Saturday, November 3, 2018

Post Game Quotes

UGA Sports Communications

Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement…

“Well, first off I want to give a lot of credit to Mark Stoops and his program. What he’s done here to create this kind of atmosphere and to have a game of this magnitude in Lexington, Kentucky says that the SEC is a tough place to play. There are some good coaches in this league and I have gotten to know Mark over the years and this group of seniors he has is really tremendous and they play really hard. 

Our kids continue to be resilient, I will say again as I have said many times we are a work in progress. We make things extremely difficult at times but they just keep playing physical. A lot of credit goes to our offensive line today. To rush for 331 yards against any team in the SEC is pretty tremendous. Our backs and tight ends are a big part of that as well as the receivers blocking. Defensively, we felt like we had to stop the run early and we did just that. We probably didn’t finish the game like we wanted to and got a little conservative but give them credit they made some plays. Our kids played hard, but we played really hard on special teams. Special teams are always a big part of the game but when you lose players within a game and you’re able to answer the bell and put other guys in it’s tremendous. Trey Hill grew up today and Kendall Baker played a lot and we continue to play guys and it’s shown that depth is critical to our success on the offensive line.”

On what it means to him to win another SEC East title …

“It’s huge. It hasn’t been easy and it’s never easy. Sometimes I think people get spoiled when you win and these are good programs and teams. I give our kids a lot of credit because their backs were against the wall two weeks in a row and they came out fighting, scratching and crawling. I thought that the play by Mecole Hardman to start the punt return was a huge momentum play in the game and set the tone for the rest of the game.”

On establishing the run game …

“We always want to establish the run. I think every team wants to establish the run and sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t. We didn’t know how well we would be able to block them. They are massive up front and have good outside backers but we were able to lean on them and our backs really ran well. Trey, I mean to be honest with you, there were times during fall camp that we thought Trey was going to be a starter, at least I did. We kind of tossed the idea around a couple of times but he has just continued to work. A lot of these freshmen on our team are highly regarded, talented players that just keep working and take on their roles just like Justin, just like all the other guys. Adam Anderson played more tonight, Channing Tindall played, Otis Reese played, I mean these guys are taking on their roles and growing as players. Trey really did that and the unique thing about him is that he took snaps of defense a lot this week but ended up playing all offensive line.”

On D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield’s future careers after tonight’s performance…

“I mean, they have always been good players. They had good open holes, they ran hard, receivers blocked well, they continued to run hard and are very confident in the group in front of them. I think Coach Jim Chaney had a good plan against what was a really good defense. I mean teams struggle to score against them mainly because of their experience, they have veterans in the back end, and they don’t make a lot of mistakes. You gotta grind out points and we know we grind out a lot of threes where we should be scoring touchdowns.”

Jake Fromm, Sophomore, Quarterback

On what this win meant to the team …

“Great feeling. Praise God for this win. It was tough fought. Hard, physical game, and I think it just goes back to the way we practiced during camp. The grind that we have been going through all season. You kinda saw it play out here today.”

On winning the SEC East …

“This one has been more of a battle, so to speak. A lot of people kind of doubted us a little bit and that hasn't phased us one bit in the locker room. We’re still coming out swinging and that’s what I love about this team. That’s what I love about my teammates.”

Jeremiah Holloman, Soph, Wide Receiver

On the team mindset going in …

“Score as many as we can. Whatever we’ve gotta do to be successful. It could have been 10-9 and we would have been happy. Just going out there and doing what we had to do. It just opened up and we were able to make plays and get points on the board.”

On predictions prior to big match-ups like today …

“Inside the building, we’re all good. We know what we've gotta take care of to be successful. That’s what it comes down to. People on the outside are going to say what they want to say, but we just do what we've gotta do.”

Elijah Holyfield, Junior, Running Back

On how winning the title this year was different than last year …

“This time we had to come up here and come into hostile territory and win it ourselves. It feels really special and we just look forward to finishing out the season the right way and getting to Atlanta.”

On Georgia’s work ethic …

“I do put in a lot of work and I think as it starts to pay off towards the end of the season, I feel like whenever other people start to die down we keep going because of our work ethic here at Georgia. I look forward to the next game and the next game after that.”

Monty Rice, Soph, Linebacker

On stopping Benny Snell …

“It was big for me and the whole defense. It was the emphasis for the whole week. It was big to slow him down and not let him get those big runs that he’s used to. I watched a lot of tape and he ripped off some big teams and falling forward for two extra yards and getting five yards a carry—it was nice to slow him down.”

On having a lot of white jerseys surrounding the ball in the middle …

“It was big running to the ball. Tuesday and Wednesday those are our full pad days. Against a scout team, we had to get 11 guys to the ball every play—just gang tackling the guy with the ball and just play fast.”

On if this defense is rounding into form with their young guys …

“We got a lot of players that can come in and make plays. That was like, Channing Tindall's second play in the game coming in and making a big stop in the red zone that’s huge. When they get down to the red zone you want to hold them to a field goal so that was big on Channing.” 

Jonathan Ledbetter, Senior, Defensive End

On how he’s feeling right now …

“I mean I feel like I’m a winner. I’m on fire inside right now. I’m ready to go back to my team and congratulate everyone that worked hard and you know everyone played their heart out today. Like I said, our backs against the wall and we’re gonna answer the call every time. I’m proud of everybody.”

On the celebration …

“We just celebrated that was it. I held up the little poster that sad SEC East Champs on it and that’s it. We’re gonna get on the plane watch the tape and go over it as soon as we get on the plane. It’s on to the next game. It’s important to us, we know this is a stepping stone, but this is not where we put our pads up. We stay relevant in the moment. You keep working. No one cares that we’re the SEC Champs except for the SEC East, but we’re on to the next thing. The SEC is over with and now it’s time for the SEC Championship.”

On stopping Snell …

“We knew what it was going to take. We knew we had to wrap him up, take him down and put him on the ground. He’s a powerful running back and gets a lot of carries every game but we wanted to use that to our advantage and knock him around a little bit and take him off of his game. He played well—he played okay, but he’s a great player, but we executed and played like a defense.”

D’Andrew Swift, Soph, Running Back

On his run today…

“That’s my favorite one now.”

On having 100 yards back-to-back game …

“Coming back from an injury it’s hard to do what I want to do, so just going out there and being able to do it, I’m thankful. I’m definitely happy.”

On being patient offensively …

“We just try to wear teams down as the game goes. We’re a fourth quarter team that’s how we practice so just trying to wear them down as the game goes is our mindset.”

Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops

Really you have to give credit to Georgia. They beat us in all phases. Really played a good football game. There's many things we will take from this. We can learn an awful lot.

Definitely was not our best effort. Not for lack of trying, but our team really had a good week of preparation and were excited to play. We did not execute at times. At times we got out-manned. We missed more tackles than I could remember. Didn't execute a few things.

But you've got to give them credit. You've heard me talk for many times and they are sitting there, if they rush for 300-yards plus, you're not going to win very games. Obviously we have to get back and fundamentally get better.

I thought they moved us. They made us miss. They did a nice job with their pinch sets, bouncing it. Our run support, a lot of things we can do better, and again, a lot of that has to do with them. That's why they do that to a lot of people. What they do is complicated and it's difficult to defend with some athletes that they have in space. We'll get better. Our team will get back on track and we'll be excited to get back to work on Monday.

Does this loss hurt a little bit more than the other one, compared to what was at stake for this game and all the hype leading up to it?

Of course. Any time you invest as much as we do into these games and put ourselves in that position, it's going to hurt. You know, that's what I told the team. We invested a lot, and I understand that. But we can't, one, make this loss turn into two.

So we have to get back to work and regroup and be committed on Monday.

After Darius West was ejected, I noticed that you took him around your arms you and were talking to him and you want to mention what you were saying to him?

No, I mean, that's -- I don't even recall all of it to be honest with you. Darius is a great kid and he's poured his heart into it, and he's an emotional guy. Just wanted to put my arm around him and make sure he regrouped himself, and you know, go the to the locker room and got everything under control. Don't remember exactly what I said.

How encouraging to see the team continue to fight when they went down 28-3?

That doesn't surprise me. The fight is there. We've got to do some things better. The long run, really, that one really broke it open, and there are some things -- they do a nice job with their cracking and we were filling off that. Just give them a little space. You know, they are difficult. They are very physical and all those yards just don't come from that. They get the movement and then they did a nice job with cracks and then they are so fast. There's a little bit of room there and they are ripping off some big runs. It's not just pushing you around inside. What they do and how they scheme it, it's good. You have to be very precise.

I'm looking at the video of the ejection right now and it looked like the ref initiated contact. Did you say something to him?

I really don't think it's wise for me to comment on that. Again, I don't know. I didn't see anything. I have no idea. But you know, I'll put it this way, I know Bunchy's heart and I know he's an emotional guy and I don't think he was trying to be disrespectful. But if he put his hand and tried to grab for whatever reason, you can't do that.

Again, if he did that, if he touched him in any way, even if he's emotional, I don't think he meant it in a disrespectful way, let's put it that way. I know Bunchy and I know where his heart's at, and the rule is the rule.

This is the first time your team had been in this position on this stage, do you think that played any factor at all?

I don't know. I think our team, you know, all week had great preparation. I thought we stayed in our routine against a very, very good team like that, you have to execute extremely precise along with being athletic, physical, all the things that they do and they have done. They have explosive guys on both sides of the line of scrimmage. You know, both sides. You have to play better.

So I think our team is very experienced and we put ourselves to play in games and we will continue to learn.

Regarding the team's miss tackles

You've got to give them credit. There's a lot of one-on-one situations that happened out there and the speed with which they have definitely is difficult to defend. It's one of the reasons why they have been Top-5 team the past two years.

You said you can't turn this into two losses. How do you make sure there's not a letdown?

You let them lean on the leaders of this football team. The guys, they are good in there. We got beat tonight, and we have to regroup and go about our business. We have strong leaders in there and I anticipate that we'll be ready to go.
The missed tackles, do you think the guys in casts -- do you think that played any role?

It doesn't help. It doesn't help. You know, late in the game, we're basically in four-minute defense and you notice, that's what I was walking with Coach House about. We had Chris and DeAndre in there, I think both in there on the long run, on the long touchdown run.

So as experienced as we are, when you take those guys out of the middle, you go to very inexperienced. But I thought they did some good things and it doesn't help with two guys in there trying to tackle with those on.

Regarding the atmosphere at Kroger Field

It was a great atmosphere. Wish we had given them a few more things to cheer about but really appreciate it. That was a fantastic atmosphere, and again, that's what it's like playing in an SEC venue. I'd like to create it where it's like that every week.

Did you think coming into the game that their running game and offensive line could be a match up problem, or did that surprise you a little bit?
Well, I don't think we ever go into the game thinking we're going to give up those kind of yards. Again, it's a combination of things. It's not just physically, you know, moving you. They do do that well. They definitely create space. They are very well-coached on the offensive line and the sets that they give you create issues with their pinch sets. They make, you know, some smaller guys, some of our corners come up and aren't quite used to it and they create some edges. There was some things we need to do better.

Anything going on on your side with the running game?

They are pretty darned good. You've got to give them credit.

You know, we'll continue to look at all options. You know, we had some good drives early in the game, and then we Pete erred out and we stalled, and got to look at it and see why. I'd like to see us, you know, punch some of those in to give us some -- make it closer there at the half.

We need to be more balanced, and this time, it's Terry throwing for more yards; we need to run it some more. But I thought Terry was, again, taking another step today. I thought he really did a good job of hanging in the pocket and distributing the ball against a very talented defense. We need to build off that and be physical and run the ball more effectively.

How much did it hurt not being able to cash in on some of those early drives?

It's definitely a factor. Definitely hurts the energy and the confident. Again, I thought we had some good drives. We've just got to finish them.

You said you could learn things from this. What types of things do you want the team to learn?

Well, many things. Like the execution from a top three, four, five team, the execution that they have and they are obviously very talented. They are well-coached. But you have to be very precise and we have to win some of those one-on-one matchups. We have to do a better job with coaching starting with me and everybody on down. We'll all accept it together and we'll keep on fighting to get back in that position.

The offense had some success the last two weeks when you were forced to go fast late in the games. Can you use that in other situations or is that because the defense --

Yeah, I think we may. We may. I mean, we have to look at that. I mean, Terry certainly looks comfortable right now, just straight drop-back and he's doing some good things. The receivers are working hard, and be nice to build off that.

How much was Benny held back by his ankle in the second half?

I think a bit. I don't know, I didn't get an update from Jim, but definitely I would think a little bit. I don't know. I have to get caught up with Jim.

It was such a great atmosphere, everybody in their seats. How big was that?

Yeah, it was big. We start the game, get great punt return, get great field position -- and that obviously is not good. We need to do a better job. We had worked hard with their punt return. We know how electric he was, and we really wanted to put that -- we wanted to place that better. Max has done a super job, but one thing you can't do is out-kick your coverage right down the middle of the field against that return guy. That was not in our game plan, so we've got to do a better job.

Benny Snell Jr., Running Back

On what the mood was after the game …

“Some of the young guys had their head down. The leaders were telling us that we were up, me, Josh (Allen), Terry (Wilson), Kash (Daniel). Telling guys to pick their head up, we still got more games to play. It’s fresh, we’re fresh off the loss, but we still got a good Tennessee team to play. We still got games we got to win. I feel them being down, but we gotta get up, we gotta get up.”

On if the veteran guys have a different perspective on the loss, knowing where the program has come from …

“That’s what I was trying to explain to some of the guys, like you see the fans, how long some of the good, loyal fans stayed? Even when it was going down south they were still out there, they were still supporting us. That just explains how far we came, how we came as a program, how better we’ve gotten throughout the season. I just tell the guys that we got more games ahead of us. This is the best we’ve ever been. We’re doing great things, so I don’t tell the guys to dwell their head.”

On if there’s a reason the offense is more successful when they move faster …
“We try to catch the defense off guard a lot. We try to hit them with trick plays, we wear them out with the run, the pass is starting to come a long way now. Lynn (Bowden Jr.) is doing a great job at catching the ball, as well as C.J. (Conrad). Things are looking good, so we’re gonna keep have the defense guessing. That’s what we do.”

Josh Allen, Linebacker 

On how he avoids letting this loss linger …

“We know where our heads are at. We know what we have to do next week. This game is in the past, we just gotta learn from our corrections and just move on and hopefully start Monday we can get back to practice and get a win next week.”

On what Georgia’s offense did to have so much success …

“They were just making good plays. Backs made a lot of good cuts, as you can tell. I feel like our front, defensive line, handled the job pretty well. They were just finding holes, and they found a weakness in the defense and they were just going with it and made a lot of explosive plays.”

On the two fumble recoveries …

“I saw a loose ball and I had to go get it for my team. It just happened to be me. I was in the situation and I had to make a play.”

C.J. Conrad, Tightend

On the biggest take away from the game …

“You just have to play better in big moments. They’re a really good football team, credit to them. When you play a really good football team, you have to play as close to perfect as you can, and we weren’t close to that tonight.”

On catching the screen …

“It was a fumble. It was a really bad play by myself. It’s something that you can’t do as a leader on this team. Luckily, the defense had my back and got a fumble themselves a few plays later. It’s obviously disappointing and I need to do better.”

On Terry Wilson …

“I thought Terry played really well tonight. I’m proud of him, and I think he’s growing really well as a quarterback. Good for him. We’re going to need that down the stretch. We have a lot of football games left and we’re going to need him”

 A.J. Rose, Running Back

On rushing the ball …

“Georgia has a great run defense. They came in with a great game plan. We could have executed better on our side. It’s a football game, it goes both ways. I give them credit for that. They came out more hungry than us the first half. In the second half, we didn’t have that much time to catch up, and you can’t play catch up in the SEC.”

On his touchdown …

“We thought it was going to be a back-shoulder pass, but I ended up tipping it. The defender didn’t catch it and I did, and I just made a play. It was all just weird to me. To feel it come back in my hands was weird, it was weird to take it in the end zone. I was just happy to be in the end zone.

On how this loss will affect the team …

“We aren’t going to let this loss turn into two. Tomorrow is Sunday, we’re going to Tennessee, preparing for that week. We can’t let this happen again. We have a goal and we came short of that goal, but we still want to finish the SEC strong.”

Davonte Robinson, Safety

On how Georgia played …

“They came out, they wanted it more. They played hard and hungry. You know, we have to keep getting better and move on to Tennessee. Can’t turn one loss into two.”

On Georgia’s success getting to the edge …

“I just think we weren’t in the right position at the right time. We weren’t gap sound, we’ll get better at that as we practice for Tennessee.

On his performance …

“I feel like I can do better, it wasn’t a great day, I had eight tackles, but it wasn’t the best.”

Terry Wilson, Quarterback

On the loss today …

“It’s just a mindset, we’ll get back and watch the film and then approach practice with a full head of steam – go out there and have fun with practice. We can’t get our head down or anything, we got to stay close as a team and know what we need to do to fix it.”

On comfort level as quarterback …

“I felt comfortable out there, I feel like I was moving the ball pretty well down the field. I didn’t have any turnovers so that was a plus. I feel like when we have the tempo that’s when we’re able to move the ball fast and get the ball down the field. Who knows, we’ll probably do more of that.”

On Kentucky’s mood after the game …

“This team is special. I know we’ll win out. The thing about this team is that we’re not going to give up. We have to continue to play hard and just keep getting after it. Keep working, we’re deep in SEC games. We can’t get complacent and don’t get lazy and just stay united as a team and we’ll be fine.”

On Kentucky’s yardage and points … 

“There is a difference with both, I feel like we were moving the ball pretty well, but sometimes we get penalties, but we’ll correct it. I started to trust my arm talent so I feel more confident.”

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