ATHENS — Kirby Smart was speaking softly about big sticks following practice on Tuesday.
The Georgia head coach didn’t waste any time on Monday sharing his passion for the rivalry with Auburn, and the message has stayed consistent.
“Strike and attack,” Smart said, asked about the approach to the game with the Tigers at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“It’s not a real complicated message. It’s going to be a real physical game.”
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The Bulldogs are a 30-point favorite over Auburn, which is coming off a 21-17 home loss to LSU, but Smart’s tone is one of urgency.
Georgia was a 28-point favorite at Missouri, only to squeeze by with a 26-22 win.
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Smart was asked if he could put his finger on what went wrong, and he was very direct and transparent.
“Gettin’ yo ass whipped up front, that’s what the finger was,” Smart said. “Like, when you put on pads and you’ve got to strike another man, and he’s across from you and he weighs 300 and you weigh 300, somebody wins and somebody loses. So, the finger is we’re gettin’ our butts whooped, OK?”
Auburn plays physical football, too, Smart has noted.
“They’re fast, physical, and playing really hard,” Smart said, acknowledging what has been a tough Tigers’ defense. “Two elite edge guys. Some athletic linebackers. They played really, really hard. I mean, just call it what it is. They scratch off and play with confidence.
“They’re flying around. I mean, I know almost every single player on that defense and they’re good football players.”
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Georgia defensive lineman Nazir Stackhouse said the team is braced for a physical contest.
“With it being rivalry week, it’s definitely going to be a lot of fire this game,” Stackhouse said.
“Like Kirby says, we don’t talk with our mouths, we talk with our helmets.”
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