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Kirby Smart goes on rant, challenges Georgia fans ahead of Arkansas clash

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Georgia head coach Kirby Smart watches from the sideline in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey

Kirby Smart started his press conference praising the fan turnout against Vanderbilt.

He ended his press conference, unprompted, by challenging Georgia fans to top it next Saturday.

“I want to issue a challenge and I want it to be heard right now,” Smart said. “We’ve got a huge game next week, at 12 o’clock, in Athens, Georgia. Everybody wants our team to be elite and I want our team to be elite and we’ve thrown that word around. So when we talk about our fan base, talk about our fan base being elite, we want to be there early and show up better than we ever have.”

Georgia had a 12 p.m. kickoff this week. It came fast against a woeful Vanderbilt team, one the Bulldogs beat 62-0. Georgia was up 35-0 after the first quarter and starting quarterback JT Daniels didn’t see the field over the final three quarters.

As Smart’s tone suggests, next week will be much tougher for the Bulldogs. Georgia will welcome the No. 16 Arkansas Razorbacks to Sanford Stadium. It will also be a 12 p.m. kickoff once again.

The last time Georgia hosted an SEC team with that start time, the Bulldogs lost as a three-touchdown favorite against South Carolina. This Arkansas team, led by former Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman, will be a much tougher foe.

That’s why Smart wants even more from the passionate Georgia fan base.

“We want to be loud, louder than we ever have,” Smart said. “We want to be super intense because the players are going to be intense. We need the fans to be intense. The toughness we’re going to show, we need our fans to show.”

As of this writing, Arkansas is currently putting it on Texas A&M, holding a 17-0 first-half lead. Add in the physicality that the team plays with and the Bulldogs won’t be able to start slow next week.

The Bulldogs should once again have a massive talent advantage, as they did against Vanderbilt. But this Commodores team is in a very different place. For Georgia this week, practice was more difficult than Saturday’s contest.

“The object is for practice to make harder than the game,” linebacker Nolan Smith said. “At the University of Georgia, we 100 percent make practice hard than the game and I think it helps. When you go in the game it’s just an ease. Just sit there and breathe. The bullets aren’t flying.”

To that point, the Georgia defense gave up just 77 total yards of offense. It was a beat down of epic proportions for Smith and the Bulldogs.

Through four games, Georgia has certainly looked elite. Doing that once again while hosting Arkansas will be a tougher test.

That’s why Smart wasted no time in turning the focus from Vanderbilt to Arkansas. Georgia is going to be at its best next week and do so early.

Not just the players, but the fans as well.

“The last thing is to be elite,” Smart said. “So if our fans will be elite, we’ll have an opportunity to put on a heck of a show at 12 o’clock in Sanford Stadium next week. Thanks and Go Dawgs.”

Kirby Smart challenges fans ahead of Arkansas game

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