Close games in the second half — and even the loss — have helped Georgia develop an identity this season that coach Kirby Smart described as resilient, tough and gritty.

“We have been in some tough battles,” Smart said on the SEC media teleconference. “Notre Dame, South Carolina, Kentucky, all those games went down to the wire, we have shown resiliency and no quit… what you want to see from your team, they have shown it.”

He added, “You create that by how you play and what you put on tape… our running backs and offensive line is the strength, on defense, it starts with controlling the run game, when you do that, it allows you to do things with the rest of your defense.”

The offensive line will get a test this week against Florida as Smart said all of his linemen were back together recently to develop some continuity, and he was pleased with that.

“I’m excited, they are excited to play against this unit,” Smart said of the Florida defensive front. “They will have to rise to the occasion against one of the best units in the country.”

Here’s what else he said on the call:

  • On UGA freshmen never having played in Jacksonville vs. Florida. Will that intimidate them at all? Those young kids, I look at them as veterans. All the people that have started to this point have played in big games. Big games are big games, the more you play in the more prepared you are… They will be ready.
  • On Nolan Smith: His development has been great… he wants to play well, prepares well, great to see him develop.
  • On his memories from 2011 LSU-Alabama game: The physicality of the game, probably one of the most physical games I’ve witnessed. The Notre Dame game this year was similar… we had some big linebackers at Alabama back then and some massive collisions… it was like a dinosaur game, 9-6 or whatever it was, never see that anymore.
  • On how that helped you: Experiences like that give you something to draw from… the most valuable thing was that game did not define the season, we had another shot and the kids took advantage of that opportunity.