Kirby Smart slams Georgia football practice effort, updates status of injured defensive backs

Georgia football-Kirby Smart-practice
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and players during post-game trophy presentation following the Bulldogs’ 49-3 win over Oregon in the 2022 Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game played September 3rd in Atlanta, GA, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo credit Perry McIntyre.
Perry McIntyre

Georgia had a great performance on Saturday. The Bulldogs followed it up with a strong effort on Monday, one Kirby Smart called Georgia’s best practice of the season.

But the Bulldogs did not sustain that effort through Tuesday’s practice. And Smart made his displeasure clear when speaking to reporters on Tuesday.

“We had one of our worst practices today. To be honest, I don’t know where we are. I was really pleased for the way they approached yesterday,” Smart said. “We had a lot of competitive periods, and they had a great practice that made a lot of guys better. Today, it was not so enthusiastic. It wasn’t to the standard of what we need. We have another day tomorrow to get it better.”

The Bulldogs have a step down in competition for this week, as the Bulldogs take on FCS foe Samford after crushing previously No. 11 ranked Oregon. The Bulldogs now sit at No. 2 in both the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll.

Related: Georgia football practice observations: Kirby Smart continues pushing Malaki Starks after strong debut

As for why Georgia had such a sluggish effort, Smart was unsure. But he challenged his team during Tuesday’s practice.

Some players responded, but others didn’t quite show the intensity level Smart desired.

“It dragged from the beginning,” Smart said. “It was not the tempo that I expect. We talk about playing to a standard. There’s a standard at Georgia. The number one thing that you do at our place is you go out on Tuesday and practice really physically if you’re going to be any good. We have some guys that didn’t bring their own juice today, and they need to do that tomorrow.”

Georgia often wants practice to be more difficult than games, and that seems to be the case this week for the Bulldogs. How Georgia responds will be telling, given this is still young Georgia team that is having to replace a number of key veterans from last season’s team.

Kirby Smart updates status of injured defensive backs, CJ Washington

Chris Smith left Saturday’s game with a stinger injury. The injury came as he broke up a pass and in the moment it seemed concerning.

But Smith was present at practice on Tuesday and did not have any limitations. Smart indicated the senior safety, who was named Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Week, is good to go.

The same cannot be said for redshirt freshman cornerback Nyland Green. He has been dealing with a hamstring injury.

“Nyland has a hamstring that’s bothering him,” Smart said. “It happened late in the game. He doesn’t even know when. His hamstring is hurting him. He struggled today.”

Green worked as a second-string cornerback on Saturday, playing behind Kamari Lassiter and Kelee Ringo. In the event Green can’t play on Saturday, freshmen Daylen Everette, Jaheim Singletary and Julian Humphrey would see more snaps. Georgia has also been working senior William Poole at cornerback as well.

Starks also led Georgia in tackles on Saturday. Lassiter meanwhile made his first career start for the Bulldogs. He earned strong reviews from Smart for his preparation and performance, even with a questionable 15-yard personal foul penalty.

Lassiter expects Starks to continue to make plays as he did on Saturday and knows why the talented freshman may soon join him in the starting lineup.

“It just shows how good of a player he is,” Lassiter said. “He works hard, he listens in the meetings, he takes it from the meetings to the football and he has great talent.”

Kirby Smart slams Georgia football practice effort, updates status of injured defensive backs

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