By LARRY VAUGHT
Apparently Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who got his team to the national title game last year, is a big fan of Kentucky coach Mark Stoops.
Georgia, ranked seventh, plays at No. 11 Kentucky Saturday. The winner will represent the SEC East in the conference title game Dec. 1 in Atlanta.
“I got a lot of respect for Mark and the job he’s done, I think it’s really remarkable, and it shows the patience of an athletic department to stick with a guy who I think is one of the best coaches in all of college football,” Smart said.
“He’s now put his roster together. He’s got a senior class that’s really incredible across the SEC.”
Stoops’ defense certainly is senior-laden, especially in the secondary. However, Stoops has never beaten Georgia at UK and the Bulldogs have won the last eight games against UK. Georgia opened as a 10-point favorite in Saturday’s game. That’s a big spread considering UK’s defense is just allowing 13 points per game this year and leads the nation in that category.
“It’s a credit to what they’ve built, because when you build on the long-term and you have this many seniors in a group, any defense I’ve coached or any team that I’ve been involved in coaching that has this many seniors is usually pretty successful, because they’ve played in our conference,” Smart said.
“Everybody wants to talk, how many stars do they have, how many great recruits do they have. How many games have these guys played? Pretty successful when you play that many games.”