If you’ve paid attention to any of Kirby Smart’s recent press conferences then you know he’s been riding his defense harder than the proverbial rented mule.
During practice on Thursday, the mule kicked back.
"Today was a much better day defensively. I thought the defense came back with their necks bowed up and spurs ready. I think they were a little upset and they practiced a lot better today,” Smart said. “Hopefully, the offense will respond Saturday, but it’s the first life the defense has shown — probably the best practice we’ve had defensively — since we came out of shorts. In shorts, everybody ties, but since we’ve put the pads on, the defense has struggled a little bit.”
That apparently wasn’t the case on Thursday as the the Bulldogs wrapped up preparations for Saturday's second scrimmage at Sanford Stadium.
If Smart was looking for some enthusiasm, he got it.
“They made a lot more plays today. I thought the energy was really good out there for the defense, a lot of enthusiasm,” Smart said. “Not so much for the offense, but that’s kinda how this spring has gone. One side or the other has done a little bit better.”
Smart said it’s not rocket science as to how his defense should play.
"Our plan is to hit people, strike people, tackle people, practice good football. The plan is to go out there and have kids get better,” he said. “I’m not looking for one side or the other to win. I’m looking for both sides to compete and do really good. I like it when both sides compete.”
Smart feels his message has been received. With three practices to go before G-Day, the goal now is to finish the spring strong.
“We addressed it. As leader of the organization, we addressed it. We didn’t have a very good scrimmage,” Smart said. “We were very honest. They did some good things in the scrimmage. It wasn’t all bad. We showed the good, we showed the bad, and then we go into a defensive meeting and we explained what we did statistically, which wasn’t very good. And then Coach (Mel) Tucker talked to them about it and some of the players talked about it. I can’t say that it was a lot better Tuesday, but it was a lot better today.’’