ATHENS, Ga.— Georgia is dealing with the type of success it has not seen in years. The Bulldogs are currently 6-0 for the season and 3-0 in SEC play; Georgia hasn’t started a season 6-0 since 2005.
The Dwags are ranked fourth in the AP poll and fifth in by coaches.
“You address it with the kids,” Kirby Smart said when asked about how he’s handling the attention with his team. “We don’t talk about what we’re ranked. We didn’t talk about what we were ranked last week. There’s really no difference because none of it matters.”
One of the team mantras for the 2017 season is “Keep Chopping Wood.” The Georgia players are trying to embody that “stick to the grind” philosophy on a daily basis with their work on the practice field and gamedays.
Smart says that while his team has played well thus far, and it feels good to be undefeated after six games, that’s not what anyone will ultimately remember.
“All we talk about is a race,” Smart said. “The race is after the 50-meter mark and that’s where the race is. I don’t know one person that ever talked about (Justin) Gatlin being ahead of (Usain) Bolt at the 50-meter mark. Nobody cared. They only care about where you finish and they only care about what you do next. That’s our objective- to do what’s next.”
Georgia has not won the SEC East since 2012. It has not won the conference title since that 2005 season when Smart was an assistant coach for Mark Richt. The fast start has given them a considerable upper hand in the divisional race as every other team in the East has already suffered a loss.
Junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith says that the team is trying to look past the undefeated record and focus on returning to Atlanta.
“To keep that out of mind, you just focus on the goals that you set before the season and the different things that we want to accomplish whether its personal or team goals,” Smith said. “As long as we stay focused on those then we can keep our mind off rankings and things like that.”
Georgia now awaits a Missouri team that is 1-4 on the season and 0-3 in SEC play. It is still a program that played the Dawgs close last year in Columbia, with Georgia pulling out a 28-27 nail-biter.
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