This ($$) is such a great quote:
“Sometimes we get punched in the mouth. But one thing about this team, we always throw a punch back,” center Sedrick Van Pran-Granger said. “That’s definitely something I want to say I’m confident and proud of the way this team has reacted. Definitely not last year in the sense of last year was just blowing people out. But I think there’s truly a beauty in finding different ways to win a game.”
He’s right, you know. It hasn’t always been pretty, but in the end, they’ve prevailed all the way to a 12-0 regular season. No, they haven’t dominated the way Georgia did in ’21, but if I’m honest, there hasn’t been a moment this season when I’ve felt they had a legitimate chance of losing a game. And that’s after an offseason that saw a ton of talent depart, yet Kirby Smart felt confident enough in his recruiting to stand pat and not take anyone out of the transfer portal, a decision that’s been borne out.
It’s a team that’s young on defense (younger after the Nolan Smith injury), short on deep threats in the receiving corps and fronted by a former walk-on quarterback who’s been disrespected most of the season. Yet here they are, in the same position as last year’s generational bunch was.
“You can say, ‘oh, they’ve gotten so good at this,’ and then next week it’s not there,” Smart said. “It’s a model of consistency and making sure you’re good in every area you can be good in. There’s no area that we can’t improve on. Let’s be honest, we’ve got a lot of areas we need to improve.”
And, make no mistake about it, they will need to improve, because the level of opposition is about to take a step up. It’s one thing to take Georgia Tech’s best shot; it’s another to run the SECCG/CFP gamut they’re about to face. They know it, too.
… Still, Bennett was told the narrative on his team is either they play down to some opponents or they’re a team that turns it on when they need to, and either way it could catch up to them. He didn’t disagree.
“When you look at our games it’s kind of warranted, somewhat,” Bennett said. “The games that it is warranted are probably talked about a little more than the ones that aren’t. But that is the goal, to not have that happen. And from here on out we can’t, because otherwise we’ll lose.”
The good thing — maybe the best thing — is that it won’t be their first rodeo. There’s a certain beauty in that, too.
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