No. 2 Georgia Staying Focused On The Present
After sending the Gators back to Gainesville from the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday with a major hangover, Georgia coach Kirby Smart is keeping the Bulldogs focused on South Carolina and today.
With all the hype swirling around the second-year head coach and the 2nd-ranked Georgia program, Smart isn’t concerned about the future. He has the Dawgs focused on one thing, and that is the present.
“The present affects the present. The past doesn’t affect the present,” said Smart following Georgia’s 42-7 beat down of Florida. The victory stopped a three-game skid to the Gators, which didn’t mean much to the Georgia staff or players.
“Anything that’s happened here before…… what does that have to do with this team? It has nothing to do with that team,” Smart said.
Georgia (8-0, 5-0 SEC) started off fast on Saturday and never gave Florida a chance to get in the game. The Dawgs scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and didn’t allow the Gators a first down until the second quarter. The powerful Georgia running attack ran through and around the Gators in the first half, as quarterback Jake Fromm threw only four passes by halftime.
“When you come out and start fast like that, it has a big effect, and most games are not that way. But when you come out like that, it gives everyone a little more energy and a little more confidence.” Smart said of his team.
Senior Sony Michel, who rushed for a game-high 137 yards and two touchdowns, experienced his first win against the Gators. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida native paced a Georgia rushing attack that accumulated 292 yards and four rushing touchdowns.
“It’s a wonderful win. We came back to get W’s,” Michel said of his decision to return to Georgia for his senior season, along with his roommate Nick Chubb, linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy and defensive backs Dominick Sanders and Aaron Davis.
Georgia holds a two-game lead in the SEC East. With conference home games against South Carolina and Kentucky, and a difficult road trip to No. 16 Auburn, the buzz around Athens is at a feverish pitch. How to block the noise and hype is always a difficult thing but Coach Smart has had a great deal of experience dealing with the problem at the highest of levels at Alabama.
“It’s a challenge every week. The challenge exists in playing in the SEC. All of the other stuff is a distraction,” Smart said. “The focus is South Carolina. That’s a challenge in and of itself. We focus on the challenge in front of us, not the one that exists around us.”
Having coaches focused on the next opponent is one thing…..how do you keep the blinders on impressionable youth. Does Smart have the team reading from the same script?
For one, senior linebacker and team leader Lorenzo Carter, who had a career-high nine tackles, a sack and a tackle for a loss on Saturday, said after the game, “We try to not look too far ahead. Once you start looking too far ahead, that’s when you slip up. That’s when you stop preparing as well as you should.”