Kirby Smart: ‘Mental agility’ in play for Georgia with Missouri game postponed
ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart said the Bulldogs will turn their focus inward with the news that their game at Missouri has been postponed to a yet-to-be-determined date.
The news broke on Wednesday morning shortly before Smart made his weekly appearance on the SEC Coaches Teleconference.
“I’m finding out about this about as fast as you guys are,” Smart said. “Mental agility is definitely the definition of 2020, which we talked to our team about early in 2020.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said last week the league office was considering using Dec. 19 as an overflow makeup date of sorts, for instances such as this where one of the teams already has a make-up date assigned on Dec. 12.
Texas A&M AD Ross Bjork told TexAGs.com that the league athletic directors decided on Tuesday that Dec. 19 is indeed an option for teams that need to have more than one game rescheduled.
The SEC Championship game is currently scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19.
It was originally scheduled for 4 p.m., but on Oct. 29 the league announced it would be moved back to the evening, perhaps in anticipation that more make-up games would be needed than first thought.
This marks the second time Georgia has had to change its game schedule this season.
The Bulldogs learned on Oct. 16 they would have to change their bye week date from Oct. 31 to Oct. 24 on account of Florida’s COVID-19 issues. The Gators were granted two Saturdays off (Oct. 17 and Oct. 24) to deal with the virus.
Florida played one game in the three weeks leading up to the Georgia game last Saturday, as a result of the time off.
Smart said he and his staff discussed the possibility of the Missouri game being postponed prior to Wednesday’s news, and they quickly shifted practice plans for the afternoon.
“It’s one of those deals where you find out, you have a plan for Plan A, and you have a plan for Plan B,” Smart explained on Wednesday.
Plan A would have been a much-needed road trip and convincing victory for No 12-ranked Georgia over the Tigers in Columbia in a game that was slated for noon.
USC transfer JT Daniels was expected to make his first start and appearance for the Bulldogs.
Georgia’s passing game is in need of resuscitation after a historically poor performance in the 44-28 loss in Florida, the lowest graded effort in the Pro Football Focus era.
UGA quarterbacks Stetson Bennett and D’Wan Mathis were a cumulative 9-of-29 passing for 112 yards with 3 interceptions, 2 touchdown passes, 3 sacks and 2 fumbles.
Bennett suffered a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder on the second series of the game and has not been throwing this week, according to Smart.
Now, with the added break before Georgia is scheduled to take the field again at 7:30 p.m. n Nov. 21 in Sanford Stadium, Smart plans to give more players opportunities.
“We got a lot of young guys on our roster who didn’t get spring practice, who didn’t get fall camp, even, and those guys get an opportunity to get better,” Smart said. “We’ve got an opportunity to grow and develop and get better, and work against each other and have some competitive periods.”
Smart said as eager as he and his team were to play again, it’s time to apply the “mental agility” he correctly forecasted would be needed during these unprecedented times in 2020.
“We have a lot of things to work on” Smart said. “We’re going to work on those things today, and tomorrow we’ll be looking at future opponents which would include Mississippi State.”