ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart said he doesn’t like comparing players, but he’s so impressed with Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, that he made an exception on Tuesday.
“I hate comparing guys like that, [but] there’s arm strength [Matt] Stafford-like, [Jay] Cutler,” Smart said. “Those were guys I had to coach against who were elite arm talent. He’s a good athlete as well, one of the better quarterbacks we’ll face.
“He’s in a league of his own.”
Many are projected Lock will be the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
Certainly, the Missouri quarterback will provide the stiffest challenge Georgia’s young, rebuilt secondary has faced this season.
Smart shared that Georgia has altered its practice routine slightly, just to make sure it’s prepared for Lock’s deep, accurate throws.
“They’re a vertical passing team, so we’re trying to emphasize it,” Smart said. “We do deep-ball drills every day at the of practice, emphasize long balls, back-shoulder [throws].
“We’re putting a lot of work into it because they’re a good passing team altogether, but especially as a vertical passing team.”
Missouri has won nine of its past 10 games, and Lock has been on fire. In the past 10 games, Lock:
• Has a 9-1 record
• Has completed 213-of-332 passes (64.2%) for 3,303 yards (330.3 per game)
• Has thrown 38 touchdown passes with 7 interceptions
• Has a 181.28 QB rating
As if that wasn’t enough, Smart is just as concerned with the Tigers’ rushing attack under former Tennessee head coach and Dallas Cowboys assistant Derek Dooley, who’s now the Missouri offensive coordinator.
“They’ve been more committed to [the run game], they’re using more traditional run plays and they still have a lot of the same run plays that all of America is running now,” Smart said. “They have similar run plays to what we have. They run power, they run counter, they run a lot of plays that you’ve got to be physical to run and they’re creating that brand of football.
“To have the commitment and play in the SEC you’ve got to be able to run the ball, and the last three games, their commitment to that has allowed them to get one on one matchups outside.”
Here’s Smart’s post-practice press conference from Tuesday in it’s entirety.