ATHENS, Ga. – With the Georgia-Florida game now only a few days away, the Bulldogs conducted a two-hour practice Wednesday in full pads at the Club Sports Complex on Milledge Avenue.
Georgia’s Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Coaches weekly media teleconference Wednesday and said the Bulldogs are looking forward to Saturday’s game against No. 14 Florida in Jacksonville.
“It’s a unique experience for our players and theirs” said Smart. “It’s a great sell in recruiting, you tell them you get to play in a neutral site in a pro stadium. It’s always a great atmosphere. We’ve had great practices leading up to it thus far.”
During Smart’s UGA playing career in the mid 1990s, he was part of the Florida rivalry that went home-and-home while the Gator Bowl underwent renovations, and he experienced a win and a loss in Jacksonville.
“It was a weird deal for me during my time as we played them in Gainesville, Athens and Jacksonville,” said Smart. “So I recall that being unique as a player. I remember playing in the game was exciting as we tried to bring the rivalry back. I remember when we won one; it was a huge win for our team, Coach (Jim) Donnan and his staff. Also, I remember the downside. I was the kickoff return guy when they scored 50-something points, and you have a lot of returns when that happens, and I woke up sore.” (Smart had five returns for 106 yards in the 1995 UF game.)
Smart fielded a question about Gator coach Jim McElwain as the two served on the same staff at Alabama from 2008-11.
“He’s a good friend, and I have a lot of respect for him and the work he does,” said Smart. “During the game, we focus on what we each have to do. Players determine the outcome of the game, their execution. It’s important to him, and it’s important to me.”
“It’s been a fun week, there’s not a lot to do to get the guys excited,” McElwain said when asked on the teleconference about Florida’s preparation for the game in Jacksonville this week. “It’s an event. That’s what makes it fun.”