Saturday, October 31, 2020

Dawg Defense Smothers The Cats

UGA Sports Communications

Despite only producing two scoring drives, the fifth-ranked Dawgs (4-1, 4-1 SEC) rode their outstanding defense to a 14-3 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats (2-4, 2-4 SEC) Saturday afternoon in front of 12,000 spectators at Kroger Field and an SEC Network television audience.

Redshirt sophomore Zamir White led the Georgia offense with a career-high 136 yards rushing on 26 carries and a touchdown. Redshirt junior quarterback Stetson Bennett finished 9-of-13, passing for 131 yards and rushing for a touchdown. Junior tailback James Cook led in receiving for the second-consecutive game, hauling in four catches for 62 yards. Overall, the Georgia offense amassed 346 yards despite possessing the ball for 10 fewer minutes than Kentucky.

In a terrific effort, the Georgia defense only allowed 229 yards of offense and 15 first downs, along with causing four sacks and a fumble. Sophomore linebacker Nakobe Dean led the unit with a career-high 14 tackles, while senior safety Richard LeCounte also notched a new career high with 13 tackles and a fumble recovery.

“We executed well at times,” said coach Kirby Smart following the game. “We ran the ball against a really good, physical Kentucky defense. I was pleased with that. It’s hard to make yourself throw when you’re running successfully.”

After forcing a Kentucky punt on its first possession, Georgia quickly established itself on the ground, rushing on every play on the way to a 2-yard touchdown run from Bennett. The 12-play, 86-yard drive took over five minutes off the clock and gave the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

Following a pair of punts from each team, Kentucky embarked on a marathon drive of its own that drained much of the second quarter clock. The Wildcats kept the drive alive with a 4th-and-1 conversion on the Bulldogs’ 43-yard line, but the Georgia defense held firm in the red zone, culminating with a Travon Walker sack of quarterback Joey Gatewood. Kentucky grabbed its lone points of the game with a 34-yard field goal from Matt Ruffolo, finishing off the 19-play, 77-yard sequence that lasted over 10 minutes.

“Kentucky did a great job of shortening the game,” said Smart. “They know that they were probably overmatched, and they shrunk the game. They ran the quarterback and they didn’t take many chances, but they stayed on schedule.”

The Georgia offense finally returned to the field in impressive fashion as Bennett found Cook for a 46-yard completion that was then bolstered by consecutive strong rushes from White, moving the ball to the Kentucky 10-yard line. However, the drive was cut short as Bennett’s pass was tipped for an interception by Kentucky’s Phil Hoskins at the 21-yard line. While the Wildcats were unable to convert on the turnover, the Dawgs also came up empty as redshirt sophomore place kicker Jack Podlesny’s 53-yard field goal attempt was blocked at the end of the half.

On the opening possession of the second half, Georgia came out firing as Bennett connected with freshman tight end Darnell Washington on a 33-yard reception into Kentucky territory. Facing 4th-and-1 at the Wildcats’ 22-yard line, White broke through the line for a season-long 22-yard touchdown run, concluding a 7-play, 75-yard scoring drive.

Kentucky crossed into Georgia territory on the ensuing drive, but senior linebacker Monty Rice forced a Gatewood fumble that was recovered by senior safety Richard LeCounte at the 36-yard line, the sixth fumble recovery of his outstanding career. The Dawgs reached midfield on the following drive, but the momentum was cut once again as Bennett was intercepted by Kelvin Joseph on a deep throw to the Kentucky 18.

Luckily for the Dawgs, the defense remained stout throughout the game, forcing another Wildcat punt on the next drive. In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats looked to cut the deficit with another long march into Dawg territory, but an incompletion on 4th-and-6 gave the ball back to Georgia with four minutes remaining in the game.

On their final possession, the Dawgs were stopped on 4th-and-3 near the Kentucky red zone, but a pair of holding calls led to the Wildcats running out the clock to close the contest.

Post Game Notes

UGA Sports Communications

Defense Limits Wildcats To A FG: Fifth-ranked Georgia blanked UK in the second half in helping post a 14-3 victory and improve to 4-1. UK finished with 229 yards of total offense on 64 plays. In the first half, the Wildcats ran 33 plays and tallied 121 yards of total offense. Coming in today, Georgia ranked 2nd in the SEC in Scoring Defense at 19.5 points per game while UK was averaging 24.4 points a game. Last year, Georgia blanked the Wildcats 21-0 in the rain.

Georgia sophomore Nakobe Dean had a team-high and career-best 14 tackles while senior Richard LeCounte had a career-high 13 stop plus he recovered a fumble and had three pass breakups. Also of note, senior Devonte Wyatt tied his career high with seven stops, all in the first half.

Redshirt sophomore Azeez Ojulari had his team-leading fourth sack to stop UK’s second drive of the contest. Later, he combined with Adam Anderson for another sack to give him 10 in his career. Senior Jermaine Johnson had his second sack of the season and now 4.5 for his career. Sophomore Travon Walker notched his first sack of the year and 3.5 for his career.

The Running Game: The Dawgs utilized the running game, tallying 215 yards on 43 attempts. Sophomore Zamir White set career highs with 26 attempts for 136 yards and one TD. Georgia’s opening TD drive featured all running plays, 12 total, and covered 86 yards in 5:06. Bennett capped the drive with a two-yard score. Georgia’s first pass attempt came on its 16 play of the game although there was one scramble by Bennett on the opening touchdown drive on the fifth play when he was looking to pass. In the second half, White added a 22-yard TD run on 4th-and-1 to make it 14-3 with 11:38 left in the 3rd quarter. White notched his first 100-yard game, and the first by a Dawg since D’Andre Swift (103) against Texas A&M last year.

Another Road Win: Junior Stetson Bennett (9-for-13, 131 yards, 2 INTs, 1 rushing TD) directed No. 5 Georgia to a 14-3 road win as the offense posted 346 yards on 57 plays. In the first half, the Dawgs ran just 28 plays with three possessions: the first resulted in a TD followed by a punt and then an interception. The Wildcats led in the time of possession 19:17 to 10:43 in the first half. Bennett did have a 46-yard pass to junior RB James Cook. His first interception came on a tipped pass that stopped a scoring drive as the Dawgs had reached the UK 10 late in the second quarter. To start the second half, Georgia marched 75 yards on seven plays in 3:22 for a TD and a 14-3 lead. On the drive, Bennett had a 33-yard completion to freshman Darnell Washington. On a 4th-and-1 at the UK 22, Zamir White ran it in for a TD, his sixth of the year and ninth of his career. Cook led the team in catches with four for 62.

Special Teams Summary: Redshirt sophomore PK Jack Podlesny went 2-for-2 in PATs overall and a 53-yard field goal attempt to end the first half was blocked following a low snap. Podlesny is 8-for-11 in field goals including hitting a pair from 50-plus yards this year. Georgia now has made an NCAA record 308 consecutive PATs as the streak includes six kickers dating back to 2014.

Junior punter Jake Camarda finished the first half with one punt for 54 yards and placed it at the UK 7 with no return. In the second half, he punted once, a 41-yarder with no return that he placed at the UK 10. For the second straight game, he took care of the kickoffs. Coming in today, Camarda ranked No. 2 nationally in punting (50.7 avg.) and the team is third in Net Punting (47.9). Today, he finished with an overall and Net Average of 47.5 average

No Points Off Turnovers: Georgia forced one turnover, a fumble in the second half, and it led to an interception. UK got no points off two Dawg miscues. The fumble was caused by Monty Rice (his second of the year) and recovered by Richard LeCounte, his first this year, at the UGA 36.

Series History: With the win, Georgia owns a 60-12-2 edge in the series that dates back to 1939. Georgia now has won 11 straight, which marks its longest stretch of success in the series. The teams have played annually since 1956.

For Starters: Junior Money LB Quay Walker and freshman WR Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint made their first career starts while junior WR Trey Blount made his first this year and second of his career (only other came in 2017 SEC Championship Game). The longest active starting streak on offense belongs to center Trey Hill now with 23 while Richard LeCounte leads the defense with 23 straight and 33 for his career. Senior Monty Rice saw his starting streak end at 18. Georgia did not have any penalties in the first half while UK had three for 24 yards.

Captains: Georgia senior Malik Herring and juniors Eric Stokes and Trey Hill served as the captains. Georgia won the toss and elected to defer until the second half.

Up Next: Fifth-ranked Georgia (4-1) will face No. 10 Florida (2-1) in Jacksonville, Saturday, November 7th in Jacksonville at 3:30 pm on CBS. The Gators face Missouri tonight in Gainesville.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Edwards Pro Day Televised Tonight

UGA Sports Communications

ESPN2 will televise the “Pro Day” for former Dawg Anthony Edwards in Los Angeles tonight live from 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET. Georgia head coach Tom Crean is slated to take part with a live interview from Athens at approximately 8:40 p.m. ET.

Edwards, the projected No. 1 overall pick in next month’s NBA Draft, will conduct the workout from the Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif. ESPN college basketball analysts Jay Bilas and Dalen Cuff will serve as commentators, with ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz on site in California.

Edwards could become Georgia Basketball’s highest-ever NBA pick. Dominique Wilkins was chosen with the No. 3 overall selection of the 1982 NBA Draft.

Georgia’s most recent top-10 draft pick, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in 2013, helped the Los Angeles Lakers capture the 2020 NBA title earlier this month. KCP started all 21 games of the Lakers' run through the Playoffs. He averaged 10.7 points per game in the postseason, largely due to connecting on 45 3-pointers. That tally is the second-most ever by a Laker during a single year of the Playoffs, trailing only Kobe Bryant's 49 in 2009-10.

Edwards was the nation’s top-scoring freshman last season, averaging 19.1 ppg for the Dawgs. He scored 610 points, the seventh-best single-season tally in UGA history and the 10th-best effort every by an SEC freshman.

Edwards was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in balloting league coaches and the Associated Press. He was the first Dawg to win the coaches’ award since its inception in 2001. Edwards was the third Dawg to earn the AP recognition (which was previously the Newcomer of the Year), following Jumaine Jones in 1998 (in the award’s first year) and Jarvis Hayes in 2002. He was honored as the SEC Freshman of the Week a school-record four times, being selected on December 2, January 3, March 2 and March 9.

Edwards was a finalist of the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award and was tabbed the State of Georgia’s Player of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. He is the ninth Dawg to claim that honor and the fourth UGA winner in the last five years.

The hourlong telecast tonight will also feature a workout by Tyrese Maxey, who played at Kentucky and is projected as the No. 12 pick in the draft by ESPN.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wednesday Press Conference

Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement

“Our guys are practicing hard. I thought we’ve had a good couple of days getting ready and prepared for what’s often a physical game, like we play all year. These guys are really big up front and do a great job across both offensive and defensive lines, especially in the power running game and as they have been for a while—the quarterback run game. We’re getting ready for the Kentucky Wildcats, ready to go.”

On how he gets a defense ready and prepared to face different style programs…

“In terms of defense, we just try to improve on fundamentals. We took the off week and just really tried to work on block protection, tackling, a lot of circuit work. It’s not really scheme, it’s more being able to execute at a high level and tackle people. You don’t get a chance to do that very often so we try to work really hard on that. This week, we worked on all the different things they do. They create a lot of issues in their run game, and they’ve got really athletic quarterbacks that can hurt you when they break out of the pockets and things.”

On the availability of George Pickens and DJ Daniels…

“Yeah, DJ Daniels has been practicing, he’s been doing fine. He had an ankle [injury] way back. He’s had an ankle injury all year—he had it in camp. He’s been fighting back from that, it bothered him some last week and has been trying to overcome that. George Pickens should be fine. He is in and out—based on him being dinged up a couple of times. We have a lot of guys that way. He practiced yesterday.”

On both of Kentucky’s quarterbacks [Terry Wilson Jr. and Joey Gatewood] and their similarities and differences...

“Well, it’s hard to tell from the body of work you have on Joey Gatewood, you have to go back to his history in high school and at Auburn. He’s obviously a little bigger, more of a physical presence—probably more of an inside runner than Terry Wilson Jr., who can run inside but has a little more speed on the perimeter. It’s horizontal versus vertical runners. Terry has come a long way since he first was playing quarterback for them. Sitting back and watching things with perspective, being injured, has allowed him to get a little better. With Gatewood you don’t really know. You don’t have a lot of body of work to see. It’s just seeing the athleticism he had at Auburn and the packages they ran. In the limited reps he’s taken this year at Kentucky, I think he’s done a really nice job.”

On how taxing it is on a team to play a series of multiple road games in a row…

“I don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s mostly overrated. Sometimes our kids get better rest on the road in terms of being able to go, get away from our place and travel. They rest while they’re traveling. I don’t think it’s a real big deal. It’s a lot bigger deal when you’re playing in the SEC environments on the road during a traditional season with the impact of crowd noise—all different things are a lot more impactful when it comes to a normal season instead of a COVID-19-altered [season], in terms of attendance. So, we get back later from a night game, but not all of them are night games, at least the next two are afternoon games. Getting back will be important to getting recovery.”

On whether he is pleased where the tight end group is…

“The tight ends have done a really good job in terms of the three guys that are playing there. Staying healthy is the most important thing. Number two, being able to block our edges and create edges and just perimeter blocking. Tight ends can become weapons if they can block teams’ perimeter players. If you can get a bigger man on a smaller man on the edges, it certainly helps in terms of the passing game. A lot of it has to do with how they’re playing and how they’re playing us. If the run game working the play action can sail.”

On where he feels the team has improved the most during the bye week…

“That’s hard to tell. I think the judgement on that comes from when you go play the game. There are a lot of areas we focused on, but usually the improvement shows in the game more than just in practice.”

On if playing a team like Alabama shows where areas need improvement…

“Every game shows you something. You have different matchups in different gamed. Certainly some teams are stronger in other areas than other teams. So, you find out a lot about your team every game.”

Tre’ McKitty, Graduate, Tightend 

On James Cook and him being a talented athlete...

"The ceiling is very high for him. He is a freak athlete so seeing what he can do on the field has been amazing so far. I am glad to have him as a teammate. He is a great guy and a great player... His ability to turn the corner and do things like that—things like that make him a freak athlete"

On what he has learned from Coach Todd Monken and Coach Todd Harley and being a part of Georgia system...

“Those two coaches were a big reason why I came here. It has been cool working with them so far. I think Coach Hartley has taught me a lot with new techniques that I didn’t work with in the past, and having an info guy like Coach Monken has been great so far. I am soaking up all of the knowledge that I can. That is what I am trying to do and play the best that I can.”

On having two games and a bye week under his belt now and if his performance is at 100 percent...

“Definitely the first two weeks I came back, I wasn’t quite feeling myself. I was good enough to go, I wanted to be out there as soon as I could. This bye week has definitely helped, and I am getting closer to 100 percent every single day. I think I am moving along great. Ron Courson has helped me out so much getting to 100%. I am looking to be that by Saturday.”

Trey Hill, Junior, Offensive Lineman

On the goal he set for himself during the bye week...

“For me, it was getting better at every aspect of the game. Snaps, run blocking, pass blocking, and all the other stuff that I need to get better at."

On the deflected passes against Alabama and how to stop those from happening...

"For us up front, we have to focus on getting defensive lineman's hands down. I know we had a lot of batted balls against Alabama so getting lineman's hands down and just moving them around... There are different types of ways. You just have to know what you are doing as an offensive lineman to get down the hands of the defensive line."

On the offensive line's progression since the start of the season...

"Everyone on the offensive line has room to grow. One thing Coach Smart teaches us is that practice makes permanent—so whatever we do in practice is what we are going to do during the game. That is our motto that we try to stick to. We have gotten better through our mentality on how the game needs to be played."

On rebounding after the loss...

"We are very anxious to get back onto the field. It was just a setback for a major comeback. Our team has been practicing hard each and every day to reach our goals each and every week."

Dawg Great Jimmy Orr Dies

UGA Sports Communications

Former Georgia and NFL football star Jimmy Orr died Tuesday night, October 27th, at his home in Brunswick. He was 85.

A three-year letterman for the Dawgs (1955-56-57), Orr became a star wide receiver for 13 years in the National Football League playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1958-60) and Baltimore Colts (1961-70).

Orr was named UPI NFL Rookie of the Year in 1958 recording 33 receptions for 910 yards and seven touchdowns. His 910 yards stood as a franchise rookie record until 2017. He was a two-time Pro Bowl player as a Steeler in 1959 and as a Colt in 1965, a year in which he was also named first team All-Pro. Orr was a member of the Colts 1971 Super Bowl championship team and the Colts NFL championship team in 1969. He ended his 13-year pro career with 400 receptions for 7,914 yards and 66 touchdowns.

A native of Seneca, S.C., Orr led the SEC twice with 24 catches for 443 yards in 1955, and 16 receptions for 237 yards in 1957. He was also named Academic All-SEC in 1957.

Tuesday Press Conference

Coach Kirby Smart

On the progress of his offensive line this season and whether he plans to shuffle any players around…

“In spurts, we have played better. Certainly, the production has been better. I think they are a little more comfortable. I can’t really explain the Arkansas game other than we didn’t move guys and didn’t execute really well. It turned into a passing game it seemed like—we threw it a lot. There wasn’t a lot of run-game there in the second half. I thought they did some good things in each game. We have some guys that have played, between Trey Hill, Ben Cleveland and Jamaree Salyer. They’ve played a lot of football, even [Justin] Shaffer has played a lot of football for us around here. They are playing at a better level, probably not what we need in terms of being elite, but they work hard each day. We shuffle guys in practice. We have to be prepared for an injury. The second five have all worked, and each one of those guys in the first five have doubled up at a second position as an emergency situation. Right now, it’s really about developing the younger guys and continuing to get them better and trying to get our first guys to execute at a higher level.”

On Stetson Bennett’s goal going into the bye week in regards to practice…

“The first goal was to do a better job of protecting the ball in terms of two hands while in the pocket, while also when running. If you have noticed he had the one against Alabama, and he scooped it up. He runs with the ball in one hand. We have made an assertive effort to improve that. Second was decision making on down-field throws and check-downs. The third thing was putting us in the right play and making good decisions. He has worked really hard on those things. Some of it is movement in the pocket—which is awareness. I thought that he could learn a lot from Jake Fromm in terms of pocket awareness. Where are the holes in the pockets? Where is the rush? Where can he step up? I think he has done well with that. It is hard to simulate that because we don’t have games. We try to do it with competitive third down and pass periods.”

On injury updates on Kenny McIntosh and Monty Rice...

“We are hopeful on Kenny McIntosh that he will be able to play—kind of the same way with Monty Rice. He was able to practice at a limited amount with his foot sprain. He was able to go in the Alabama game. We were certainly thankful for that. We gave him some time off in the off week to recover. His biggest thing is maintaining his cardio right now.”

On explosives Alabama was able to hit on UGA’s secondary and whether he attributes that to scheme/execution on Alabama’s end or errors on UGA’s…

“First of all, it’s in the past. We did corrections the Monday after the game. We have been past it since then. The most important thing is we don’t continue to give them up. When you play the style of defense we play, you play how you have to play to stop Alabama. Is it easier to hand the ball off to Najee Harris or is it harder to throw and catch it? You have to be able to stop the run, and to do that you have to be able to play some man-to-man, and it’s tough because they have some good guys out there. Some of those plays were explosives because of miscommunication. Some of them were guys got beat. You are going to get beat. There is nothing shameful about getting beat in a one-on-one situation against a great athlete. But, you can’t give out things. You can’t give up a will-route when you’ve got a guy manned. He didn’t beat us, we just didn’t have discipline. You can slip down, fall down. He didn’t beat us, we just fell down. Some of them were scheme, and some of them were some really good plays they ran getting their guys in one-on-one situations. It was a combination of both. We can’t suffer from either and be a good team.”

On how challenging travel to road games is for the team and whether changes have been made in lieu of COVID-19 protocol…

“The distance traveled—I mean it’s a plane, most of them are planes. It’s just minutes in terms of how much further and longer you have to be on the plane, and the return home is kind of the same thing. You are spending a little more time on the plane. In terms of COVID-19 protocol, we have a seating chart. We don’t let certain guys of like positions sit near each other in hopes of spreading guys out. We try to keep roommates at home and close to each other because they have already been exposed. We’re trying to crisscross and not have an exposure knock somebody out if somebody was to test positive. That is the biggest difference. In the hotel, they don’t ride the elevators, don’t ride with anyone you don’t know, don’t hang around in the lobby. We have less people sitting at a table, therefore spreading out more. We have had some precautions there that we have learned from other teams that have had issues on the road. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, by any means. We try to learn.”

On Alabama’s Najee Harris’ performance against UGA and whether Smart has a hot-hand theory…

“No, I coached running backs here and I didn’t think a lot of that. I think a hot-hand has a lot to do with it, healthy-hand has a lot to do with it, wear and tear has a lot to do with it. We are in a long season, and the ability to sustain that. I don’t know what Najee Harris weighs, but he is a big back. Big backs can handle that more. Most of our backs are 210, 212, 215 pounds. Some of them are 195 pounds. You have to be careful on the wear and tear and the amount of carries they get simultaneous. Also, a lot of it is our guys play a lot on special teams. Our guys factor in in a lot of different ways. We think if you are good enough, you should get an opportunity to play. If we thought one guy stood out a lot better than the others I can assure you he would be in there.”

On how long it will take the defenses to catch up with the offenses across the SEC conference and collegiate football as a whole…

“There is no magic potion to me for catching up. There is no—if there is a scheme that hasn’t been invited, I’ll be shocked. The coverages that people play and the defenses that people play have stood the test of time. So, as the offensive innovate the defenses try to catch up. The game is built to entertain and score points. Nobody wants a 9-6 game. They don’t enjoy that. I think it’s a great thing. It’s a physical toughness. I think it’s a rock ‘em, sock ‘em game. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. It can be a great game and be 9-6, but nobody is entertained by that. The world we live in today is entertained by points. The rules are not set up to score points—I’m not saying that, but there’s definitely an advantage in terms of the number of snaps offenses take. When you look at a game where somebody takes 90 snaps—that never used to happen. As snaps go up, as the passing-game increases, as the skill level increases in high school—there’s less people to defend it. There’s less players 20 years ago in high school, some were defensive backs and now their skill guys are wide outs and you are trying to play catch up to cover guys. I don’t know when they will catch up. I don’t know if they will catch up. I really don’t care if they catch up. Our job is to do the best job defending those kind of offenses that we can. We want to defend them better than others. I think we can do that. If you recruit well and have good enough athletes and good enough players, you can defend great offenses better than anybody else. It doesn’t mean you’re going to stop them, but it does mean you can defend them better than everybody else. It means you better be able to score yourself.”

On how the team interprets the off day next Tuesday (Election Day) in terms of what the team can do together…

“I would be remiss if I answered that right now because I don’t fully know. It’s one of those things we’ve communicated and talked to people around the SEC about. I’m not really focused on it, to be honest with you, right now. I’ve got a lot to focus on with Kentucky. We have had people come on and speak recently during the off week. We had a guy come visit with us—Steve Jones—from Atlanta. He did a tremendous job and explained a ballot, how to go vote, what you’re voting on more than just who the President is going to be. There are a lot of intricacies to the ballot that our kids might not understand, so we’ve done a bunch of voter education things. We’ve encouraged our guys to vote, and most of our kids are going out and voting early before next Tuesday, but as far as exactly how [next] Tuesday is going to go, I’m not sure.”

On whether he feels he can be extra aggressive with his front seven against Kentucky…

“I definitely think that you have to stop the run when you play Kentucky, first and foremost. I’m sure they’re over there searching for ways to increase the passing game and do a good job, because they can’t be one-dimensional. They know that. They’ve got good football coaches. They’re looking for things that complement what they do, and they’ve been successful doing it. They weren’t successful in their last game doing it, but they’ve been successful before. They had great success two years ago against us throwing the ball, especially late in the game, and it was with [Kentucky quarterback] Terry Wilson. So, with us, we’ve got to worry about us. We’ve got to go out and play a good football game. We’ve got to out-execute them. We’ve got to have our guys mentally and physically ready to play, because I know the coaches on Kentucky’s staff. They do a really good job, and they’ll have their team ready to play.”

On the team’s feelings about election day and whether his players are excited…

“Yeah, our guys have been very adamant. We’ve had an athletic department push to try and get 100 percent of our student-athletes to vote, and we’ve encouraged our players to be a part about that. That was one of the things early on in the process that was very important to them. That’s why we took them down and got them all registered, and a lot of our players have voted. The hope is that all of them will, and we’re certainly going to give them the opportunity to do so if they want.”

On the question of whether to play the best players on special teams in wake of Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle’s injury/how doing so helps the players develop…

“It’s obvious to me. It helps the team win games. Isn’t that the objective—to win the game? I don’t know when it became that special teams are higher risk to get injured. If special teams is higher risk, then I don’t want my son on it, then let’s take it out of the game. That’s not fair. It’s not fair to go back and try to second-guess who’s on special teams because there’s 11 young men on our team and 11 on their team, and if it’s any more high risk, then that’s what the safety committee does. They come out and put things in [like] you can’t have a wedge, you can’t have a two-man shield. They’ve done all these things to protect from injury. Injuries are going to happen in football, guys. It’s going to happen. It’s very unfortunate, and I’m sick for Jaylen Waddle, because he’s as electric of any football player I’ve ever seen. He’s a great football player. He’s a great kid, and he’s fun to watch. He created all kinds of problems for us in terms of special teams, so if you’re not going to let him play on it, then what’s the point in it at all? Let’s just put it on the 25-yard line. That doesn’t make sense.”

On how he would assess his defensive line’s performance, particularly the outside guys, this season…

“We’ve been more disruptive. I think Dan Lanning and the defensive staff have done a great job of creating ways to make those guys more effective, whether it’s dropping them, rushing them, covering them. They’ve added some wrinkles that have helped us and allowed those guys to make some plays and statistically improve in terms of hits and sacks and stuff like that. We’ve still got a long way to go. Our last performance wasn’t our best, but we won’t be defined by it, either.”

On things that stand out about Kentucky quarterback Joey Gatewood in the case UGA sees him Saturday…

“He’s big, very athletic and, maybe not as fast as Terry Wilson—straight-line fast—but Gatewood’s change in direction is really good. We recruited him out of high school and know a lot about him. [He] throws the ball well [and] is a good decision-maker. He’s been there for a while now, and I’m sure like everybody, they wish they’d gotten the spring to go through things, but they didn’t know for a while that he was going to be deemed eligible. From the time they have, they’ve worked him in and gotten him some playing time in some games. I certainly respect him and think he’s a great football player. He’s big, physical and hard to tackle and, in that offense, when you combine their ability to throw, you can imagine if Lynn Bowden was a better passer last year, how hard that would have been to defend.”

On health updates on Matt Landers and Owen Condon…

“Matt is good. He practiced today. He still has lingering effects, but we think he’s going to be able to play and has done a good job. Owen is about 95 percent. He’s taken all the reps with the twos at right tackle. He will be back and good to go.”

Travon Walker, Sophomore, Defensive Lineman 

On whether there are any young defensive linemen that are starting to make a name for themselves…

“All the young guys are starting to improve and showing things that they can do. With that question, all of them are stepping up to the plate, but everybody has something that they need to work and improve.”

On what ways he and Malik Herring play off each other on the field…

“Malik, he’s like my older brother. I’ve been looking up to him ever since I was in middle school and high school. He was 15 minutes up the road from me so, he’s always been one of those players that push me and help me be a better player even though we play the same position. Finally getting to compete against each other every day, it just motivates me to go hard and even when he’s hurting, he pushes himself, I push him. He stays on me and I stay on him.”

On whether there are other ways to disrupt plays if you don’t pressure the quarterback…

“When you can’t quite get to the quarterback, Coach [Kirby] Smart and Coach [Dan] Lanning want, I always emphasize if you run back to the ball on maybe like a screen, you can help get in on that play. Just if you don’t get to the quarterback fast enough, you can still be effective by chasing the ball down.”

Malik Herring, Senior, Defensive Lineman 

On what ways he and Travon Walker play off each other on the field…

“Just trying to help him out in things he could have done and things I could have done. Just really try and help each other improve and getting better rushes, shed edges and making the plays we’re supposed to make.”

On the success the team has had coming out of bye weeks…

“I feel like why we’re so successful after the bye week is all the preparation during the bye weeks. We just go hard and focus on each other like camp practices. I definitely have seen that this past week.”

On the preparation for Kentucky’s offense…

“Really just try and stop the run. That’s what we preach every game, every day, just stop the run. With the quarterbacks, just have good contain and make sure we keep them in the box.”

Monday, October 26, 2020

Monday Press Conference

Coach Kirby Smart

Opening statement …

“Our guys are coming off an off-weekend, and we are looking forward to preparing for Kentucky. We got a little bit of a jumpstart on some of our future opponents last week as well as one day spent on preparation for Kentucky. Coach Mark Stoops has done a tremendous job with their program. They play with great physical toughness across the offensive and defensive lines. They are really big and stout. I thought they did a really good job against us last year in terms of their defense, and their defense is one of the best in our conference. They’ve done an excellent job of preparing for teams. We’ve got a lot of respect for them in the kicking game — one of the best punters in the country that’s able to flip the field and do a lot with that. With that, we will open it up.”

On his assessment of Zamir White’s performance so far and an update on Kenny McIntosh …

“I won’t know much on Kenny until I get back out there today. He was not able to practice last week in terms of rehab, but we are hopeful that he we will be able to go today. We will find out more.

“In terms of Zamir, I think his leadership qualities have taken a major step forward in terms of his energy, his enthusiasm and just the way he prepares himself. You look across our games — some of our best special teams plays have come about because of Zamir. No. 1 — he is the off-returner on kick-off return. He does a tremendous job of selecting who to block to spring Kenny McIntosh and Kearis Jackson on a lot of their returns. He blocked a punt. He’s been one of our most consistent players on punt return in terms of making sure his man does not make the tackle and kind of control him. He’s also been a backup on our punt unit. I think Zamir has been very productive, he’s better conditioned. We are fortunate we were able to play a lot of backs, so he doesn’t get probably as many carries, but that never seems to frustrate him. He does a really good job of knowing his role and helping our team.”

On the off-week production and how much concern he had about his players staying safe …

“We talk about it every day. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t finish the practice, the walk-through, the session, whatever we are doing that we do not address what they are going to be doing next in terms of time. They certainly had more time this weekend in terms of Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Major concern for us because we don’t control it. But, I’ll be honest with you, we don’t control what they do when they leave our building anyway. Whether it’s in Athens, at home, whatever decisions they are making or wherever they are traveling to it is very concerning. We try to educate them on what’s going on in the NFL and across college football, how it impacts them and how it could impact our team. So, we try to educate them in that regard, and hopefully they take heed in those warnings and understand it.

“In terms of off-week production, I don’t really know a way to quantify production in an off-week. I thought we had good practices, if that’s what you are asking. I thought that the three practices we had were really good in terms of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. They were very specific to what each individual needed to work on and grow at, a lot of competitive reps, a lot of what we call group periods, where we work on individual things. They are safer in individual units than they are in 11-on-11, but we did a lot of 11-on-11 as well and tried to develop the depth that our roster — knowing and moving forward — that we are going to have to play some of these guys.”

On the projected cold weather for the weekend and if you can simulate that indoors…

“Only to a certain extent. We can get it cold in there but some of that is controlled by what the temperature is outside in terms of being able to cool it down some in the indoor or not. We’ve practiced in the weather. We’ve had rainy days where we’ve been outside. We’ve had misty days and wet ball practices. We try to prepare the week for what we think we’re going to play in- to the degree that we can control that. Those are outside factors that we don’t control so we really try to focus on us and tell our guys that the outcome is going to be determined by what we do, not by what the weather man does.”

On what he considers to be Georgia’s brand of football…

“It is what the defense gives you. If they’re playing man-to-man, then we have to be able to take shots and make plays. If they’re playing off-coverage and giving us RPOs we have to be able to take it. If they’re taking chances on the run and we have to play-action them to get on top, you have to be able to do it. It never changes. I think you guys want a perfect answer. It’s really a lot more of what are you good at and what can we do better than they do. Balance is always important, but balance is not always 50/50. When you look across the league, the teams that are able to run the ball and play action pass and do those things are the ones that are most successful, regardless of the total number of points and the total number of yards and all the differences in statistics. It’s don’t turn it over, you have to have the ability to run the ball. You really need the ability to run the ball when you have a quarterback that is still developing and is still young and doesn’t have the experience of a guy that maybe has. You have to be able to run the ball and help him in regards to doing that.”

On the wide receiver rotation and how they have separated themselves…

“We have had injuries in recent week and we have some young guys that are growing. I think Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint is a guy that has really come along and done some nice things that we’re hoping to grow his role and get him developed. Some of those guys have been injured. Matt Landers was banged up with an injury, dealing with his shoulder, so hopefully he’s back. Demetris Robertson has played some and Kearis Jackson has played some, being able to rotate in there. We are always going to play the guys that give us the best chance to win. If that’s six guys, then that’s six guys. If that’s three guys, then that’s three guys.”

On early starts not being Georgia’s “forte”…

“We don’t control those. The biggest thing is that we have to do a great job preparing for Kentucky, regardless of the start time. We do different stuff every time we play at noon. There’s not like there’s a magic wand you wave. Your team has to do a good job of preparing mentally for a 12:00 kickoff. They NFL starts at 12 or 1, most games. It’s not something they shouldn’t be aware of or used to. It is what it is. You have to do a good job getting ready to go out there, mentally, and be ready to play, regardless of the who’s in the stands, who we play, or what time we play. We control what we do. We control our mindset. And if we do that well we can go execute and play well.”

On assessing the quarterback situation…

“I’m excited about all of those guys. I thought they had great off-week work. They competed. Those guys continue to get better. We gave those guys a lot of reps during the off week.”

On difficulties in finding an offensive identity…

“I think It’s a little bit based on the defenses we play. I don’t think that you solely control what your identity is just by yourself. Some of that is created through playing games, who’s healthy, what you are capable of, what they play against you. How defenses play us sometimes determines how, where we run the ball, which run plays we run, how much we run. A lot of that is determined by that. I think the identity that you want to have is you want to be balanced. You want to be able to throw the ball when you want to throw the ball, run the ball when you want to run the ball. Those things are important to being successful, just like on defense being able to dictate to them what you do on offense. It’s not real complicated, but sometimes, it’s hard to do when the team makes it complicated.”

On Jake Camarda and Jack Podlesny’s development…

“Both of those guys are very talented, first and foremost. They’re great ambassadors for the program. Camarda and Pod are not only great students, they’re great kids. They work really hard at their trade. I will definitely say Camarda has become a weapon in terms of his ability to hit really long punts. I think we’ve got to be careful that we don’t outkick our coverage at times, and his distance has to match his hang and he’s got to hit his field zones. He knows those things are important, but he is a weapon in terms of his leg strength. We knew about that when we recruited him. It didn’t necessarily always come out that way his freshman year, and I think any time you punt as a freshman, you go through some growing pains. But since then, I think he’s gotten better. I thought he was really good with his kicks against Alabama. Pod has been pretty consistent—would like for him to be a little more consistent with field goals and make those, but he’s a kid who knows the work he has to put in and he works hard at it. Those guys have been good players for us.”

On Nick Saban’s comments about defenses no longer being able to stop great offenses…

“I think if you look at recent history, elite offenses have certainly done well in the Playoff and have really won most of the championships. If you look across the board at the biggest offensive numbers and the output of those offensive numbers, whether it be Clemson, whether it be Alabama, whether it be LSU, I would argue that each one of those teams had pretty good defenses, so it’s not a clear-cut question, it’s not a clear-cut answer. It’s not easy to say this or that. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, but scoring offense and being able to score points is a tremendous factor, and a lot of the offenses have been ahead. The really good offenses have been ahead of the really good defenses, I don’t disagree with that. But, if you look across the board, there’s some teams that have really dynamic offenses and don’t have defenses, they struggle, they struggle when they go play really good teams. You’re really looking to have both, but I do respect that Clemson’s won championships with good defenses, and Alabama, when they won and beat us, they had a dynamic offense, but they had good defense. Then, when you go to LSU last year, nobody even talks about their defense, but they obviously had a good defense because they’ve got players playing all over the NFL.”

On the physicality aspect of the offense being strong enough to effectively run the ball...

“I would probably say it is more about opportunities. I feel like we’ve got the ability to run the ball well. We probably had our poorest performance we had, in terms of rushing the ball, was the Arkansas game. We’ve come a long way since then. That number still factors in there because of the number of games we have played. I will tell you this, Kentucky is as physical a front that we have played. It showed last year. They were really physical up front. They always have been. They build their defense around that. They do a great job across the offensive and defensive lines—that’s what makes them tough to play. They don’t give up a lot of points on defense. They really play well, and they play physical. They have done a great job of that. For us, that’s a great challenge for our offensive line to go against one of the bigger defensive lines we will ever play, in terms of moving them and being able to creative run-game.”

On what he thinks the offense is really good at and what does he see that needs to improve...

“I think the best thing we do offensively is third down execution, and being able to execute on third down and convert. That has been a point of emphasis for us in practices, to convert third downs, put together a good third down plan, play-action passes—a lot of those shots and overs and different things off of the run-game we have been able to hit. If you are going to do those you have to be committed to the run. You have to show the presence. It’s not that you have to always be successful at the run, you have to be committed enough at the run-game to be able to hit shots off of those play-actions. When you watch the best teams on Saturday that are able to run the ball, they have play-action shots off of it. We’ve been able to put and utilize the tight end down the middle off of play-action. We have been able to use our will-routes that we hit Jermaine Burton on the other day, off of our play-action. The play-action game and third down would be the things we have done well. The more important thing for us to continue and improve on is the ability to run the ball inside and outside, to create balance and decision making in terms of not turning the ball over.”

On Joey Gatewood versus Terry Wilson Jr.’s performances...

“They both have a running element. They really fit the style of offense that Eddie Gran has been using for a while—really well in terms of what they want to do and how they dictate the run-game to you. When you look across the last couple of years, if you ask anybody across our league, not statistically, not looking in terms of what you guys would at in terms of numbers, their physicality up front has been very evident. When you go back and watch our last couple of games against them, just us individually, their offensive line is extremely physical and we haven’t tackled well. I don’t know if you give them credit for that, the athletes they’ve had, whether it was Lynn Bowden or Terry Wilson Jr. the year before or just the fact they block you and get a lot of one-on-one tackles. They have done a really good job in terms of being physical at the line of scrimmage. Both of those quarterbacks present issues in terms of contain, how you play people outside when you are playing against them. They’ve always done a good job of that.”

On how the defense has practiced coming off the loss to Alabama and their mindset going into Saturday...

“They are in a good place. Each one of them individually got some goals and things to work on. They worked really hard on those things. We understand that when you play a team like Alabama there are going to be matchups that are one-on-one. We lost too many of those. The goal is to get better. How do you lose less of them? How do you lose less one-on-one matchups? Well, you go back to the drawing board and work your tail off. You get better at tackling. If you watch teams fundamentally across the country, we’re trying to say we are going to out-fundamental you. We are going to get off blocks, and we’re going to strike people. We are going to tackle people better than the people across from us. There is no magic potion for it. You watch the defenses, people are playing the same defenses. It’s who can do it better.”

On how much Stetson Bennett benefited learning from Jake Fromm’s off the field preparation...

“I think it helped tremendously. Coach Todd Monken and those guys, our offensive staff, have put together a plan for the quarterbacks that might not be the same as Jake Fromm in terms of weekly preparation. ‘Monday I am going to watch this. Tuesday I am going to watch this. Wednesday I am going to watch this.’ All of the quarterbacks, beside Stetson Bennett, they all come in and watch those things. That is a position that requires a lot more in terms of dedication and time commitment. Jake did a great job of doing that, but these guys now are all doing it under a little different protocol.”

On the quarterback battle...

“We are always evaluating guys. It doesn’t change. You guys can keep asking the questions, but we are always evaluating guys at quarterback, and they are always trying to get better, grow their game. Stetson is still repping with the ones, taking reps. We got other guys reps and that’s what you try to do in an off week. You try to grow your team and get them better. But at the same time, we are trying to create continuity and get better as a team and a unit. You don’t base your season on one game, you base your season on what gives you the best chance to get better, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to look at it as, ‘What are we trying to do to get our team from point A to point B?’ That’s growth. That’s competition. Every position has that. It doesn’t change at quarterback. It’s what you need to get better and what we are going to continue to do this week.”

John FitzPatrick, Redshirt-Sophomore, Tightend 

On practice last week in terms of the offense getting better...

"As tight ends we want to focus more on the run game and being more efficient in our routes. We took those three days to work on that, and we got better."

On what he thinks the identity of the offense is...

"Our identity is a hard-nosed offense that is going to run the ball efficiently. We're going to take our shots and spread the ball around. Whatever coach Monken dials up we're going to go do it."

Lewis Cine, Sophomore, Defensive Back

On how much the defense needed the off week...

"The by-week was unexpected, but we adjusted well to that. We used it to get better and focus on our skills. We didn't scheme on anyone, but we got guys reps and focused on the little things."

On what the defense can do better...

"You're going to win some and lose some, it's part of the game. Mistakes were made on our part and they capitalized on them and made more plays. We're going to correct them and be ready for when we play them again."

On what they learned after the Alabama game...

"Alabama has a lot of great weapons on offense, but we need to play our assignments correctly and composed, even when things aren't going well or how they should. Next time we play another team like Alabama, we will play to our standard and not allow certain plays to go by and capitalize on opportunities."

Zamir White, Redshirt Sophomore, Running Back

On how he feels about the run game and what he wants to see do better...

"I feel the run game there’s some stuff we need to pick up, but that's on all of us. The offense needs to come together more and lock it in."

On if he suffered an injury during the Tennessee game and how has that affected him...

"I was a little out of sort, I couldn't do what I wanted to do. Now, I'm fine and feeling 110%.

On if he would want to get more returns...

"Sure, if they kick it to me. If not, I'm going to block for Kenny McIntosh or whoever is out there, we're brothers. So I have to put it out there and give it my all."

Jermaine Johnson, Senior, Outside Linebacker

On the type of offense becoming common in the SEC such as with Alabama and LSU and what UGA can do to adjust to it…

"It just comes down to your game plan and how well you can execute it and what you can do to not make any mistakes. It’s a football game. There’s a winner and a loser, and the loser makes the most mistakes so we just have to do better with not many as many mistakes, hopefully none."

On whether he thinks Georgia’s loss to Alabama was a result of mistakes by UGA or a matter of execution by Alabama…

"When you have two teams like Alabama and Georgia— Alabama is a pretty great team and we have a pretty great team— so when you have teams like that, with players like that, plays are going to be made. Like I said, you can only hope that either your team makes more plays or your team makes the least amount of mistakes. Like I said, It’s a football game. Things happen, and things happened a little more in Alabama’s favor and they executed very well.”

On the reason he and his teammates have been able to create more havoc this season than last…

“I don’t know. We’ve just been cutting loose. It’s been a big point of emphasis at practice. The ball, the ball, the ball. So, I think it’s just been guys playing fast and trusting their technique to go out there and make plays. It’s been no secret formula or anything. We’ve made more of an emphasis about the ball and been trying to attack it as much as we can.”

Friday, October 23, 2020

Florida Game Attendance Information Released

The City of Jacksonville announces updates as it gears up to host the annual Georgia-Florida football game on Saturday, November 7 at 3:30 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field, where the University of Georgia will take the field against the University of Florida. The following updates are continuing the efforts to ensure safety amongst all fans and attendees due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Stadium parking lots will open at 12:30 p.m., gates to TIAA Bank Field will open at 1:30 p.m. and kickoff will be at 3:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early at TIAA Bank Field. All 88 gates will be available for entry and there will be new magnetometers in place, enabling fans to walk through carrying their clear bag and leave their cell phone and keys in pockets. After entering, fans will then proceed to the new self-scan ticket kiosks to have their mobile tickets scanned.

Face coverings that completely cover one’s mouth and nose are required at TIAA Bank Field. Guests will be required to wear face coverings upon entry and throughout the stadium, except when actively eating and drinking. Guests failing to adhere to this policy will be subject to disciplinary measures.

TIAA Bank Field will have over 750 hand-sanitizing stations throughout the lower and upper concourses, plaza and premium spaces. Physical distancing signage, including directional arrows, queue line spacing indicators and safety reminders have been posted throughout the stadium. All concession stands and restrooms will be open and all payments inside the stadium will be contactless. Cash will not be accepted for stadium transactions. Beer and wine will be served and available for purchase at concession stands throughout TIAA Bank Field.

Tailgating has been a long-standing tradition for the annual Georgia-Florida football game, but due to the current pandemic, tailgating will not be permitted in stadium parking lots. This regulation is a provision of safety and protection. Only game ticket holders will be permitted in these parking lots, and the new tailgating policy will be observed and regulated. Fans without tickets are strongly encouraged to stay clear of the Downtown Sports Complex area.

As previously released, the game will take place with limited capacity. In addition, RV City and all ancillary events including the Hall of Fame Luncheon and Duuuval’s Bold City Bash will not take place this year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wednesday Press Conference

Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement

"We got some good work done yesterday. We had a really good practice. I thought that there was good energy and enthusiasm out there, especially for an off week. The weather was great, and I thought the kids really competed. We haven't been able to really rep a lot of our younger players having just played a conference schedule, a tough schedule so far. We got some extra reps for our twos and threes, and tried to work on some really specific things for our ones, and give each kid kind of a goal and objective for the week that they could improve on. We're going to go back out there today and try to get better today."

On Kendall Milton's performance so far this season...

"Yeah, he is earning some playing time. I think you saw that probably at the last game. He played a little earlier than he has been playing. He makes really good cuts, has good vision. Every opportunity he has gotten he's taken advantage of it and grown with it. It's really unfortunate that he hasn't been able to contribute more until now because he had a two hamstring [injuries]. He had a hamstring injury early in camp then when he came back he pulled it again. He's such a intense worker that a couple of times we had to slow him down because we felt like that's why the hamstring bothered him. We would be trying to do walkthroughs, and he would be going full speed and pulled it. I have been really pleased with what he has been able to do. He is a physical, downhill runner. He is really trying to protect the ball better, and that is something all freshmen have to get used to. Obviously, the protections in the last games is something he has improved on as well. But, I have been proud of him. We have asked him to do some things with special teams that he had never done, and he learned them really quick—between punt return, kickoff return. He is learning how to compete in those drills and that is carrying over to his confidence at running back."

On the mandatory day off on November 3rd falling during preparation week for Florida...

"Our players have been very adamant and active socially, really in our community in terms of serving the community and expressing their opinion that they want to vote and make a difference. We brought people in to speak about awareness and how to do that. A lot of it is not even about necessarily how to vote as much as it is, 'What am I basing my decision on who I vote for on outside,'—all of the elections, the state elections, a lot of them don't know the candidates. We have tried to educate them on that, and let them make the best decision that they think fits them. That day is going to be dedicated to that, and that's kind of where we are."

On Azeez Ojulari's performance so far this season...

"He is extremely tough, extremely physical, very disciplined, one of core leaders. When you have guys that do things the right way, he practices the right way. He goes to call. He attends all of his appointments. When you evaluate a person from on and off the field, not just physical performance, he checks all of the boxes. On top of that he is a really good athlete. I am proud of the way he is working and the growth he's made. I think he's better right now than he was this time last year and that is what you are looking for in terms of development."

On what he learned about the Georgia team after the Alabama game... 

"It's very glaring that there are some things we have to work on, in terms of defensive penalties, defensive explosive plays and then offensively, you can't get into a boat race when you are trying to outscore people. We need to play our brand of football and allow and help Stetson [Bennett] with the people around him—that is probably the number one thing. We definitely didn't play our best game, but at the same time we were playing our best opponent. The best level of competition we have gone against was certainly Alabama. That is how you get better. You have to go out and compete and play. We actually did some things better than we have done in other games. We are just doing it against a lot better competition. We have to improve this week, and I have really been pleased with the attitude and approach of the guys thus far."

On JT Daniels progression...

"JT Daniels is going out each day and working. His mobility is getting better as time goes through. He is moving around and taking a lot of reps and growing. He is competing just like D'Wan Mathis and Carson Beck is.

Jake Camarda, Junior, Place Kicker

On the differences in travel this season compared to past seasons…

"I wouldn't say too much has changed, but we've been making sure that we're wearing our masks everywhere we go. Social distancing is a big part in not having as many cases. At the hotel, we try to take the stairs more, that way we can isolate to just us taking the stairs. Social distancing and wearing masks are something we've done a really good job at."

On what the mood has been around the team after the Alabama game…

"It has been pretty good. Coming off a loss at a big game like that, people on the outside would expect that guys are down and really upset. Sure, we would have loved to win that game and we're bummed that we didn't, but the mood is still good. We still have everything in front of us and we're really looking forward to competing in the next couple of weeks. That game is in the past and now we're focused on moving forward."

On what has gone into him being a consistent punter…

"I'm not able to do anything on the field if it isn't for God. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be able to be here or on that field at all. I'm giving all the glory to him. He has been my rock throughout freshman, sophomore and junior year. My accomplishments are all through him. I also have great teammates and coaches that help support me too."

Justin Shaffer, Senior, Offensive Lineman

On what the offense needs to do to help Stetson Bennett…

"We just have to keep standing in there and give him that confidence that he needs in order to lead the offense and just be the man for the whole offense. To me, I feel like the quarterback needs to take that extra step forward and be that leader and that outspoken person. We all just bend his ear trying to give him that confidence and be outspoken, step up be that leader that we need as a quarterback."

On what the feel of this team has been like…

"I feel like the leadership has stepped up. We've all bonded together and just became one brotherhood. Everybody is listening to what each and every leader has had to say."

On his take away from the Alabama game…

"We just have to finish. Finish that second half. That starts with us up front. We need to be more conditioned and being there to finish all four quarters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Tuesday Press Conference

Coach Kirby Smart

Opening statement …

“I will open with we are starting our third Dawgs for Pups initiative. A lot of our kids started this and they have done a tremendous job. Several of them have kind of grabbed the bull by the horns — they did a wifi, food drive, and then also they are starting a coat drive for winter months for kids in the local area who do not have coats. I encourage people who want to get involved in that to do it. I know it is important to our players and they have done a good job. Cortez Hankton has kind of been spearheading some of those, so it’s been a tremendous initiative those kids have taken part in.

“It’s an off week this week. We are a beat up football team. We’ve got some guys who’ve got to get well, but we’ve also got a lot of guys that have got to get better. So we are taking this week, working Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday trying to get fundamentally better, trying to focus on us, not really on opponents, things we can get better at. That starts today. I am excited to see the kids go out and work. We’ve got a lot of guys who probably haven’t gotten to play the number of snaps that we would like in terms of the teams we played and the tight games we have had to play, and we’ve got to get those guys better. It starts today and they will get to work on it today.”

On JT Daniels and if this week gives them time to give him an extra look …

“We look at the off weeks as an opportunity to get everybody better, so it will be no different at any position in terms of the reps we are able to get. During a game week, we give ones 78 percent of the reps, twos 20-30 percent of the reps, but then our threes get a lot of reps during the week because they go against the other units. This week, we will get to get a lot of guys reps. JT will get reps, D’Wan Mathis will get reps, Stetson Bennett will continue to get reps. We try to develop our roster — that’s the way we look at it. It doesn’t change, it just gives a chance to give more guys work and see where they are in their progress. That’s true at every position and true at quarterback.”

On the difference between being medically cleared and ready to compete …

“Medically cleared is saying he can go out and get tackled and play football. It’s unique to that position because the quarterback doesn’t go live — maybe in fall camp some — but he doesn’t go live until real game time and then everything else is revolved around who we think gives us the best chance to win. That’s ultimately the decision you have. The toughest thing is getting enough reps once you are down the road of being able to get guys prepared for a game. You can’t prepare three or four quarterbacks to play in a game. You just don’t get enough time to do that. We do get a lot of time this week to compete, have reps. That’s every position. I look at it as every guy that is going out there is getting a chance to get better on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and that is the way we have always done our off week. That doesn’t change.

On what he would like Stetson Bennett to focus on over the next few weeks as far as improvement and if he is still the starter …

“Like I have talked about before, I feel great about Stetson. He’s done a good job of managing the situations we have put him in. He made a couple of bad decisions. Some of them he didn’t have to pay the dividend for. He threw a couple of balls that he shouldn’t have thrown based on the coverage they gave us, but those weren’t necessarily the ones that got picked. Sometimes, you get batted balls, they get tipped, and you get picked. Sometimes, you throw a ball — you know he missed Jermaine Burton over the middle a little bit there, a little bit out of his reach. Maybe Jermaine gets his hands on it more. It’s just unfortunate they picked it. But the ones that don’t get picked concern me more where we throw into coverage, and we had a couple of those. So, it’s one of those things he’s done a really good job executing on third down. He’s hit some guys that have dropped some balls on third down, but we’ve become a better third down team since he has been in there. We’ve got to continue to improve on that. Everybody around him has to continue to improve.”

On what he contributes slow starts in the beginning of games or the beginning of second halves to…

“I don’t know that that’s exactly true in all games because we had a couple games where we started moving the ball really well. In the third quarter I would agree, we have to do a better job of being able to come out of the half, whether it’s the first drive or the second drive. That Auburn drive, defensively, we didn’t come out very good at all. They converted a bunch of third downs. I feel like they held the ball forever on that one drive converting it. It’s not necessarily one thing you can put your finger on. It’s something that we have to execute better. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s the first quarter or third quarter, it’s throughout the game. If you chart our drives, defensively or offensively, and you say a penalty on defense sparks a drive for them because they convert a third down. On offense, a penalty prevents a drive because you’re first and 20 or second and 15- those are things you have to remove. It doesn’t matter what quarter it happens in. It only matters what did you do to cause the penalty, what did you do to have a mental error or missed assignment. That’s what we’re trying to improve. We’re trying to improve our ability to execute at a high level. When we do that on defense and offense, we’re pretty good. When we don’t, we’re not.”

On how the offensive line performed and the production of the offense if they continue to do well…

“I think our offensive line has probably played pass-pro pretty well this season, in terms of protecting the quarterback and not losing one-on-one battles. I don’t feel like we’ve had a lot of mismatches- where we’ve said, that guy is really going to struggle against that guy. Maybe some of that has to do with who we’ve played and what the defenses are like. I don’t know that defensively teams are as good as they were last year, across the board. We’ve been able to run the ball at times, at Arkansas we really struggled to run it and that was probably the game where we struggled to run it the most- in terms of down in, down out. We have to develop more depth at the offensive line and we have to get the guys within the offensive line to play with even more conditioning and stamina, so that when we do go tempo we can out-compete the other team in terms of conditioning level.”

On if concerns about the defense were exposed and can be fixed…

“There are definitely things that we can do better, schematically, defensively to help our players. I don’t know if Alabama is the best offense in the country, I haven’t watched everybody else. So, I can’t say that. They certainly have a very good offense, in terms of their quarterback knows where to go with the ball, they have a talented offensive line- every one of those offensive linemen will be in the NFL one day- and they have really good skill players. We have really good players too on defense. When we execute pretty well, we do pretty well. We probably lost more 50-50 balls- and what I call 50-50 balls is not just fades and touchdown passes, it’s situational third down where can we get a ball out- we’ve probably lost more of those than we have in a long time. Even going back to the LSU game, we didn’t have as tight a coverage on them as we did on Alabama. We had tight coverage a lot of times against Alabama, we just didn’t get the ball out. You have to give them credit for that. It doesn’t cause alarm for me because I know that we have good players. We have kids that care. It bothers them. We have to do a good job as coaches to try to help them in other ways.”

On an update on DJ Daniel…

“DJ has been battling an ankle. It’s been bothering him and he’s practiced, he’s done everything we’ve asked, he’s rehabbed. He is trying to get better and we’re hopeful that he gets to 100 percent this week and can get back to the level he was playing at last year.”

On Stetson’s pocket presence and confidence in his play…

“The tipped passes may have. It may have had an overemphasizing effect on him. But it’s one of those things every good quarterback finds—you look all across the league, in the NFL, in college football, height is not the greatest indicator of batted balls. The ability to use the pocket is, and a lot of that comes from experience. He’s gaining in the experience category. He’s not elite in experience, he doesn’t have a ton of it. We do a lot of drills in practice where we try to simulate the pocket and you have to step up and through it. I thought that was one of the things Jake Fromm was really good at. He could feel the pocket opening and step up in the pocket and either run or make a throw. We continue to work with Stetson on that. He’s shown the ability to do that. He didn’t always trust it Saturday…he’s got good pass protectors around him.”

On the lack of non-conference play and its effect on player development…

“It makes the off week that much more important, I think. Statistically, I don’t have the number of what we have played versus what we haven’t played, but I know we’ve played fewer for sure. We had to travel, dress fewer. When you play SEC games, the rules are different than non-conference. We knew that coming in. I hate it for the development of the rest of your roster. When you talk across the league, that’s the most frustrating thing for coaches is you’ve got kids that want to play, that’s what they want to do. It’s tough to get them in in some of the competitive environments, so where does their growth come from? You’ve got to sell their growth in practice and when they go against ones on scout team—just not going to be a lot of opportunities to play a lot of guys.”

On the status of Kenny McIntosh…

“Kenny banged up his knee early in the game. I don’t know if it was on the opening kick or if it was one of the first carries, I’m not sure when it exactly happened. We don’t think he’s going to be out long, but he’s hurting a little bit, will probably wear a black jersey at least today. We’ll see how he goes day-to-day, but we don’t think it’s anything long-term.”

On the play of Jaylen Johnson…

“Jaylen’s done a tremendous job. Jaylen’s hit really good numbers on our GPS, he’s one of our faster guys, he’s tough, he’s smart, plays multiple positions. He’s created value for himself because of his ability to play on special teams, but also his ability to learn multiple positions in our offense. I’ve been very pleased with the work he’s given us.”

On the mentality of the defensive backs moving forward…

“The current state is you’re an SEC defensive back playing man-to-man against really good players. The state of Tyson Campbell after he gave up a touchdown pass against Tennessee is not going to be different than a touchdown pass given up to Alabama. When you play in the secondary, you assume the risk. It comes with a note: when you play man-to-man, you will get beat. Nobody is perfect. Nobody is going to play a perfect game, nobody’s going to play a perfect season. Turn on the NFL every Sunday—the best corner in the NFL gets beat. It’s going to happen. What you don’t want to do is get beat by a bust and give up a 90-yard touchdown when you don’t have great communication. That, to me, is a problem—not when I’m pressing a guy and I’ve got this guy and I get beat. That’s going to happen from time to time, and you accept that, and you’ve got to win more than you lose. We’ve got to hit some of those. We’ve got to score some of those to make big plays. Our DBs are fine. They understand they go against good players every day in practice. They get right back out there and compete.”

On whether he has any memories about Kearis Jackson and his relationship with his family…

“He’s an unbelievable young man. His mom is a wonderful woman. He is a big brother to a young sibling, and he’s a great example for our team. I love the way he competes. He’s on the leadership group with the SEC office; he represents our team. He’s just a tremendous worker, and when you work that hard, usually good things come to people who work that hard. He’s had some success based on his work habits."

On how he has managed the morale at the quarterback position, particularly with JT Daniels…

"The quarterback question is the same as every position. Every day you go out there you have an opportunity to get better. Those guys don’t get the opportunity to play as much as maybe another position does, but there’s guys all over our team who aren’t playing in games who have to go out there each day and improve their craft, and that’s a lot about inherently who you are. Can you grow and get better without being in the limelight? And the great ones all probably have done that in their career. It’s unfortunate in a ‘me now’ society of ‘I’ve got to take care of me right now,’ but that’s hard to do. We challenge them every day, and we give each guy the opportunity to get reps and get better daily.”

On how much working with the secondary helps JT Daniels and D’Wan Mathis to step in at the starting QB position, if needed…

“Any work prepares you. It’s the same for Stetson Bennett and Carson Beck. Any work you do prepares you for a game. I think the scout team work sometimes is tougher because you’re not necessarily running your plays. You’re not breaking the huddle and making checks. You are throwing the ball and reading the defense, but some of the plays are very similar to ours, and some are different. So, it’s a lot more relevant when they’re getting the reps with our offense.”

On whether the whole team is together when in a scout team or whether the team is split up…

"It’s a combination of both. We have periods where we go ones and twos against the scouts, so offense would have ones and twos there against the defensive scouts. Then same thing— one, twos defense against the scout offense. But then when we come together, and we do one defense against two offense, they service each other, much like an NFL team will do, because you don’t have the depth to go past the twos. So, we have periods we would consider more competitive— ones/twos, twos/ones— and we have some periods that are sort of scout periods. We script all that, and not many people do it any different than that. Your goal is to get really good, high-end, quality work when you go more good-on-good, and then as good as your scouts can be. In some cases, we get really good work out of our scouts because we have offensive linemen and defensive linemen who are scholarship players on the scout units.”

On the status of Devonte Wyatt and Matt Landers…

"Devonte Wyatt is fine. He played the whole game against Alabama. He’s banged up, but he’s fine. He’s good to go. Matt Landers has been dealing with a shoulder that occurred in the Tennessee game on what I thought was a pass interference, but it was the play he got banged up on. He came back and helped us in the game on special teams and played, but he was limited during the week of practice. We will go hard this week. We will go physical like we always do on off weeks and try to get better."

Azeez Ojulari, Redshirt Sophomore, Outside Linebacker

On whether there is a discussion or sense of urgency to get things back on track…

"Definitely. There are definitely a lot of things we can come in this week and work on. That’s why we call it a work week, to just improve and just continue to do what we have to do to stay at the top and keep that dominant defense that we are. We just have to come in this week, look at those things and fix it and just be ready for next week."

On whether the fact that the UGA defense was “humbled” earlier this year rather than during the SEC Championship puts Georgia in a better position…

“We always want to win every game, but the outcome against Alabama wasn’t what we wanted. So, it’s definitely good for us to just come back, make these adjustments early in the season, and just do what we need to do to improve and just make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

On what he attributes to defense’s success and productivity so far this season…

"I just think it’s the way we work here at Georgia. I just think we put in the work every day. Every day, we come out here. We don’t take any days off. We just know that we can improve every day. We know how big of an impact we can make on the field, so we definitely just come out here, do what we need to do and try to just execute."

 Nakobe Dean, Sophomore, Linebacker

On whether he feels he is stepping into a leadership role as one of Georgia’s top producers…

“I feel like I stepped into a leadership role during the off season. It’s not production-based at all, it’s how I can influence the other people on the defense and the team. About my stats—I just try to work every day to get better. This week is definitely for us just to get better, and not really focus too much on any opponent just focus on myself and my craft.”

On how he would assess his development in his time at UGA…

“I feel like I have grown tremendously, not just from a football standpoint but from a person standpoint—just learning and going throughout life. I am 19 years old, and I am still trying to figure a lot of stuff out. Being able to continue to learn definitely during this pandemic I have had a lot of time to myself and just learning who I am and everything like that. I feel like I have grown tremendously.”

On whether there is a situation where confidence needs to be regained or whether it is just a matter of watching film and making corrections…

“Our defense, we know we are going to look at it just like every other game and assess. We do not really pat ourselves on the back much. We are going to assess everything we did wrong and what we could have done better and everything that we could possibly get in the future. We are going to continue to just work hard in practice every day—that’s all I can possibly say about that.”

Dawgs For Pups Underway

UGA Sports Communications

The University of Georgia football team has officially started its third project of the “Dawgs For Pups” initiative in the form of a coat drive for area children.

After the idea arose from a recent team meeting, the Dawgs will be participating in a number of “Dawgs For Pups” activities in the Athens area and beyond to help students and others affected by the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest initiative is a coat drive for children in the Athens-Clarke County area. With winter approaching and colder temperatures coming, the Dawg football team and the rest of the UGA Athletic Association will be working with the local Boys & Girls Club to generate donations of new or gently used coats for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Donations for the coat drive can be dropped on the main floor (third floor) of the UGAAA’s Butts-Mehre Building (1 Selig Circle, Athens, GA 30602) between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Dawgs will be offering 2020 football schedule posters signed by head coach Kirby Smart to anyone who donates a new or gently used coat.

“It’s going to start getting pretty cold out there and a lot of kids don’t have the gear they need to stay warm,” said Dawg receivers coach Cortez Hankton. “We want to be sure we provide them with coats and support. We want to be sure our Dawgs take care of the ‘Pups’ in our community and that we give what we can.”

“While effects of the pandemic continue to bring challenges to all walks of life, we have been proud of our Dawg student-athletes and the work they have done to promote these important community initiatives,” said Senior Deputy Athletic Director Josh Brooks. “It’s wonderful to see the work that is being done to make a positive impact in the lives of youth in the Athens community and beyond. We hope their actions present a challenge to others in the community to lend a helping hand as well.”

The first activity helped raise approximately $100,000 to help provide students in Athens-Clarke County with WiFi hotspots (Link for WiFi hotspot donations: . The second project was called Food2Kids Snack Drive and it generated more than 27,000 pounds of food donations for area children. Donations can still be dropped at the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. The food bank’s warehouse address is below and the hours for drop-off are 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Food Bank of Northeast Georgia

861 Newton Bridge Road

Athens, GA 3060

The Georgia football team will spearhead several other “Dawgs For Pups” initiatives to continue to do their part in the Athens community. Announcements about those activities are expected in the coming weeks.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Post Game Notes

Bennett Directs The Offense: Junior Stetson Bennett (18-for-40, 269 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs) directed No. 3 Georgia to a 24-20 half-time advantage but No. 2 UA outscored Georgia 21-0 in the second half for a 41-24 win. The Dawgs finished with 414 yards of offense on 70 plays.

Down 7-0, Bennett led an 8-play, 57-yard TD drive in 2:40 capped by a 10-yard rush by Zamir White, his fifth of the year and eighth of career. Bennett connected on an 82-yard TD to James Cook, career-highs for both, and it makred the longest TD pass by the Dawgs since a school record 98-yarder in 2013 from Aaron Murray to Reggie Davis versus North Texas. Following the PAT, it made it 14-7 Georgia. With the scored tied at 17, Bennett led a 12 play, 66-yard TD drive in 2:43, converting a 3rd-and-goal to freshman Jermaine Burton with a five-yard TD pass.

A Look At The Defense: Coming in, Georgia led the SEC and ranked fifth nationally in Scoring Defense at 12.3 points per game while Alabama led the nation in Scoring Offense at 51.0 points per game. In the first half today, Georgia held No. 2 Alabama to 20 points on 298 yards of total offense on 41 plays. However in the second half, UA scored 21 points including getting 14 off turnovers and finished the game with 564 yards of total offense on 76 plays. UA hit a 90-yard TD pass to Jaylen Waddle for a 27-24 lead with 4:00 left in the 3rd quarter.

Special Teams Summary Includes NCAA Record For Consecutive PATs: Redshirt sophomore PK Jack Podlesny hit a 50-yard field goal for a 17-10 lead with 5:42 left in the first half, missed a 35-yarder in the 4th quarter, and he was 3-for-3 on PATs. Georgia now has made an NCAA record 306 consecutive PATs with the streak including six kickers dating back to 2014. Auburn did hold the mark of 304 that ended last year. Podlesny is 8-for-10 in field goals including hitting a pair from 50-plus yards.

Junior punter Jake Camarda finished with four punts for a 49.0 average, placing three inside the 20 and two going for for 50+ yards. He also served as the kickoff specialist tonight for the first time in his career. Coming in tonight, Camarda ranked No. 1 nationally in punting (51.4 avg.) and Net Punting (47.7). UA had just one punt return for 2 yards. Sophomore Zamir White had two kickoff returns for 58 yards. Redshirt sophomore Kearis Jackson had two kickoff returns for 56 yards. White finished with 57 rushing yards on 10 attempts.

Leading Receivers: Junior running back James Cook established career-highs as he tallied four catches for 101 yards (all in the first half) including an 82-yarder for a TD. Sophomore George Pickens had five for 53 yards. Freshman Jermaine Burton had a five-yard TD, the first of his career, on a 3rd-and-Goal to make it 24-17. He finished with four for 58 yards, both career-high.

Points Off Turnovers: Georgia got no points on one turnover while UA got 21 points off three Dawg miscues.

Richard LeCounte got his team-leading third interception of the year on the first play of the game at the UA 41. It led to an eventual interception on a tipped pass at the line at the UA 42.

For Starters: Senior DT Julian Rochester made his 20th career start but his first since 2018. The longest active starting streak on offense belongs to center Trey Hillnow with 22 while Richard LeCounte leads the defense with 22 straight.

Captains: Georgia senior Monty Rice, junior Jamaree Salyer and redshirt sophomore Azeez Ojulari served as the captains. The Dawgs won the toss and elected to defer until the second half.

Series History And Another Ranked Foe: With the 41-27 victory, No. 2 Alabama now leads the all-time series 41-25-4 including 8-2 edge in Tuscaloosa. Tonight marked No. 3 Georgia’s third straight game facing a top 15 foe after posting wins over No. 7 Auburn and No. 14 Tennessee. Overall, Georgia is 9-5 in Top-10 showdowns in the CKS era.

Up Next: Georgia (3-1) is now off next Saturday and will face Kentucky, Sat., Oct. 31 in Lexington at Noon, per the SEC’s announced schedule change yesterday.

Post Game Quotes

Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement

“Give Alabama a lot of credit. They have great skill players, and I thought we contained them early. The second half we couldn’t do it. Give their coaches credit. They outcoached us. Frustrated we couldn’t get anything going in the second half. We played a really great football team, and we had some costly turnovers. Give them credit, and we have to go back to the drawing board. We still control our own destiny.”

On the breakdowns on defense:

“They made a couple big throws. They beat us on some bubble plays and a double move with Waddle. They made a lot of big plays on 50/50 balls. Smith and Waddle had some big catches.”

On the end of the second quarter and momentum shift:

“I thought it brought their crowd back into it. We didn’t want to give up a big shot to (Jaylen) Waddle, and we didn’t play that aggressive. That is on me, and the official on my side said they had time and they ended up getting a field goal. We should have played more aggressive, but we have to get better.”

Stetson Bennett, Junior, Quarterback

On how he saes it for himself and his game….

“I just didn’t play well enough. I have to figure out how to not give bad balls, have to figure out how to not throw interceptions and how to score point in the second half.”

On what he saw on the interceptions…

“The first one was a batted ball. The second was tipped up. The third one I was trying to do too much and just threw it across my body. It wasn’t smart and I just threw it right to the guy.”

On not scoring in the second half…

“I don’t know. I still feel like we moved it but we just didn’t finish the drives. We are going to have to watch the film and see what happened.”

On the mentality after his third interception…

“I was frustrated. I was frustrated with myself. Mentality didn’t change, we still went down and moved the ball. I just can’t have interceptions like that.”

On the potential to get to play Alabama again…

“Our destiny is still controlled by us, which is how you want it. If we win out, we will probably see those guys, or somebody else, and we will be in the SEC Championship, so everything we want is still ahead of us.”

Richard LeCounte, Senior, Defensive Back

On the pass interference call that led to a touchdown…

“Penalties will get you beat. We have to be better in the secondary. We were able to make some plays, but they made more plays than us. They have a great wide receiver group, great quarterback, great team.”

On Alabama hitting big plays through the passing game….

“We have to play better as a secondary. We gave up some big plays that they were able to capitalize on. They have perfect throws, perfect catches and we were playing a great ball club in Alabama.

On if this causes Georgia to go back to the drawing board…

“We have a great team, man. The team who played better tonight won. It’s not really a demoralizing thing, but we will go back to the drawing board where we are able to fix where we messed up tonight and finish our season out. We’re good. It’s just a little bump in our road. We are here to learn from our experience and get better so they next time we’ll be good.”

Tide Rolls Over Dawgs In Second Half Comeback

UGA Sports Communications

The Dawgs suffered their first loss of the 2020 season to the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, 41-24 Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in front of a crowd of 19,424 and a national-televised audience on CBS. 

“I was really pleased with the way our guys competed,” coach Kirby Smart said. “Frustrated that we couldn’t get anything going in the second half, especially on that opening drive. I thought we would have been able to run down, but we stalled out and lost some momentum.”

Smart added, “Give them credit. We have to get back to the drawing boards because we still have a really good football team and we control what is in front of us by how we play.”

The Dawgs (3-1) compiled 414 yards on offense, 269 through the air, and 145 on the ground. The defense forced one interception and sacked Alabama quarterback Mac Jones three times.

Redshirt-junior Stetson Bennett completed 18 passes on 40 attempts, throwing for 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Bennett threw for 177 yards in the first half, the third most by a quarterback in the last four seasons against Alabama behind LSU’s Joe Burrow in 2019 and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in 2018.

Sophomore James Cook recorded 117 all-purpose yards, including his first career receiving touchdown on an 82-yard completion. Bennett’s favorite receiving target was sophomore George Pickens, who recorded five receptions for 53-yards. Freshman Jermaine Burton caught four passes for 58-yards and his first career touchdown. Redshirt-sophomore Zamir White led the way on the ground for the Dawgs, rushing 10 times for 57 yards and one touchdown with a long of 12.

Defensively, sophomore Lewis Cine led the way with eight total tackles, four solo. While seniors Jermaine Johnson, Malik Herring, and sophomore Nakobe Dean each recorded a sack. Richard LeCounte grabbed his third interception of the season and ninth of his career.

Specialist Jake Camarda punted four times for 196 yards and an average of 49 putting three inside the twenty and hitting two over 50 yards. Jack Podlesny went 1-for-2 in the kicking game, making a 50-yard field goal in the second quarter.

From the first snap, the Dawgs made their presence known, pressuring Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, allowing LeCounte to secure the interception. On the ensuing possession, Bennett would go on to throw his first interception of the season. The Crimson Tide would take advantage with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Jones to John Metchie to put the Dawgs down 7-0.

The offense would respond a few drives later, going 57 yards on eight plays, capped off by a 10-yard White touchdown run. Freshman Kendall Milton was integral in setting up the score, rushing for a career-high long of 25-yards. A Podlesny point-after-attempt tied the game a 7-7 with a minute to go in the first quarter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Bennett threw his first touchdown of the game to Cook for 82-yards. It would be the longest play for the Dawgs since 2013. Podlesny put the extra point right down the middle for the Dawgs to take their first lead of the game, 14-7.

The Crimson Tide would spend the following 5:49 going 60-yards on 13 plays before being stopped at the 15-yard line thanks to a Johnson sack. Will Reichard hit a 33-yard field goal to put the Crimson Tide within three, 14-10.

A week after hitting his career high with a 51-yard field goal against Tennessee, Podlesny capped a 10 play, 44-yard drive a yard shy of tying that high, making a 50-yard field goal to push the lead back to seven, 17-10.

A back and forth first half continued as Jones would tie the game once again at 17 after completing a 17-yard pass to DeVonta Smith with three-minutes to go before halftime.

The Dawgs would use nearly all three of those minutes, driving 66-yards on 12 plays, including Bennett drawing the Alabama defense offsides on fourth and inches, ending with a five-yard strike to Burton.

With 23-seconds left on the clock, Alabama would drive 41-yards and finish the first half with a career-long 51-yard field goal for Reichard. Georgia would lead the Crimson Tide 24-20 heading into the break set to receive in the second half.

The second half began with great defensive series on both sides, it would not be until the four-minute mark that Jones would find Jaylen Waddle for a 90-yard connection to put Alabama ahead for the first time since the first the score was 7-0. The Dawgs would go down 27-24 with four minutes to go in the third quarter.

On the next Georgia possession, Bennett would throw his second interception of the night after a ricochet off a receiver. Jones would take the Crimson Tide 56-yards in 5 plays finished off by a Najee Harris 2-yard touchdown rush to put the Dawgs down 34-24.

Another turnover led to a 45-yard, 10 play drive by Alabama ending with a 13-yard touchdown reception by Smith to put the Crimson Tide up 41-24, where the score would stay.

Georgia will take their bye week, a week early due to SEC rescheduling before heading to Lexington, Kentucky for a matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, October 31st. Kickoff is set for Noon, ET with coverage provided by SEC Network.