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Kirby Smart Gives Injury Updates on Key Bulldogs During Monday Press Conference

Will Morrison

Kirby Smart met with the media following the bye week to talk a little about the Florida game this weekend. His quotes are in italics. 

Opening Remarks: We will start gearing up towards Florida. We did a little last week in terms of introducing those guys on Thursday. Today, we will get back to work on these guys. Our guys have been excited to play in Jacksonville. It's an incredible stadium and atmosphere. I know our players just love playing in this neutral site game. It's just different in terms of the start of it and the fans and the split crowd. It seems to be a momentum flow type game because the team that has momentum is really at home for that moment, and it goes back and forth. It's been a game of momentum swings. I have a lot of respect for Billy. I've always liked Billy a lot. He does a really good job as a football coach, a man, and a person. I've worked on a staff with him. I admire him and the way he coaches and goes about things. He's very detail-oriented...no stone unturned, and the play that way. Got a lot of respect for the way they play, and I know a lot of guys on their staff. It'll be a physical game...it always is. I know our kids are looking forward to it. 

On Florida WR Ricky Pearsall Being So Explosive: Well, I would say he's been available and stayed healthy. He's been very consistent for them. They've got some other guys; if you just look at the stats it can be misleading. They've had some guys that've missed some games and, therefore, missed some oppurutunties to get stats. He's been very consistent. He's an explosive playmaker. He's tough. He does a lot of things. They move him around a lot...he's not just a sit there and play guy. He's worked the slots, done double moves, and been a verticle guy. He makes a lot of plays. They have other weapons, but some of those guys have been injured. It's been a build of injuries that have led to the stats being that way. 

On If This Florida Team Has Grown Up From the Start of the Season: Yes. They've played their best football the last two weeks or so. If you look at the statistics on their quarterback, he's maybe the number one quarterback in the country for two games. You can tell he's got a lot of confidence in their offense and the system. They're able to execute and do a lot of things with him. He handles it well. He does a lot of good run checks for them. He's done a very good job of not putting them in harm's way in his decision making process. They're playing at a really high level right now and doing a great job with it. 

On Oscar Delp: Delp's been fine. We're not asking him to do anything different than he's normally done...nor anyone on the team. 

On Brock Bowers: Brock's been at walkthroughs and been out there with the team. 

On Tate Ratledge: Tate had an elbow coming out of the Vanderbilt game, but he's been fine. He practiced all last week with that elbow. 

On Roderick Robinson: Rod was able to go a lot of last week as well.

On Amarius Mims and Xavier Truss: We will find out a lot more today. They both were able to do some different things last week. In the off week, it was a lot of rehab, maintenance, and a lot of just getting back. Till I see them out there today, I probably wouldn't be a good judge to be able to tell. 

On How to Effect Graham Mertz: It's never all about pressure. It's about controlling the line of scrimmage and not giving up explosives. Who can not let someone run the ball and not give up explosives... that's what you're looking for. That's what football has become... a game of explosives. Teams are trying to find them. They throw the ball vertically down the field, Billy always has. I mean, a team that runs the ball well, that's what they should do. They've got a stable of backs that are really good... as good of back as we've faced. Eugene Wilson is an elite player. He's a weapon in the sense that he breaks a lot of tackles. They're creative in the ways of getting him the football. Mertz knows that. He does a great job in Billy's system of knowing when to take the shot or hit a checkdown. If you're just in the right play more often, you tend to have more success. He's done a really good job of that. 

On What He Tells the Team Before This Rivalry Game: Welcome to the SEC. Every game is a rivalry game when you get in the SEC. They're all tough games. This one is unique because of where it's played. It'll be a new experience for some of our guys, but you forget about that when the whistle blows and it's time to go out there and play. 

On the UGA Offensive Line: I think it's more important we get more depth. We're an injury from being down this guy or that guy. We're also trying to get guys back, so it's always a balance of who you are. We tried really hard last week to work on fundamentals. I mean, at the end of the day, you're not going to trick people in our league. They've seen every play.  It's not like a new play is going to win you the game. What's going to win you the game is can you block better than the other team. Can you execute, protect the ball, convert third downs, and play well in the red area. Those are the things we tried to work on. The offensive line group I'm very proud and pleased with the work ethic, the leadership, and the practices we've had. We have an interesting group. We have a group that's played a lot of games and a group that has not played a lot of games. You have experience there, and you try to balance out how to get the older group better and how you get the younger group more reps. 

On Making Gutsy Calls as a Coach: I think it depends on the flow of the game. I think it depends on your defense and your kicking game. If you're not giving up a lot to take a smaller risk, then you're gaining a chance to score points. At the end of the day, the goal is to score more points than the other team. I would say historically, teams have been overly conservative. That probably aired to being overly aggressive. It's hard to say what's right or wrong. It only comes out right if it works and only comes out wrong if it doesn't. I don't look at it that way. I look at it as can you out execute the other team. Can you stop teams where you think the point totals are going to be. 

On Kendall Milton: Kendall was good last week. He pushed through and did a good job. We will see where he's at today. 

On What Has Been the Focus of the Team: The focus has been about us; that's all it was last week. It's not about Florida or anybody we play...it's about us. This week, it'll be about us again. It'll be about us getting ready for Florida. Last week was a work week and a chance for us to get better. In some ways, refueling to restart. Refueling looks different sometimes. It's not all rest and recovery. It's where you can get better and create an advantage for yourself. 

On Oscar Delp's Growth: I think being around Brock and Darnell last year was a great learning tool for him. From the side of being a Y and a physical blocker, he got to see Darnell and be around him. He got to see Brock and all the things he's done. His growth has been good. I don't know, without those two, if he would be where he is. Those two demanded he do things right in order to get on the field. He had to earn the right to play. He's earned that with how he's practiced and played. 

On Daylen Everette's Play: He's been good. He's done good things. I think he's starting to play with a little more confidence. He's gotten to go out there and make some plays with his back to the ball. He's had a couple of big stops in games. He's a good physical tackler and not afraid of contact. He continues to work to get better, and Julian as well. Julian has played a similar amount of minutes. He's gotten a lot of work, with Kamari being up and down. He's got a lot of work in practice. So the two of those guys, I look at them as costarters. They continue to improve and get better. 

On His Thoughts of the Game Being in Jacksonville: I don't really think about it anymore. We are where we are. That really doesn't cross my mind besides the offseason when I get asked about it. I am more concerned about how we play rather than where we play. 

On What Changed With Peyton Woodring From the Beginning of the Season to Now: I don't know man. It's like a hitter. You can't get a base hit every time. His mental approach has been better. I think creating a thought process of being a kicker. He was a position player in high school, so he never had the thought process of sitting on the sideline wondering when he was going to go in. There's a lot of thoughts that can go through your head during those times. As a position player, he never had those thoughts. Those were his first football games of wondering when he was going to go out there. One shot, one opportunity, and I got to go make the best of it. I think he's grown a little bit more accustomed of having to do that. He's had some help from people here in our organization, but he's had help from the kickers outside our building that kicked here at one time. 

On Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint's Growth: The biggest thing he's grown in is his leadership. When his injury happened, he was a young kid coming on strong in a receiver core that was very thin. He helped us tremendously as a freshman. He was very confident and a playmaker. Fast forward to now, he's an emotional leader and a toughness leader. He believes in doing things the right way. He sells the culture and values of the organization really well. 

Photo Courtesy of Charles Jordan. 

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