If you were hoping Georgia would give Kentucky bulletin board material this week, well, dream on. Yesterday, Kirby Smart and a handful of players spoke with the media and couldn’t have been more complimentary of the Cats, to the point there were so many nice quotes I’m having to break this into multiple posts.
First up, the defense, specifically Josh Allen, whom Smart gushed over.
“He’s faster. He’s bigger. He can strike, play the run. He can drop, play and coverage. They move him around. They do a great job using him. He’s the total package. He’s not one-dimensional. He can do a lot of things. He’s very disruptive. You gotta know where he is at all times. He’s what you want when you design a three-four defense. He’s your prototype guy, and he has been disruptive to everyone in this conference, and everybody you talk to talk about how good a player he is.”
Allen leads the SEC and ranks second nationally in sacks (10.0) and leads the SEC and ranks third nationally in tackles for loss (14.5). He also ranks second nationally in forced fumbles (five). Georgia tight end Isaac Nauta knows containing Allen will be priority number one for the Bulldogs’ offensive line.
“I know he is up there in sacks in the country. He is a big and athletic guy who is going to be a challenge for us. We are going to have to hold up in pass protection against him.”
Smart knows good defense. Before taking over at Georgia, he was the defensive coordinator at Alabama for eight seasons. Kentucky’s defense impresses the heck out of him.
“They play complementary defense. They’re on the same page at all times. You don’t see busts. They understand where each guy is. They leverage the ball well. They tackle well. They’re extremely long in the secondary. They’ve got 6’2, 6’3 corners that are good tacklers. They have good safeties. They have big men up front, which is built for the kind of defense they play, and they’ve obviously got one of the best pass rushers in the country. So, they do a tremendous job of playing team defense. They’re very organized, disciplined. They know the game plan; they know what they’re going to take away and they do it.”
Josh Allen, Mike Edwards, Darius West, Derrick Baity, Jordan Jones, and Chris Westry are just a few of the seniors on Kentucky’s defense, which Smart said is a big component of their success.
“(Kentucky is a) very senior-laden team. They believe. They have a good coaching staff. They have a good group of young men that fight. I mean when you have a defense that plays like they do, they’re in every game.”