Nolan Smith on Georgia defense: ‘I don’t care if we’re playing the New England Patriots. They don’t go in our end zone.’

Georgia defense-Nolan Smith-New England Patriots
Georgia outside linebacker Nolan Smith (4) and Georgia wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (81) during the Bulldogs’ game with Vanderbilt in Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

There was surprisingly some drama entering the fourth quarter of Georgia’s game against Vanderbilt. Some were interested to see if Georgia could possibly finish with more points than Vanderbilt did yards.

Georgia held a 55-54 edge at the start of the fourth quarter. Vanderbilt ultimately did just enough to earn a 77-yard to 62-point edge. The Commodores though did not score in a 62-0 win for the Bulldogs.

The Georgia defense made life miserable for first-year Vanderbilt head coach Clark Lea and the Commodores offense. Vanderbilt had 9 3-and-outs on the day. The team had as many turnovers, 3, as it did drives in Georgia territory.

Georgia players and coaches often mention playing up to a standard. The Georgia defense did that once again on Saturday.

“We say nobody in our end zone, that means nobody,” Smith said. “I don’t care if we’re playing the New England Patriots. They don’t go in our endzone. That’s just as a defensive mindset.”

Related: Kirby Smart: Offense, defense, special teams delivered early knockout blows in 62-0 win

New England doesn’t exactly have a dynamic offense anymore, but you get the point Smith was making.

Through four games now, the Georgia defense has given up just 16 total points. It was another standout effort, not just from the first-team defense but the whole team. Sophomore defensive tackle Jalen Carter came off the bench and wrecked a couple of Vanderbilt drives in the first half.

“For this week, for there to be a letdown or a lack of focus, I thought our guys were awesome,” Smart said. “We shortened practice, and we changed some things. We did a lot of different things with our time. I thought practices were good.”

Smith, the vocal leader of the Georgia defense, noted the practices seem tougher for this Georgia defense than the games. It’s fair to say the best offense this group has seen so far comes during those practices in Athens.

That’s how Smart would like things to be. It’s why the Bulldogs had another dominant showing on Saturday

“The object is for practice to make harder than the game,” Smith said. “At the University of Georgia, we 100 percent make practice hard than the game and I think it helps. When you go in the game it’s just an ease. Just sit there and breathe. The bullets aren’t flying.”

Nolan Smith discusses Georgia defensive standard

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