ATHENS — D’Andre Swift heard the boos and criticism over Georgia’s run-heavy game plan in the rain and wind at Sanford Stadium.
“We’re going to do what we need to do to win games,” Swift said. “And if people don’t like what we’re doing, they shouldn’t come to the games.”
These Bulldogs needed an edge, a catalyst, and Swift is comfortable saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done.
“He brings energy without making plays, he’s heart and soul, a leader,” Smart said. “He’s inspirational … Swift gets the team involved by all the things he does and says. He cares.”
Swift spoke up last week about the offense because he said he “felt like something needed to be said.”
The mood struck him again after Swift and his No. 10-ranked Georgia teammates slugged it out for four quarters of a 21-0 SEC victory over Kentucky.
Swift had 21 carries for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns, most very inch earned against a stacked line of scrimmage with defenders outnumbering blockers.
But Swift was asked once again about the UGA offense and James Coley’s play calling.
“Wet ball, couldn’t really throw the ball how we wanted to,” said Swift, who earlier in the week said Georgia should be taking more shots down field to open up the run game.
“It was rough, because you can’t really throw the ball like we wanted to, couldn’t call plays we needed to call, real wet out there, ball was real slick, it is what it is.”
But some Bulldogs’ fans didn’t see it that way.
Boos rained down on Swift and his teammates, onlookers frustrated with the play calling and Kirby Smart’s strategy on the cold, windy and wet night in Sanford Stadium.
“They could boo us, we’re playing for each other, whoever’s on that team, 11 on the field, 11 guys on the other side of the field,” Swift said. “If they boo us, they boo us. I’m fine. As long as we’re winning the games.”
Winning football games is what Swift is all about. The junior from Philadelphia has been transparent about the this likely being his last season in Athens, and he aims to go out with a title.
Swift leads SEC running backs with 752 yards rushing and 6.84 yards per carry, likely part of the reason Smart kept the ball on the ground.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, who passed for a career-low 35 yards on 9-of-12 passing, said he didn’t have a problem with Swift speaking up about the offense last week.
“He’s big-time player for us in our offense, and for him to say that it’s perfectly fine, we want to get better any way we can in practice,” Fromm said. “Some things we could do tonight, and some things we couldn’t.”
As Smart said, “handing the ball to a guy is a helluva easier in those conditions.”
Especially when it’s Swift.
“D’Andre, he’s always been the guy, he’s a great playmaker for us in our offense and he did a great great job of showing that,” Fromm said. “Many times tonight he put the team on his back and he ran with it.”