No. 3 Georgia is out to its best start since the 2005 season. It hasn’t lost in seven games, with the margin of victory in each game coming out to 25 points.
The Bulldogs have plenty to self-congratulate each other about.
But apparently at practice, the fact Georgia is 7-0 hasn’t been a part of the daily vibe.
Running back Sony Michel noted the difference in approach to practice in comparison to the output the program has placed on the gridiron to this point. Michel is certainly hopeful this mindset will lead to Georgia’s first victory over Florida in four seasons.
“All our guys are prepared like we’re 0-0,” Michel said. “It’s crazy to say that it doesn’t even feel like we’re undefeated. The way we practice, the way we’re being coached, it seems like we’ve lost games. The way we’re being coached, the way we’re being pushed so hard. Guys have still go that focus of ‘I want to win’ mindset. instead of being more complacent.”
This isn’t to say that previous teams didn’t have the level of buy-in that this year’s Georgia squad apparently has. But one of the big points head coach Kirby Smart has tried to drive home since Georgia got into the month of October undefeated was to not buy into the outside hype.
That obviously can be difficult with the Bulldogs climbing to No. 3 in both the AP and coaches polls. It’s also difficult to avoid patting each other on the back after a big win. Left guard Kendall Baker said Smart and his coaching staff have tried to hammer home the importance of not feeling good too long after a victory.
“There is never any room to be comfortable,” Baker said. “I feel like Kirby keeps that going with the scout teams and even when we go good on good. There are no reps off, no plays off.”
Unbeaten to this point, there is a target on Georgia’s back at this stage of the season. Florida, which has won the past three games against Georgia, would love nothing more than to defeat one of its top rivals for the fourth consecutive season.
But with each win, the stakes are raised. Georgia is in a clear driver’s seat in the SEC East. The Bulldogs are in first place in the division with Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky all sitting behind them with two losses apiece.
With Georgia still to play all three of those teams, it will figure to get each team’s best shot.
“Every game becomes more important. The next game is more important,” Baker said. “If we keep winning, it’s more important. So we’ve had this mindset of keep chopping, keep going, don’t be complacent. If we keep that, I think we’ll be fine.”
And that has become the expectation for Georgia during the week of practice.
It isn’t about the previous games played to this point. It has become about what the team can accomplish through the week of practice leading up to the next opponent.
“Guys are trying to be consistent, trying to get better every day,” Michel said. “So I think that’s good. I think we’ve got a good atmosphere going into this game. We’ve got a good mindset and I think we’re getting ready to play.”