Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart directs players during football practice on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. The Bulldogs will play their first game of the 2019 season away at Vanderbilt on Saturday, Aug. 31. (Photo/Gabriella Audi, www.gabbyaudi10.wixsite.com/mysite-1)

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart met with the media on Wednesday after practice. He discussed team expectations, gearing up for the start of the season and provided injury updates.

Bad Tuesday practice, but high anticipation

Smart emphasized greatly that Tuesday’s practice was one of the worst he has seen out of this team. He added that this is typical in the time between the start of classes and younger players settling in.

“They come off scrimmage, they come off two days off and also they think it is going to be easy and it’s not,” Smart said. “The leaders stepped up, challenged them to have a better practice and I thought they had a better practice [Wednesday].”

The Bulldogs are looking forward to the competition against Vanderbilt and Smart said that at some point, you have to play another team in order to get better.

“You only have so many defenses or so many offensive sets or plays,” Smart said. “You can’t get bored with the basics so you want to go play somebody. I’m looking forward to that part for our players and I’m sure they’re the same way at Vandy.”

National championship expectations

It’s been nearly four decades since the Bulldogs were last crowned national champions, but Smart isn’t worried about that being the measuring stick of Georgia’s 2019 season. 

“Here’s what we’re focused on: How good can we be tomorrow? Can we be the best we can?” Smart said. “Do they have expectations at Georgia? Absolutely. They have expectations, and we have them for ourselves, but I’m not going to measure success and failure on one thing.” 

In Smart’s short tenure, Georgia has claimed an SEC title and made appearances in both the College Football Playoff National Championship and the Sugar Bowl. While it has undoubtedly been a successful run and the national championship expectations loom, Smart continuously hammered that he doesn’t see one object as a fair barometer of achievement for his program. 

“We want to do more,” Smart said. “That’s really what the mantra is… It’s never enough. Show me a person that’s satisfied with what they’ve done, and they are done – it’s called retired.” 

Injury updates

Smart offered updates on sophomore offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer and freshman linebacker Nakobe Dean, neither of whom were practicing during the media viewing period. 

Smart said they worked with the trainers at the beginning of practice and are both “dinged up.” However, he expects them to make a full recovery soon leading up to the season opener against Vanderbilt. 

D’Andre Swift was in a black, non-contact jersey while going through drills on Wednesday. Smart did not give an explanation on why the possible Heisman candidate donned the black jersey. 

“That was just so [the media] was focused on that and not see the other stuff,” Smart said. “It obviously worked.” 

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