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Kirby Smart Speaks on Michigan Sign-Stealing Scandal in Tuesday Press Conference

Will Morrison

Coach Smart met with the media today following practice. He provided some injury updates and spoke on the Michigan sign-stealing scandal. His quotes are italicized. 

On How Practice Has Been So Far This Week: It's been good. It was a little slow with the warm fuzzies, is what we call them. They had gone three days without the pads popping, so it was a little slow to get going yesterday. I thought they were better today. They've had good energy and good spirits, and I think they really respect this rivalry. You know, we got quite a few kids from the state of Florida. They take a lot of pride in going back down to Jacksonville to play. They seem excited.

On The Development He's Seen From the Florida Program: They've recruited well. We've recruited against them, and they recruit hard. They have good schemes. They have good coaches. They have great facilities and a great organization. When you have that recipe, it's just a matter of time. You build it through hard work and discipline. You see that in his players. You can see those guys plan with toughness and discipline. Their brand of football is very respectable. They play a lot of the same schemes defensively and offensively as we do. I got a lot of respect for Billy and the job he's done. I have no doubt that Billy is going to do a great job.

 On Julian Humphrey's Growth: He's gotten a lot of work. Like I said, in the last 3-4 weeks of practice, he's gotten a tremendous amount...Probably 60-70% of his work have come with the ones. He gets a lot of work in there with those guys. He gets to go against better competition doing that. I think that's great for his development. He's a talented football. He has really good speed, good football instincts, and plays the ball well in the air.  

On Xavier Truss and Amarius Mims: Both guys have been able to take some reps and work. Xavier is probably ahead of Mims, which is what we expected. I was really pleased with Mims. He pushed really hard today and got out there and got some work in. Truss has been out there both days. 

On What He Sees in Kamari Lassiter's Veteran Presence: Leadership. He's a kid that's been committed to excellence his whole life. He comes from a great family background...A really tough, hard-working family. He kind of came up through the mud. He didn't get anything given to him and was not a highly recruited guy. He's made himself into a really good player through work ethic. He just won't be outworked. He won't be outcompeted. You love that about a football player. 

On Marvin Jones and Damon Wilson: I think they're in two different spots. You know, like Marvin is a year into the system. He understands it really well. He can play Sam, Jack, and could probably play off the ball if he had to. He's got very good instincts and has gotten physically stronger and tougher. He's had two weird deals where he's missed games due to injuries, but other than that, he's been really consistent. Damon's younger and has shown great promise. He's a player that has ascended in the last two to three weeks in our eyes because he's worked so hard. I mean, he's down there on the scout team, and they're coming in every day being like, dude, Damon's playing so hard down there. He's giving so much effort, and he's given us a great look. We rewarded him and played him more against Vandy because of the work that he did. He continued that into the off week and this week. So he's doing a good job. 

On Sign Stealing: I never heard of anybody going to the game to watch the film and all that stuff that's going on that everyone is talking about. I don't know anybody that's ever done that, and I've never been asked to do that as a young coach or known anybody to do that. I've never heard of that. In high school football, I grew up with my dad, and we would go watch other teams play; that's part of what you did. You went to watch the other team play. You sat out there with four other coaches and drew up their plays as they were doing them. That was pre-cell phone and probably pre-signals. They were probably sending people in with them. As far as in-game, I think people try to do that. As a signal caller, when I had to call defenses, it confused me. If I had to sit there and wait on somebody to tell me what they thought they got...I'm trying to think about what the best call is for the situation. There's times that people have said they've had our signals in game and do this or that. You talk to the team you played last, and sometimes, when you're not going to play that team again, they share what they might have had on you and things like that. I've heard of it in game, but a lot of times, you can know the signal and still not do it right. It's kind of a joke we have... You know what play is coming, and you mess it up. I've laughed with coaches about that before. 

On If He Noticed Anything in the 2021 Michigan Game: No, I didn't. I didn't notice anything or know anything. Nobody we talked to warned us or anything like that. I think everybody we play says that they steal your signals. I mean, we play somebody, and they're always like they're great at stealing signals. We've tried to hide the signals, hold the calls, put signs up, and do all that. But there's nothing I remember about the Michigan game that makes me think that. 

On the Development of Arian Smith: You know, Arian probably had more opportunities early in the year as we were down on wideouts. For whatever reason, he probably hasn't had as many opportunities lately. He's had some opportunities that he didn't capitalize on, and he'd be the first to tell you that. I'm really proud of him and the role he's played on our team in terms of leadership. He's taken ownership in some special teams units. He's been elite at gunner. He's part of the reason that we haven't given up many return yards. He's been a major factor in that. He works really hard after practice on developing as a wideout. 

On Darris Smith: Same thing as we talked about before. He's not with us right now. 

On What He Sees In Florida's Offense: They run the ball well. They have great backs. They have a quarterback that's extremely hot and accurate. He knows exactly what he's doing in the system. They've gotten their tight ends involved in the last couple weeks and done a great job of that. They block physical on the perimeter. They take shots down the field that are set up from their play-action. They spread you out and do a really nice job. They're a complete offense. It's not like if we take this away, they're one-dimensional. They have good wideouts and a really big physical offensive line. They got a quarterback that really understands... Okay, if this is not there, I'm doing this. He can run. So they're a really complete offense. They're very methodical. It's not like they're sitting out there going 100 miles an hour... They know what their play is, and they execute that way. 

Photo Courtesy of Charles Jordan. 

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