Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Dawgs Talk About Vanderbilt

UGA Sports Communications

Coach Kirby Smart 

Opening Statement…

"We're excited for this game and trip to Nashville. Our guys are excited for the opportunity. We didn't get to play them last year, so our guys are looking forward to it. We have to get off to an early start with the early kick time."

On playing good defense without some starters…

"The key to that is a good off-season, recruiting well, and playing a lot of players last year. A lot of these guys that are playing now, played some last year. We're playing a lot of people this year. Somebody said 23-24 guys played in one game. That is what we build this defense on. Moral, effort, playing a lot of guys. When you do that it doesn't matter who starts. It doesn't matter how many returning starters you have because a lot of guys have played."

On the defensive front…

"They play hard. They play with effort. They are good football players. I mean UAB ran the ball on us really well. We have to be able to play with a lot more consistency in what we are doing. We have to be able to mix that at a rate that we don't give up explosive passes like we did last week. You can't be good at one thing. You have to be good at both, and we're not. We are functioning at one or the other each week and not both. That is what our goal is."

On the Vanderbilt QB Ken Seals…

"He's a really good athlete. He's very fast. He's been mobile and makes good decisions. Their quarterbacks are capable of running the ball and creating that extra element with the run. I have a lot of respect for the job he's done in the two games he's played."

On the run game…

"Hot and cold. We've done a good job getting a 4-5 yard average. We always talk about being efficient in the run game. That's different than what your average run is. It's your ability to cut the sticks in half. In one game we were efficient and in one game we weren't efficient. To me, it is very important that you are efficient in your run game because it sets up play action. It allows you to manage third downs… I've been pleased at times, and other times disappointed. It's like everything else, it's not ever one way or the other. It's a work in progress. We are trying to go out there today to get better at it. It's what we're going to focus on."

JT Daniels, Junior, Quarterback

On third down conversions…

"Third down is a huge deal for me, personally and I think for quarterbacks everywhere. When you talk about third down conversion and are in third down, there is a lot less to do terms of play action, a lot less to in terms of running the ball, RPO's, a lot of things that make the games easier kind of go away when third down comes. So, a lot of third down is a lot of pure drop back passing, something that I have always prided myself in and something that I am always looking to improve on being the type of quarterback that I am. Drop back passing has got to be a significant attribute of mine. So, third down passing for me is an indicator of how well I am doing and how well our offense is doing in terms of execution and the drop back pass game."

On his health…
"You know it is getting better every day. It is something that's been hurt since fall camp. It never really goes away, we played Clemson, and there was a little dip, so we focused on rehabbing, more of that last week. We rehabbed as much as we could but this week, we are still doing the same thing, same plan. It is just going to keep getting better and better."

On starting opportunity at Georgia…
"I just, continue to take it day by day. I didn't even realize it has been over a year, obviously it has, but it is not something that I have really thought about. In terms of it, but I think when I look back, I see a lot of growth on my part. Significantly in terms of my leadership, my ability to develop connections with the whole team, I've gotten a lot better with that. I think I have gotten significantly better in terms of understanding the game of football, and it helps coming to a new league. It is very different schematically, offensively, and defensively. But in terms of what is left, I am just going to keep taking it week-by-week. Always have, always will. That is a big emphasis for us, I am fully focused on Vanderbilt. The Vandy game we got on Saturday. I am not worried about what comes after that."

Kenny McIntosh, Junior, Running Back

On JT when he's in the huddle….

"He's a leader. Tells us what we have to get done in the huddle, lets us know all of our assignments. He lets us know to go out there and play as hard as we can and be prepared. He's that type of guy to carry the team in any way he wants to. He's a great leader and he plays that real well."

On the defensive line and who's the most athletic…

"Our whole front seven is very athletic, I feel like all of those guys can definitely go to the next level and play. It's a frustration running against them everyday in practice so I can't really pick one guy out. The whole front seven, the whole defense is just tough to run the ball against and catch the ball. Practices always turn into this competition, we're always going out there to compete so it's hard running against those guys especially Jordan Davis. Everybody on that defense is definitely going to the next level."

On George Pickens recovery….

"I think he's doing well, I think he's getting healthier by the day. Like you said, he's out there running with us now. He's feeling really comfortable, he's getting his comfortability back. I feel like having him around the team is going to allow the wide receiver group to go to the next level like we're capable of doing. But with him around, it's going to bring a lot more excitement to the team, a lot more energy, and stuff like that because that's what he brings as a player. Just him being around there, it shows."

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