Sunday, September 1, 2019

Post Game Quotes

Kirby Smart

Just your general thoughts on the game, and then we'll take questions. 

First off, I'd like to thank our crowd, our fan base. I think it was pretty obvious that they seemed like they took over the majority of that stadium. It sure felt like a home game with the people there, the fourth quarter lights, pretty special. I think they travel well, and I think Nashville's a great place to go. Our fans all came to be part of it.

We've still got a long way to go. We had a lot of undisciplined penalties and didn't play efficiently in the second half, at least offensively, but I'm proud of our guys. I don't take it lightly when you go on the road in an SEC opener, and when you open up with a couple of touchdowns, two or three touchdowns in a row, I think that's big. We had a lot of young guys on defense step up and play well.

D'Andre said, it kind of felt dead. So much good happened so quickly for you, getting that 21-0 lead, then he said it just kind of felt dead. What leads to those kind of lulls, and how do you snap out of those?

I think Vanderbilt leads to some of those lulls playing hard and not operating efficiently. At the end of the day, we know what kind of boxes we're going to see. We know what kind of fronts we're going to see. We've got to be able to expand and do more things, throw the ball down the field, expand the field, get some of the wideouts involved.

I think Jake can do it. We've got to protect him to be able to do it. Ultimately, we want to come in here and play physical and establish the brand of football that we play, and I thought we did that.

 A couple of short yardage situations, the offensive line kind of got stuck there. Are people going to make something out of that because of its reputation? Are people going to make too much of that, or is that the kind of thing you're going to be critical of as well?

325 yards rushing. I'm not going to get overly concerned about the two we didn't get or the one we didn't get. Certainly a lot of room for improvement, but those guys play physical, and those guys see every front and every box known to man. I'm disappointed we didn't convert those, but that's good, guys. We've got to have a lot of things to work on. That's one of the many things we can continue to improve on. Everything will be exaggerated great, or everything will be exaggerated horrible, and that's just the way it is.

You were glad to see guys doing good things first time for Georgia, Zamir, D. Rob? 

Yeah, I'm excited for those guys. Those guys busted their tail. D. Rob been in there two years busting his tail, got an opportunity to make some plays. I thought he was very comfortable. He was dominant on special teams as a gunner holdup, which he gets no credit for. He and Matt Landers were as dominant a performance as we've ever had out there. He goes as kind of an unsung hero. Zamir did a tremendous job when he got his opportunity.

What is it about Zamir? He seems to bring the Zeus calls every time he comes in the game. Have you had a guy that just, for whatever reason, the fans are so much behind him and so excited by him?

I love him too. He's been through so much. He's a tremendous kid. He's a winner. I love all our kids. He's just another one that's been through a tough time. To see him go out there and have some success, he's so deserving of that. And our medical staff is deserving of a pat on the back for getting him out there because they spent a lot of time on Zamir.

You had a couple of drives at the end of the first half where you gave up some points and then come back in the second half and go four straight three and outs. What kind of led to that?

They stopped us. We didn't execute.

I was talking about you on defense.

I was going to say I didn't know we had four straight three and outs. I didn't realize we had four straight three and outs on defense, but I thought the momentum swung a little bit. Guys started playing a little more aggressive, a little more comfortable. We affected the quarterback on a couple of those where we got to him.

We can have a good defense because we've got a lot of speed. We need some more activity up there in the front. We need to make some more tackles, and we need to stay off people's face masks because we basically gave them 45 yards and two field goals on undisciplined penalties.

Coach, you talked a lot about havoc in the offseason, but you said we may not see a lot of the things you're going to do tonight. Was that because of Vanderbilt's style of play, and how would you grade your team in that area? 

I don't know that I would say you're not going to see it. I thought we had havoc tonight. I don't know what the rate was. I have to see what our numbers were. Between the batted balls, between the sacks, the attacking of the ball -- I thought they played really good in regards to that. I don't know if you're asking me did we not show our whole defense? I don't really know what the question is asking.

Kirby, you talked about over analysis of one game often. What did you learn about your team tonight? 

That we have a chance to be explosive offensively, and we're going to try to be aggressive defensively. I really feel like the backs I kind of knew about. The wideouts got some chances to make some plays, a couple balls. George there, I mean he would have caught one of those if he got an opportunity. It was just out of range for him. A couple other guys made good catches and made plays, so I feel good about that.

It's not like I agree with you that it's going to be blown out of proportion either really positive or they struggled in the second half. It didn't matter to us. All we're doing is going back to work on Monday and going out there and doing good on good and put the hammer down and find out who's going to get better. We've got 72, 73, 74, 75 players, all the way up, that want to be on this trip, and they're going to be out there trying to take somebody's job.

What did you make of Jake Fromm's performance today? 

Jake did a great job. He got a lot of looks, a lot of pressures. He checked. As soon as he saw pressure on one side, he moved it. People don't know what he did that was really, really sound and put us in really good football plays. Some of those explosive runs were because he knew where to put us. Derek mentioned it before the game. It's so comfortable to have a starter there for his third year, and you just know he's not going to put you in bad plays.

You were up 24-6, and you had fourth and two, and you went for it there, and they stopped you. What was your thinking? 

Three score game. Kick a field goal, it's still a three score game. It was an opportunity to make it a four score game, and we felt like we could get it and put the game away. Either way, three scores, you're going to lose.

How challenging is it to have an entirely new cast of receivers in terms of guys who hadn't played for Georgia when they entered the game? Did you have any doubts they'd be able to perform? 

No, I've seen those kids for so long. I didn't think they had their best performance. I thought they were really physical. When you're physical, it makes catching the ball that much easier. They were dominant on the perimeter blocking. Tyler Simmons, Kearis, Cager, Matt, George -- those guys are physical blockers out there on the perimeter, and they punish people, along with the tight ends.

So I think that kind of brings you your catches and gives you an opportunity to catch the ball. We got an opportunity to throw it some. We hit some. We didn't hit some. Vanderbilt did a good job of taking some away.

It's very unusual to come into an SEC opponent and completely take over a stadium. What does it mean to you? 

It says everything about Georgia. University of Georgia is a special place. The reason you all are here is covering Georgia. Georgia is an unbelievable market. It's a great academic institution. They travel well. They love their fans. The fans love the stadium. They love our place. They want to go. I'm proud to be from the University of Georgia.

I'm proud to be an alumni of the University of Georgia, and I know that our fans turn out because they want to be recognized. They want to be great. They want to be part of something special, and so do we. So the two groups align for sure.

So Jordan Davis, what can you say about him and how he was kind of -- he has an emerging role as a sophomore. What do you say about his sophomore year? 

The sky's the limit for Jordan. He's extremely athletic. He's big. He's smart. He's fun to talk to. I mean, he's just entertaining. But Jordan has to work really hard to keep his stamina up. People can negate him by going fast, by going hurry up. They can wear him down.
He's extremely physical. He's a typical SEC D-lineman I can't judge how he played tonight, because I don't know, but I know he was hard to block.

Vandy has three All-SEC players. You got to feel good holding this team without a touchdown. 

I agree with that. I think those three players are good players. If you told me we'd have it without a touchdown. Lipscomb's been here forever. Pinkney has been ferocious in the back, is really good. I know from how we played them last year, we struggled last year now to be able to control these guys. Now, they didn't have a quarterback. That's the big difference, the guy that gets the ball to them. They've got a good football team offensively when it comes to those three guys.

First time in a long time you guys have started with an SEC opponent. How difficult is that when they know you so well and really the room for error gets so much smaller? 

It's all relative. We know them. They know us. It's the first game. It's the second game. Everybody's on a comparable playing field, but the crowd is the biggest thing. You think, when you go on the road, it's going to be hard to play, but it felt like a home game with our fans and all the momentum. It helps having a very established offensive line, established quarterback to be able to go on the road and play your first game.

We grew up some tonight, but guys, we haven't scratched the surface of where we can go. We've got so many things we can improve on. This team has to decide they want to get better. That's all I'm asking them. Do you want to get better, or are you just okay being good? That good is not going to be good enough.

We saw Demetrius Robertson get a bigger part in the offense tonight than any game last year. Is that more about the guys who were here last year being gone or more about an evolution that occurred with him? 

It has something to do with three wide receivers being drafted and being gone. He was just as talented last year as he is now. He just doesn't have a 10 400-meter guy in front of him, a seventh round pick, and a fourth round pick, so he's able to get opportunities. He's taking full advantage of those.

Demetrius, he comes to work every day. I just hate so bad that so many people have had these expectations for him because he's such a good kid, and he practices so hard. He was so deserving of what he was able to do tonight.

We saw Isaiah come off the field. Were there any other injuries of note, or did you come out of this pretty unscathed? 

I think Isaiah's fine. He came back, didn't he? I didn't get an injury report, but I didn't see anything there. Kearis may have -- he got hit on the hand during a fumble. I don't know. They're doing Xrays now.

You returned a kickoff pretty deep out of the end zone. What kind of green light do you give them? How far back?

Not that far. That's youthful exuberance.

How about Herrien getting the first carries for you guys and being able to have the numbers you have in that position? 

I thought Herrien did a great job. I love the way he runs. He runs with reckless abandon. He has no regards for concern for himself. He tries to be physical on the tacklers and very patient. I'm proud of our backs. We've got good backs. They've got to improve their blitz pickup, and they've got to improve ball security. The ball got loose some, but we've got good backs, guys. We've got to figure out our true identity, and we've got to figure out a way to be even more dangerous in the passing game.

We're hearing a lot about an unplanned two block walk to get into the stadium. 

No, actually, it was unplanned, but it was a shorter walk than typically we have here. Apparently, we lost our lead state trooper since there was an altercation on the sidewalk. So the guy that took over the lead went a different route and didn't allow us to get to the normal location and see all the dog walk people. So they had to drop us somewhere else. Ironically, it was closer to the place we come in. We typically have to walk across the field. So we didn't have to walk across the field.

We don't talk much, Coach, about Rodrigo Blankenship. He moved up the charts again, and he kicked a 50-yard field goal and didn't hesitate. Can you talk about what kind of weapon he is. 

He's a weapon. People don't realize it. Sometimes it frustrated Rod. We don't always let him
kick it out of the end zone on the touchbacks. There were some planned not touchbacks tonight to make sure we get practice covering kicks and number two, the thought we could pin them inside the 235. He didn't always like that because he likes to kick it out of the end zone. But he's talented that he can hang it up higher and longer than anyone in the country and gets the field goals as well.

He's a valuable weapon for us, and he's a great kid and an unbelievable ambassador for the University of Georgia.

Jake Fromm

You guys win. You put up a lot of yards. How does it feel after this game? 

It feels good. A long time since we last got a win. It feels good to come out, road conference opponent, SEC team. So it feels good to come out and come out on top.

Does it feel any different than previous first game wins or preseason wins? 

Yeah, it does feel more playing a conference team to start off with. Vanderbilt, they played strong. They played tough, and they fought us for four quarters.

What worked? What didn't? 

I mean, really, I think we're going to feel as an offense, when we go back and look at it, we're going to feel that every play we called or lined up or checked to should have worked. We just didn't execute in the second half as much as we really wanted to, but it is what it is.

It's football. It's the first game. We're going to take it. We're going to look at it. We're going to assess it. We're going to say, hey, we're going to get better at it this week, move on, and go play the next opponent.

How do you feel like those receivers who were getting action for the first time did? 

Those guys grew up and played some football today. Good for them to get that experience, get going, and get the wheels rolling.

Did you hear the Zeus chants? 

Yeah, I did. Good for him to get back out there. I know a lot of folks are excited about him. We are too on offense.

Just the crowd out here, what did you think? 

No disrespect, but it really felt like a home game. Really thankful for the way our fans traveled. It was awesome, unbelievable.

How did you feel the rhythm and timing was with the receivers today? 

First game, thought it was well. Thought it was as good as it could have been. You know, any time you play a first game as a quarterback, you haven't been live really since your last game, so you're really trying to get back in the groove and feel stuff, feeling heads and feeling rush. We're going to check it, assess it, and really see what really happened on film.

You just mentioned it was good to see the receivers out there. There was a bunch of them. Which ones stood out the most? For me, it was Robertson. 

D. Rob played great, Tyler played great, Matt, George, Kearis. All those guys who went in, they really did their job. They went in. They attacked what they needed to attack. You know, it is what it is. The way we played on offense, got to execute a little bit better on some things, but really proud to come out with a win.

How do you feel about Swift's performance tonight? I know that he had so many yards. Just talk about how he did. 

Man, Dre played unbelievable. He came out. He was him. We didn't expect for him to feel like he had to force anything or play down to his level or play down. He played great. He went out, made some runs, made some nice plays.

Do you know how many yards D'Andre Swift finished with? 

No idea.


That's No. 7 for you. He's a great football player.

It seemed like everything was working for you, going straight down the field. Seemed like everything you called was clicking. 

We were rolling. Coach Coley was on a roll. We were executing well at the beginning of the game. We kind of had our sensors up. Hey, we really wanted to focus. I guess we lost a little focus there. As a unit, just wasn't as locked in as we needed to be. It is what it is. We'll fix it come Sunday, Monday, and get ready for the next opponent.

So after those first three drives, it wasn't a matter of dialing it down. It was just focus, you think? 

Just lack of focus, yes, I would probably say it was.

Did you expect you guys to be as run heavy as you were tonight? 

It's really hard to stop calling it when you're getting 10, 15 yards a pop, and guys like 7 and 35 are on a roll. Man, it's really tough when you have the offensive line you do. Hey, if it's working, let's do it.

It's been talked about all off-season in terms of different wrinkles that Coach Coley has added. Just don't put a percentage on it, but how much do you feel you guys showed tonight? 

I really don't know off the top of my head. It will change on a week to week basis whoever we're playing. So really no idea.

First Saturday playing with all three of the Fromm boys playing. Going to call and check in on your brothers? 

As soon as I get my phone, I'm going to call and check in on them. Hopefully, both teams won.

Jake, we're doing something about football Friday night back at home. Talk about your experience watching that with all your teammates and just going back and enjoying that. 

Taking trips back, kind of miss the high school football on Friday. Really got to check in on some teams this past Friday. So it's awesome to go back and watch that. You miss it a little bit. Man, I hope the guys are doing well.

Do you remember the Football Friday Night show, remember that after the game? 

It was awesome to check in on everybody and see how everybody else is doing.

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