After defeating Auburn in the south’s oldest rivalry and winning the SEC East division title for the third consecutive season, the Georgia Bulldogs and head coach Kirby Smart have turned their attention to Texas A&M, who will come to Athens Saturday for the first time.
But before Smart told the reporters assembled to discuss the Aggies, Smart took care of a little thing that bothered his wife. Smart apologized for using the f-word Saturday during a press conference after Georgia beat Auburn. When he got to his wife, Smart said, she was not pleased.
“That’s not indicative of who I want to be or what I stand for, and you know you messed up when you get home to your wife and she’s more upset that — you won the game, but she’s more upset at something you said, and that’s not what I represent and that’s not the kind of behavior I want to have. So, I want to say that to Dawg fans out there and everybody. I’m going to try to handle that a lot better. And it was an emotional win, and I was very emotional in that, but gotta do a better job than that,” Smart said.
Georgia will entertain the Aggies in Sanford Stadium for the first time and Coach Jimbo Fisher. The Aggies come in with a 7-3 record and ranked No. 24 in the country. Their three losses were to third-ranked Clemson, 16th ranked Auburn and fifth-ranked Alabama. They have won their last four games.
“Jimbo Fisher is an unbelievable coach. This team will probably be one of the most talented teams we’ve played against,” Smart said. “I feel like the three losses are against Top 10 teams that are really, really good football teams. And they have an immense amount of talent. As far as their receiving corps will be one of the best we’ve played against. They have a total of eight or nine starters back on offense. Really, basically every position outside tight end and a running back is coming back for their team. And when you watch them on tape, it really jumps off the film at you. They’re really good in all three phases. So, this will be a big test, after an emotional win that we’ll have to prepare really well for.”
The Aggies are led on the field by quarterback Kelly Mond and Smart believes he is a serious threat.
“He is probably improved as much as a player from high school to now as any quarterback I’ve ever seen,” Smart said of Mond. “I liken it to when Dak (Prescott) first went to Mississippi State and Dan [Mullen] took him and did all these really good things with him, Jimbo has really — this kid has a tremendous arm talent. We know the athlete he is. We know he can run. But it’s not like you say this guy is a runner first,” Smart said. “He’s a really good passer, and the beauty of it he plays in a pro-style offense and throws to some really good weapons and checks things, moves things around, but is extremely athletic. And when I say athletic, I don’t mean, oh, he’s going to scramble for a first down. When he takes off running, he continues running. And there’s guys out there that just can’t catch him. He doesn’t always look to do that, but when he does, it’s extremely dangerous. Makes you play him a different kind of way, so we’ve got a tough charge in front of us.”
After Texas A&M leaves Athens, their final game of the regular season will be in Baton Rouge against top-ranked LSU. Then Georgia will get to face LSU in the SEC championship game in Atlanta and a win means a spot in the NCAA championship playoffs. Smart said blocking out the outside noise of the playoffs and championships was not where he was focused.
“You don’t control that,” the coach said. “These kids live and die by these things, man. I mean they got them with them. They’re going to see it. They’re going to hear it. What you try to emphasize is the facts. Here are the facts: If we block and tackle people, we’re pretty good. You know what I mean? If we block and tackle people, if we do simple better, we’re pretty good. If we don’t and we turn the ball over and we don’t play well on special teams and we give up big, explosive plays, we’re not very good. So, what’s going to allow me to do those things? None of the other stuff matters. None of it matters. “
The game Saturday kicks off at 3:30 pm on CBS.