Saturday, September 30, 2017

Uga Takes Smokey To The Woodshed

UGA Sports Communications

The seventh-ranked Dawgs dominated the Tennessee Volunteers 41-0 on Saturday at Neyland Stadium, recording their 800th win in school history in front of a sell-out crowd of 102,455.

Georgia improved to 2-0 in the conference and 5-0 on the season for the first time since 2012. That year, the Dawgs overtook Tennessee 51-44 for their fifth win of the season. The Volunteers drop to 3-2 on the season and 0-2 in the SEC.

The Georgia defense headlined the contest, holding the Volunteers scoreless with 142 total yards and just over 22 minutes on the field. The group forced Tennessee’s lowest offensive numbers of the season and caused four turnovers, including first career interceptions for junior defensive back J.R. Reed and sophomore defensive back Tyrique McGhee.

Offensively, senior tailback Nick Chubb fueled the team's 294 rushing yards with 109 yards of his own, including 75 in the first half. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm recorded three touchdowns, including two rushing as he hit 7-of-15 passes for 84 yards. Sophomore kicker Rodrigo Blankenship extended his torrid total of touchbacks, producing five on his seven kickoffs on the day.

“Defense creates offense,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “That comes from how you practice and the culture you create. We’re getting better at that, but we certainly have a tough test next week with Vandy. The fans had a big part of the day, they had great energy. Our players are certainly appreciative of what our fan base has done.”

It took one play to end Tennessee’s first offensive possession of the game with an interception from McGhee, positioning Blankenship for a 38-yard field goal and the 3-0 Georgia lead.

Midway through the first quarter, sophomore wide receiver Mecole Hardman’s 19-yard punt return began Georgia’s 7-play, 54-yard scoring drive. Back-to-back first-down completions from Fromm to both junior wide receiver Terry Godwin and senior wide receiver Javon Wims placed the Dawgs in the red zone. Following two consecutive Georgia timeouts, Fromm connected with an airborne Wims in the end zone for the 10-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Georgia utilized the run game, beginning with an 87-yard march down the field on 11 plays. Chubb collected 42 yards on three-straight carriers to place Georgia in Tennessee territory. The offense continued the drive with a pair of 3rd-and-7 conversions, capped by Fromm’s first career rushing touchdown.

The next Tennessee possession, Deandre Baker broke up the junior quarterback Quinten Dormandy pass to freshman wide receiver Josh Palmer, deflecting the ball into the hands of Reed. The native of Frisco, Texas returned the interception to Tennessee’s 26-yard line. Five plays and 26 yards later, Fromm ran four yards into the end zone to seal the 24-0 first half.

In the second half, Georgia tacked on a touchdown apiece in each quarter. A blocked punt from junior inside linebacker D’Andre Walker paved the way for a 6-play, 55-yard offensive drive. Fromm completed a 19-yard pass to Godwin, and senior tailback Sony Michel provided a 21-yard rushing touchdown on the next play for the 31-0 edge.

Sophomore tailback Brian Herrien and freshman running back D’Andre Swift, The Philly Flash, continued the Georgia run game in the fourth quarter, using six plays for 26 yards for a one-yard Herrien touchdown. With 5:34 remaining in the game, graduate kicker David Marvin notched a field goal to seal the 41-0 final.

Post Game Notes

UGA Sports Communications

Milestone Win and Shutout: 

With today’s 41-0 win, Georgia notched its 800th all-time victory in this its 124th season and snapped the Vols scoring streak at 289 consecutive games, a mark that was the fourth longest active streak in the nation and the sixth longest streak in college football history. UT’s scoring streak dated back to 1994 against Florida, a 31-0 loss. The Dawgs rank 11th nationally in all-time victories. Also, Georgia is now 5-0 for the first time since 2012.  Georgia tightens the all-time series record to 23-22-2 in favor of UT as it dates back to 1899. It was Georgia’s second largest margin of victory in the series and biggest in Knoxville. The only greater margin of victory was 44-0 in 1981 in Athens.

Stellar Defense With A Shutout:

Georgia posted a shutout for the first time since 2014 (34-0 win over Mizzou in Columbia) and ended UT’s streak of scoring in 289 consecutive games (dates back to 1994). The Vols finished with just 142 yards of total offense. Also, the Dawggs forced four turnovers and turned them into 10 points.  Coming in today, the Vols were averaging 30.2 points a game and tailback John Kelly was averaging an SEC-best 158 yards a game (He had 44 yards on 16 carries at the half today). Georgia blanked #17 Miss. State in the second half in Athens last Saturday as the visitors managed 147 yards of total offense. Georgia’s leading tackler today was junior LB Roquan Smith with 11 stops. After not having an interception through the first three games, Georgia now has four in the past two games. Today, sophomore DB Tyrique McGhee notched the first INT of his career, and it came on the first play from scrimmage while junior J.R. Reed got his first as a Dawg.

In the second half following a 44-yard reception by the Vols (Dormady-to-Kelly), Aaron Davis forced a fumble and was recovered by Reed at the UGA 33. It led to a punt. Also, junior ILB D’Andre Walker was credited with a blocked punt that gave the Dawgs the ball at the UT30. It led to a touchdown and a 38-0 lead with 12:00 left in the game.

Red Zone Efficiency:

Georgia went 6-for-6 Inside the Red Zone to remain perfect on the year, scoring four TDs and two field goals. Georgia is now 19-for-19 including 14 TDs and that leads the SEC. Also, Georgia’s scored a TD today from just outside the red zone as senior TB Sony Michel raced in from 21 yards to make it 31-0.

Fromm Directs Another Road Win:

In the first half, freshman QB Jake Fromm led Georgia to a 24-0 lead, going 5-for-12 for 62 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT plus had a nine-yard TD scamper and a four-yarder for his first two career rushing TDs. Fromm’s TD pass today covered 12 yards to senior Javon Wims on a 3rd-and-5 for a 10-0 led in the first quarter. He finished the day 7-for-15 for 84 yards. Overall, Georgia tallied 378 yards of total offense including 294 on the ground.

Points Off Turnovers:

Georgia got 10 points off four turnovers while Tennessee scored no points off one turnover. The first turnover forced came from Georgia sophomore DB Tyrique McGee as he notched his first career interception, and it came on the first play of the game. It gave the Dawgs the ball at the UT 27. It led to a 38-yard field goal by Rodridgo Blankenship. QB Jake Fromm threw an interception at the UGA 27. It led to a UT fumble, which was recovered by senior Lorenzo Carter at the Dawg 29. The Dawgs eventually punted. In the second quarter, junior J.R. Reed got an interception after Deandre Baker broke up the pass and returned it 34 yards to the UT 26. It led to a touchdown and a 24-0 advantage. In the second half, Aaron Davis forced a fumble and was recovered by Reed. It led to a punt.

For the year, Georgia has scored 27 points off nine turnovers while opponents have scored 17 points off seven Dawg miscues. Both teams entered today’s contest -1 in turnover margin.

Chubb Headlines Rushing Attack:

Georgia tallied 294 rushing yards highlighted by senior Nick Chubb as he finished with 109 yards, and it marked his 20th career game of at least 100+ rushing yards, that trails only the legendary Herschel Walker (28) in school history. Chubb’s career rushing total is 3,904 and that ranks second in school history behind Walker too.

Blankenship Booming It Again:

Sophomore PK Rodrigo Blankenship gave Georgia a 3-0 lead with a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter as he is now 5-for-6 this year in field goal attempts. Also, he entered the game with a streak of 14 consecutive touchbacks on kickoffs dating back to his final one at #24 Notre Dame this season in week two. The streak ended at 18 as he had four touchbacks before the Vols returned his fifth kickoff of the afternoon for 21 yards. He managed touchbacks on five of his seven kickoffs today.

For Starters:

Sophomore wideout Riley Ridley made his first career start. Senior Dyshon Sims got the start at right guard (6th of his career) after Solomon Kindley injured an ankle in the second half of last week’s win over #17 Miss. State. Kindley had started the last two games at RG. Today, Kindley came in on the third series of the game. Sophomore QB Jacob Eason returned to action in the fourth quarter as he had been out since the first quarter of the season opener against App State.

Captains: 

Today’s captains were seniors Nick Chubb (TB), Roquan Smith (ILB) and Isaiah Wynn (OT).

Injury Report:

Graduate LB Reggie Carter was injured in the first quarter and did not return. Junior DT Trenton Thompson left the game in the second quarter with a right knee injury and did not return.
                                                                                                           
Up Next

Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC) continues SEC play Saturday at Vanderbilt (3-2, 0-2 SEC) with kickoff at Noon ET.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Practice Report

UGA Sports Communications

The seventh-ranked Dawgs conducted a two-hour practice in full pads mostly in their Indoor Athletic Facility Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Georgia’s Kirby Smart participated in the Southeastern Conference Football Coaches Weekly Media Teleconference and said the Dawgs (4-0, 1-0 SEC) are focused on their preparations for the upcoming contest at Tennessee (3-0, 0-1 SEC).

“We’re excited to get our SEC road opener started in Knoxville; it’s a great opportunity to go play a really good program with great history and tradition,” said Smart. “We’ll be taking a lot of guys up there that have never been before.”

Smart was asked if Georgia’s success at No. 24 Notre Dame earlier this season benefits his squad as it gets ready for another road game.

“The experience helps, but there’s no way to simulate the atmosphere that you get in Neyland Stadium when you talk about being the road opponent,” said Smart. “It won’t even compare to what we got at Notre Dame because we had so many fans at Notre Dame. I think it will be a different scenario but certainly glad that we were able to experience that as far as the travel part.”

Georgia’s defense ranks eighth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 11.1 points per game, and Smart was asked if he inherited talent that was well-suited to run the type of schemes he wants on defense.

“Yes and no, in some places on the defense I thought we did, but in some places we weren’t as deep or as big as we needed to be,” said Smart. “We’re going to have to continue to go out and recruit guys to fit that mold of who we want to be, a team that can play big ball and a team that can play against spread teams. To do that, you’ve got to be multiple, and you’ve got to have depth.”

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

Junior offensive lineman Kendall Baker mentioned the physical style of play of the Volunteers.

“They have a hard-nosed defense,” said Baker who is in his first season as a starter and relishing his opportunity.

“I cherish every moment and ready to take advantage of the situation,” added Baker. “I moved to guard last year, and it doesn’t matter if I play guard, tackle or center, I want to get on the field. I started to prove myself in workouts and in the preseason. I have guys asking me for help, and I used to be the guy asking for it so now I try to help them out. It all comes down to working hard.” 


“Tennessee battles hard, they are another tough SEC opponent,” said senior wide receiver Javon Wims. “They’re physical. At this level, you have to be ready at all times.”

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Practice Report

UGA Sports Communications

The Dawgs worked out for a little over two hours on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for their SEC matchup this Saturday at Tennessee.

Following are comments from head coach Kirby Smart:

Opening Statements:

‘’Warm day. I thought we had a good Tuesday practice, actually. It’s always pleasing, I think. The quality of the opponent helps with that and the focus was there. We’ve had those kind of Tuesday practices. It’s Wednesday that we’ve always struggled with. They usually hit a rut about Wednesday, but today was good, had good energy, good ‘good-on-good’ sections, worked on some special teams and trying to get some guys healthy.’’

On the status of OG Solomon Kindley:

‘’I didn’t get to see him in live action because I didn’t work with the offense much today. He didn’t go in the ‘good-on-good’ stuff, where we’re Ones on Ones, Twos on Twos. He went with the scout work some. We think he’s going to be OK, but we just don’t want to put him in there with the Ones right now because they go against a little bigger guys. Our Ones go against more quality scout look team than the Twos do. We hope he’ll be alright. I’ll know more after I watch his tape.’’

Has Jacob Eason been cleared to play yet and will he be available on Saturday?

‘’It’s day-to-day. He did do much better today, I thought. I got to see him in the 7-on-7 periods and I got to see him in some of the early periods in practice. He looks much better than he did last week. He’s moved around and escaped some. Even yesterday, he took reps and a couple of times a D lineman broke through and he was able to get away, moving comfortable. So he’s much closer to being able to play.’’

Describe the matchup between your defensive backs and Tennessee’s wide receivers, and also how Malkom Parrish’s return affects that matchup.

‘’Malkom had a much better day today. We pick his volume up each day. He’s starting to get some of his stamina back. He looks really good in ‘individual’ and then as the day goes on, he kinda wears down a little bit. But we’ve given him more reps every day. He’s done better with each rep. He’s getting back to his old self. I wouldn’t say he’s 100 percent, but he’s much closer than he was.

‘’As far as their wideouts, Marquez Callaway was a guy that, man he’s a good player. We watched him a lot on tape in high school and thought he was a really good player. He’s played above and beyond, this year, than I ever thought he would. He’s just a really good player, great punt returner. Good size, great hands. And then the kid that really shows up to me is Brandon Johnson, who is from south Florida. He had some big catches in the last game. And of course Josh Smith is always in there for them. They’ve got some good wideouts. It should be a good matchup. Our DBs are hopefully up for the challenge. I tell you, the part you don’t recognize at Tennessee is the physicality with which their receivers play. Kevin Beard, who was here last year, is coaching their receivers and he’s got ‘em blocking like they’re mad. They do a good job with that.’’

We saw your cut blocking drill today.  How effective is Tennessee’s cut blocking when they try to run outside on offense?

‘’We do that cut blocking drill every Tuesday. It’s kind of like our weekly fundamentals, so we do that all the time. But we do have live cut periods during practice because Tennessee does a tremendous job on some of their perimeter runs of cutting you. So we always think it helps. If they cut us live, we’ve got to practice cutting live. That’s an asset for them. If you count the number of times, over the last 10 years, that I’ve had a defense play them, where you get cut, it’s higher in the Tennessee game than it is in any other game. So we emphasize it this week.’’

What’s your impression of Tennessee’s pass rush?

‘’They’ve got great athletes up there. They’ve got size. To me they have more size than Mississippi State had when it comes to weight in the inside guys. Really good speed on the outside. Of course they had that last year and it certainly affected us. They do a tremendous job with it, and you have to find a way to negate it. Their defensive coordinator is a good friend of mine and he’s always done a good job with the pass rush.’’

How do you think your team has performed in the red zone so far this year, with it being a point of emphasis in the offseason?

‘’I feel like the work there has paid off offensively pretty good. Statistics can lie in that, too, because sometimes you’re 100 percent but you may not be scoring touchdowns. We have our own way of measuring statistics in the red zone. It’s different from the SEC’s numbers. Sometimes those are misleading, but defensively I felt we should have kept them out of the end zone a couple of times, or held them to field goals but weren’t able to. We’ll continue getting better at it. We emphasize it, so hopefully we’ll get a return on it. But humility is a week away.’’

Are you satisfied with the progress that your freshman defensive backs have made so far?

‘’Some are, but I’ll be honest with you. Some aren’t. Some can’t handle the not playing. When the first game comes, you think you’re gonna play. Second game comes, you figure you’re going to play. By the time the third and fourth games come, and you haven’t played, you tend to lose focus. And we’ve got a group of those guys that can’t stay focused, can’t stay involved, can’t carry over from meetings. I’ll be honest with you. I’m not disappointed in them. I’ve just come to realize that some kids mature faster than others. They’ll get it. I mean, there are guys that are juniors here now that didn’t get it their first year. So they’ll get it eventually, but not all of them are improving. Some of them aren’t learning like they need to. But the ones that can help us, we’re gonna make ‘em improve.’’

In your experience, how common is it to lose some of them, engagement-wise?

‘’Very common. They’ve got to stay involved. I tell them all the time during camp, 100 times we tell them, that you’d better get involved in special teams, or you may not be on the bus. The bus only has 70 people on it, and it’s tough to make a 70-man roster here now, because they competition has increased a lot.’’

What are the challenges facing Tennessee’s quarterback Dormady?

‘’He does a great job. I mean, the guy makes a lot of throws. I haven’t seen him up close in person, but he makes a lot of great throws. He has very good arm talent, makes good decisions, so it’ll be a challenge. They do a great job with their offense. They mix it up a lot. They’ve got a lot of great things they do. They always have. Butch has done that since he was at Cincinnati.’’

What’s your assessment of (Tennessee TB) John Kelly and how does he compare to some other backs you’ve seen?

‘’He’s one of the best backs I’ve seen, really in a long time. This is what I think of him. He runs through arm tackles. He’s extremely physical. He’s violent in his blow delivery. I mean, this guy stiff-arms, he’s hit people all over the place. The guy has incredible leg drive. I thought that last year about him. This year he’s like Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd altogether in one. The guy runs hard and he doesn’t seem to get tired. The more carries he gets, the more physical he runs. Some of those runs he had at the end of the game against Florida were really impressive. I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a competitor.’’

John Atkins
(Photo by Andy Harrison)
What does John Atkins mean to your defense?

‘’He’s the heart of the trench. He really is. Without him, the guards and centers are getting up on Roquan Smith. He does a tremendous job of block recognition. When the center turns to go block somebody else, he immediately knows who’s blocking him. He strikes, he holds the point down. A lot of our defense is predicated off not being able to move him. And the less people move him, the more success we have. He takes a lot of pride in that. There is no glory in what he does. He’s got thumbs, ankles, wrists. He’s battered, but he loves it and he never complains.’’

How much did you work on getting your team’s minds right, coming off the win last Saturday?

‘’We worked hard on it Monday. We had conversations about it. We didn’t do a whole lot today. Tuesday is a work day. You can rah-rah ‘em every day. I mean, they’ve got to take ownership of it, and the leadership of this team has done a good job with that. I was worried today wouldn’t be a great day. I thought it would be a little lackluster. But it wasn’t that way. They got out there and worked and competed, and I hope it’s the same way tomorrow.’’

Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Press Conference

UGA Sports Communications

The 4-0 and No. 7-ranked Dawgs spent time with media on Monday to preview Saturday’s game against Tennessee. Kickoff for this weekend’s contest is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET in Knoxville, Tennessee on CBS. 

Head coach Kirby Smart, along with several players, offered the following comments during Monday’s media session. 

Head Coach Kirby Smart 

Opening comments … 

“We're excited for the opportunity to play a good Tennessee football team that's 3-1. We know a lot about them. They know a lot about us. We get to play each year. Of course that was my crossover game where I was before, so I knew a lot about their program and the game last year.

We'll be traveling with probably over half the guys who have never been to Knoxville, never played in that environment with probably over 35 of our 70 guys having never set foot in that stadium before. So any time you go on the road in the SEC it presents a lot of challenges from a crowd noise standpoint, and they always do a tremendous job of being really loud up there. They do a great job. That's a tough place to play.

So our focus is on Tennessee, and trying to get better and improve during the week.

On freshman quarterback Jake Fromm playing in an environment like Neyland Stadium … 

“Any quarterback that plays there knows it's tough to play in that crowd noise. Obviously Jacob Eason has played in those environments before when he's played all over the SEC. I'd like to think Notre Dame was very loud at times. We didn't have to go on silent a whole lot, but we had to practice it all week, so Fromm has dealt with that from that standpoint.”

On if last year’s game is any motivation … 

“You have to be careful psychologically with that. Our guys, we talk about it every Thursday we go over that play, and every Thursday before that play we always have -- that's what you do on Thursday, every college in America works on Hail Mary and that play. So you try to execute it best you can. But more important than that was the discipline to stay on the sideline and keep your helmet on and execute prior to that so that it doesn't come down to that. But certainly that play is a factor. But there were a lot of plays in that game that were a factor. We don't use that as motivation. Our motivation is about us and trying to get better.”

On addressing the controversy in the NFL with his team … 

“Yeah, with our team we have a leadership committee that we formed and we meet with them regularly. It's a topic that comes up. Came up last year. We talked to them about it. Haven't talked to them about it much this year. We let those guys bring it up and talk about things when they need to and address it as a team, but that's not one that's come up regularly. Of course, we're not out there during the National Anthem anyway.”

On the possibility of playing sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason …

“Correct, possibly count on Eason. That's the deal. We don't know. Possibility, yeah. We'll bring him out there and see where he is just like we did last week. We think he's closer because last week he improved as the week went on. We expect the same thing. Again, I'm coming in here after three days off for him because he didn't do anything Friday. Then Saturday he went out and warmed up some, and Sunday he didn't do anything. So we'll find out a lot more today based on practice and the reps he's able to take.”

On back to his playing days and how things went after big wins … 

“I don't go back to my playing days much, I'll be honest with you. I don't remember that far back. I would try to use examples of things, but I've done that from more of a coaching standpoint, not from a playing standpoint. I just don't remember many of those games, and I don't think those games are relevant to now. We try to preach to our guys that every game has a history and life of its own, and every game is independent of the next game. If you try to relive or live in the past based on your last performance, humility is a week away. It doesn't matter. No team cares what you did last week. They don't care. Nobody in the SEC cares what you did last week. They only care what you do this week, and that's the focus this week.”

On the status of redshirt-freshman offensive lineman Solomon Kindley … 

“We don't know if he'll be able to go or not. We'll find out a lot more today. As I said, we didn't go out and do anything yesterday, so we find out today a lot more — get to see what they can do. Certainly we have other guys capable of playing guard because we've been through this injury already once.”

On Tennessee playing two quarterbacks in Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano … 

“Yeah, he's a good athlete. He played a lot Saturday. He’s a good player. I think they can use both of them in similar ways. But he's certainly a good athlete that can mix it up and do some things like (Joshua) Dobbs did.”

On the potential of Jake Fromm remaining the starting quarterback…

“I'm going to say it again. The focus for Jacob Eason is to get healthy and be part of this game plan and learn what to do. The focus for Fromm is to focus on improving and getting better. The point for both of them is to have team vision, to have the goal to make the team better. Both are working on that. It's not just about them individually. Jacob Eason has to focus on getting healthy, getting 100%. Jake Fromm has to focus on getting better and improving. While they're both doing that, they both have the team goal and vision in mind.”

On the battle of choosing a starting quarterback from the coach’s perspective…

“I'll be honest with you, I want the one that gives us the best opportunity to win to play quarterback. You tell me, who is that? Tell me who it is. I can't answer that. It's based on the performance during the week. How do I look at it? I look at it like Malkom Parrish. Does anybody know? Did you all count the reps or any of that? Malkom Parrish was coming off an injury. I know he plays a different position, but Malkom Parrish played some on third down. He didn't play the whole time, but you could argue he's a starter. He's a starter. Why didn't he go out there and start? He's 100%. He's able to do some things but not everything. I view every position the same where competition creates and breeds success. That's what we've sold this program on. Developing competition throughout practice and it will continue to be that way at all positions.”

On the challenge of Tennessee’s Marquez Callaway and Georgia’s secondary…

“The challenge Tennessee presents, Marquez Callaway is a really good player. I think Brandon Johnson is a kid who I watched practice several times in high school. He's a really good player. He had a big game last week. I know they've been hit by the injury bug, those two players. I have a lot of respect for Josh Smith. He's a kid that has played really well for them. When I was at Alabama he was really physical. He plays well in the slot. They have a good receiving corps. As far as our secondary, we want to continue to improve.”

On defenders trying to knock the ball loose from opponents, and how much of that is done in practice versus reacting in that moment…

“I would think that we practice that a lot. That's our objective is to knock the ball off of them, tackle them and catch it, get yards after catch. I'll be honest with you, sometimes in practice I get extremely frustrated because we don't do as well in practice as we do in games.

So we've got a really good look squad and a quarterback over there that can sling it pretty good. He's frustrating in practice because they're more open than they are in games right now. So we've got to continue to improve that and that's what we'll keep doing today.

On improvements in the secondary and buying into Coach Tucker’s philosophy…

“Well, they bought into it last year. I don't think it was a situation of against the philosophy, because I'll be dead honest with you, the philosophy didn't change a whole lot. Because the guy that was here before was similar in nature to what we believe in. So there wasn't a change in philosophy. I think they have had a lot of reps on it. I think Deandre Baker is playing pretty well. I think we have had a lot of other positions by committee because we've had to rotate some guys all over. I certainly think pressure and loss-yardage plays, tackle for loss has helped the quarterback make a quicker decision. So the play of Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy and the guys up front do have an effect on the back end. We have to continue to improve in the secondary because we see lapses every week in practice that can't happen in games.”

On Neyland Stadium being such a tough environment…

“It’s loud, loud, loud. They're right on top of you, and they've got two people in every one seat. You know that. It's loud. It's tough.”

On Malkom Parrish embody the defensive plan…

“Yeah, it's a tremendous help in practice because I never get to give Malkom his due credit. Up until he got injured in camp he was having one of the best camps. That was the one injury blow that hurt me as a coach because he was number one in effort in practice, number one in toughness. Not all corners like to hit people. He likes it, and he was doing things the right way. To have that happen to him was just bad circumstances. It’s part of the game, injuries happen. But he has not complained once. He's been in every meeting since. He's out there cheering guys on, coaching on the younger guys. So it's great to get his spirit back, his energy back, because he has an impact on it. The other night a lot of players would not have done what he did, not be 100%, but be cleared and be willing to go in the game and go play at the risk of possibly getting beat or looking bad. He didn't care. He was like, "I'm going to give you all I've got, Coach," and that is a consummate professional to me.”

On the depth at running back and the challenge of choosing who plays…

“I think anytime you have the running backs we have, you do have to find ways to get them the ball. Some of them are better in some ways than others, and we leave that to the opponents and you guys to figure out what that is. But each one of our guys is probably a little better at something than the other one. The thing I'm most proud of is the job Coach (
Dell McGee has done of getting those guys to buy into special teams. People don't notice, but D'Andre Swift is on punt. He's on punt return. Sony Michel is a starter on punt and he's elite. There was a play the other night, you don't know it, he's standing down there in front of the guy's face, and he does that every day in practice. Nick Chubb has always been really involved. He's not as involved this year, but he always has been. I'm really proud of the way they're doing, and Elijah Holyfield can help us on special teams in the future.

On Elijah Holyfield not playing against Mississippi State…

“He just never got an opportunity to. The lot of guys didn't play. Shoot, we want to get him on special teams, get him involved, we just didn't get an opportunity.”

On knowing the talent of J.R. Reed and the defense in general…

“Spring practice is when we knew (about J.R. Reed’s talent). Because when he got here, I guess, in the fall of last year, we knew he couldn't play. So we didn't put him out there in a bunch of situations. He was kind of confused, figuring the defense out. Then the spring came and he did a good job on the scout team last year. Coaches saying, “hey man, J.R. Reed's going to be a good player”. But he's looking at a card. Then when the spring came, and it was like, this guy's a starter. So we were proud of that. As far as the defense, I think there have been good defensive players at Georgia for a long time. It's getting them to play well, putting the right package together, and putting the perfect storm together with the talent that we had, and getting these guys to play well. I'll be honest with you, I didn't think we played really well in the spring. I told you all that repeatedly and I don't change that. We still have not played our best. We still have guys that do not strike blockers the right way and do it the right way consistently. We have a couple guys that turn down hits. I know to you guys we're looking at stats and the numbers, but there are several plays in that game that are this far from being the other way that we don’t do it right, and we've got to make those plays.”

On coming from a program that was not quarterback centric and building his own philosophy…

“That's a hard question to answer. I look at that program as being in the past. I'm trying to build this one on the philosophies that we believe in, which is toughness, effort, being physical, being dominant at the line of scrimmage, having big, physical people, winning on special teams. The quarterback is a piece of that puzzle, right? Some people would say he's the centerpiece of that puzzle. To who it is, that to me is each and every year it will be independent of the previous. Who is the best quarterback? No. But really, the program does not revolve around the quarterback it revolves around the culture. When you get the culture right, it takes care of the other.”

On the challenges Fromm will face in his second road game…

“Well, the obvious to that would be the crowd noise because it is going to be loud. I understand the multiple defense. Coach Shoop does a great job. He always has, of changing it up and doing some things. They present a lot of challenges with their defense. So he'll be focused on attacking them, not necessarily living in the past. I think Jake (Fromm) does a good job of game planning and aspect of watching film and studying tape.”

Senior Tailback Sony Michel

On coming back following sitting out the Samford game …

“It felt good. I was able to go out there and play a little bit of football enough to run the ball a couple of times and help get some good yardage and put the team in good position. Enough to play my part and my role for this team”

On if last year’s game against Tennessee motivates the team going into this week…

“You never want to take an “L”, but that was last year, it’s in the past. What we want to do is build for the future and right now we are just focused on this year and this year’s team. They (Tennessee) have a different team from last year. They don’t have the same players or different personnel groups so we kind of have to go off of that and move from there.”

On recent high scoring games against Tennessee…

“It is an SEC game, it is going to be a fourth-quarter game. I’m sure most of our guys on our team know that and we are going to go into battle focused. We have to have a good week of practice, it is not a week off or just another game, but we just have to really focus on playing Georgia football.”

On Kirby Smart’s management of hype around team…

“He is just doing a tremendous job on telling us how hard we need to work each week to prepare for a team. We haven’t had our team meeting this week yet but i’m sure his message is going to be strong for our team. It is going to be affective and I’m sure everybody on the team will be willing to buy in.”

Junior Center Lamont Gaillard

On if his play against Mississippi State was his best yet…

“It could of been my best game, I don’t really look at it like that. I just think about doing my job and just doing me. If I do that then we are all going to be on the same page. When I go out there, I just play.”

On the offensive line’s performance versus Mississippi State…

“I think we did good against Mississippi State in pass protection, but we can do better, a lot better. This week we have to just focus on us, not really them. But they have good defensive players and we’ll learn from them. We just have to be ready for this week.”

Graduate Defensive Back Aaron Davis

On improvements the secondary can make…

“We definitely left a lot of plays out there as far as turnovers. I feel like I dropped two interceptions, J.R. felt like he could have had his hands on a few. We can definitely pull more turnovers, help our team out, help the defense out, create big momentum plays. I feel like that’s something we can always do. As far as better discipline on every single snap and communicating with each other will all help us be a better secondary.”

On last year’s Tennessee game serving as motivation this week…

“Not at all. Last year is last year’s team. They have a new team, we have a new team. Last year’s not a motivation for us. We’re just looking at it as the next game, so it’s the most important game for us.”

On the physicality of the secondary…

“That’s something we pride ourselves on, being physical. We don’t want to be known as the secondary who’s afraid to tackle or anything like that. So it’s something we pride ourselves on, something we practice everyday, so being a tough secondary can only help the team in all areas. That’s something that we definitely look to have in us.”

On Malkom Parrish…

“That’s been Malkom since the day he’s been here. He’s someone that’s going to work hard, bust his tail to do whatever he can to get on the playing field. When he gets on the playing field, he’s been playing very well for quite some time. That’s the type of guy Malkom is, and we appreciate him. He’s tough. We always say he’s one of the toughest dudes on the team, so we appreciate everything he does. Anytime he puts himself out there on the field, whether he’s completely 100 percent or not, we know we’re going to get everything he has from him."
UGA Sports Communications

(Photo by Perry McIntyre Jr.)
Georgia true freshman Jake Fromm has been named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week following his performance in the win over #17 Mississippi State, according to a league announcement. 

Fromm, a native of Warner Robins, extended his record to 3-0 as a starter thanks to leading the Dawgs to a 31-3 rout of MSU.  He started the game a perfect 8-for-8 for 160 yards and a touchdown in the opening half and finished 9-for-12 for a career-high 201 yards and two touchdowns.

Fromm began the contest with a flea flicker and after senior tailback Nick Chubb tossed the ball back to him, Fromm connected with junior receiver Terry Godwin for a career-long 59-yard touchdown. This victory marked Fromm’s second victory over a top-25 ranked squad in the last three weeks as he fills in for injured starter Jacob Eason.

Game Time Set

UGA Sports Communications

The Saturday, October 7th, SEC football game between Georgia and Vanderbilt in Nashville will kick off at 12:00 noon. ET and be televised by either the SEC Network, ESPN, or ESPN2.

The network will be determined following games of September 30th.

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.

Turnovers:

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.