Kirby Smart talks Missouri postponement, QB's on SEC teleconference
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Kirby Smart talks Missouri postponement, QB’s on SEC teleconference

Kirby Smart
Photo: UGA Athletics

UGA football head coach Kirby Smart spoke to the media on the weekly SEC football coaches teleconference on Wednesday.

Smart discussed the postponement of Saturday’s game at the Missouri Tigers and the Bulldogs’ quarterback situation, among other topics.

Below is a transcript of the call that was provided by UGA:

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement
“I’m finding out about as fast as you are. It’s pretty…mental agility is definitely the definition of 2020, which we talked to our team about earlier in the season. It’s one of those deals where, you find out, you have a plan for plan A and a plan for plan B and we have obviously been working that way all year. We had said if a game gets canceled what we would do, and having a plan for it. As we found out yesterday and the day before that Missouri was having complications, we’ve got a plan to continue to work on us. We have plenty to work on and the good thing is we get to do some things against each other and compete. It’s always better when you get to do that rather than working on an opponent all week. We were, for the most part, almost through with the entire game plan on Missouri. We’re just a little head in terms of, if we get to play at the end of the year. I know that the SEC is evaluating when the game will be rescheduled and that’s kind of out of our hands.”

On if he has been surprised with how much his team has not been affected as much as others…
“We’ve been fortunate. Ron [Courson] had a good plan and I can’t say that folks haven’t had a good plan. A lot of it is out of your control other than education and precaution. I go back, again, it’s not a crazy amount. It’s the contact tracing and being safe is what is really knocking the games out. It’s not just the COVID-19 positives. It seems to me that those are not high in number, but those are higher than they were the last four to five weeks.”

On how much the team wanted to play this week…
“I think whenever you lose or get beat, you look forward to the next opportunity. That’s obviously the case we were in. We were looking forward to the next opportunity. That’s not presented itself. The opportunity itself is to get better. That’s what we’re going to challenge ourselves to do today. We have a lot of young guys on our roster that didn’t get a spring practice. They didn’t get a fall camp even. Those guys get an opportunity to get better. We’re still relatively, I suppose people are now a days, a young team. We have an opportunity to grow and get better. We’ll work against each other and get to have some competitive periods. I will say iron sharpens iron and we have to do that.”

On freshman quarterback Carson Beck and why he hasn’t been considered for playing time…
“I would disagree with that. He has been considered. He just has not gotten a ton of reps since the season started. It’s hard to prepare a number of quarterbacks and you have to prepare the guys that you have an opportunity to. We thought he got a lot more reps in fall camp but we think he’s going to be a really good player. I think if you look across the country, it’s hard to prepare two people for a week of a game. It’s easy to rep a lot of guys in off weeks, it’s easy to rep a lot of guys in camp but we have had a lot of guys to rep. He has gotten a lot of work early in camp and will continue to get a lot of work throughout this week and the coming weeks…Again, I think he’s growing, getting better, which is what we challenge every player to do in our program. You want to get better. We have a lot of freshman on our team that maybe haven’t gotten the opportunity to play and you’re only allowed to put 11 out there, last time I checked. We try to put the ones out there that give us the best opportunity to win. What we think we do better is, we really plot and plan how we develop a guy and how he gets reps and how he gets work to grow as a player. Carson has been in every single quarterback meeting, he’s been in every single walkthrough, he’s gotten a lot opportunities in scrimmages and things that we weren’t able to give Stetson [Bennett] because Stetson had the experience of playing. It’s one of those things that with every opportunity we get to practice, I think he’ll get better.”

On if the rest of the week will consist of preparing for Mississippi State…
“I don’t know anything about Mississippi State’s situation. In terms of what we’ll do, that’s a decision the SEC office will make. For us, we’re going to treat it like we’re getting better. We have a lot to work on and we’re going to work on those things today. Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at future opponents, which would include Mississippi State.”

On the SEC still getting in 80-percent of the games despite the recent uptick in cancelations…
“You’re [Bob Holt] one of the few people in the country who can see the glass half-full. I certainly think that if somebody had told us this in June or July, there probably would have been a little shock to it that the efficiency rate is so high. I’m not going to be quick to judge because you don’t know where it’s heading. I certainly know where we are right now and I know that the seniors on this team and across the SEC would say it’s been a benefit to them and a benefit for the younger players in terms of growth and development. I know mental health is much better because these kids are allowed to play and be a part of something. They don’t have to be in a state of unknown. A lot of these kids, they get a chance to go to college and get a great education because of football and football is their love and passion. The fact that they’ve been able to play it, I think it helps them academically. The less we do football wise, the harder it is to buy into academics sometimes. When you’re playing games and you’re able to have a season, it gives a guy a lot more time management. Their time is so much more structured and they get to handle it better. I think it’s better for all of us.”

On if this the most banged up team he’s had…
“In terms of sheer numbers, we keep up, Ron [Courson] keeps up with that in terms of soft tissue injuries, the types of injuries that we have, we’ve actually had less soft tissue injuries than we’ve ever had, talking about pulls and strains. We’ve got more what I would call, substantial injuries in terms of time loss than we’ve had. I don’t know about the first year because I didn’t feel like we had the same depth the first year. The first year we’ve had some tough ones but we’ve had quite a few this year.”

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