Kirby Smart talks Stetson Bennett, red-zone defense, Dan Lanning relationship
While several SEC teams step out of conference Saturday, top-ranked Georgia heads to Kentucky for the toughest game remaining on its regular season schedule.
And the Bulldogs (10-0) are likely to encounter an angry group of Wildcats, who lost a shocker to Vanderbilt this past weekend.
Georgia is in great position to repeat as national champs. That success can be attributed in large part to the team’s outstanding defense and the play and leadership of 5th-year quarterback Stetson Bennett, who was named a finalist earlier this week for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is given annually to the best former walk-on in college football.
“Proud of him and what he represents, how he represents our university,” said Smart of Bennett on Wednesday during the weekly SEC coaches teleconference. “… From being a high school walk-on to leading our team, he’s done a tremendous job and it’s a tremendous honor to be recognized for that award.”
Smart was also asked to comment on his defense Wednesday, especially its effectiveness in the red zone.
“Red-zone defense doesn’t change year-to-year,” Smart said. “It requires a lot of the same things. … Denying anyone the ability to run it in, being good at run-stop defense, because it shows up there more than anywhere else.”
Finally, Smart was asked about what sort of communication he has had through the season with former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, who’s now the head coach at Oregon.
“He knows I’m busy and worried about our season and our games,” Smart said. “We’ve texted back and forth about things we’re doing at practice and philosophically about what we’re doing in our programs.”
The matchup between the Wildcats and Bulldogs is set for 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday and will be televised by CBS.