Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Wednesday Press Conference

UGA Sports Communications

After opening up Southeastern Conference play with two road games, second-ranked Georgia continued preparations Wednesday for its upcoming SEC home opener with Tennessee.

The Dawgs conducted a two-hour workout in full pads at the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking on the SEC Head Coaches Weekly teleconference before practice, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said the Dawgs are excited to be playing between the hedges Saturday. Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) began SEC action with a 41-17 road victory over No. 24 South Carolina on Sept. 8 and then last Saturday posted a 43-29 win over Missouri in Columbia. Up next, Georgia faces the Volunteers (2-2, 0-1 SEC).

“It’s a big rivalry game for us, a big SEC East challenge,” said Smart. “Traditionally over the last 15-20 years, it has been some really classic battles that usually resulted in a lot of close games. Our kids have practiced well and hopefully getting prepared for a good Tennessee football team.”

Smart was asked about the coaching connections between his staff and Tennessee, and if it impacts the game.

“It seems to happen a lot in the SEC (coaching connections); there’s a lot of guys that have bounced around, been together on the same staff, I think competitively, when you recruit and coach at this level, when you go to hire people, you want people that have been in the conference,” said Smart. “It’s an advantage to have somebody who was recruited or coached in the conference because they know more about it. So what you end up having is guys that have worked together before. Certainly, we have a lot of good friendships and relationships with people on their staff and people that have been here at Georgia. I don’t think it changes the way you prepare, what you do, I think all that is overrated. What happens between the lines is between the players.”

Tennessee is averaging 205 rushing yards a game, and Smart was asked about the Volunteers ground game including their group of tailbacks.

“We’ve talked about it; they run with a purpose; they run with an attitude,” said Smart. “We didn’t tackle very well last week. We didn’t knock guys back, the yards after contact, a lot of times the pile got driven. With these guys, you better strap it up because they run hard. They have good SEC backs. Jeremy Banks comes in and brings added juice. He runs with the intent to create contact and run over you. He’s a physical back, a good SEC player. They’re committed to the run and do a good job with it.”

Georgia blanked the Volunteers 41-0 in Knoxville last season although Tennessee still holds a slim 23-22-2 edge in the series history. The Dawgs will face the Volunteers Saturday with kickoff slated for 3:36 p.m. ET on CBS.

D’Andre Swift, Sophomore, Tailback 

On his evaluation of his play this point in the season…

“I believe there’s more things I can do better but I think I’ve played pretty well in the games that I’ve played. There’s always things to get better on though.”

On adjusting to take the most carries this season…

“Definitely in the treatment room, making sure I’m healthy because I know I’ve gotten more carries than last year so just making sure I’m ready and healthy physically. … My work load is more this year than last year so that comes with it.”

On Tennessee’s defense defending the run…

“Tennessee is a really physical, really fast team so we’ve got to bring our A-game.”

On getting 16 carries, the most of the season, in the Missouri game and looking for that workload regularly…

“If that’s what the coaches give me, I’m ready for whatever. But it felt good to get those carries.”

Solomon Kindley, Soph., Offensive Lineman

On evaluating his play through four games this season…

“I’m playing pretty good, but you know, everybody can always do better, come to practice and work harder. But yea, I’m playing pretty good.”

On what the off-season workload included…

“It wasn’t too much what I’m working on, it was just ‘keep working.’ Don’t stop working, just keep working. Don’t get complacent, just keep doing.”

On coaches giving signs of student-athletes getting complacent…

“When you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do, not practicing the same from week one then going into week seven, they see the type of stuff you’re doing different… they’re going to try and give you signs of what’s going on and after that if you don’t change, it’s on you.”

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