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Read Kirby Smart's Monday Press Conference Notes

Will Morrison

Kirby Smart met with the media this afternoon to talk about the Tennessee game and give some injury updates. As always, his quotes are italicized. 

Opening Remarks: We're on to Tennessee. You know it's a really difficult prep week. It's probably the hardest one of the year in terms of trying to replicate what they do. They do a tremendous job stressing you in all phases. They've always been good with Josh in terms of offense, but I think you know what they've been able to do defensively this year is really impressive. They play really good defense and really good offense. The tempo is hard to match. Their special teams...That's the phase nobody talks about. These guys are really elite on special teams. You can tell they put a lot of time and effort into it. So it's a huge challenge. I say it all the time...Doesn't matter who, where, and when. Doesn't matter anything about anybody's record. The only thing that matters is you're playing on the road in the SEC in a really tough environment, and the prep for that is kinda a challenge that our team has to embrace. It's different when you go on the road in our league, especially when you go to play a team as talented as Tennessee is. 

On How the OLine Has Improved: Our Oline's gotten better with the year. We've had games we play better than others, but sometimes that has to do with the opponent you play. We're healthier, so with health comes depth and the ability to play more guys. I think we've stayed fresher in terms of the guys we rolled in and played. There was a unity among that group of we can achieve together, and it's not really about us getting the credit. It's more about the backs getting the credit. A lot of offensive line play is depicted by who you're playing against and how you play. 

On Julian Humphrey's Injury: I don't know how long it's going to be. He's got a dinged-up injury. It's an upper-body injury that, hopefully, we'll be able to get him back from, but I don't know how long it's going to be. I mean, there's a chance you never know. He's dinged up. I'm hoping we can get him back as soon as possible.

On the Tennesee DLine: They've got good players. They play really hard. They strike at the point of attack, and they're aggressive. They're hard to move because they're big. Then they have elite pass rushers. I mean, when you have an elite pass rusher that has people who can push the pocket, it creates sacks. They are very good defensively and a really big challenge, especially when you talk about the front. There's the rush, but then there's controlling the line of scrimmage for your ability to run the ball. They're good at both. 

On CJ Allen's Play: Exactly like I expected CJ Allen to do. He's already played this year. He's played, I think, in almost every game. He's smart, intelligent, instinctive, athletic, and a great kid. He did what he was supposed to do, and he can play better, and he'll get even better this week. 

On Brock Bowers' Health Status and the Snaps He Played: He didn't play every snap of every game anyway. He's in good shape. He's conditioned. I don't know that he's 100%, but he's healthy and safe enough to play. We're going to allow him to play as long as he wants to. He wanted to go out there and compete and play. I don't think it's a matter of how many snaps he can take...I think he'll be fine. 

On the State of UGA's Running Game: It's all relative. You got to see Andrew and Rod because the game was more in hand. They got an opportunity to go out and show what they've done. We've had some games in the past that hasn't happened. It's relative to how the defense plays us. These guys are really tough to run the ball on, so we're going to have to find ways. 

On Mykel Williams' Growth: He's been a really good leader for us. You know, he didn't get to show the improvement he would like to in the spring because he didn't get to go through all the spring. He came into camp coming off a summer injury, and he didn't get to practice as much in fall camp. I was really pleased when he came back on how much he asserted himself into getting into conditioning shape. I actually think he's just now starting to play his best football. For the last 2 to 3 weeks, he's been able to shoulder a little more of the burden of the snaps. He's moving quick and playing with speed. He's a really good leader. He understands our defense, and he really studies offenses hard to know their tendencies. He's been a great addition for us and played even better this year than last. 

On Dylan Fairchild's Season: He's gotten better. I mean, he's a guy that grew up. He played a year on the scout team. He worked as a 2 most of the year, and he got to play in a lot of games last year where the margin was great enough late to get in. It's like your ability to do that brings your team along faster. So, all that time last year made him better this year. He's played well this year with the injuries we've had. He got to jump in and play. He and Micah have done a really good job of sharing that spot. I'm really pleased with the way Dylan is playing. 

On Nazir Stackhouse's Development: He's worked really hard. We've challenged him. Early in the season, I didn't know if he was playing as well as he was the year before when maybe he was hungrier. He's answered the bell here lately. He's really focused on his condition level. He's come in and run extra. I love that he embraced getting into the best shape of his life so he can play his best football towards the end of the year. 

On CJ Allen and Raylen Wilson's Play: We talked about CJ already, but I thought Raylen played well. I don't know what the snaps were, but he had some plays that we wish he could get over. But he also had some really good keys. He's a physical kid. He's a great blitzer. He can be a really good football player the more he plays. I think that game at least gives them some confidence. 

On Success on Winning on the Road: You've got to find ways to run the ball. You can't sit there and think you're going to be able to just throw it every down and win the game. You got to win the line of scrimmage. The keys to winning on the road are the same as the keys to winning at home...It's just more difficult. It doesn't change. The game doesn't change. You've got to be able to take a punch. You got to be able to take momentum changes. But the people in the stands aren't playing in the game, so the outside elements of all the undisciplined penalties and all those things we try really hard to avoid when we go on the road because they're self-inflicted wounds. The challenge is to win the line of scrimmage, win the turnover battle, and win the explosive battle. You do that by blocking and tackling. 

On The Changes in Beck From Week 1 to Now: Not a lot of difference. I mean, I thought the kid started well. He's playing good football now, and he played good football then...He's just got more experience and confidence. 

On Jumas Dumas-Johnson's Injury: Again, week to week trying to get him back. 

On Defending Tennesee WR Squirell White: It takes great prep. He's a great player; we recruited him. He's really fast, and he's dynamic. He's gotten better with his age. He's played a major role for them in terms of run after catch and vertical speed.  

On Len'Neth Whitehead's Role on UGA: He's doing great. He's been scout team player of the week a couple of times. He's very intelligent. He gives us a great look and a great picture in terms of effort. I'm really proud of what he's been able to do. 

On Daylen Everette's Play: Daylen's very confident. He plays against really good wideouts every day in practice. He takes one on ones... We do reps every day. I got a lot of confidence in Daylen to be able to make plays on the ball. He's made plays on the ball. He made an incredible play against Auburn. Those are plays that sometimes you make them, sometimes you don't. They're 50-50 balls. We want to win more than we lose. There's a lot he has won and some that he's lost. A lot of it has to do with how your other corner is playing too. I'm really proud of where Daylen is. He's a really good tackler, and he's physical. He's heavy-handed. He's intelligent. He's a guy that's just going to keep getting better with playing time. 

Photo Courtesy of Charles Jordan 

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