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.



Randy Smith: The Kindness Of John Ward

Wednesday was a bad day for me. I lost two dear friends and great mentors. On Wednesday morning I was informed of the passing of my first television news director at WDEF TV, Ray White. Ray was a super news anchor and an even better man. Ray and I teamed with John Gray to have one of the highest rated newscasts in Chattanooga history; a 42% share of the audience in November of 1978. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Area Swim League

CHATTANOOGA AREA SWIM LEAGUE BLUE DIVISION: 1. Ooltewah 5-0; 1. Stuart Heights 3-1; 3. Signal Mountain 3-2; 4. Dalton 1-4; 5. Calhoun 0-5. RED DIVISION: 1. Catoosa  4-0; 2. Country Club 4-1; 3. Fairyland 2-2; 4. Cleveland 1-3; 5. Big Ridge 0-5. WHITE DIVISION: 1. Red Bank 4-0; 2. Waterdogs 3-1; 3. Ridgeside 1-3; 4. Cumberland 0-4. MONDAY'S RESULTS Country ... (click for more)

Former City Education Commissioner John P. Franklin Dies

John Porter Franklin, long a leading figure in Chattanooga city government, has died.  He was the city's first, elected black official, post Jim Crow laws, in 1971. Mr. Franklin's father, G.W. Franklin, was a pioneer funeral home director and John Franklin continued in that line. He was first an official in Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home, then he started John P. Franklin ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck And Killed In Cleveland Wednesday Morning

A pedestrian was struck and killed on Paul Huff Parkway early Wednesday morning. The incident happened around 2:30 a.m. More information will follow. (click for more)

The Boss, Claude Ramsey

I try not to overuse the word great, but we lost a great man today, Claude Ramsey. I had the pleasure of serving under him as director of Commercial and Industrial Properties for 14 years while he was the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. He was probably the smartest person I have ever known. He was tough but patient, kind, caring and compassionate. He knew how to get ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: So, You’re Invisible?

Several weeks ago I was in the middle of My Morning Readings when, somehow, I came across a wonderful story written by Nichole Johnson. Her website says she is a speaker, a motivator, and an author whose gift is to “capture the inner-most feelings of women facing life's daily struggles, and it has enabled her to create a unique sense of community for people of all ages.” That’s ... (click for more)