Kirby Smart, Stetson Bennet, Nolan Smith and Sedrick Van Pran speak at preseason press conference.

ATLANTA, GA- The defending College Football National Champions made their appearance on day three of the 2022 SEC Media days.

With the bulldogs coming off of a huge national championship win against Nick Saban and the infamous Alabama Crimson Tide, the spotlight was on them Wednesday.

Being in the spotlightt means they are a target this season. So, a question is, how will this year’s Georgia football team remain focused on winning another championship this season? According to Georgia head coach, Kirby Smart,

“You don’t change. You don’t change who you are, you don’t change the way you go about things, you know. There’s no stone left unturned… We are going to continue to do the same things we do, but how do we refine the process? How do we do the process better this time than we did last time, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Coach Smart had many things to say about his starting quarterback, Stetson Bennett. One being that he believed the senior could still grow in his position this season, even after leading his team to a national championship.

“Well, he can be a better leader, he can make more plays with his feet, and uh I think when you put someone in the role as the quarterback and they’re the starter, they immediately get some credibility. He probably didn’t have that credibility this time last year. He had not been put in that role. He’s earned that role, he’s earned the right to start, he’s embraced it, he takes that responsibility head on… and the biggest thing he can do for us is make sure that he’s throwing more touchdowns than he is interceptions” said Smart.

In the 2021 season, Stetson Bennett threw seven total interceptions. However, he threw 29 touchdowns and rushed for one. Throughout the season, he went 185-287  (64.5 percent) in passing attempts with 2,862 total yards passing. These numbers played a large role in UGA winning the natty, but Instead of declaring for the NFL Draft last season, Bennett decided to return for a final season between the hedges. On Wednesday, he explained why he ultimately made this decision.

“I can look in the mirror and say that I wasn’t going to get drafted high last year. So what was the guarantee I was going to go and start in the NFL last year? probably pretty low… this is the best conference in the country, you know. If we take care of business, you know, then we take care of business here. um you’re competing against the best players, you have the best players on your team, the best coaches and this is the smartest league” said Bennett.

He added staying at Georgia was not a difficult decision to make, saying “it really wasn’t that hard of a decision. I love football, I love everything… most everything about it, um and I just love to compete and that was more of a guarantee to compete here”.

He also made it clear that he takes much pride in playing for the University of Georgia, saying “I think it’s the biggest honor in the world to be able to go out there with the ‘G’ on the side of my helmet and my name on the back and look at my brothers across from me and know that we’re playing for the University of Georgia and the state of Georgia and for bulldog fans around the country.”

Two more UGA players, outside linebacker Nolan Smith and offensive lineman Sedrick Van Pran were also in attendance. Nolan Smith said he had an “important” opening remark he wanted to make…

“My brief opening remarks is, go dogs!” said Smith.

He later explained how this UGA football team is keeping a “hungry” mentality coming off of a national championship and into a new season, saying “humility. I think that’s one of the big things we took last year moving stuff forward was connect with your brother and be humble, don’t have no egos. and that’s another thing, the past is your ego, we can’t control last year, we can’t do anything on last year, we can only look forward and be exactly where our feet are at now.”

The dogs lost multiple power players to the NFL Draft last season, which means it is now time to replace them. Well, not according to Georgia offensive lineman, Sedrick Van Pran who says “I think the key is not focusing to replace guys, but uphold the standard. Uphold what Georgia does and uphold what the guys behind you have done. I don’t think you have to be that player but I definitely think that there’s a certain standard at Georgia and you uphold yourself to it.”

Georgia fans, get ready because the dogs will begin their title defense in Atlanta, Georgia taking on the University of Oregon in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic on September 3rd.