Coach Smart met with the media this afternoon following Tuesday's practice. He spoke more on Ole Miss and gave an update on Brock Bowers. Smart's quotes are in italics.
On Practice So Far This Week: It's been good. They've had two good days. Intro to Ole Miss yesterday and some red area downs today. We'll do some more red area and third down tomorrow. They've been locked in. It's a tough prep because they do a lot of different things offensively and create a lot of problems on defense. They create TFLs and havoc. They create a lot of havoc. You have to try and stay ahead of the sticks and the chains. They do a great job, but it's been a good prep, though.
On Tackling Jaxon Dart When He Scrambles: Once he's a runner, he's no more protected than a running back. I mean, we're going to tackle him like we tackle backs. I mean, he's physical, but their backs are physical. They're all hard to tackle in terms of size and stature. Once you get over 215 pounds and run a 4.4, it's physical. He lowers his shoulder and competes. I've got a lot of respect for the way he runs. In terms of tackling him, it'll be the way we tackle the back.
On Brock Bowers: He's working hard. He's doing all he can in terms of trying to get himself in shape and get better. He's back running now on dryland. We're hoping that he keeps getting better...That's kind of the MO of this injury. He's right on schedule for the things he's been doing.
On Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint: When we recruited Marcus, we knew we were getting that kind of kid. He's a great kid and has a great family. He's very passionate about football. When you rank leaders at Georgia, there have been some great ones since we've been here, and he would be right there at the top with those guys. When he speaks, people listen. The way he competes, you know, and his toughness. He upholds our culture. He begs to be on special teams. He just embodies what you want a Georgia Football player to be. I have a lot of respect for him as a competitor.
On The Similarities Ole Miss DC Pete Golding Shows at Ole Miss vs. Alabama: Well, he doesn't have the players he had at Alabama. So I think he's done a good job making his scheme, his scheme. There are similarities, but you don't just do the schemes. No defensive coordinator says this is what I'm going to do because this is what I believe in. You do what fits your system. He's taken the players he has there and made them better on defense. They fly around and attack the ball. They do a lot of really good things. They're just not the exact same players that they had at Alabama in terms of sheer size and numbers, but they are very talented in what they do.
On What Sedrick Van-Pran Has Brought to the Program: Character, leadership, charisma, and heart. He's not afraid to speak up. But look, all the great leaders we have this year learned from a great leadership class 2 years ago. You learn from those before you. Those that lay the foundation, all the way back to Nick and Sony, have trickled down to everybody else. You're not going to win every game...It's just not going to happen. You're not going to do that. But if you put good people in your program, you demand excellence, you hold them to a standard, and you pay attention to every little detail, you eventually get pretty good leadership out of people. We've been bearing the fruit of a lot of work that we put into these players, really from Covid on.
On Branson Robinson and If He'll be Available For Spring Practice: I don't know the answer to that. The closest thing we had was Rian Davis, who went through this that one year, and it's a long process. I think he'll probably be cleared, but I don't know if he'll be able to go through live tackling.
On One Year He'd Like to See Carson Beck Improve: His leadership has continued to improve, and exerting his confidence. He's into all the ball stuff. He could be cleaner on some things in the pocket and some protection things. He's going to make some mistakes because we put him in a position to make 3 or 4 decisions a play, so he's not going to be perfect. I can accept that, but I want him to continue to grow as a leader and commanding of the offense.
On If NIL and the Transfer Portal Adds Parity to College Football: I think so. I don't think we'll know the totality of NIL and portal until we look back from a 5-10 year window. I don't really have enough substance to judge that. There seems to be more parity. Teams don't have as deep of rosters as they used to.
On The UGA Crowd: Yeah, they can have a huge impact, and we need them to. I'm counting on them to have a huge impact. Look, Ole Miss has played in some tough stadiums, not only this year but last year. They've gone across the SEC West and seen all the tough places to play. It's not going to be foreign for them to play in a tough environment. We need to create it for them, and we need to create problems for them on defense. We need to make it hard for them to play against us...Along with the crowd. The crowd needs to have an impact and pull in the same direction for our players.
On Javon Bullard: He's a great leader. He's the heart and soul. Him and Kamari have such passion for the game. They compete against each other every day in practice. They're both physically tough. They love football. They're at the edge of their seats every meeting, taking notes. He's just a great kid and a great leader that loves football.
On Earnest Greene: He's done a really good job. He's come into a league that's hard to play left tackle in. He's played really well. He's had some mistakes and some jumpy moments, but I think the fact he's played through all of that and gained more and more confidence. We've really challenged him to get in shape enough to play four quarters at full speed and give max effort. I think he's taken that on and is working really hard at it. He's very conscientious about working hard.
Photo Courtesy of Charles Jordan