• Got a lot of respect for Sam Pittman and his staff and how they’ve created a new energy and culture at Arkansas. Appreciative of what he did when he was in our program. With an early kickoff on Saturday, I’m excited to see the turnout for a big game.
• On Arkansas’ deep ball: They run the ball well, opening up shots in the passing game. I also think KJ Jefferson does a great job throwing the deep ball. It’s probably the best ball he throws. He’s got some big wideouts that create matchup issues.
• On Tre Williams: Twitchy, plays hard and tough. He rushes so hard. Tremendous motor, effort, toughness and plays the run and pass well. He’s hard to block. They’ve got a lot of those guys.
• On Pittman’s turnaround: No brief way to describe it. It’s culture, creating the right atmosphere and getting the right players in the right spots. Feleipe Franks helped last year. A lot of our league is based on QB play and how you develop guys. Part of being a good head coach is having good coordinators, too.
• You have to defend the entire field when facing Kendal Briles. Jefferson can give you matchup issues. Arkansas just has a really good team.
• Relationship with Pittman, plus him on the recruiting trail: He cares about kids. You know what genuine caring is and people recognize when they’re real and not a salesman. He’s relational and does a tremendous job with that.
• On Georgia’s defense: I don’t know if we’re playing to our full potential. We’ll face better offenses than we have faced. We’ve got to play better. We’re going to play better people than we’ve played. The verdict is still out, and we’ll see if the defense answers the bell on Saturday against a good offense.
• Excited to get back and see my friends on the coaching staff. Personally it’ll be very honoring for me to go back to Georgia. Very excited to play. We know they have an outstanding team. Looking forward to College GameDay being there.
• On Georgia’s defense: They’re an outstanding football team and they’re able to play a lot of guys and develop them because they’ve been so dominant early in the game. It’s hard to get a first down on them. They’ve scored over 100 points in the last two games. They’ve got the best team in the country. If they’re not, they’re No. 2, like they’re rated. We know what kind of players and coaches they have.
• Bulldogs’ front and its improvement: They’ve always played extremely hard, but this year they’re playing with so much confidence, and they run to the ball. That’s how Georgia plays. They have outstanding talent, and they’re big and physical on defense. All 11 of them can really, really run. The most important thing is they play well together and play team defense. The stats don’t lie. They’re kicking a lot of butt right now.
• I don’t think I have any phrases, but the state of Arkansas grabs on to anything I say right now. We try to motivate guys in practice and build their confidence up in practice. A lot of kids didn’t win a lot of SEC games earlier in their career. We wanted to build them up and tell them we believe in them. We hired really good coaches to get that accomplished, too.
• UGA’s Brock Bowers at tight end: Any time you use a young freshman as much as Georgia has him, they have a lot of confidence in him. He’s earned the respect from coaches because they do use him so much. He’s a high-quality player, and Georgia knows how to get the ball to their good players. Says a lot about him, because he’s playing well.
• Chess match that this game is: Hopefully you know your opponents well because you went through fine-tooth comb of their tape. They have tape on us, too. Hopefully it’s the same each week. We know most of their personnel, but they’re really good and can run. I did text Dan Lanning, and he’s a great friend of mine, but at the same time, we all have jobs to do. I don’t want to disappoint the Georgia fans and not bring a good football team into their stadium. You do the best you possibly can each week, even though your heart has a lot of respect for that program and their players.
• On how to get traction offensively: I’ll know a little more about that about 3 hours after the game starts. We’ve got a good plan, but there is no weakness in their defense. We’ll tape up, strap up and do what we do best and see if it works. There’s not a guy over there who you’re saying, ‘You can pick on him.’ What you do is go back and do what we do best and see if it’ll work against probably the best defense in the country.