Bulldogs Preparation Unchanged As Georgia Prepares To Face Kentucky Saturday

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - by special report

After a loss, and a loss like the one Georgia had against Auburn on Saturday, you’d expect some changes to come during preparation for the next game.

Maybe it’d be a change in mood during practice, or a slight, maybe even complete, change to the game plan. But for Georgia, it’s all going to stay the same.

For senior defensive back Aaron Davis, the mood among the team is, or should be, just what it was before the loss to Auburn. “Guys should be focused regardless of whether we win or lose,” Davis said.

And focusing doesn’t come too hard for this Georgia team.

While each game up until Saturday had ended in a win, players and coaches have been making sure everyone is focused on the next game. Not the last win, and definitely not any game ahead on the schedule. It’s always been about what's just in front.

“We just worry about what needs to be done for this next weekend,” senior tight end Jeb Blazevich said. “I think that’s been what we do all year, so that didn’t really change, even though it was a heartbreaking loss.”

It has been the consistency with that message throughout the entire season that has led to a lot of the success Georgia has had. And the man behind that message is head coach Kirby Smart.

And it’s the same message now as it was last week.

“He has a plan and he sticks to it,” Blazevich said. “Regardless of a heartbreaking loss or a tremendous win, we’re going to do what the plan was.”

Smart said the players have responded to the loss to Auburn the way they should and the way he wants. He said they’re in “good spirits” and are ready to practice with “good attitudes.”

“Things aren’t swayed by emotions, positive or negative.” Blazevich said. “We’re going to do the plan we need to to win.”

Smart Not Pleased With Team's Tackling

There’s a lot for Smart to like about the way his defense has played to this point in the season. After all, even after giving up nearly 500 yards in a loss to Auburn, the Bulldog are still the No. 5 defense in the country in terms of yards given up per game.

Still, Smart said his team has yet to meet the standard he expects from a defense in one of the simplest aspects of the game — getting opposing players on the ground.

“I haven’t been happy with the tackling the entire time,” Smart said. “I really haven’t.”

Smart was quick to add that Georgia’s group of impressive running backs can sometimes make the defense look worse than it actually is in practice, but he was definitive in stating “there’s not been a day that I was really happy with our tackling.”

It’s a worry Smart has alluded to on a couple occasions throughout the season, but one that has gone unwarranted until Georgia’s most recent matchup against Auburn, when the Bulldogs were handed their first loss of the season.

When defensive lineman Tyler Clark looked back at the tape from the defeat, he said mistakes by the defense were what ended up costing Georgia the game.

Missed tackles were among the many issues he cited.

So where does the team go from here? Clark’s fellow defensive lineman David Marshall said it comes down to correcting technique and physicality in practice.

“We’ve got to improve in practice,” he said, adding that Georgia needs to “thud up” when preparing for games and carrying that mentality into Saturday.

Defensive back J.R. Reed said much of it comes down to staying focused as the season wears on. With 10 games in the books, Reed said the team needs to bring the same level of energy to its tackling as it did from day one.

“You can’t be lazy about it,” Reed said. “Sometimes you get lazy with tackling as the season has gone on, and it’s really a one-two thing, so you have to want to tackle.”

Smart echoed much of the same sentiments as his players, emphasizing that success in practice is the key to success on game day.

But for Smart, the problem won’t be solved until his players have bought in and started to hold each other accountable.

“It certainly helps when they call each other out, when one guy says 'Hey, you didn’t thud the guy. You need to thud him.’” Smart said. “So that’s usually when we do better.”

The Kentucky Wildcats face Georgia Saturday in Athens. Game time is 3:30 p.m.



Massengill, Balogun, Hunt Spark Lady Hawks' 56-34 Victory

The nationally ranked Hamilton Heights Lady Hawks defeated MHEA, 56-34, Saturday in the Memphis Against the World Grind Sessions as Elizabeth Balogun, Treasure Hunt and Jazmine Massengill combined for 43 points. Balogun finished with 20 points and eight rebounds as the Lady Hawkins improved to 8-1 on the season. Hunt had 12 points and eight rebounds while Massengill had 11 ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Friday Action, East-West Classic

Haslam Appoints Kyle Hedrick Circuit Court Judge

Governor Bill Haslam on Monday appointed Kyle E. Hedrick of Chattanooga as Circuit Court Judge for the 11th Judicial District.  He replaces Judge W. Neil Thomas III, who has retired. The 11th Judicial District serves Hamilton County.   Mr. Hedrick and attorney Glenna Ramer have practiced together since 1994 and formed the law firm Ramer & Hedrick in Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Neighbor Takes Photo Of Burglar; Brian Alex Stone Arrested

A neighbor who went over to check on a house break-in has led to the arrest of Brian Alex Stone Jr. Stone, 23, of 3210 Broad St., is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property. Police were notified on Dec. 1 that a burglary had just taken place on Trailwood Drive. The suspect was a black male with twists in his hair, who was driving a silver Dodge Caliber. ... (click for more)

All I Want For Christmas Are Digitized Newspapers For 2018

With recent news of the Public Library investing in their own StoryCorps-ish effort with the Chattanooga Memory Project, it got me thinking about digitizing local newspapers again.   It's been two and a half years since the Chattanooga Public Library committed to sending out a request for proposals to digitize the local newspapers they have on microfilm. Back in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Last You’d Suspect

Back when Bill Lenz launched Christ the Rock Community Church, the idea was to spread the gospel in Menasha, Wisc. but Bill and his brother Bob soon found they were dealing with people in trauma situations – drug and alcohol addiction, poverty, the homeless, and suicide prevention. As the church grew, they started an offshoot ministry called “Solid Rock” that deals with suicide ... (click for more)