ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart addressed the media following practice on Tuesday ahead of Saturday's contest with the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the big point of emphasis was limiting the team's penalties.
Against Tennessee, the Bulldogs committed 11 penalties for 107 yards as opposed to the Vols' six penalties for 51 yards.
Fortunately, Georgia was able to win the game, despite their lack of discipline which Smart said is a trait that is not usually exhibited by his program. He also said crowd noise played a factor in some of the penalties.
With a physical Gamecocks team on the horizon, Smart wants his players to avoid committing penalties while also continuing to play with speed and physicality.
"Penalties are an interesting stat because when you look at history of football teams that win the most, they're not the least penalized," Smart said. "A lot of times they're aggressive teams, but you don't want to be last either, and we made a big jump from middle of the pack to near the back with our penalties."
Senior defensive end Justin Young also commented on the penalty issue, and mentioned that it's an area the team constantly looks to improve in.
"We definitely come back on Mondays and coach [Smart] tells us the penalty report and emphasizes that we need to put a stop to it as much as possible because it's only going to hurt us in the long run getting later in the season," he said.
The players understand that South Carolina wants to play with tempo, which could cause confusion defensively.
"The only challenge is fast paced - they're really fast paced and up tempo, and they throw a lot of different looks at you and try to catch you off guard," said junior outside linebacker Walter Grant.
Grant also said the main goal for the team against a run-heavy Gamecocks team is to carry out coach Smart's game plan on both ends of the ball.
"You have a goal with everything that you want to do," Grant said. "So, I would say execution is the main goal. That's our only goal - execution at a high level every time."
Saturday's game at Sanford Stadium is set to kickoff at noon.
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