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Kirby Smart Talks Mark Stoops' Comments in Tuesday Press Conference

Will Morrison

Kirby Smart met with the media today to give a practice update and more. His quotes are italicized. 

On Practice so Far This Week: Been good. They practiced good today, and I thought they had a good practice today. Some highs and lows and ups and downs. Like I always say, it's a broken record, when it's cool outside we tend to practice better and when it's hot outside we tend to struggle. It was cool today, and they had good spirits. I thought we had good prep. 

On Daylen Everett's Confidence and Growth: I think if you don't have confidence, you'll never be a corner in this league. You better have some confidence. Whether you play well or not, you better have it because they're going to keep coming at you and challenging you. There's great wideouts and throwers. The throwers and catchers in this league are elite. You're going to have some plays you don't win, but you've got to believe you're going to win them all. I think he has a very quiet confidence about him. He's a very intelligent young man. He works really hard. He's in a tough competition, too, because Julian Humphrey has played well and done a good job every day at practice. I thought Julian had a really good practice today. I want to continue to get those guys better and let them compete. 

On What He Would Like to See From the UGA Secondary: I would like to gain more depth. Disguise better. Tackle better. Punch out more balls. 

On Roderick Robinson's Injury Status: He's getting closer. Dryland running and weight-barring running. He's doubtful for this game but closer. He's out practicing with us. 

On Mark Stoops' Comments About UGA Recruiting and NIL Use: No reaction. Much to do about nothing really. I think Mark's trying to garner interest and money from his fanbase for his collective. We're all trying to do the same in terms of trying to get money for our collectives. Mark and I talked about NIL pregame. We talked about it in our meeting. So, I'm not...I'm not biting on that. 

On Dillon Bell's Usage At RB With the Room Becoming Healthier: Yeah, it just matters on where we are at back. We do have Kendall back, and he seems much more healthy. Dillon gives us a lot of versatility to do other things. He's gotten better at his protections, picking things up, IDing things, understanding jet protections, and slide protections. He's getting better at those things. We want to continue to grow his arsenal of plays and continue to use him as a wideout. That's probably not going to stop, regardless of who's there.

On Areas He Wants to See Growth From Carson Beck: Mobility. Getting in and out of the pocket. Decisions on when to tuck it down and run versus stand in and throw. Some design runs probably wouldn't hurt him around the red area. He's a good athlete. The one or two plays a game that he puts us at risk, we are moving that as the most critical thing. The decision making. 

On if the Refs Got the Delay of Game Call on the Defense Right: They probably got it right. There's been ones that we got right too, and they weren't called. It's a matter of doing it the way you're supposed to do it. That's the way our kids are coached to do it... to do it the way you're supposed to do it. Sometimes, the kids overdo it, and that draws a penalty. I saw some LSU and Missouri plays that weren't clapping, so I don't know if that's exactly right in terms of clapping. Clapping is the most often way it happens, but they don't get that either. Auburn clapped 5 or 6 times, and they didn't get it, so it's one of the hardest things to officiate in all of sports. That sometimes is very subjective, so it's complicated. 

On Rara Thomas's Development: He's gotten better every week. He probably struggled a lot in the spring. He grew a lot during camp. He went through some hamstring issues. He learned how to work his way through our practices, how many reps, physicality, and how we go about things. He's learned how to play special teams. It's like all these worlds of stuff coming at him, and that's what he said he wanted when he came here. He wanted to learn how to become a complete wideout, play special teams, and learn in a pro-style system... he's learning that step by step. To the kid's credit, he's getting better every week. 

On the UGA Defense Not Forcing Fumbles: I don't know if we have less snaps. I would love for that to be my excuse is that we get off the field on third down, so we have less opportunities. We still have a lot of snaps. We forced one, but we didn't get it. David Daniel punched one out, and we didn't recover it. We give rewards in points...kids compete each week for points. We give points for strip attempts. So, since we've started going up on those point rewards, they all compete to have the highest points. The strip attempts have gone up, but the fumbles haven't. We continue to chop wood, and usually, those things come in bunches. If we keep doing it and doing it right, it's kind of like our offense... keep working, keep improving, and keep doing it...they'll come when you need them. 

On the Importance of Young Players Getting in the Game: They get confidence. I think they get a reward for what they worked on in practice. So many young players, in my experience, in the places I've been, especially at the higher end, that there's a misconception that I'm [The Player] going to walk in and take over the world because everybody has told me how good I am. At Alabama, here, FSU, and LSU, there's been some unbelievable players we've signed, and very few have instant success. So they have to go through that process of failure, and failure is good for these kids. It's going to be hard in life, and it's going to be hard with what they do. I'm proud of the freshman getting some opportunities in these games we've had leads in, but they've got a long way to be, ready to contribute like a starter. It starts in the meeting room. Taking notes or not taking notes. Walkthroughs. They don't walk through like the older guys. I showed 10 minutes of tape today that was look at this guy at walkthrough and then look at this guy at walkthrough. They are doing the exact same play, one's a senior, and one's a freshman... look at this guy's intentional way he walks through, shows his eyes, and puts his hands on people. You got a guy as a freshman who is just casual and like it doesn't matter, because he doesn't think he's going to play. The difference in that is stunning. I think learning how to be a good player is part of the process. 

On Marvin Jones: He's doing great. He sprained his ankle on Tuesday or Wednesday. Him and Brock collided, and he rolled his ankle and couldn't practice. He didn't practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and felt like he could go on Saturday. He came out for warmups and thought he was able to go. He was able to go a little bit and played some. He really pushed through the pain really well. He just didn't get a lot of reps and probably wasn't 100%. He played more in the previous games, but he's had a run of tough luck with two games missed with almost different things. He's done a great job in practice, and he's got a really bright future. He's a very talented player. Very smart. He's one of the guys we can say he knows the defense inside and out and can go out there and execute at a high level. 

On Whether He Wants to Give Jalon Walker a First or Second Down Role: No, that's not his position. That's not how the game works. He's 235-245 pounds. He could be an outside backer and play outside backer, but we're developing him as an inside backer because we have other outside backers. When the tackle is 6'6" and 340 pounds, you don't ask a guy who is 240 pounds to play on that guy. If they were going to pass every play, that we be a great idea, but they don't do that in our league. 

Photo Courtesy of Charles Jordan

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