Kirby Smart met with the media following today's 37-20 win over Vanderbilt. His quotes are italicized.
Opening Remarks: Well once again we come to Nashville and it feels like a home game. We had a lot of UGA red in the stands. We came out for warmups, and it wasn't as crowded, but when we came out for the main part of the game, there was a sea of red there. There was a lot of red on their side. I was really appreciative of our fans making it like a home game. I was really proud of our players being resilient and fighting through some turnovers, adversity, sloppy play, and some injuries. At the end of the day, they responded and got up and played on the road in the SEC. I'm proud of them for that.
On Brock Bowers' Injury Status: It's an ankle sprain. We don't know how severe. The X-rays were negative. It looks like lower, but we won't know until we do an MRI. Same thing for Truss. Both of them have ankle sprains.
On the Offenses Response Following Injurys: I was proud of them. Monroe went in and did a good job. Those guys practice every day and take the same reps. I thought our guys did a great job. Red area stalled out a couple times and had to kick field goals. That was probably more of a good thing for Peyton Woodring to go out there in that wind we had and nail some critical and crucial field goals. I'm really proud of him for that. I'm really proud of the offense on the day. They did some good things, like throwing the ball on the perimeter. Missed some explosives and got sloppy with the ball there...one ball got tipped, and Carson had a fumble. When you don't punt, you can't say too much on the offense.
On Kendall Milton's Injury Status: His MCL was bothering him. He took a hit on it during the game before the fourth down carry. It tightened at halftime on him. What happens is it gets stiffer, and we're trying to keep him warm. It tightened up on him when he took a shot from a helmet to the knee.
On Tykee Smith's Performance: Tykee's been really solid for us. He had the huge interception before the half. We talked about the middle eight going into the game. The middle eight is one of the most critical times in a game...last 4 first 4. We talked about it yesterday actually. Mykel came over and said we just won the middle eight, coach. 14-0 was a huge swing of momentum there before the half. Then, to come out in the second half, you take care of the first 4 and add more points...it ended up being 17-0 there. Tykee did a good job. He had some plays that he didn't do the right thing. He's got to play better to get where we want to go, but he made some plays too.
On Sudden Changes: Sudden change we talk about a lot. I don't know what makes a team good in sudden change or bad. You're either good on defense or you're not...it doesn't matter when you go out there. Sudden change is critical. That was a big stop. That end of the field, you were kicking right into the teeth of the wind. I didn't feel like he could make that field goal. We chose not to kick field goals down there.
On if the Bye Week is Coming at the Right Time: I've never had a bye week that came at the wrong time. I feel great about the bye week...I'm glad it's here. We will try to get better. People don't really understand what bye week is. It's an opportunity for a growth week for me. It's not a bye week. I don't look at it as time off. We got some players that need it, and we're a dinged up football team. We still have guys that are missing practice and missing time that want to go out there and play. We'll try to get them healthy.
On Dan Jackson: He got sick last night. He was with us, and I thought he would be able to play. Maybe some infection, I'm not sure. I just know he's sick.
On Ladd McConkey: Seemed fine. I think the deal with Ladd is he gets tight after halftime. He stiffens up. A little bit of stamina because he doesn't get to practice as much as the other guys. I didn't think anything happened to set him back.
On His Message to Lawson and Monroe: I'm proud of them. There's no message. They go into the game ready to play. I didn't say a word to them...they understand. We do a million walk throughs and a million practices. I've been telling Stacy and those guys to put Monroe in there. He can't just go in the game. Put him in there with the 1s and let him practice. Let him see what it's like to go against our guys. So that moment came, and it wasn't too big for him. I thought he did a good job.
On Carson Beck: I want to reserve judgment until I watch it. I was frustrated with some decisions. He took a sack that almost knocked us out of field goal. That just wasn't smart. If it's not there, throw it away, kick the three points and let's go. I think everything for him has to be... I have to make a completion or run for it. It's okay. We got a good defense, and we don't have to score every possession. Be smart with the ball, and don't give it back to them. I want to watch it and see how he played. He made a couple of nice throws that we didn't get catch. There's a couple that I thought he could have back, but we'll watch it and see how he did. I'm certainly proud of his composure. He doesn't lose his composure much.
On His Redzone Standards: We want to be a 70% touchdown team. What happens is you get ranked high in redzone, but it's because you kick field goals. We don't even evaluate that stat. It does no good to go down there and kick field goals. It's a win for the defense. I don't know where we were today, but we weren't 70% touchdowns in the red area. Hell, I don't think we were 70% touchdowns against Kentucky. It's a hard goal to make, but it's a goal we expect. We fell short of that today. The offense has been bouncing back on that goal. The defense is the one that's been disappointing.
On Where He Wants to See Growth: I want to get all the 2s and 3s and all the guys that haven't played as many snaps ready to go. I don't know when it's going to be, but there's going to be a Monroe Freeling or a Lawson Luckie moment where a kids got to go in and play. It's coming...I just don't know who. This stretch run of 5 games, is going to be physical and tough. We may or may not be playing with a full deck. We've got to get better.
On What They'll Do Recruiting Wise During the Bye Week: We'll have some guys out for sure on Friday. We'll burn up most of the days we have left on Friday. A couple on Thursday after practice. A few on Monday...Not games but going out to practices to watch and evaluate. It's a catch up time for sure. It's your chance to catch your breath and do some roster management stuff. Figure out what do we need, what do we have, and see what's out there.
On Does He Like Where the Team is At: Yea. I'm really proud of the leadership team. There's great guys in that locker room that know we can play better. I've said it before...I'm not going to apologize for winning on the road in the SEC.
Photo Courtesy of Charles Jordan
Edited by Will Morrison