Nolan Smith defends Bennett: ‘He always puts his best foot forward every day’
JACKSONVILLE, FL — Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett had his fair share of struggles in the 34-7 win over Florida on Saturday.
Bennett completed 10-of-19 passes for 161 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against the Gators. This came on a day where Georgia’s offense only totaled 354 yards, despite scoring 34 points in a victory over one of the program’s biggest rivals.
The Bulldogs had several opportunities to put more points on the board, but penalties, turnovers and a missed field goal squandered those opportunities. However, Georgia’s defense was able to bail out the offense and it set up with good field position, especially in the final two minutes of the first half. The Bulldogs offense took advantage of Florida’s miscues and put up 14 points on the board before the intermission.
Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith defended Bennett, saying that he’s read some of the criticism of his quarterback, and politely disagreed with those various opinions.
“One thing about Stetson, he just works,” Smith said. “He doesn’t listen to nobody, he just works, he’s a blue-collar guy.”
Bennett got the start over junior JT Daniels, who has missed several weeks due to a couple of injuries. Regardless, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart mentioned earlier last week that Daniels has been throwing in drills and has been practicing. Ultimately, Smart never gave in and let Bennett finish out the game, despite the Bulldogs having a large lead.
Smart said that it was all about keeping the rhythm on offense, which Bennett has done a good job of doing.
“The reason was continuity, Stetson has done a good job with that,” Smart said. “The next biggest thing was that JT had not really been in practice as much as Stetson going back to last week. So, we went with the guy who has been practicing the most and been out there the most. JT felt good last week, and he took quite a few reps this week. but at the end of the day, we went with the guy that we think had the most continuity and thought was playing well offensively.”
Bennett acknowledged the offensive struggles in his post-game press conference.
“We really didn’t play that great of a game on offense,” he said. “I didn’t play my best game at all. They came out and got those turnovers and we capitalized on those turnovers. I mean that’s what we have to do. Then, Nakobe [Dean] getting that pick-six at the end was the icing on the cake.”
Smith pointed out that he has a lot of respect for Bennett.
“He’s my quarterback,” Smith said. “He always puts his best foot forward every day. Even though it may not look pretty to y’all, he gets the job done.”
Here’s the video from Smith’s post-game press conference: