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‘Only savages come out alive’
One of the biggest differences between the Georgia of this season and the Georgia of past seasons, at least according to those inside the program, is the intensity of practice.
“We didn’t know it would get the results we wanted from our practice habits last year,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said earlier this season, according to Seth Emerson of DawgNation. “They’ve bought in to the fact that if they’re physical on Tuesday and Wednesday, they’ll be physical on Saturday. That’s carrying over.”
Thanks to a new video released by Georgia football, you can get a short, inside look at what practice is like now. Albeit, on the lighter side of the spectrum.
In the video released on Twitter late Monday night, Smart and a number of Georgia players are mic’d up so you can hear some of what goes on in a typical practice. Highlights include Sony Michel promising to lift Lamont Gaillard the next time he scores instead of the other way around, Smart barking orders and motivation to his players, Isaiah Wynn saying he’s going as an SUV for Halloween and Jake Fromm telling Michel, “You look cute today.”
“You’re going to get everyone’s best,” Smart said to his team. “Will you have your best when your best is needed? You young guys, you’d better figure out what to do. And if you’re an older player, you come out here and practice fast. It’s time to get to work. We’re trying to do something special. You know how you do something special? You practice different from everybody else.”
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) October 31, 2017
Georgia No. 1 in College Football Playoff rankings
Just as I expected, Georgia debuted at No. 1 in the first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings. Behind the Dawgs are Alabama at No. 2, Notre Dame at No. 3, and Clemson at No. 4.
“The debate, as passionate as the discussion for teams three through seven was, was even more passionate for teams one and two,” CFP chairman Kirby Hocutt said. “It was the two wins against top-25 CFP teams and, of course, the win over No. 3 Notre Dame that gave Georgia the slight edge this week.”
If the CFP started today, Georgia would play Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. Of course, the CFP does not start today, and there’s still four regular-season games and championship weekend to get through before the Bulldogs can actually call themselves playoff participants. Even next week the rankings could changes. Georgia could beat South Carolina and still get leaped by Alabama, if the Crimson Tide dominate LSU. So there is no cause for celebration just yet,
For his part, Smart has been vocal about seeing these early rankings as a distraction that, at least for now, have no bearing on the season. On Tuesday before the rankings were released, he said he wasn’t planning on watching the rankings show or addressing his players about it.
“I haven’t really talked about it, to be honest with you,” Smart said, according to Chip Towers of DawgNation. “The leadership group kind of handles it and they do a good job of addressing it with the players and relay the message that needs to be taught. We don’t really get into it.”
For their part, the players aren’t focusing on the rankings either.
“I’m blocking out all that stuff and staying focused on the main goal,” sophomore defensive back Tyrique McGhee said. “It’s not about the race. Just staying focused and coming in ready to work is the mentality that we have.”
“When guys get to thinking about their ranking, they forget about what got them there, or what made us work hard, what got them to this point now,” guard Solomon Kindley said, according to Emerson. “If we don’t think about the ranking then our season is 0-0. South Carolina is our first game of the season. We’re just playing.”
‘South Carolina ain’t going through the motions today!’
With a No. 1 ranking now in hand, there’s a chance that complacency could set in among Georgia’s players. But at practice Tuesday, Smart and his coaching staff applied some pressure to their team in an effort to make sure that doesn’t happen. From Emerson:
“South Carolina ain’t going through the motions today!” Smart yelled out as the Georgia D-linemen went through a drill.
Other assistant coaches were also raising their voices. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was a bit louder than usual with some of his defensive backs. Receivers coach James Coley, whose voice is usually well-heard at these practices, kept at it on Tuesday. Defensive line coach Tray Scott didn’t let Smart have an exclusive on yelling rights at his players.
More bulletin board material
You would think after seeing what happened to Florida when its players started chirping about Georgia in the buildup to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, South Carolina players would carry themselves a bit more quietly heading into their showdown with the Dawgs this weekend. You would be wrong.
“The run. They can’t pass,” South Carolina safety Chris Lammons said with a chuckle when asked what his greatest area of concern this weekend is.
(Now would also be a good time to remind everyone that Georgia had only 29 passing yards when it beat South Carolina by two touchdowns last season.)
Lammons isn’t wrong on the surface. The Bulldogs are last in the SEC in passing yards per game. But yardage is where the supposed badness ends. They’re second in the league passer rating, third in yards per attempt, and fifth in completion percentage. They’re also 11th nationally in passing S&P+ and fourth in passing IsoPPP, a measure of explosiveness.
Georgia has, and will continue to rely on its run game much more heavily than its pass game. It’s not so much that Georgia can’t pass. So far it’s just found it unnecessary.
The only way I could see the Georgia offense taking this comment is as a slight. Considering the goals that could still be accomplished this season — an SEC and national championship — Georgia is already plenty motivated for this game. It used Florida player’s comments as fuel to practice harder leading into that game, and the same could happen again this week.
If you’re looking to read something about Georgia that doesn’t involve the playoffs, I’ve got you covered with a few good pieces right here.
- Emerson on how the Dawgs have turned around their offensive line
- Senator Blutarsky of Get The Picture on the SEC East reacting to Georgia’s newfound success
- Ian Boyd of Saturday Down South on how Sony Michel gashed the Florida defense
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 1, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 1, 2017
— Humankind (@Humankindvideos) October 30, 2017
— Jeremy&Natalie Mann (@JandNMann) October 31, 2017
All the Halloween dogs are good dogs.
The annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade puts the scariest, cutest, spookiest, most glamorous dogs on display. pic.twitter.com/FZdWkV9cYU
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) November 1, 2017
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