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Kirby Smart's Press Conference Notes Following A Close Win Against South Carolina

Will Morrison

Kirby started his press conference by saying what a tremendous job Shane Beamer and his team did coming into a hostile environment and playing the way they did. Smart stated, "They out-executed us for sure there in the first half." He then thanked the fans for the help with the momentum in the second half. He said the Georgia offense also helped establish it, but the intensity from the fans helped turn things around for UGA. 

Smart was asked what the mood and message were at halftime when Georgia was trailing 14-3. Kirby said the team was calm and composed. He said that they talked about their four DNA traits. "When things get tough, you rely on your DNA traits," Smart added. Kirby said he was excited at half because he would be able to find out what type of team he had. He said that the goal was to win one moment at a time. 

Kirby was asked if he thought Daijuan Edwards would've been as effective as he was in his first game following an injury. Smart answers with, "Absolutely." He says that Daijuan is a good back and tough football player. "We're fortunate that he was healthy today," Smart added. 

After Amarius Mims went down with an injury, it was next man up for the Bulldogs. Smart said that's the way Georgia practices and added that Mims went down with an ankle sprain but he doesn't know how significant it is yet. He was proud of how Xavier Truss came in and played the way he did. 

Smart also said that Mykel Williams is UGA's most dynamic rusher. "He's going to have to be effective in order for us to get pressure," Kirby stated. He said the defensive line as a whole was more disruptive in the second half. He then said they got the South Carolina offense off rhythm, which played a big key in the second half. 

Smart also mentioned (with a smirk on his face) that his team plays really good in the second half. When asked how he feels about the first half, he said, "I can say that we're going to play good in the second half." Kirby said that he thought they established an identity with how they played in the second half following a rough first half. Smart said that South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler was in rhythm, and they were trying to find ways to knock him off his rhythm. 

Georgia true freshman kicker Peyton Woodring struggled in this game, missing two field goals. Kirby sees Peyton kick a lot better in practice. "He's been really consistent in practice," Kirby added. He said Georgia will go back and watch the tape and reevaluate, stating, "We have to be able to score points." He did say that he would prefer not to kick those in the first place, hinting at the fact he wants touchdowns. 

Smart added that he thought RaRa Thomas had his best week of practice yet. "We've got to find ways to get him the ball and use him," Smart added on Thomas. He said that RaRa's number was called twice in the second half, and he made both plays. 

With Javon Bullard out of this game, David Daniel-Sisavanh stepped in to play safety for UGA. When asked how Daniel-Sisavanh played, Smart said, "I don't know. There were plays where I thought he was a little too high and a little hesitant." Kirby did say that he thought David got better as the game went on. He added that Dan Jackson played in that spot too, and he thought both players stepped up big time. 

Smart said that Kendall Milton left the game with an MCL injury and that Marvin Jones Jr. was out due to an illness. He hopes to get Marvin back this week. He added that Ladd McConkey is still dealing with a back injury. He said Javon Bullard was a game-time decision and that he practiced some on Thursday. Kirby said that during practice, he felt good, but during pregame warmups, Javon didn't feel like he was all there. 

Kirby said there are lots that this team has to improve, but stated he's proud of how the Bulldogs answered the bell when facing adversity. "I found out a lot more about my team today than I did any other day this year." He said he was thrilled when he entered the locker room, and the players were trying to figure out what was going wrong. He said everyone was calm, there was no bickering, and that the team responded in the second half.

Smart noted that Carson Beck has done a tremendous job being a leader and commander of the offense. He then said there are some areas he needs to clean up, but he's very pleased with his play so far. Smart said he told Beck that the team believed in him and they would come out of the half and “do this thing.” He said that Carson doesn't show emotions, which is the opposite of himself. 

Smart was asked if he was relieved that the test for this Georgia team came so early. He responded that he's never relieved. Smart said he wants to go out there and dominate and make the other team never want to play them again. Kirby said that they didn't do that today, but they did respond to adversity. "People have to play close games in order to get better.”

Cash Jones punched in a rushing touchdown for the second consecutive week. Smart told reporters that Jones is the perfect example of working hard and sticking around a program until your number is called. 

Smart said he mentioned Georgia's win at Missouri last year at halftime as an example of, "We've been here before, and we've done this before." Kirby said being able to find a way to win when you aren't playing your best game is what championship caliber teams are made of. He said he thought the offense played a very good game but wasn't rewarded. Kirby said that they have to get better in the red area.

Edited by Will Morrison

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