Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) greets Georgia defensive back Malaki Starks (24) before the start of the game against South Carolina. The University of Georgia football team leads the University of South Carolina football team 24-0 at halftime at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (Photo/Sidney Chansamone, @sid.chansa)

Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart, defensive back Tykee Smith and defensive lineman Nazir Stackhouse spoke to the media on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Here are the key topics from the afternoon.

Health concerns troubling Bulldogs

Adonai ‘AD’ Mitchell hasn’t seen a snap of in-game action since the first drive against Samford nearly a month ago. Jalen Carter has been nursing an injured ankle since the early weeks of the season. Kenny McIntosh suffered a quad injury against Kent State, though he’s been able to play through the pain.

The laundry list of medical issues on the Georgia football team is lengthy, and Smart enumerated more players on both the offense and defense who are currently dealing with injuries of some kind. Part of that is the nature of football - it’s a physical game, and injuries happen - but it still leaves Georgia with some absences to fill on the roster.

Smith is no stranger to injuries. He tore his ACL last October, and knows what it takes for a team to withstand health problems in the lineup. The solution is largely a matter of mindset, according to him.

“As always, one goes down, next man up,” Smith said. “But we’re always there for each other, and pushing each other to get better.”

Smart is also an advocate for that ‘next man up’ mentality, stating that the Bulldogs use it as a mantra in times like these. For Mitchell, that next man has been more of a rotation, as the Bulldogs have used several players to fill the absent wideout’s shoes. Smart mentioned that Mitchell’s progression was coming along nicely.

“It looks very promising from what I saw yesterday in terms of him running,” Smart said. “I don’t know how much the role will be; we’ll see, but we got a lot of guys banged up, so it’s gonna be done by committee in a lot of places.”

Injuries making opportunities

One of the players making an appearance in Mitchell’s stead is Arian Smith, a redshirt sophomore in the receivers room. Arian Smith has dealt with injuries throughout his college career, and just saw his first action of the year against Missouri.

Smart expressed confidence in Arian’s potential, noting that the wideout’s ability to play multiple snaps in a row was encouraging. Still, Smart emphasized that Arian has plenty of room to grow.

“If you could take all the time he's been out, I still think it's greater than the time he's been in since he's been here,” Smart said. “And he’s raw as a receiver, and he’s gotten so much better, and we’ve got to find ways to use his athletic ability.”

Stackhouse is one of the players expected to step up in light of the injuries on the defensive line. Stackhouse has started every game this year, and with Carter hobbled, he’ll face even more pressure in the coming weeks. According to him, though, injury concerns aren’t much of a factor for the defensive linemen.

“We never really think too much about who’s down,” Stackhouse said. “We’re always just thinking about who’s next up - who can help the program.”

Sports Editor

John is the sports editor at The Red & Black, where he previously covered UGA's hockey club and football program. He is a junior at the university, pursuing a degree in journalism and a certificate from the Carmical Sports Media Institute.

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