Georgia Bulldogs football coach Kirby Smart spoke with the media on Monday ahead of Georgia’s first Southeastern Conference road game at the Auburn Tigers. Kirby Smart is hoping that the Dawgs can get healthier ahead of three straight SEC games before Georgia’s bye week.
Last week, Kirby Smart said that Georgia has a the most injuries he’s ever seen during his time with the Bulldogs.
The longest injury list we’ve ever had since being here.
Injuries means that the Bulldogs have to rely more on depth. Georgia has a lot of depth, but some positions, like running back, are thinner than others.
Georgia’s combination of health and depth was a key reason why the Bulldogs were able to win back-to-back national championships.
Let’s take a look at all of the injuries that Kirby Smart provided updates on. Smart also spoke about the challenge of facing an SEC team on the road.
Defensive end Mykel Williams
Preseason All-SEC defensive end Mykel Williams missed the Georgia-UAB game with an illness. Williams is feeling better and is expected to return for the Auburn game.
Safety Javon Bullard
Kirby Smart anticipates that Javon Bullard, who has an ankle injury, will return to practice this week. Smart is hoping that Bullard can get more done in practice.
We think he’s going to be able to do more, hoping to get him back. We’ll know more, if he gets more done today and tomorrow, if he’s able to practice any, we’ll obviously know more.
Bullard is expected to start out in a non-contact jersey. Bullard, another preseason All-SEC pick, is hoping to return for the Auburn game, but will need to show he is healthy enough to play in practice first.
Wide receiver Ladd McConkey
Smart says that McConkey was shut down for two weeks due to a back injury, but is returning to practice ahead of the Auburn game. McConkey will begin practicing in a non-contact jersey.
He’s gotta be able to practice, you know. And that’s a big part of it. He’s going to be able to come back to practice this week, and we’re going to be able to do some more things with him. How he does in those things will determine whether or not he’s able to play. We had kind of a two-week advised shutdown.
Georgia's first road game
Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart says that the Bulldogs practice with noise year-round. The Dawgs have to travel to several loud SEC environments every season.
They’re all loud as hell in our conference. And they do a great job.
Georgia’s first road test of the SEC season will be at Auburn. The Tigers have one of the loudest stadiums in the country.
Carson Beck's first road start
Carson Beck’s first four career games came at home. Beck will face a big challenge on the road at Auburn in Week 5. Kirby Smart notes that Beck is a good communicator and has been in Georgia’s system for a while. Beck faces a great defense every week in practice.
It’s different when it’s live. So you gotta find out how he responds to that, and I’m very confident in Carson’s ability to communicate, to understand things.
Smart praises Auburn's running backs
Running back Jarquez Hunter is Auburn’s leading rusher through four weeks with 143 total rushing yards. As a team, Auburn has 791 rushing yards and wants to establish the run before relying on the passing game. The Tigers have less passing yardage (693 passing yards) than rushing yards.
Yeah, the difference in the guys, I mean, they’ve got one of the hardest guys to tackle in the SEC, and he runs really hard; he’s physical. They’ve got fast backs. They have elusive backs, downhill backs.
On Georgia using crowd noise to prepare for opponents
Georgia players are used to practicing in an environment with crowd noise.
We use crowd noise year around. We use it in spring. It’s a great changeup. Coaches can’t coach the players. They don’t necessarily like it because people get a headache, but we’ve done it since the first day of practices camp. We did it for practices in the spring. We do it all the time.
Smart acknowledged that there’s a difference between real crowd noise and simulated noise.