Bulldogs continue preparations for Missouri

Photo by John Roark/ Johnroarkmedia.com

ATHENS, Ga. – The 16th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs worked out for a little over two hours on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for their 2016 SEC opener this Saturday at Missouri.

Following are excerpts from head coach Kirby Smart’s post-practice press briefing on Tuesday:

‘’Tuesday’s in the books.  Had a good focus yesterday with a good practice.  Today was so-so, not to my level of expectation, by any means.  We just need to keep pushing.’’

About Missouri…

‘’Against West Virginia, they had 100 snaps.  Anytime you have that many snaps, you’re doing something right.  I know they had 3 or 4 turnovers, struggled in the red area, and West Virginia has a very unorthodox defense.  So it’s very different to play against.   Missouri’s a very good offense.  They’ve got really good skill people, good wideouts.  I think the quarterback throws one of the best deep balls I’ve seen in a long time.  And they are explosive.  They’ve taken a lot of Baylor’s offense, they do a lot of the same concepts, along with what Josh (Missouri OC Heupel) has done in his history with the up-tempo pace.  So they are a lot to be dealt with from the standpoint of being able to throw the ball vertically, but still run the ball with a power game inside.  They literally spread you out the entire field and create a lot of issues.’’

Confidence level in Georgia secondary:

‘’We got challenged against North Carolina.  We didn’t necessarily do very well.  There were several balls they (UNC) missed.  Big wideouts, tough matchups.  It’ll be the same this week.  We’ll have matchup issues.  They have height at some positions; we know that.  Our kids need to play well.  We’ve worked really hard on the things we need to do to be successful, and we’re challenging those guys to do that.  They’ve got to go out and do it in practice, so they can actually do it in a game.’’

On Juwuan Briscoe’s performance thus far:

‘’He was trailing a lot against North Carolina, but he had a little better technique this past week.  It’s very important for Juwuan to settle down and focus on his technique and play the right way.  He’s one of those guys we talk about, who if he’ll just get the call, focus on his job, execute and not get lazy with his eyes and technique, then he’s a good enough athlete to do it.  But he’s got to play well this week.  He’ll be matched up most of the day with one of their best receivers, so he’ll need to play well.’’

On the secondary in general:

‘’They’ve bonded really well.  After two games, they’ve executed the calls.  They haven’t always won their one-on-one battles, which will be critical in this game.  But you can’t play these guys and give the corners a lot of help.  It’s a tough game plan because they literally spread you out.  All of college football has seen what Baylor and these teams are doing, and Missouri does a good job of doing it.’’

On the offensive line thus far:

‘’We’re repping 12 guys.  The competition’s open and the hope is that some of those guys push the others to get better.  But there’s a reason we’ve only played six, too.  That doesn’t usually change just because of the game.  We had 28 practices to get ready for the first game.  It’s doesn’t usually change after that first 28.  We’re trying to get each and every one of those 12 better in practice, so they can all get reps.’’

On Missouri QB Drew Lock:

‘’That guy can run.  They’ve got runs designed for him.  I don’t think they want him to run a lot, but he can run.  When you get offered by college basketball programs, you don’t normally have slow feet.  He’s a threat.  He’s one of those guys who, until I watched a lot of tape on him, I didn’t realize how good he is.’’

On Georgia’s Quarterback rotation:

‘’We don’t make decisions based on Tuesday, coming out of practice.  It’s not the right time.  There are a lot of parts that aren’t out there yet.   So we’ve got to establish exactly what we’re gonna do in all of those situations and figure out who does the best job of doing those things in those situations.’’

On the purpose of crowd noise at practice:

‘’You try to reduce mistakes.  We’re trying to cut down on snap errors, offsides, receivers jumping off, communication.  It basically makes you focus twice as much when the noise is there.  So we’ve tried to create the element so the kids are most used to there being noise.  Then it doesn’t become more complicated when the noise is actually there.’’

On freshman DB Mecole Hardman’s progress thus far:

‘’I’m proud of Mecole.  He’s worked really hard.  He’s one that I’m going to tell you if he didn’t.  He’s playing a new position, which I warned people that it’s not easy when you change from an offensive skill position, most of your life, to a defensive back.  It’s not an easy transition.  You don’t just go out there and all of a sudden become great at it.  He’s had bumps in the road, but he’s not gotten frustrated at it.  He’s shown improvement and he’s going to be a really good player.  It’s just a matter of when.  He understands everything.  You have to understand leverages, when to get off, when to get up, how to play the deep ball.  He’s doing a good job on special teams.  He’s really close to getting in games to help us on special teams.  I’m proud of how far he’s come.’’

 

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