ATHENS — Kirby Smart shut down talk that Georgia’s national title hopes this season are on Carson Beck’s shoulders.

“I think when you start talking about national title hopes and putting it all on one player, that’s a little far-fetched,” Smart said on the SEC Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday.

“I just don’t think we won the ones we won just because of that position.”

RELATED: Carson Beck passes Auburn road test, overcomes double-digit deficit

Georgia plays host to Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Saturday night in Sanford Stadium in an early SEC East showdown of unbeaten teams.

But to Smart’s point, two of the past three games with the Wildcats provide evidence of Smart’s assertion, as Bennett failed to pass for a touchdown and was intercepted in Georgia’s wins over UK in 2020 (14-3) and 2022 (16-6).

“That position is a growth position, and Stetson was certainly more experienced and better the second go-round than the first,” Smart said, referring to Bennett’s marked improvement between the 2021 and 2022 seasons..

“But neither one (championship season) would be because of him, and whether we do or don’t this year is not going to be just because of Carson Beck.”

Smart conceded Beck played well in the clutch against Auburn, as Georgia rallied from being behind 10-0 in the second quarter and 17-10 down in the second half.

“I thought he played really well on third down, I’d like to play better on first and second, and some of that has to do with him as well,” Smart said.

“There were some plays left out there, but as far as the way it finished and the way he played in the fourth quarter, he did a really good job in those situations.”

Beck was 8-of-10 passing for 115 yards on third downs — converting for seven first downs — with Ladd McConkey catching three of those conversion passes and Brock Bowers and Rara Thomas gathering two each.

Smart indicated he doesn’t buy into the “clutch gene” concept, as much as a player develops confidence and the ability to handle pressure.

“I do think that quarterbacks have moxie and presence and everyone is wanting a quarterback that has that, and sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t, it’s not a trait you can identify really easily,” Smart said.

“It’s one that you grow to and gain experience to, and (Beck) has a lot of reps and growth under pressure, and I think he handles that well,” he said.

“There are a lot of things he could do better, (but) in terms of a clutch gene, I’m sure there’s ratings or stages of clutch, one to 1. I don’t know there’s a gene that you either have it or you don’t.”