ATHENS — There didn’t seem to be anything remarkably different about the Georgia football team at Wednesday’s practice, its first as the No. 1 team in the country, at least according to the playoff selection committee rankings.
The drills were the same and seemingly as intense as usual. Receiver Riley Ridley made a nice one-handed catch, reaching up. Coach Kirby Smart, roaming around the field while studying the practice plan on a sheet, stopped by the receivers to compliment on their breaks. A scout from the Tennessee Titans took in practice, taking notes as he watched defensive players, of which there are many NFL prospects.
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney did shout out something that sounded like “number one” but it may have been in reference to a play or a route.
A night earlier, Smart had been asked what he has to say to the team to keep it focused, given the lopsided outcomes the past six games.
‘’You don’t have to say anything. They go out and practice,” Smart said. “Practice is tough. I mean, we don’t go out there in practice and get a big 28-point lead or anything and shut it down. We go at each other and try to create a culture of toughness and playing hard.”
Smart has also pointed several times to defensive miscues against Florida, despite Georgia having a shutout until the final minutes of the game.
“There are clips all over the field where guys are turning down contact, not wanting to hit people,” Smart said. “We showed it to our players. We have to correct that in practice and the young players were part of that.’’
The Bulldogs continue to be in near-perfect health, with every projected starter and top reserve set to play on Saturday, with the exception of inside linebacker Natrez Patrick, who will serve the final game of his four-game suspension.
Georgia (8-0) faces South Carolina (6-2) on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs can clinch the SEC East with a win and a loss by Kentucky, although the Wildcats have a home game against Ole Miss.