WATCH: 3 things Georgia football should feel good about, no quitters
ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is playing for the future, provided your interpretation of the future is the next game.
The No. 13-ranked UGA Bulldogs play host to Mississippi State at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Sanford Stadium looking to get back on track after losing two of the past three games.
Some Georgia fans have wondered how Smart “balances” preparing his team for another potential SEC championship run next season while playing out this season.
Smart made it clear the best players on the UGA team will continue to play.
“The balance is to win this football game, that’s the only balance I know,” Smart said. “We’re trying to attack each day. We’re developing our roster in practice and getting better at competitive reps, and we’re trying to win football games because for us, that’s the ultimate goal.
“That’s what we want to do – grow and get better. We don’t control our destiny, certainly, but we do control our attitude, our effort, the way we approach things, the positive attitude with which we take the practice field every day, and making sure that my point is to help my teammate.”
Here are three things to consider, starting with the level of buy-in:
Georgia juniors and seniors with NFL draft value are not quitting early on their teammate programs like South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn recently did.
Jaycee Horn’s brother speaks out. Major yikes. pic.twitter.com/a8JpzkZXRQ
— The Spurs Up Show (@TheSpursUpShow) November 17, 2020
It’s an issue that’s likely to plague other teams that don’t have the same level of buy-in to one another as the Bulldogs.
Georgia had players elect not to take part in bowl games, most notably team captains Deandre Baker, Andrew Thomas and JR Reed along with first-round pick Isaiah Wilson.
But to this point, all of the 2020 UGA players are all in.
“We’re just focusing on getting better,” senior Malik Herring said, “and finishing the season strong.”
If there’s one player who figures to benefit from the possible insertion of JT Daniels more than any other, it’s George Pickens.
Just looking at Daniels’ highlight tapes, the former USC quarterback is adept at the back shoulder fade, a throw that Pickens figures to capitalize on with his catch radius and ability to high point the ball with sometimes acrobatic catches.
Pickens had 13 catches for 140 yards through the first four games. It likely won’t take long for him to equal those numbers should Daniels take over at quarterback.
Mississippi State coach Mike Leach gave a brief assessment of Georgia football on his Monday Zoom press conference.
“Veteran, big, physical, I think that kinda covers it,” Leach said. “Veteran, big, physical and play with a certain amount of passion and aggression, obviously one of the better teams in the league.”
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