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Kirby Smart Previews the Ole Miss Game in Monday Media Session

Will Morrison

Kirby met with the media today to start previewing the Ole Miss game and give injury updates on Brock Bowers and Juman Dumas-Johnson. His quotes are in italics. 

Opening Remarks: Ole Miss has a really good football team. They've improved...If you watch the game tape throughout the year, they've improved with every game. They've played a tremendous schedule...some really tough teams they've played on their schedule. Lane's done a great job with this program and his team. Great staff. They've got really good players. He's done an incredible job. The quarterback is playing at a high level. Great backs. Pete on defense has brought unbelievable energy. You see it in the way they play and the way they attack the ball. I mean, they come after the ball. I think they lead the SEC in turnover margin. I know they have the fewest fumbles and the most fumbles gotten. They do a great job of that. They attack that, and they really play hard. We got a hell of a challenge. We've got a great atmosphere. We need it to be as great an atmosphere in Sanford Stadium as it's ever been to help take care of our home-field advantage that we need to have. I'm looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to the preparation time, and that starts today. 

On the Ole Miss Defense Creating Pressure: Pete has always been that way. He has an aggressive nature. He comes after people. They have the players to do it. They got really good team speed on defense. They will come after you with different looks and try to confuse the quarterback of the offense. That's what good defenses do. He's been around good defenses his whole career. He does a great job defensively. I'm sure they'll have a plan. They study what you do and what's given you problems. He'll have forms of that. They do a good job of that. 

On How He'll Remember This Senior Class: I'm certainly very appreciative of all they've contributed. This class has been great. This group of leaders has been very impactful. I think it speaks for itself what they've been able to accomplish thus far. They still have goals ahead they want to achieve. 

On Jumas Dumas-Johnson: Still not sure how long it'll be. He's going to try to find some innovative ways to get back and be able to play. We won't know the extent of that for a few more days. I'm really excited for those other guys to get some opportunities. Thank goodness we use linebacker as a normal rotating position. We have guys that roll in and play. We average playing 4 or 5 guys at that position each and every game. 

On Night Game Atmospheres: I don't know if the night game impacts it. I think the 3:30's have been great. The toughest is the 12 o'clock kick to get the atmosphere you want. I don't know if I see a difference in the other two. 

On CJ Allen and Raylen Wilson: They both were here at mid-year, so they've been through so many walk-throughs and practices. They're both very intelligent kids. They pick up on things really well. They're both very conscientious. They've both played more and more...Raylen more recently. I'm very pleased with where they are. They're in a room where they're asked to learn a lot of information and be able to command the defense. They do a good job of that. I've got a lot of confidence in those two guys. 

On Jaxson Dart: I think Lane's quarterbacks take on a personality from him. They have a lot of moxy. They have a lot of talent. They play really hard. They play recklessly. He runs like a running back. He's taken some hits this year and shown his toughness. He's not going to shy away from contact and toughness. He's the extra element of run that gives them a competitive advantage over a lot of teams you play. They have great backs, but he runs the ball like a back. He throws the ball really well, too, which is what makes him really hard to defend. He's a guy that can make all the throws but can also take off and run. He's proven to be the guy to do that. 

On Ole Miss RB Quinshon Judkins: I already knew about Quinshon and how good he was. I saw him last year and how they ran on people. The Bentley kid is incredible too. They've got two really good backs. Quinshon probably bears more of that load. He has really thick lowers. He runs through tackles. Extremely patient runner. Like he has the ability to navigate what's there and turn it into explosives and positive runs. Really tough, physical runner and does a great job. They've got two good, capable backs.

On Brock's Rehab: He's been great. He's done everything we've asked. He ran on Friday and did a good workout. He continues to work and do all he can to try and get back as fast as he can. 

On How to Defend Ole Miss WR Tre Harris: It's hard. It's hard to put two people on him based on the issues we just talked about. They look for matchups. Lane looks for matchups. He's looking for every opportunity he can to get a high-percentage matchup in his favor. It's easier to do when you've got good, big wideouts,  a quarterback who can get them the ball, and you can run the ball...Those things provide that. How do you do it? You do the same thing you do every week. Do your best to cover and defend them. You try to control the run game.

On if This Win Would Mean More to Him Due to His Friendship With Lane: Not any more than it would've last week. We're not going to build it up to be something it's not. I mean, every win in the SEC is critical. It's critical for them...They're in a hunt. They're in a hunt for the West and the playoff. They're in a hunt for all the goals and affirmations that they have. It's not about he and I. It's really about the players and the guys that have to go on the field and make plays. 

On Smael Mondon's With the Injury to JDJ: He's already a vocal leader. He does a great job. He calls the defense when Pop's not in there anyway. When Pop is in there, they share. The two freshmen don't practice and play like freshmen. They know the calls and do a great job. I think Smael will do an awesome job calling the stuff. 

On Amarius Mims: Mims practiced all last week and did a good job. He's not quite 100%, but he took reps at his right tackle position and did a good job. I think Mims is much closer. He feels comfortable. He could've probably played Saturday had we needed him. I think he's in a good place. He wants to be able to play and go out there and compete. I'm looking forward to seeing him practice so we can gain more information. 

On the UGA OLine: I'm proud of the way they played hard. Could we play better? Yes. When you play against different teams, and sometimes, you get your butt whooped. We got our butt whooped Saturday, and I think our guys will be the first to admit that. The goal moving forward is to not let that happen again. There are times when we won and times when we lost. You want to win them all. The expectation for our team is apparently that you're going to win every play up front, and that's just not real in the SEC. You're going to face really good defenses and good people...You've got to keep chopping wood and come back. We did that and found ways to have success in the run game. We ended up having a couple of nice runs by Kendall and Daijuan.  

Photo Courtesy of Charles Jordan

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