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Georgia coach Kirby Smart covers bye week activity, how reps were split up

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has had a bye week to sharpen his No. 1-ranked team. Here's a picture of Smart from the Bulldogs’ practice session in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)
Mackenzie Miles

Georgia coach Kirby Smart put his football team under the microscope when he wasn’t working them at each level last week.

The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs (7-0, 5-0 SEC), who report back on Sunday after getting Friday and Saturday off. Georgia will zero in more this week for next Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game in Florida against the Gators (4-3, 2-3) at Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field.

Smart shared on his coach’s show how he split up the reps last week and did a thorough self-scout.

“We increase reps of scout team players, therefore splitting the practice into one-third ones, one-third twos, and one-third threes,” Smart said, sharing how the work was split between the first-team, second-team and third-team players.

“And we try to grow the roster, find out what we have, how far a kid has come since his arrival.”

Georgia is particularly thin in the secondary where preseason projected starters Jalen Kimber (shoulder) and Tykee Smith (knee) have both been lost for the season. Veteran cornerback Ameer Speed (ankle) and safety Christopher Smith (shoulder) both missed the Kentucky game but are expected back this week.

Smart explained that while starters still get work to improve, there are specific areas of emphasis.

“We’re trying to minimize (starters) reps specifically to do something we need to work on -- on offense, defense or with a specific player,” Smart said, “And, we’re trying to increase the twos and the threes volume so that we’re a deeper football team.”

Smart said it was similar to the bowl practices, in terms of the focus on fundamentals and improving the scout team.

Then there’s the self-scout, which Smart said Georgia does in every way possible.

“That’s what we do, that’s quality control, we look through every unit, every phase, every situation, formations, what are people looking at us as far as formation tendencies,” Smart said. “You name it, we’re looking hard at it to improve it,. Every little change you can make. or tweak you can make, helps you.”

Smart said every player has also been challenged to improve something on the field, and off the field as well.

“Weight loss, weight gain, we have more guys that need to gain than lose,” Smart said. “We have a tendency to shed weight, and we’re tying to put it back on some guys, in terms of lifting and eating and doing things right off the field.”

Smart is expected to update the team’s injury situation when he addresses the media on Monday.

The Bulldogs’ have several receivers who have been either out or dealing with injuries that have limited or slowed them, including George Pickens (knee), Dominick Blaylock (knee), Jermaine Burton (quad), Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (ankle) and Arian Smith (shin).

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