 18 digs, holding the Jackets to just a .138 hitting percentage on the match. Ceasar notched her fifth double-double of the season with 16 kills. Anna Kate Karstens and Amanda Dachs controlled the net with seven and five blocks, respectively.

​"We're excited about tonight," head coach Tom Black said. "I thought the girls did a great job this week, and it'll be great to get them back in the gym with the matches being more consistent."

The Dawgs jumped to a fast start with the first three points of the match, holding the margin for most of the frame. Georgia Tech (5-6), however, tied the match at 21, edging the Dawgs 25-23 for the first-set win.

With the match tied at four in the second set, Georgia rattled off five consecutive points after a Amanda Dachs kill, who had five on the night. The Dawgs strung together four straight points midway through the match for a 19-13 margin, highlighted by back-to-back block assists from Majesti Bass, who received help from Ritchie and Dachs. Georgia Tech fought off three-consecutive set points to tie the match at 24, but the Dawgs prevailed 26-24.

Ceasar and Bass, who had 11 kills on the match, led the way in the third set as Georgia separated itself from Georgia Tech for a 25-18 final, taking a two sets to one advantage.

In the fifth set, Georgia Tech forced an early Georgia timeout with a 5-1 lead, but the Dawgs quickly returned with eight consecutive points, building an advantage as large as eight points at 17-9. Georgia capitalized on six Yellow Jacket errors, including the decisive match-point, which sealed the Dawgs 25-20 fifth set win.  

The Dawgs open conference play next Friday at 7 p.m. at the Ramsey Center, playing host to Alabama. The match will be streamed on SEC Network + with live stats.