Steson Bennett IV-Georgia football-UGA football
Glory. Times Two. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Sentell’s Intel: The toughest reps the 2022 national champion Georgia football team had ... but nobody got to see them

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep shares one of the author’s favorite stories from the 2022-2023 national championship back-to-back season.


When the ‘Dawgs won it all (again) earlier this year, there was a question suitable to ask for the morning-after-the-natty press conference to ask.

The job was done. The season was over.

This particular reporter held the opinion that the toughest reps the Bulldogs played all season long were the ones that nobody got to see. (Well, maybe those Magill Silver Circle folks.)

That’s what I asked Brock Bowers, Javon Bullard and Kirby Smart the morning after that 65-7 train ran right through the faces of what had been the most glorious season in TCU football history.

Much has been made about the “Bloody Tuesday” Georgia practices. It almost become a cliche of the season to describe how hard the Bulldogs test one another in the weeks before every game.

That piqued my curiosity and I wanted to know this: What was it like Georgia played Georgia? When Georgia’s first offense repped against Georgia’s first defense?

The moment, and timing of the question, allowed for some very rare candor.

“I mean, I was ready to call practice off,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “They. Were. Going. At. It.”

Smart even said those reps reminded him of the stories he’d heard about Barcelona and the “Dream Team” prior to the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Here’s his answer in its entirety:

“I love the iron sharpens iron. I told our guys, I mean every scrimmage we have, I said, you think you can get ready to go play teams in our league, you better get ready to play today. Because if you’re not your best today you’ll get embarrassed. You’re going against the best defense or offense you’ll face.”

“They respect that. Our guys truly respect that. And those matchups even -- I go back to the Ohio State week, Tuesday practice, we’re in the indoor, and they were -- I mean, I was ready to call practice off. They were going at it.”

“And it was, like, Jalen Carter came to me said ‘Can we do a bet, Coach, we win team run over the offense and whoever wins doesn’t have to run. And the other team has to run.’”

Bowers and Bullard were both at the podium. These answers were quite descriptive that morning in Inglewood.

“I think, like during those spring scrimmages and fall camp scrimmages, the offense is probably going against the best defense (in the country) in all those guys,” Bowers said. “That really helps us out in the long run. I mean it really makes the games almost easier than the practices. It definitely helps.”

Bullard riffed right off that Bowers thought and added to that answer.

“As far as like that, let me add something,” Bullard said. “The offense used to whup our but. When fall camp first started, man the offense gave us the business. But like Brock said competing with those guys you are going against some of the best guys in the country. If not the best. But as I said, it gives you a certain amount of confidence going into the season. You’re thinking that you’ve already gone against the best. When you compare them to the other competition. Not to knock them down or anything like that.”

“But it is just like ‘Okay, I’m going against Ladd [McConkey] and I’m going at practice. I went against Brock [Bowers] and like, um, what better can I get that from that.’”

Those weren’t the only ‘Dawgs asked for their thoughts on that first-team offense versus first-team defense scrimmages.

“It’s tough,” Sedrick Van Pran-Granger said after the national championship victory. “Because even throughout the years there’s one day the offense may completely beat the defense and there’s one day where the defense may do the same the following day. I think it was just a competitive thing where one side dominated the other and that sparked the other side to come back even harder to dominate the next day.”

“That’s when you know you have a great team.”

Tate Ratledge also spoke his mind in the euphoria of the victorious national championship Georgia locker room.

“I’ll say one thing: I’m glad I don’t have to block Jalen Carter every day,” Ratledge said. “It gets competitive. It gets heated. Jalen is the best player I’ve seen all year.”

The incomparable Nolan Smith will never ever forget those times.

“Man, those wars were some fun,” Smith said. “I will say that people will pay to see those. Those games. Because they were amazing.”

Were those the best runs and the best work the back-to-back national champion ‘Dawgs say all year?

“Yes, I will say that,” Smith said. “100 hundred percent. This year we played each other in fall camp very hard and it was just fun.”

It is very much a G-thang in Athens. That’s what Smart has well established by now in the seventh year of his program.

“We got out there and there and practice hard,” Nazir Stackhouse said. “Because that’s what coach [Tray] Scott and Kirby Smart and coach [Glenn] Schumann and say and expect with that ‘Iron sharpens iron’ stuff. That’s all they say so we are going out there sometimes and knocking each other’s heads off.”

“It is not for us to hate each other or to hurt each other. That’s not us. That’s to make each other better. So like if one of my teammates is not coming hard against me I’m like ‘C’mon man make me better so I can also make you better and we can both make each other better by just giving great effort’ when we do that in practice each day.

How did Georgia do this in back-to-back years? Mykel Williams had only been in Athens for less than a year, but he already knows why.

“Hard work,” Williams said. “A lot of ‘Bloody Tuesdays’ and the like. Like coach [Travion Scott] always says ‘The time will come when someone will ask what you did all summer’ and during the summer we grind at Georgia. We bust our butts to get here and stay here. We put in that big investment all summer.”

Which side got the better of the other when Georgia iron sharpened its own?

“We went at it every day,” Williams said. “It was neck and neck. Some days the offense won. Some days the defense won. It was good on good and best on best. We did that and brought the best out of each other.”

“We did that in practice and then we brought the best out of the season.”

When asked that same question, Smith’s answer was to be expected.

“The D won more of those,” Smith said. “You know that.”

When Smart said his ‘Dawgs were ‘Getting. After. It’ and he almost had to cancel practice on those occasions, he wasn’t kidding.

Sure, the ‘Dawgs recruit great players. But what they’ve built now in Athens makes those victorious Georgia locker rooms in the fall possible. That doesn’t come on Early Signing Day or National Signing Day.

It is what the ‘Dawgs do with those groceries once they arrive that has made Georgia what it is today.

And that’s a big reason why they were perfect in 2022.

Sedrick Van Pran-Granger was a team captain and a true team leader for the perfect 15-0 'Dawgs in 2022. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with 2023 commits CJ Allen, AJ Harris and Jamaal Jarrett.


(check on the recent reads on

NextTodd Monken to the NFL: What impact does that have on Georgia …
Leave a Comment