Coach Smart, assistants provide updates on Georgia Bulldogs
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Coach Smart, assistants provide updates on Georgia Bulldogs

Kirby Smart

ATHENS, Ga. – University of Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart and assistant coaches Cortez Hankton, Dell McGee, and Matt Luke provided an offseason update on the Bulldogs on Tuesday.

The coaches offered the following comments:

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening remarks…

“I would be remised if I didn’t open with a hearty congratulations to Coach Joni Taylor and her staff and her team. I know she’ll be the first to share in accolades for being SEC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year.  I think our conference speaks for itself in terms of the women’s basketball coaches and for her to be the SEC Women’s Coach of the Year is pretty special.  I know in our household we have enjoyed watching them perform this year. They have done some great things and they’re really an exciting team to watch up and down the court. They’re very athletic.  Congrats to Joni!

A little bit about things we’ve been doing- team programming has been really big for us this offseason. We’ve started some skull sessions that are really 15-20 minute sessions, small, incremental things that we’ve been doing with our players in small groups.  Small groups work a lot better. You get to not be in a huge room, obviously COVID and the pandemic help with the small groups, but the guys have felt a greater connection of trying to find what our DNA is as a team. We have been really intentional about that.

The other thing that we’ve been trying to do from a team programming point of view- Dr. Courtney Gay, our Assistant AD for DEI- she has done a tremendous job of programming, setting the standard for our players, but also our staff, in terms of having speakers come in, having meetings with our players. She’s done a tremendous job. It’s a new position that was just created, along with Matthew Stafford’s gift, that helped us move this needle forward with a lot of the social issues we incurred in the past and last year it became more relevant.  For our team, the ‘Dawgs for Pups’ spun out of those conversations we had last summer.  Dr. Courtney Gay has done a tremendous job of keeping that relevant and allowing our players to stay relevant and communicate with them.  She has done a great job and so have our skull sessions and our leaders in those groups.”

On the offensive line and the positions of Jamaree Salyer and Warren McClendon…

“Those are all things that will come up in the spring. We are really focused on what’s between our ears right now- not what our bench press is or what position we are going to play. Those things will play out based on what other guys can do or can’t do. Warren McClendon’s development has to be at tackle because he plays tackle, right? But he played guard, 10-15 percent of his extra snaps, because you have to be able to play two positions.  We have always asked him to be able to snap the ball and play center. Where they start probably will not matter as much as how they perform from a standpoint of leadership, toughness, composure, how the other guys play, what gives us the best vibe. We’re not really concerned about where they’re starting at.  Jamaree obviously worked in at guard. He has the ability to play guard, he’s proven he can play tackle in the SEC at a high level. If we need him to do that, he can do it. If we need him to play inside, he’ll be able to do that. Our focus has really not been on what position each guy is going to play, but more about how do we get the best out of each person. A couple of those guys are leaders on the team so it’s not just getting the best out of them, it’s them getting the best out of everybody else. Can they hold guys accountable? Can they set the standard and demand the standard? That’s kind of our approach to the offseason.”

On the start date of spring practice and how the perspective changes since not being able to practice last spring due to COVID…

“No, our objective never changes when it comes to spring practice. Us having spring practice last year or not doesn’t control what we do this year. Obviously the objective is to get each and every player better. We had a team run and I asked everyone to stand up who had not been through a spring practice at Georgia and I’m going to venture to say it was 65-70 percent of the team that stood up.  That’s a scary thing.  It just shows you the youth you have, the lack of practices and experiences your team has.  Sixteen midyears, a lot of new walk-ons, nobody that was here last year for the first year had gone through that. So when you look at all of those things it kind of combines and you say, ‘Wow, we have a really young group from that perspective”.  We plan to start two weeks from today, which I think is March 16, to start spring practice. We will follow the model we’ve always had, but we could change that based on weather. We can change that based on a lot of different things- injuries- but that the plan that we currently have in place.”

On how valuable a spring practice will be for JT Daniels and how he looks this offseason…

“Everybody needs spring practice, let’s be honest. There is nobody on our roster- you could even say our returning fifth-year guys- it’s important that they get the spring practice they have.  With the quarterback position, the continuity of the offense, that’s critical. You want to be able to get some relationships built there. Continuity towards the end of the year began to improve, obviously offensively, we have a lot of a guys that are coming back but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to have success because they’re coming back.  I think the more that the mantra or message out there is that you’re going to be great, the tougher our job becomes internally to motivate and have guys.  There have been off seasons here where we’ve had returning quarterback, returning backs, returning these guys, two great tackles- did that equate to instant success? Not necessarily. What you do and what you earn is what you get in the offseason.  Nothing is given to you, there’s no entitlement. I think JT understands that. I think the rapport with the receiver group for all of the quarterbacks is going to be extremely important in terms of developing our offense and getting timing in the passing game.”

On his approach to the transfer portal as players develop during the offseason…

“I think the transfer portal hasn’t changed for us. It’s not the primary source of finding football players. We want to recruit, develop, and work to get the best football players we possibly can in here. I don’t think the guys that come out of the portal have issues or problems, that’s just not our normal protocol. It’s not what we want to build our program based around. It’s a need-based deal. We have needs- defensive back is a spot that we’re thin at. We think that we have very capable, good young players in the position, but we don’t have a lot of experience.  If you get an opportunity to gain experience, which you know we did the first year we were here- we got Maurice Smith and all of the sudden you have a player that makes your team better almost immediately.  We would not decline the ability to look at the option there. I want to coach the players we have because that’s the one thing I know I can impact. I don’t control the portal. I have no control of who goes in and who’s in. So, I’m focused on the players that we have and getting them better.

On an update on Dominick Blaylock and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint…

“Both of those young men are running straight lines and beginning to increase their workload. They’re not working with us in our offseason conditioning program, meaning they’re not in the actual drill. They have to work separate, but they are increasing speeds. Ron Courson and his staff do a tremendous job with those guys and they’re right on schedule for where they need to be.  I think that everything to you guys is all about ability and what this guy or that guy is going to do and I realized that you’re doing that for the fan base, I’m here to talk about what’s between the ears matters way more than how fast they’re running, what they’re doing or any of those things. That mental side of things is the emphasis we have for this offseason because it’s so much more important, so much more important- the culture that’s created, the programming in your organization to get the most out of your players than who is playing left corner or right corner.

On how he evaluates if his offseason programming is rolling over onto the field…

“It’s on a continuum. We see that we are getting results from the things that we are committing time to. You get what you demand, you get what you invest. We are investing time into us. We are investing time in connection. Connection is important.  It was a strange year for everybody in college football where you had some kids on teams where they had only been on zooms they’re entire time and never been face-to-face with anybody. The connection and the dialogue and what is my why, what is our why, and then demanding the standard, has been a big topic for us.  You asked how do you see that you’re getting results for that. It’s everyday in the sprints. It’s every time something adverse happens. It’s holding the guys accountable. I’m not waiting on practice one to see the affects of the stuff we’re doing. I’m seeing the fruits of the labors when more guys are coming in on their own- coming in to throw or work out extra- that culture is what you have to have in order to be elite and that’s what we’re always working towards.”

On if winning a championship is preached or if the focus is on what is here and now in the process…

“You have to be careful when you make things just about that. I realize the standard of excellence that’s been created here and the expectation. We never shy away from those expectations but that’s not going to get the end goal. The end goal is to have a net sum gain of positives and you’re trying to constantly move people from over here, who might be on the negative side and then on the positive side bring more guys along. As you do that, the end goal is that you get more results- that you’re able to win championships. We never shy away from that being our goal, but it’s not something we have to talk about everyday. Why would you talk about that everyday because you’re focusing on the wrong thing if that’s the case. You need to focus on how you’re going to do that. How do we get that net sum to positive over negative and that’s by pulling everybody in the right direction. That’s our goal.”

On improving trends of COVID and if there’s encouragement of protocols that might change this summer…

“There’s not a lot of talk from the SEC. I know Ron Courson and his staff constantly get updates from the medical group that he’s in charge of. They do a tremendous job of staying up to date on whether its variance, the different variances that come into the country, or testing methods, going from swab in nose to saliva. There are all kinds of updates for us but not necessarily enlightening. Only time will tell. The indicators and the numbers have been positive lately that things are on the decline and it’s certainly been that way for us as well.”

On having philanthropy like ‘Dawgs for Pups’ being a part of his culture he’s created within the football program…

“I give a lot of credit to our athletic department staff. Darrice (Griffin) and Josh (Brooks) both have been tremendous assets for me; dating back to when Greg (McGarity) was here. Now they have gone out and gotten outside council form Kevin Carr, from Pro2CEO, he’s the CEO there. He does a great job. He has come in and has helped build a culture, education, and programming. Like I said earlier Dr. Courtney Gray, she was on medical council for us, but she has moved over into an AD role. She has done a tremendous job brining back former players. You know our players enjoy hearing from former players so if it’s Jonathan Ledbetter or Deandre Walker comes in and it immediately grabs our guys’ attention. And making sure the conversation stays relevant. It has been brought to my attention that a great word is ‘incrementalism.’ We are trying to get incrementally better this off-season in everything we do. That includes diversity, equity, and inclusion in that topic. I mentioned our mindset which is the skill sessions we’ve been doing; we are trying to improve every way we can off the field. I think the more the players buy into that and the more they know it is important to you the harder and better results you will get on the field from those guys.”

On balancing the line of wanting his players in the NFL and knowing their skill level …

“There is no line, I really don’t think there is a line. I tell our players all the time, that we are going to be honest with the NFL. They’re going to find out, they’re going to go talk to the academic people, the trainers, they’re going to talk to the strength staff. We are not in the business of lying for anyone. We be as honest as we can and be as transparent as we can when it comes to our players. I think our players have a lot of strengths and I think any person, any NFL evaluator, anyone who comes into evaluate our players understands that there are no perfect players. There are no perfect players, they have flaws. We as coaches, we have flaws. They are trying to get the information so they can rank one guy against the other guy, and they will peruse that information regardless of where they go to school. If a guy is not accurate and forward with hem that discredits their voice almost immediately. But I am excited to see those guys work out. It will be a very different format it seems like in terms of Pro-Day and being able to work out and getting a chance to perform in front of these scouts. I know it is coming rapidly. I am just happy that the players are going to get an opportunity to do that. Last year that group never really got that chance.”

On if he has heard any information about this year’s NFL Combine…

“Surprisingly no, I would have thought it would have been that way. But I don’t think they are really to that point yet. I think those conversations start coming- because right now they are doing their evaluations. Every day I get a text, ‘Hey I’m looking at a couple of your guys.’ But it is not like they are doing more of them, that just hasn’t been the case yet. But I have a feeling it is going to ramp up here in the next couple of weeks.”

On what he does personally from the end of one season to the beginning of the next…

“Yeah, I don’t want to say that we are changing our DNA, I think we are defining our DNA a little better. Every team has its own DNA, right? You’re not going to have the same exact team as you did the year before; the personalities are different. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about running or throwing the ball, but the makeup of what is between the ears of your players, that dynamic changes. I think defining that every year is really critical. Know who you are. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be intentional about that with your players where they can set the standard of demands of what it is. But yeah, me personally I go through that every off-season. Going into a season you cannot get comfortable and say, ‘I am just kind of comfortable with this.’ No, sometimes being unformattable is good. Guys we have brought in on our staff have brought new ideas and different things we can do to get our players attention and not just be comfortable. We have a lot of new players too; they don’t know how we do things. Trying to create the standard of what they know as excellence is really important for our older players. So, we are always in search of define your DNA that season.”

On how beneficial spring practice is for players like JT Daniels…

“Yeah, we can see the effects of that even right now, even in our abilities to have walk throughs. What the NCAA allows us to do right now is the pace at which they are able to do things, install new things…. You can imagine this time last year it was a whirlwind in terms of trying ot figure out (Todd) Monken is here, this guy is here, he is here, this guy’s is here, and trying to install different things. The pace at which we are doing walk throughs and being able to things offensively has been much better. If anything, we are trying to adjust more to what they are doing on defense now because they are ahead of us. We (defense) were a little ahead of them last year. So, that is good. And JT (Daniels) obviously getting the spring to go through this- I mean this time last year I don’t even have a clue what he was doing. He was rehabbing from a knee; I mean he has come a long way in terms of the volume of information he has gotten. The other quarterbacks as well, Carson Beck had just gotten here this point last year. Brock (Vandergriff) is out here, and Stetson (Bennett IV) is out there. So, all of those guys are learning.”

On the development of the young cornerbacks on the team…

“Yeah, the cornerback position is completely open. To name to guys is probably not smart of me. We have a lot of guys that could be working at cornerback. Every guy on the team is a potential cornerback right now. We are in search of finding guys that can play that position at a high-level in a really tough conference. You look across the SEC throwing the ball has gotten better and better, and we want those guys to get exposed. We are one of the conferences’ that plays more man-to-man than anyone else; so, you need have guys out there that can function. That position is up for grabs. There are no guys that are proven returning starters. And every guy is working hard to learn the techniques and details that it takes to play winning football at that position.”

On the receiver position…

“No, the receivers are not my concern with practice reps. We have got- we are over our number of guys that you would call ‘quota’ that you need to have the practices we have. DBs are the concern there. The guys we had leave, the guys we had come out early, and guys coming in; we had two different receivers come in midyear, that has really helped our numbers there. We also got some guys that signed last year that we think are good football players, we got a good group there. So, the defensive back will be the limiting of the two spot, if anything from a standpoint of numbers. Especially if you consider dime, which is six DBs and to go two spot you must go more than two to have backups. At wideout, you are going to have three or four on the field at the most. So, we feel comfortable with he wideout depth we have.”

Pass Game Coordinator-Wide Receivers Coach Cortez Hankton

Opening Statement… 

“In terms of speaking about the young men in this program, it’s something that we’re extremely proud of. The Dawgs for Pups Program is our movement, our initiative, and our guys have taken an awesome approach to it. They’ve really embraced serving this community. We’re consistently trying to enhance the culture, no matter what it is. Coach [Kirby] Smart always talks about putting ourselves in an uncomfortable position and continuing to grow. When you look at it, they’ve really taken ownership in terms of being intentional and serving this community. Just to recap what we were able to accomplish last year starting with the internet drive, we were able to raise over a $100,000 to give Kindergarten through eighth graders internet so they could attend school virtually, which was huge for them. The snack drive, we were able to raise almost 30,000 pounds of food. When it comes to the coat drive, we’re talking about 437 coats donated. For Christmas, we were able to adopt 100 families to buy Christmas presents for. It’s been an awesome deal under the leadership of Josh Brooks and Coach Smart. I think our guys have really embraced this responsibility, and we’ve empowered them to continue to serve the community.

On the mental development of George Pickens… 

“It’s just one of continued growth and maturity, and he has embraced it. When you look at our entire team and you talk about altruism, I think there’s this aura of selflessness and a positive vibe, which has really continued to grow. It really shines brighter. For him, he’s embraced that, so I’m looking forward to how he continues to move forward.”

On Arian Smith’s development… 

“Just like any young receiver, it’s just about understanding the technique of how to play to position and continuing to grow from a football awareness and a knowledge of the playbook and how he fits in the grand scheme of things. He’s really embraced it this off-season. When you look at it, really with all of our guys, we didn’t have an opportunity for Spring football last year. Now, these guys get to learn from cutups from last year of what we put on tape. That’s really big with all of our guys, and we’re looking for Arian to grow as a receiver.”

On social justice efforts within the team.. 

“Absolutely, with our guys, it’s not just about developing them from an academic standpoint or athletically. We want to make sure that we’re giving them a platform to express their feelings. It’s also about education and providing awareness, and that’s the only way that we can impact any type of change. It’s one, educating and making sure people are aware of what’s going on in this country and also just acknowledging it. We all have a right to feel a certain way, and we want to make sure that we embrace each other’s opinions.”

On Demetris Robertson… 

“I think [Demetris Robertson] brings a veteran presence to our room. He’s a guy who has versatility because he can play multiple positions. He also embraces his role on special teams. From that standpoint, when we talk about certain things like being selfless, he displays that every single day with his actions. When you have a guy who is willing to come back and really embrace his role on this team, and he’s going to continue to compete, you have to be excited about that.”

On having a veteran receiving core… 

“It’s definitely huge because you’re in a situation where you have the opportunity of being under the same offensive coordinator going into the second season. That being in itself, these guys are going to have the opportunity to continue to get better. Granted, we are talented and you see some flashes of some things but we have to become more consistent and the position and there are some things that we have to improve on. We can’t be complacent and comfortable just because we have the skill set to perform at a high level. We need to make sure, day-in and day-out, that we compete and be very intentional about getting better at the things that we can improve on.”

On pressure to continue improving… 

“It just goes back to taking it one day at a time. We learn from the things that we didn’t do well last year. As a staff, we look over some things that we can improve on and get better at, and we just try to apply that as we move forward, whether it’s in our off-season strength and conditioning program, what we’re doing from a mental standpoint or when we get on the grass in terms of football concepts. There are always going to be areas that we can improve, and that’s always going to be something that we want to push forward. The only thing that we can worry about right now is how we perform and the team the next day. When Spring ball gets here, we want to attack that in a different manner. The thing that’s going to remain consistent is that every single day, we’re trying to improve on something.”

On future initiatives of the Dawgs for Pups Program… 

“We’re currently in the planning phase of providing programs, really providing education for our guys on local charities and what they’re trying to accomplish. We’re also trying to identify the immediate needs where we can make the biggest impact. There is an aspect where we want to do some mentoring. Of course, there’s always the restrictions and the challenges with COVID-19, but we’re trying to find a way where we can organize and do that from a virtual standpoint because any time we connect our guys with the youth and being that positive role model speaks to one of those values that we’re always talking about, they connection piece, just finding a way to connect to the community. We have some things on the horizon, and we’ll be able to reveal them in the next couple of weeks.”

On teaching players to bring initiatives into broader community… 

“First, we’re talking about some things that we want to roll out and expand outside of Clarke County. We do want to touch as many people as we can in this great state of Georgia. In terms of the individuals, we look at this think collectively. We have a bunch of guys who have been involved, whether its Jamaree [Salyer] or Kearis [Jackson], they have really embraced it, but it’s so many more guys that we can discuss and talk about because this is something that our guys came up with. They wanted to do this and discuss and talk about this. They embraced the opportunity to give back and serve the community, so I’m proud of the guys for even coming up with this.”

On Dominick Blaylock’s and Marcus Rosmey-Jacksaint’s recovery…

“Physically, Ron Courson and his staff have done an amazing job with those guys. They’re working to come back. We do have a return to play protocol and they are right on schedule. From a mental standpoint, they’re awesome. In terms of being positive and just having the energy to fight to come back and being around the guys any way they can, those guys are definitely two of the more positive, football savvy guys. Especially helping out the younger guys. Any way that they can help from a mental standpoint in terms of coaching the younger guys up, has been a huge help for us.”

On how last summer made him want to put together these different programs…

“Well when you see some of the things that occurred, emotionally, there are a wave of different emotions. From anger, hurt, frustration. When those things come up, you try to find the way to really redirect it in a positive manner. The way we best felt to do that was to really provide an open forum for ours guys to just clearly communicate their emotions because I knew how I felt and we wanted those guys to feel and be comfortable in a space where they talk about anything that they want to. Through that, it has really helped our team become closer. When you talk about a connection with each other, really understanding the background, where guys came from, understanding their why and their motivation of why they play this game, I think that part is huge. So, as we grow together, we continue to impact the people in a positive manner.  

 

Running Game Coordinator-Running Backs Coach Dell McGee

On how he expects the running back rotation to be after Zamir White’s return…

“We don’t necessarily play seniority with any of our players, that’s why we have offseason work outs, spring ball. A lot of our evaluation and setting of the depth chart will come from how they perform day in and day out leading up to the spring game. It’s a constant battle with our guys at the running back position. We are very fortunate to have six guys that can actually help produce and play winning football for us. I love this time of year. Last year, if you look a back a year past, we didn’t have a spring football season and I think it’s close to being normal. We still do have COVID-19 issues but just being out there this morning and watching them run around and condition and push themselves is definitely a change from last year and we welcome that.”

On his reaction to hearing James Cook and Zamir White are coming back…

“It’s very similar to the situation when Sony Michel and Nick Chubb came back. From a team standpoint, they want to do more and they feel like they are a part of that and part of the success that we can have. I think it’s a good situation for our younger running backs and our younger players because they offer a lot of leadership mentally and physically on how to perform, how to practice and how to take care of their bodies. So it’s very comforting to have those guys back. The biggest thing for me as a coach and for those guys being older players is they can’t get complacent. The play book is in, we’ll have some changes here and there but they just have to make sure that are pushing forward. They have to treat this offseason and spring practice like it’s a brand new season. They have to be eager to learn, eager to get better, eager to improve their skills because all of our players have weaknesses that they need to work on and that needs to be a point of emphasis and that starts with me making sure they’re detailed in what they need to improve on.”

On what about Georgia has kept him here so long…

“First of all, my family loves it here. It’s a great place to raise my child. The boosters, alumni, the way our administration treats their coaches and then on top of that, just having a great recruiting base of a five-mile radius. We should be able to recruit the top players in the country that are outside that radius as well. It’s just a great, great university. We have great academic, offer a lot of different majors. The Georgia Way program, Life After Football is an outstanding program. The brand, the ‘G’ is recognizable nationwide and I really enjoy working for Coach [Kirby] Smart, we have a great relationship and I think that adds on to this being the best job in the country to coach running backs.”

On the comradery that goes on within the running back’s room…

“We preach that from day one because we want our players to embrace the grind but also love one another, whether you’re the star on Saturday or the walk-on that has to give the look to the defense. That is something that has always been a part of my philosophy dealing with players is that we’re all in this together and it takes a commitment from the entire room to not be jealous, to look outside of yourself, to learn and promote one another. Be happy for your teammates when they do have success but also understand that success is not long term and you will have your adversity and short comings. When that happens, the next man has to step up. When injuries arise or we have certain players that can do certain things a little bit better than another player, than those players have to relish that role. The player that is being taken out of that role has to understand that this guy is a little bit better at doing this than I can.”

On whether being a head coach is something that he wants to do at some point…

“I definitely believe it has to do with timing. I do want to be a head coach and I don’t control that narrative. As you all notice, it’s a tough deal for minority coaches to get that opportunity and I do feel like when that opportunity does present itself, for me, or even if it doesn’t, I want to be a great ambassador for the next man that is following me. In particular, a man of color just because those opportunities don’t present themselves as much.”

On whether he is disappointed at the lack of head coaching positions at the collegiate or professional level…

“As a whole, I think we’re all disappointed. We understand it doesn’t happen, the opportunities haven’t happened as readily, but we don’t control that narrative. So, until things change from an athletic director standpoint or an ownership standpoint, that trend will continue. It’s my job as a position coach, assistant coach, to do the best job I can but at the same time, I’m comfortable with where I am and I understand I don’t have control of who wants to hire a minority coach. That is strictly up to that university or that NFL organization and they have to feel comfortable with that.”

Associate Head Coach-Offensive Line Coach Matt Luke

On when they will know who is going to start…

“I think we have been focusing on culture and unselfishness and buying in. Guys like Jamaree [Salyer] coming back and [Justin] Shaffer and Warren Ericson, they have been doing a great job of leading. I think, with guys that have some experience, it does give you a little bit of flexibility. Without having a spring last year, I am really excited about the competition coming up this spring.”

On his expectations for Broderick Jones… 

“I am excited to see him compete in the spring. He does have a lot of ability. I’m just excited to see him get in there and compete and get the reps. Going against quality guys on defense, I think that will be key as well.”

On the difference that having spring practice this year will make…

“It is big. The best way for guys to get better at football is to go play football. To go get those reps, it is invaluable. Losing guys like Trey [Hill] and Ben [Cleveland] that have had a bunch of reps. Those reps will be huge for us moving forward.”

On the offensive line in the bowl game…

“I think that anytime you have to replace people, it is tough, especially going against a quality defense. I do think that, moving forward, we do have some pieces to the puzzle, but they have to go in there and get the experience. That is why guys like Jamaree [Salyer], guys like [Justin] Shaffer, guys like Warren Ericson, that have been around, they can help set the tempo and lead these guys moving forward with spring coming up.”

On the offensive line performance in the Peach Bowl…

“To me, that was just a starting point. Now you move forward. You have 15 practices in the spring, then you have all summer, then you have fall camp. It is some experience, like for Xavier [Truss], he got his feet wet. You are looking to build off of that in these practices and obviously summer and fall camp, so you are excited that you can really build off of that experience.”

On the depth at offensive line… 

I think, anytime you have some flexibility with guys like Jamaree [Salyer] that can play multiple spots, and [Justin] Shaffer and Warren [Ericson] that can play multiple spots, it gives you some flexibility. Obviously, competition is huge at every position. Anytime that you have competition, I think that is what makes Georgia special, the ability to have competition at those positions. It makes everybody better.”

On working with Todd Monken…

“I have really enjoyed being around Coach Monken. Obviously, I have known of him in coaching circles for a long time. Just very impressed with how he sets everything up. He is very intelligent. He coaches with passion and energy. It has been really good to get around that pro style, and I have learned a lot with the short time that we have been together, and it is only going to get better moving forward, so that is what I am excited about.”

On how difficult it is to get the five best guys on the field…

“That is ultimately my job, to put the best five guys on the field. That is what spring practice is for. That is what all of the lifting and running right now and in the summer, that is what it is all for. Ultimately, when the game kicks off, we have to have the best five out there.”

On how wrestling translates to football in his linemen…

“I think there is a lot of good hand-to-hand combat, leverage, toughness, quickness, all of those little things. There is a lot of carry-over from wrestling to offensive line. That is something that does go hand in hand.”

On Amarius Mims…

“I am really excited about him. He has handled his business. You got to think, he should be probably getting ready for senior prom, but he is here working. I am just really excited to see how he does in spring ball.”

On Jamaree Salyer’s flexibility… 

“Not only his flexibility, but his leadership. I think that is huge. Coach [Kirby] Smart has done a great job this offseason preaching unselfishness, preaching about culture and Jamaree is a huge part of that with him coming back. With his flexibility, he is going to play guard, and he is going to play tackle. Based on how some of the other pieces do, it does give you some flexibility and competition.”

On his expectations for Warren McClendon…

“I just want to see him build off of what he started. He got a lot of experience. He played a lot of football last year, and just really build off of that. Getting bigger and stronger in the offseason, and then improving this spring, this summer and then fall camp. He built a solid foundation this year, so now, let us take the next step.”

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