ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart continues to be amused about questions pertaining to the Bulldogs’ improved offensive line play from Week One at Arkansas to Week Two against Auburn.
“It wasn’t a reinvention of the wheel,” Smart said on the SEC Coaches teleconference on Wednesday. “It was just doing a better job of executing what we were supposed to do when we were supposed to do it.”
Smart said after last Saturday’s game “The Wizard of Oz came and saw them and gave them all courage and ability, and they played better.”
The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (2-0) play host to No. 14 Tennessee (2-0) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
Georgia’s reloaded offensive line will be challenged to match its performance against Coach Jeremy Pruitt’s aggressive Vols’ defense.
Last Saturday, the Bulldogs produced ample time for redshirt junior Stetson Bennett to have an efficient 17-of-28 passing game for 240 yards and a touchdown in the 27-6 win over Auburn.
“Thought the backs did a good job of hitting the holes,” Smart said. “We were able to throw the ball, which helps the run game.”
Georgia, however, has not seen a scoring run longer than 30 yards dating back to a D’Andre Swift 39-yard TD burst against Kentucky last October.
Zamir White has started the past three games against Baylor, Arkansas and Auburn. White has not broken a run longer than 20 yards on those 50 carries, and his career-long run on 110 carries is 29 yards.
The Vols are allowing just 2.99 yards per carry.
The offense will look for a quick start against Tennessee after a quiet second half against the Tigers.
The Bulldogs scored only three points in the second half against Auburn, a combination of a 24-3 halftime lead and the Tigers’ making adjustments.
Smart was asked once again about USC transfer quarterback JT Daniels, who was cleared to play against Auburn but has yet to see the field for Georgia.
Is Smart eager to see him get some reps and play in a game?
“Yeah, I get to see him every day,” Smart said. “I’ve seen him since he’ s been here, and he does a good job at practice. He’s practiced the whole time; he’s really been no different than anybody else …. I feel good about Carson (Beck), D’Wan (Mathis) and JT.”
Smart was also asked for the second time in as many days about the Georgia quarterback rotation at practice.
Once again, he sidestepped the question, not wanting to tip his hand.
“The way we handle the quarterback in practice really pertains to us and how we make those decisions,” Smart said. “And, all three of those guys, four of those guys, really, have gotten quality work and we have confidence in all of them.”
Bennett, a redshirt junior former walk-on and junior college player, has impressed the head coach with his poise against Arkansas and Auburn.
“His composure. he’s very composed, I would call him a vet in terms of practice reps and quantity of work,” Smart said. “He just hasn’t had as many SEC Live reps.”
Smart repeated what he said on Monday about James Cook being questionable for the game, revealing the junior tailback has been in a black no-contact jersey and that it could be a game-time decision.
The Bulldogs do expect to get Florida State graduate transfer tight end Tre’ McKitty back for the game with the Vols, a key for Bennett who relies on shorter and intermediate passes.
Georgia football injuries:
TE Tre’ McKitty (knee) probable
OLB Jermaine Johnson (shoulder), probable
RB James Cook (shoulder), questionable
WR Arian Smith (knee), out
WR Dominick Blaylock (knee), out
OL Netori Johnson (academics), out
DB Kelee Ringo (labrum), out