What Kirby Smart said after Georgia's 37-10 loss to LSU in the SEC Championship Game
Georgia coach Kirby Smart said the Bulldogs tried a variety of defenses against LSU’s high-powered offense, but the Tigers were still able to put up big numbers in yards and points.
Case in point was the 71-yard pass play from Joe Burrow to Justin Jefferson. Was that the backbreaker in this game?
“Yeah, there were several, that one was frustrating because we thought we had a really good call,” Smart said in a press conference after the loss in the SEC Championship. “We had pressure and we had a guy come sky free. He missed him, and then I think we missed him again maybe on that same play. Hey, I thought that was the perfect call by our defensive coordinator and they made a better play than we did a call. Sometimes players do that. You learn in coaching that good players make big-time plays and that was an incredible play by Joe Burrow. We put out six people. You bring six people, you expect to get home. He made a hell of a play. I give Joe Burrow a lot of credit, man. He is a phenomenal player.”
Smart was asked about the defensive philosophy, especially early in the game when it seemed as if Burrow had loads of time to throw.
“We had a three-man, a four-man, a five-man and a six-man rush, and we tried to change those things up,” Smart said. “You do a lot of studies going into the game of ways to get incompletions because you’re basically fighting for incompletions on them and we got pressure at times, we didn’t finish. When we had the three-man, he was able to hold the ball, but we had a lot of guys covered. You’re fighting, we got them to third and long on that opening drive and didn’t get off the field and they ended up converting to a touchdown. I give him a lot of credit.”
Smart was also asked about RB D’Andre Swift’s health as he was reported to be dealing with a shoulder injury entering the game.
“He practiced all week, he did everything we asked him to do,” Smart said, “He said he was going to be able to play, and thought he’d be able to compete and play, he felt good in warmups and he played. As far as I know he was fine.”
Smart was asked about the LSU and what about it took the SEC by storm.
“I’ve been in this league for a long time, and I don’t know if I’ve seen the combination of things they’ve got,” he said. “They’ve got an elite quarterback that’s a really good athlete. They have a back that is a matchup guy. He matches up on anybody and go win. They’ve got really good wideouts and they’ve got experience at the offensive line. So they go tempo, but they don’t go tempo just to run the ball. They go tempo to take shots. They never change personnel, they play 28 consecutive snaps with the same people on the field, so it does not allow you to substitute in the pattern that you want to. So there’s a combination of a lot of things.”
Smart was also asked if he was getting the most out of the talent he has, or is it a recruiting issue.
“You said the first two years, you said Jake’s numbers were better,” Smart said. “So the indicator for that was four wide receivers who were on our sideline that were drafted that are playing in the NFL. So right now, I don’t know if we have four wide receivers that are going to be playing in the NFL at this time next year. The loss of those wideouts, the vertical threat has probably hurt our team. Now that’s my responsibility right, to replace them, to replace them in recruiting. We probably haven’t done a good enough job of that. Now we had two or three out different games of the year. So we’ve not had a consistent group out there. We went out and got a grad school transfer that we thought would help, so a lot of those things fall on, people can point at Jake, they can point at (James) Coley, they can point at me. I understand all that, but at the end of the day, it’s not about all that, it’s about what can we do to win each game individually.”