Thursday, September 12, 2019

Dawgs Getting Ready For Red Wolves

UGA Sports Communications

The third-ranked Dawgs held a two-hour workout Wednesday as they finalize preparations for their upcoming game versus Arkansas State.

Georgia (2-0) plays host to the Red Wolves (1-1) at noon on Saturday at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.

Before practice, Georgia coach Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Football Weekly Media Teleconference and provided an update on the Dawgs. Selected comments from Smart are below:

Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement

“Our team is excited to get a second week at home and play what I think is an extremely talented Arkansas State team. They’ve got some great skill players and Blake (Anderson) does an incredible job with those guys and especially dealing with some of the personal losses he’s had and to be able to get back out there with the guys. They had a very emotional win last week at UNLV. They’ll come in here ready to play.”

On ASU skill players including wide receivers

“It’s a great challenge. They’ve got skilled athletes as good as we’ll face. There’s a bunch of them. They’ve got great size. They play the ball really well in the air. They spread you out, and they’re not easy to cover. Their spacing is such that they cover the width of the field. They do a great job of packaging those plays with their run game.”

Where Georgia improved last week

“I thought we executed a little better than we did against Vandy. We had a few bumps in the road at Vandy. We played a little cleaner, not quite as many penalties. We tackled a little better. You could probably argue that we weren’t playing the same skill level as Vandy playing Murray State. We got a lot of other areas that we still can improve on, and that’s what’s important to me this week is to see the improvement from week two to week three.”

On Leadership of the team at this point

“It’s hard to tell. We’ve had a really good camp. The guys really led well the last two weeks. We’ve had good practices this week. It’s been really hot. We had a couple good practices and some poor ones. Our leaders have to be our best practice players and the ones that set the tone, and the way you do that is how you practice.”

On the play of the Defensive Line to date

“We’re playing with a lot of effort and playing a lot of guys by committee. We were a little more disruptive this last game which is easier to do on that kind of team that throws first, Air-Raid type deal. The verdict is still out for our entire team. We don’t find out who we really are until you get into some tough, adverse situations. We know this weekend and weekends coming as the level of competition continues to goes up, we have to play well.”

On the Running Game including Zamir White

“They’ve done a good job. Our front has been able to get movement, create space and get some perimeter and inside run where we’re not limited to just inside run only. Any time you make people aware you can attack the perimeter in the run game as well as inside, it’s harder to defend. The test will increase this weekend because they have an extremely athletic front, and they cause a lot problems with their disruption inside.

“He looks more and more confident. I think the initial getting the ball, reading his keys and the burst and acceleration is starting to come back. The acceleration through contact I thought we saw a little bit of that last week. He continues to grow with that and will allow him to improve and get better.”

Eli Wolf, Senior, Tightend

On his teammate James Cook

"Very talented kid, you can see that on the field. He carries himself well, everything about him. He is slippery. Kind of reminds me of Alvin Kamara a little bit. He is a very talented player. He is hard to tackle; he slips in between defenders very well. "

On settling in at Georgia and when he felt comfortable

"It was pretty quick. With Jake Fromm and Charlie Woerner inviting me in right away to live with them, to get out of the hotel and stay with them. They helped me look for a place with some other teammates. It was not long right after I got here that I felt like family. Everyone just took me in."

On meeting his teammates Jake Fromm and Charlie Woerner

"I met them one visit when I first got here. They came in on Sunday and took time out of their day which showed a lot to me. It meant a lot to me. They are super friendly guys, we just kind of took off from there and they took me right in. It was awesome."

Tyler Simmons, Senior, Wide Receiver

On playing with Eli Wolf

“He had a pretty good game, last game. I really didn’t know he could play that well. He showed to the world and to me that he could really play and he will be a great asset to our team.”

On the block George Pickens had on D’Andre Swift’s long run

“Of course, that’s something that’s overlooked for receivers, blocking downfield; it goes a long way. Of course, I’m pretty hyped about the blocking. I love when receivers make good blocks downfield, it helps bring our other players forward, but we were all pretty excited. … We let [the younger receivers] know since they walked in the door that if you want to play, this is not just an air raid offense, we run the ball too and that requires us to block. For those short runs to become long runs downfield, we have to block those safeties, block those corners, and just get our hands on them.”

On the benefit for an offense to have a guy like James Cook

“When you have a running back that can play slot, that’s already an advantage. When he can learn how to run routes, learn how to catch the ball in space and make moves in space, that’s already an advantage. So we’re using him a lot more in the slot and trying to using him to our advantage.”

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