Georgia Football: Wednesday News and Hints

Although Smart is cautious, players like to play on the go

Kirby Smart will tell you that arguably the most difficult task in the SEC is to take to the streets and win.

That’s a lesson the high-ranking bulldogs have learned.

Though Georgia is 3-0 in actual street games this year, two of those contests forced the Bulldogs to dig deeper than they had all year.

Last week, Georgia finally clinched an easy 45-19 victory in Starkville. However, after MSU returned a punt 63 yards for a goal just before halftime to cut the lead to 17-12, restless Bulldog fans sat in their seats at Davis Wade Stadium.

As we know, Georgia would respond by scoring on his first two possessions of the third consecutive touchdown, dashed any hopes MSU might have had.

Of course, there was also the Missouri game when the Bulldogs trailed by 10 before coming back to win.

On another road trip Saturday in Lexington, Smart was asked to explain the keys to success elsewhere in the SEC.

“It takes great maturity, mental toughness, a good plan, an understanding of your surroundings and an understanding of what you encounter along the way,” Smart said. Playing in the SEC on the go doesn’t come naturally, you need experience to understand that there are some things you can and can’t do. That being said, the difference is that your players handle it well. That’s the most important thing, the mental attitude of the players and knowing what they’re getting into.”

Of course, there is also the competitive factor.

For both middle Sedrick van Pran and run back Kenny McIntosh, There’s nothing quite like going out and executing when most of the stadium is screaming at you.

“The best thing for me is the competitive factor,” said Van Pran. “All eyes are on you, everyone is loud, all that stuff. You bring out the best in everyone, so it’s cool to be able to handle all of that and still come out on top.”

McIntosh agreed.

“Seeing the other teams’ fans be silent after we’ve done what we’re doing is what excites me,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh provides update on AD Mitchell

Smart doesn’t have much to say about AD Mitchell, who continues to recover from a severe ankle sprain.

However, running back Kenny McIntosh dropped a tidbit when asked about his sophomore after Wednesday’s practice.

“He’s making good progress. His injury is progressing well. He’s running again, he’s getting back into the mix of training,” McIntosh said. “He’ll be fine. He will be fine.”

No, McIntosh has not made any prediction as to when this return might occur.

“He’s just trying to get well, that’s all. He doesn’t really rush it,” McIntosh said. “He just wants to make sure he’s AD again.”

Mitchell has missed most of the season since picking up an injury in Georgia’s Week 2 win over Samford. He came back to play Auburn briefly but has not been seen since.

As soon as he does, McIntosh said to watch out.

“Really, really explosive,” said McIntosh when asked what difference Mitchell will make. “I feel like the running game increases with the offensive line and all that, so once we break a few runs it’s going to be great if we let him go deep. When the DBs come and he runs past them, the offense only gets more explosive. The more guns we have, the better.”

Mims seems prepared for an increased workload

After snapping just four snaps in the state of Mississippi on Saturday, Amarius Mims’ Work appears to be picking up in Kentucky this weekend.

“Amarius is good. He practiced with us and worked with us,” Smart said. “It bothered him a bit last week but he’s been doing a lot of reps this week and doing a good job.”

Mims suffers from an MCL injury.

Smart considers the Burlsworth Award to be one of the more underrated trophies

Smart usually doesn’t have much to say about the post-season individual awards.

He made an exception on Wednesday when asked about the Burlsworth Award, which goes to the nation’s best player to start as a walk-on. Quarterback Stetson Bennett is one of the three finalists.

“It probably doesn’t get enough recognition. There is no greater story in any football program than a child earning a scholarship,” said Smart. “To get a scholarship and be one of the best is a hell of an honor.”

The award means a lot to Smart for another reason.

Smart and the late Brandon Burlsworth, a former Arkansas offensive lineman, were teammates in the Colts’ camp. Burlsworth died in a car accident in April 1999.

“Most of these guys had a chip on their shoulder and overcame a lot,” Smart said. “Most of them were told they weren’t good enough and they proved everyone wrong. I know Brandon was like that and was a great person in the short time I got to know him.”

Along with Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell and Troy University linebacker Carlton Martial, Bennett are the three finalists. Both Bennett and Martial were also finalists in 2021. Finalists will be honored and the winner of the 2022 Burlsworth Trophy will be announced on December 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

“I’m proud of him and what he represents,” Smart said. “It is a tremendous honor for him to be recognized as a finalist for this award.”

…Bennett was also named one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Award, which is given annually to the top quarterback to graduate in his class. He joins TCU senior Max Duggan, Tennessee senior Hendon Hooker, Oregon senior Bo Nix and Ohio State junior CJ Stroud as finalists for the award. The 2022 honoree will be presented with the Golden Arm Award Trophy at the awards banquet and celebration on December 7 in Baltimore, Maryland.

…In other award news, Bennett and sophomore tight end Brock Bowers were recognized as two of the 22 semifinalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year award, according to an announcement by the Walter Camp Football Foundation on Wednesday.

…Jalen Carter one of seven semifinalists for the Outland Trophy. Others include TCU security guard Steve Avila, Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr., Pitt DT Calijah Kancey, Michigan Olusegun Oluwatimi, Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz and Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski.