Kirby Smart's comments after Georgia's loss to Florida
The Florida Gators knocked off the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday 44-28 in Jacksonville.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask finished 30-of-43 for 474 yards and 4 touchdowns. Florida’s running backs combined for 10 catches for 212 yards with plays out of the backfield.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s quarterbacks combined for 9-of-29 for 112 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
Following the loss to Florida, Kirby Smart spoke to the media. Below is everything he said:
“I’ll open it with give Dan (Mullen) and his staff credit, give Florida credit. I’ll always open with a game like that to give them credit for having a good plan offensively and defensively. I thought they did a good job trying to make us one-dimensional in terms of the different defenses they played and then, offensively, with a lot of eye candy and motions that obviously we didn’t handle well. I always say that if somebody beats you man-to-man and you’ve got them covered and you can’t get the ball out, that’s going to happen with the way we play defense, but when you let them score with nobody around and nobody there, it’s not good. And we had too many of those today where they didn’t beat us, we gave it to them from our defense. It’s a game for me of missed opportunities. I thought that we missed a lot of opportunities, I felt like defense and offense. I felt like we dropped a couple of picks that could have been big plays and the obviously offensively we missed a lot of open shots. That’s the toughest thing.
“I thought Stetson (Bennett) did some good things early and then he took a hit. He had a separated shoulder. He wanted to keep playing. He came in and got a shot. He was able to come back but I didn’t think he was real effective when he came back. He was timid with it. He didn’t have great accuracy. So we decided to go with D’Wan (Mathis), and I thought D’Wan did some good things. He made some mistakes but he did some good things and he still gained experience. But overall I give Florida credit. I think they did a good job and physically beat us today.”
Role that injuries played in coverage issues
“Yeah but I’m not going to make that excuse because the guys that had those backs on a lot of them were guys that have played. We had a couple of times where Monty (Rice) and Nakobe (Dean) had them and didn’t do a good job. One of them I thought we got picked on. They did a good job of picking us, rubbing us. We run the same route and they did a good job of getting the back out on it. One of them we had bad eyes. They ran the same play twice and Tyrique Stevenson, who has the best ball skills on our team, is getting ready to jump up and I know he’s going to pick it off. I’ve seen him do it and he trips and falls over 84, (Kyle) Pitts, and he catches it for a big play. Then they come back on the next series and hit a big play for aa touchdown on Mark Webb where he doesn’t see his guy. It’s tough when you give those up because we don’t have a simple call than what we were in on that play. He didn’t see him. He didn’t look at the right thing. That’s very unfortunate but not as many of those were because Chris Smith was in there or… It hurt when Lewis (Cine) went out because Lewis is a good player. He’s a good eraser, but the guys that came in have got to be able to step up and play. Just made too many silly mistakes on defense. You’ve can’t give people those kind of points.”
What were the breakdowns that led to UF pulling away?
“Well it’s pretty simple. Like I said in the opening, we had calls we called where we covered them and they beat us. Like Tyson Campbell, he covered 84. He’s in really good position. (Pitt is) a back-shoulder player, that’s where the ball goes. Tyson plays the back-shoulder throw and the quarterback threw it over the top and he couldn’t get it out. So I can live with those because we called a pressure and we tired to pressure the quarterback and he made a good throw and catch. You know what I mean? I can live with that. What I can’t live with is leaving a guy wide open on a wheel route. When you’ve got him, you should be looking at him. That’s your guy, look at him, and somehow you don’t look at him and he’s wide open. Those were the breakdowns we had. There were several plays where worked really hard on Kadarius Toney over the middle. He does an elite job of double moving and faking in, faking out, moving. He’s really quick where we have to put a linebacker or a DB on him the way they match him up and sometimes we covered him and sometimes we didn’t. When we didn’t, it was huge. I think we had a chance to stop them and get the ball back and Mark Webb had Kadarius Toney again and he beat him. I don’t know if it was a 3rd and 10. It was a big play for them and it just seemed like that happen so many times. I give Florida credit for that. Those weren’t busts, we got beat. We’ve got to do a better job of helping our players get in a position where they don’t get beat defensively. We can’t give up explosives like that. That’s the bottom line.”
When you’re contemplating making a change, was there anything other than injury with Bennett that made you decide to make the call? And why Mathis over Bennett?
“Why did we wait as long to make a switch? Well we were making a switch a lot based on his injury and how he was feeling. Know what I mean? Stetson did some good things early in the game. He had his starting X receiver, Marcus Rosemy, in and he had Jermaine Burton out there, and he was doing some good things on third down. He stepped up in the pocket. He missed a couple throws. He had one scramble where I thought he could hit one of our guys on the sideline and he missed him. And I don’t know if he missed him because he missed him or if he missed him because his shoulder was injured. But at that point we felt like D’Wan was going to give us a chance to do some different things. And we felt like we were going to find out what D’Wan could do because Stetson wasn’t 100 percent. And D’Wan is our second quarterback so that’s who we went with.”
First time since your first year you’re not in control of your destiny. Is this cause for concern, or do you look at it as injuries and attrition were the cause of this?
“You know I don’t make excuses. I don’t look at it as cause for concern. You guys will create concern and write all kinds of things, and I respect that, that’s your job. But you know in the SEC East in the last 20 games we were 19-1 until tonight. And you said it best. I told the team, this is the first time in the last – I’m going to say four seasons, because three plus this one, so this is the fourth season – that every game we have played in, every game we have played in, we have really been in control of our destinty. Honestly right? We were in control of our own destiny up until after the SEC championship, and this is the first time that it’s not that way. We’re 19-2 in the East. So I’m not going to say the sky is falling, everything is coming down. Hey we’ve gotta get better. We’ve gotta get our players to play better, and we’ve got to be explosive. You know what I mean? I really feel like we can throw the ball. It doesn’t look like it on the stats. But you saw it tonight. Anybody with an open eye could say, Well they did have some guys open. We did protect the quarterback pretty well early on. We’ve got to be able to throw and catch it. And they did. So that was the difference in the game. Not the sky is falling.”
What do you want offensively and do you want those explosive plays?
“Don’t ever mistake that I want to win, OK? You can take the narrative of the offense and whatever you want, but I want to win and I want to do what gives us the best chance to win. Scoring points gives you the best chance to win. But if you don’t feel good about throwing the ball vertically, you better figure out what you can do, you know what I mean? Like starting the game in a 32 personnel and open the game with a truck sweep. There’s things there that you have to be able to do to compliment who we are right now. I can’t wish myself into an explosive offense. We have to work ourselves into that. We’ve got to execute our offense and complete more passes, be more accurate. We’ve got to get guys open, but when we do we’ve got to hit them. I want to win. I want to win games.”
Are you worried about your team’s motivation?
“No, because we’ve got good kids on the team. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us next week. We’ve got to play a Missouri team that had the week off. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us, we’ve just got to go play. The leadership on the team, they’ll handle that, they’ll bounce back. We’ll get ready for Missouri and we have to be.”
Would you like to get Zamir White more runs?
“I thought we had some shot plays, and to be honest, when the defense plays a certain way … Like some of the runs Zamir got, one was a draw the opening play of the game was a Truck sweep, but in our normal operation, they were playing five big guys and basically they were saying we dare you to throw it. There weren’t a lot of big plays with five guys grinding down on us. There were some loose plays that were successful, but it’s hard when you’re giving them touchdowns on defense but they’re not trying to score offensively, so that makes it tough. But certainly, we’ve got to find ways to get Zamir the ball. But we’ve got to be able to throw to run when we’re trying to score. Everybody understands that. We can’t go out and throw it every snap because we’re not that type of team. We don’t have the wideouts, we don’t have the players to do that. What we’ve got to do is be who we are and play better on defense.”
On sequence at end of first half. The punt and Florida being able to get six. Frustration?
“That’s tough. We’re usually the team squeezing in the seven points. We’ve always managed the half really well. It’s a catch 22 because offensively if you throw the ball, you run the risk of giving them the ability to stop the clock. I wanted to be aggressive on offense and try to go score because we needed a score certainly at the point we were in. We weren’t able to do that. I’m counting on who I think is the best punter in America to take care of me and hit a bomb down there and he didn’t hit a bomb. Give them credit. They went down there and scored pretty quick with their offense.”
On the story with JT Daniels.
“Right now we feel like the other two give us a better shot because they’ve gotten more of a body of work. I don’t think necessarily that he has anything with his knee. He doesn’t wear a knee brace anymore. He reps. He takes reps with the scouts and moves them around and gives us a really good look. I think he’s still growing and getting better in the offense, but obviously right now obviously with where we are we where we are we finish they give us the best shot.”
On injuries and was JT Daniels recruited to be a backup?
“Jermaine Burton I think is fine. He played the rest of the game. Kendall Milton I’m not sure. It may be a slight MCL sprain. I’m not 100 percent sure on him. As far as JT, we recruit every player the same an opportunity to come in and get better and compete and play. He got an opportunity to do that in fall cam and actually got a lot more reps than Stetson did. Stetson didn’t get many reps in fall camp. He took a ton of reps at that time. So did D’Wan and that’s the way we did our scrimmages all along.”
Stetson Bennett played with a separated shoulder?
“I may have said that wrong. It may have an AC sprain. It’s the throwing arm, too. I think Ron told me before it was an AC sprain. I’m not 100 percent sure on that. I may get Claude to go ask Ron. It was either a separated shoulder or an AC sprain. I know he got the shot and he wanted to keep playing and felt like he could still throw the ball. He did throw it a couple of times but we just weren’t as accurate as we needed to be.”
Disappointment or frustration not controlling destiny
“No. What good does frustration do right now? I want these young men to grow up and be great husbands and fathers. If we’re going to live in the past and worry about missed opportunities, you can’t do that. It is what it is. Florida beat us. Florida out executed us. They did a really good job. I’m not making it about injuries, I’m not making it about anything. I’m making it about they beat us. We’ve got to get better and that starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job and we’re going to do a better job but I’m not frustrated with the plight we’re in. We made our bed.”
You can watch Smart’s full comments below: