Vandy game can't arrive quickly enough for Smart, Bulldogs

You know it must be getting close to the season because Kirby Smart wasn’t much for straight answers Wednesday.

The No. 3-ranked Georgia Bulldogs wrapped up the camp portion of spring practice Wednesday and now will turn their attention to preparing for Vanderbilt in the opener, which they will play Aug. 31 in Nashville (7:30 p.m., SEC Network).

Perhaps it was that reality, or just the fact that Georgia’s fourth-year coach is tired of all the speculation about lineups and injuries, but Smart was a bit testy as he fielded reporters’ questions for 20 minutes following Wednesday’s practice.

Smart was particularly edgy when asked about the status of star running back D’Andre Swift, who was dressed for Wednesday’s practice in a black jersey, which signifies a non-contact status.

“That was just so y’all would focus on that and not see the other stuff I don’t want y’all to see,” Smart snapped. “It obviously worked. Y’all haven’t written what I didn’t want y’all to see. You got that. Good. Glad y’all got that.”

Earlier in the question-and-answer session, Smart went on a rant after being asked if he was satisfied with the team’s progress from the beginning of camp to the end.

“I’m never satisfied with where we are,” Smart said. “I get that question a lot and I never know how to answer it. I really don’t. Are we where we need to be? I don’t know that because I think we could have done better the practice before that and the practice before that. I want every practice to be good, so if they’re not good, I get frustrated with it. But I’m not disappointed with the way our team has practiced or where we are as a team. But we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Speaking of practice, Smart said he hasn’t been thrilled with those lately either.

“Tuesday was not the caliber of practice that we needed to have,” he said Wednesday. “I didn’t think it was one of our worst practices, which is typical, because they come off the scrimmage, they come off two days off, school, then they think it’s going to be easy. But it’s not. We weren’t very good Tuesday, but we had a better practice today.”

Smart has always been somewhat vague and guarded about injuries, and that was the case against Wednesday. Offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer was spotted Tuesday and Wednesday on crutches and wearing a walking boot. Meanwhile, freshman linebacker Nakobe Dean has been sidelined with an ankle injury and missed several practices in a row, including the brief portion reporters were able to watch Wednesday.

Without going into much detail, Smart suggested both injuries are minor.

“They’re both out there at practice halfway through,” he said. “They work with the trainers early on. They’ve both been dinged, but we expect a full recovery anytime soon.”

Finally, Smart allowed that he and the coaches, as well as the Georgia players, might be getting a little punchy and ready to play an actual opponent.

“At some point you have to go play somebody to get better,” Smart said, in what would prove to be another diatribe. “We need practice, we need to improve, but we need to play somebody else to be able to do that because you get to the point where you see the same guys, do the same thing. You only have a certain amount of defenses or so many offensive sets or plays, and it's like, you can't get bored with the basics so you want to go play somebody.

“To grow and get better, we've got to get some experience in some spots that we don't. We've got to go out there and experience playing somebody else. So I'm looking forward to that part. I'm sure they're the same way at Vandy.”