Kirby Smart talks about Kentucky's defense and QB ahead of showdown with Wildcats
There’s little debate about who has the best defense in the country this season; it’s top-ranked Georgia.
That said, the Bulldogs’ opponent this weekend has an impressive defensive of its own.
No. 11 Kentucky ranks 18th nationally in total defense (305 yards per game) and 19th in scoring defense (17.5 points per game), and the Wildcats defense has impressed Georgia coach Kirby Smart.
“They have a lot of different looks,” Smart said Wednesday during the weekly SEC coaches teleconference. “They change up their coverages. … They’re really good at disguising. … You have to be really physical. It’s hard to play-action those guys. … You have to have a smart person to know where to go with the ball and execute all-around.”
Smart was also asked if the fact that he and Kentucky coach Mark Stoops are defensive-minded coaches has led to 6-0 starts for each program.
“I’m not real sure,” Smart said. “It has a lot to do with the players on the field more than the coaches, in my opinion. Both Mark and myself, we have good players. … I don’t know that it has anything to do with your history and your background. … Defenses are more toward trying to prevent explosives. … I really don’t think it’s pertinent in terms of who the head coach is.”
As for how his team will defend Kentucky this weekend, Smart said containing Wildcats quarterback Will Levis is a key.
“Toughness, quick decision maker, ability to run. … He’s very accurate in his decision-making,” said Smart when asked about his impressions of Levis. “He’s a physical runner, puts his shoulder down. There’s 10-15 times this year he’s willed himself to a conversion.”
Smart’s teleconference Wednesday was devoted entirely to defense, however.
He also took time to praise the play of freshman tight end Brock Bowers.
“Same as it’s been all year,” said Smart of Bowers’ play. “To execute and perform at a high level, which he’s been able to do. I thought he’s had 2 of his best games the last 2 games in terms of physicality. Really pleased with his work ethic and what he’s been able to do.”
For the season, Bowers has 20 catches for 315 yards and 4 touchdowns.