ATLANTA — The Georgia Bulldogs are less than a week from beginning their attempt to repeat as national champions. Before they get there, however, head coach Kirby Smart spoke with reporters on Monday afternoon. Also joining Smart were offensive lineman Sedrick Van Pran and cornerback Kamari Lassiter. The highlights of everything the trio had to say about this weekend’s game can be found below.
- The guys have been in good spirits and have gotten after it. They got back from travel and have been locked in. They are getting ready now to head over to Atlanta.
- They are excited to hopefully get WR Ladd McConkey and RT Warren McClendon back for this game.
- Which defense are you expecting to get from Ohio State? All of them. It will be determined by how UGA attacks on offense and what they do. They will try to dictate to Ohio State. Ohio State has a great defensive team and they are physical. They have a multiple package on defense and they are aggressive.
- What do you remember about recruiting CJ Stroud? “I loved his mom.” They were awesome. He has a really good disposition about him. He doesn’t get too low or too high, which is one of the more important things you look for in a QB. He has tremendous touch and velocity. He has become a complete quarterback in the OSU system.
- What kind of pressure do UGA’s TEs put on defenses? They can be more multiple. You lose a little bit of a speed normally by going to 12 personnel, but Georgia doesn’t. It’s a good opportunity to get your best players on the field.
- Safety Chris Smith, so proud of his growth. He came in as a tough, competitive, fiery guy, and he’s grown into an incredible leader. He hates losing in anything. He dislikes underperforming. He is prideful about things. He is a product of Georgia’s development.
- What’s the key to maintaining the level on defense this year? “It’s just the culture. That’s not going to change.” It doesn’t matter if a coach leaves or a player leaves. They rep a lot of players. The next cast of players is getting ready right now.
- Why does UGA like the multiple RB attack? It’s about healthy and necessity. They have done studies and it’s rare for a guy to make it all the way through the season with a large burden. Georgia is playing 13, 14, 15 games a season, so they have to prepare for that. They try to build that way. They don’t want to get to this point and not have depth.
- What’s the advantage of playing in this stadium for the third time this year? Knowing where all of the clocks are.
Sedrick Van Pran
- How has backup RT Amarius Mims grown this year? He’s gotten more and more confident. He has stepped up when needed. He’s pushed this offensive line along with his confidence.
- The Ohio State front does a lot of different things. Different looks and pressure, so you have to make sure you watch films to find indicators and give you different insights. If you don’t have that, you’ll have problems.
- Are the bowl festivities annoying or a welcome reprieve? The players appreciate the opportunity to do different things, but the ultimate Peach Bowl goal is winning this game.
- He has stressed to young teammates to manage your time this week. Use it wisely because you’re here for a reason and before you know it, the game will be here.
- He and QB Stetson Bennett text back and forth a lot while watching film to give a heads up on something to look for.
- What’s the advantage to playing in this stadium for a third time this year? Good question but he doesn’t want to get too far into it because it’s about executing, not the venue.
- Does losing the Joe Moore Award get talked about among the OL? “We’ve definitely talked about it. We just want to keep doing what we can for this team.”
- Your take on OSU’s passing game and the second half of the LSU game? Ohio State has some great receivers and a great quarterback. Against LSU, they did have some lapses in the second half. They needed to recenter and refocus and get back to the basics of Georgia football, which they have.
- What strikes you about Marvin Harrison, Jr.? He’s a really good player. A lot of respect for him. Physical guy with a large catch radius. Detailed player.
- Is there a learning curve to getting over getting beaten on a play? It’s hard to try not to harp on it, but with the pace of the game, you have other guys counting on you. It’s part of the game. The main thing is how you respond, and it’s the response that is most important.
- How has freshman SAF Malachi Starks improved over the season? He gets better every week. He is like a sponge. He wants to soak it all up.
- Does OSU’s offense remind you of anybody? “They’re pretty unique in themselves.” They do different things, and have a lot of dynamic playmakers. They are unique in what they do and how they do it.
- What have the last few weeks been like for the guys in the secondary? They have just been harping on technique and working on base coverages. “Day one things.” Just working and gaining more confidence.