Kirby Smart met with the media Saturday night following a 30-21 win over Missouri. As always, his quotes are in italics.
Opening Remarks: I'm proud of our players. I think we've built a group of men and a team that know how to play with resiliency and composure. Really, we talked all week about discipline to execute in crunch time...They did that. I thought that our first three points came from them jumping offside, and our kids were disciplined enough to stay onside. We stole a drive there. Give Missouri a lot of credit. Eli does a great job. That team is hard to play. They've got great skill and size on the defensive line. Our kids played really hard. The difference in the game was probably the kicking game. Woodring coming through, Mews' returns, and some critical red area stops. That's what games come down to. They played well in the red area defensively, and we played well in the red area defensively. Great team and Great game...That's what the SEC is all about. We get to do it again next week.
On Nazir Stackhouse's Interception: Man. Biggest play of the game. It was slow motion. We talked to him after the game and said we had to get the piano off his back. He knew he was going to score but didn't know how far he had to run. He was out of breath about halfway.
On Kamari Lassiter's Move to the Slot: Well, Kamari is a talented football player. When he first got here as a freshman, we had times where we worked him in the slot. He's a really physical tackler and a really tough guy. As we watched them during the week, we felt like we needed to have a weapon in the slot. To do that, you got to have guys that can go and line up outside. You know, Daylen and Julian had to go out there and play. They made some good plays. They had some really close PI that were tough calls, and they had some really tough back shoulder throws. You take Kamari off that boundary spot, and you open yourself to those throws. We think we have good corners. We're lucky that we have defensive players versatile enough to try to match up to some things they did.
On What Changed With the UGA Offense in the Second Half: I don't really know. I'll have to watch it and see. I can't really tell you what changed. I know we have a potent offense, and we have a lot of good weapons. We have a lot of guys we can use, and we got a guy that can get it to them. We got good pass protectors. We got good run blockers. You know, I didn't think we ran the ball overly well in the first half or the second half. The second half had some moments. You got to be able to control the line of scrimmage. You can't live your life in second and long. All game, I thought we had a lot of second and longs. They won first down more than we did. Mike did a good job staying with it. We were very committed to the run when most teams would have abandoned it.
On Carson Beck: I always had a lot of confidence in Carson. Carson did all the things he's doing now in our practices. He did them against a 2021 defense that may have been one of the top 3 defenses ever. He did it every day out there. He would go against those guys, and I'd be like, Man, this guy ain't flinching. So I've seen all these things before. If anything surprises me, it's probably his feet because he didn't get to use those often in practices. His composure, his decision making, his ability to change protections, and know what defenses are doing. You've got to give him a lot of credit. The first touchdown was probably all his. He saw something, made a change, and did a great job.
On Juman Dumas-Johnson's Injury: I'm not sure. I think it's a fracture or something in the forearm.
Smart was asked if he thought JDJ could play in a cast, and he said he didn't think so.
On the Linebacker Play After JDJ Injury: They played before he got hurt. I mean, those guys have played all year. We need those guys to keep coming and keep growing up. They've done a tremendous job. I've got a lot of respect for those young guys. They've worked for this opportunity. They go out and practice every day as hard as they can. They're really good football players. CJ and Raylen are very talented, and they got thrown in the fire tonight more than normal.
On the Missouri Offense: They didn't do anything they hadn't done all year. They just schemed us up and kicked our ass.
On the UGA Offense Against the Missouri Defense: They blitzed us all game...It's what they do. They're aggressive...They come after you. They make you beat them. They got three sacks on a team that hadn't given up that many sacks. They're very aggressive. You've got to have answers. We worked hard on that, but they know your answers. It's a cat and mouse game of... Are you going to get a better answer than they've got. They won some, and they lost some.
On Ole Miss: They've got a great team. I get to go work on them tomorrow. I have a lot of respect for what Lane's done and built there. He's a tremendous offensive mind. They're playing good defense, too. It'll be a hell of a matchup because they got a really good football team.
On Kamari Lassiter: He just had back spasms. He was fine. I think he just wanted to get up and celebrate so everybody would cheer.
On Xavian Sorey's Absence: He wasn't with us for personal reasons.
On Ladd McConkey: Awesome. Great competitor. We finally completed a post for the first time all year. Carson drove it in there, and Ladd went up and made a play. I thought Rara had a chance for one early. I thought the guy might have gotten there early, but we didn't get the call. Ladd made people miss. He had one play where we didn't block a guy. We threw the bubble out there and didn't block it right, and Ladd made him miss. Players make plays, and he did.
On What He Learned About His Team: We got a disciplined football team. They do what we ask. We don't get a lot of stupid penalties. They believe in each other. They believe that if they don't win at the last moment, they'll win the next moment. If you win enough moments, you could be pretty good.
On The Key to Playing Good Defense in the Red Zone: Stopping the run. If you can stop the run, you're going to make them do what...Throw.
On Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint: I didn't realize that he didn't go back in. I remember the play you're talking about, but I didn't get any updates. I think he's okay.
On the Difference in Missouri This Year vs Last: Very similar. A lot of the same offensive plays. He went out and hired a new offensive coordinator that brought some new wrinkles. They're big defensively. Number 6 is just a grown man and one of the hardest guys to block in our league. They have a good football team. They play sound.
On if He Was Disappointed on the UGA Offense Before the Half: Absolutely not. If we hurry up and punt it to them, they got more time. So the goal is to get a first down and score. If you don't do that, it's don't give them the ball.
Photo Courtesy of Charles Jordan.