Kirby Smart met with the media Tuesday afternoon to discuss more on the Auburn game this weekend. He also gives an injury report on key Georgia players.
On Practice So Far This Week: It was good yesterday, and I thought it was good today. We had a lot of things to clean up today. I didn't love the results, but I loved the energy, focus, and enthusiasm. It's a rivalry game, and our guys are passionate about this game. I thought they practiced hard, but not always smart. We got after it today...had a good physical practice. It'll be a physical game, so we need to be ready for it. We expect it to be hot, and we practiced in the heat.
On the Auburn Defense's Ability to Create Turnovers: They get a lot of havoc. There's a couple clips against A&M where they're punching balls out. You can tell they're coaching it. They're violent, stripping out balls and going after it. That's the going rate in the country, and you got to protect the ball at a higher rate than ever I can remember. The art of getting turnovers and forcing them is harped and coached upon on defense. It's almost double that on offense now protecting it. The two are like meeting in the middle. They're protecting it more, and we're coming after it more, and it just keeps raising the standard. They've done a good job of that. They've also got some interceptions that have helped with that.
On Ladd McConkey's Injury: He did some things today. He got to practice. He didn't do much on Monday. He ran routes and caught balls. Then today, he got in plays and ran routes. I saw him some but didn't see enough to judge it. I'm going to go watch the tape of the periods I wasn't over there with him to see what he looks like. We're trying to progress him back slowly, whether it's this week in a role or the future. Not trying to rush him back.
On Auburn QB Payton Thorne: Extremely athletic. Robby Ashford is an elite athlete, and he is so fast. The thing is, Payton Thorne is a good athlete, too. He can take off and run at any time. He can do all the same runs. He's made some pretty impressive cuts and runs. They both are really good athletes.
On Roderick Robinson: Roderick hasn't gone much. He's been in the training room dealing with the high ankle.
On Kendall Milton: Kendall was able to go today and did some stuff. I saw him out there but didn't get to see how much he did or how he looked doing it. I'll evaluate that on tape, but he was able to take reps and go, cut, and do some things.
On the Difference in Alabama Auburn vs. Georgia Auburn: They're both rivalries. Georgia Auburn is a border war rivalry. Alabama-Auburn is obviously an in-state rivalry. That's on a whole other level of difference. They live with it 365 days. We share that with so many other out-of-state rivalries. There's no diminishing of a rivalry. I tend to agree with Coach Freeze it's not about hate for me. I don't look at it as I hate any of their players...I recruited a lot of them. I don't look at it as if I hate any of their coaches because I like a lot of their coaches. I've known a lot of those guys for a long time. I have a lot of respect for Hugh. It's a hell of a fierce rivalry. That's really why you do this business. You get in this business to play in these type games and this type atmosphere. The fanbases may not like to hear that cause they like to hate each other. There's not a lot of difference in our fans and their fans most of the time. In terms of where they're from, our players are similar to their players.
On if the UGA Offense Has Fully Been Installed: You're never really fully installed ever. If you say you're fully installed, you're saying you can't get better and do anything else. You're constantly looking for a better way or a new play or something to do. We do have what we have. Every offense carries over plays, and you might present it a different way or change it up. There's coaches all over the country watching games on Sunday to find a new wrinkle. Not necessarily a trick play, just a different way to do the same thing.
On Mykel Williams' Injury Status: Mykel did some exercise today and felt better. Hoping he'll be able to go. Don't know that, but will probably know more tomorrow.
On Javon Bullard's Injury Status: Javon was able to do more today. He felt the best he had. He did walk-throughs and ran on the side. He did some scout period stuff. Again, those guys are going to be really close right there, along with Ladd and Kendall. It could be into the weekend before we know.
On Warren Brinson's Growth: He's worked hard and gotten more opportunities. He's trained behind some really good football players that are gone. He's developed, gotten tougher, gotten more physical and stronger. He's improved. When he plays within the scheme of things, he's really athletic and twitchy. He's got to play more snaps than he's ever played, so it's really important.
On Dan Jackson: He's been good. You know, when he's healthy, he's played really well. He played a dime role two years ago, then last year, he dealt with an injury most of the year, which was really frustrating for him. To me he's just now getting back to his old play speed. Dan has good speed and eyes. He understands our defense and recognizes things. I was really proud of him the other night... I thought he played well. If Javon can't go, we will need him to play well again.
On Micah Morris: He did a good job. He came in there and gave those guys a rotational blow. I think that's important when it's hot, and you're playing early fall. He jumped in there and competed and played. He's really physical. He has a different presence than the other guards at times. He has some strengths they don't have and has some weaknesses they don't have. We have to measure those within each game and see what we need.
On Marvin Jones' Progression: He has gotten better. I thought he had a good week of practice so far. He was crushed when he didn't get to play, but now he's recovered from all that. He's getting better, and he understands our defense in terms of knowledge and system. A lot of those guys in that room are young and new. He's been able to grasp that and have a feel for things. I'm hoping he comes along and starts making some plays.
Smart expressed that he thinks Carson Beck has thrown the deep ball well. He said he doesn't listen to the noise out there. Smart said they missed a couple because they've been covered, or Beck has overthrown guys.