Can you believe Georgia has risen to become the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in only the second season under Kirby Smart? While the Georgia coach likely didn’t receive that news with open arms, the Dawgs still have a big game to prepare for this weekend in Athens against the last team that can threaten them in the East — South Carolina.

Smart was among the first coaches to speak during Wednesday’s SEC Coaches Teleconference.

Here’s a summary of what the Georgia coach had to say:

  • Opening statement: “We had a few good days of work, got a good team coming in here. Coach Muschamp has brought energy to their program”
  • Thoughts on #1 ranking? “Yeah, it really means nothing. Nothing more than a distraction. Our kids understand it. That’s the system we live in. It’s there for ratings and attention for our sport and our kids understand that.”
  • Will Muschamp as a player? “I was on scout team then, don’t remember much. I was a true freshman. He was a captian, senior year. He was tough, passionate. Same as he is now as a coach.”
  • On the distraction of the #1 ranking? “You rely on your leadership and maturity. They believe in the message we have delivered all year… They will handle it well. The message trickles down.”
  • Will Saban use #2 ranking as motivation? “I don’t care. Our focus is on our team. I can’t comment on him.”
  • Will you address “the noise” with your team? “Yes, we address it all the time… We address it as we see fit. The focus is on South Carolina. No one seems to believe us but we aren’t’ sitting around patting ourselves on the back.”
  • Thoughts on OL development, anything standout there? “Probably the continuity. The continuity has been the most improved thing. They play with toughness and heart. They take pride in their performance. They want the backs to have success.”