While they haven’t gotten into the nitty-gritty of preparing for the Peach Bowl, both Ryan Day and Kirby Smart are very familiar with one another and their respective programs.
During a teleconference hosted by the Peach Bowl on Sunday afternoon, both of them said they’ve studied each other’s programs during the offseason because of the respect for they have for one another and how much success both programs have had in recent years.
You can find a quick sampling below of what both Day and Smart had to say during their first joint media availability (and watch the full video above) as they previewed the game that will take place between the top-seeded Georgia Bulldogs and the No. 4 seed Ohio State Buckeyes on Dec. 31 in Atlanta.
Peach Bowl CEO Gary Stokan also appeared on the teleconference and said the roof at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be closed for the game, which will kick off at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and will be televised on ESPN.
- Day said this will be his first time going to the Peach Bowl.
- Day said he has had conversations with players who want to enter the transfer portal but the culture of the team is such that most players want to continue to be Buckeyes. He said the Buckeyes are continuing to prioritize high school recruiting over recruiting transfers, and he thinks that’s best for maintaining a culture that players want to be a part of.
- Day said the Buckeyes are focused right now on playing Georgia, not on a potential national championship rematch with Michigan. “It’s going to take everything we have to go win this game.”
- “We always look at Georgia and how they do things ... We watch them from afar, and they have very, very good players, very good scheme.”
- On Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett: “I have a lot of respect for the way he plays.”
- Day said the Buckeyes are embracing the opportunity to play in Georgia’s backyard. “What an unbelievable opportunity for us ... You’d cut off your right arm for this opportunity.”
- Day expressed gratitude to Smart for how he handled Justin Fields’ transfer from Georgia to Ohio State in 2019. “I have so much respect for the way that Kirby handled that, because Justin had nothing but unbelievable things to say about Kirby and the staff on the way out.”
- Smart is familiar with the Peach Bowl having played it in twice and coached in it multiple times. He says the Peach Bowl does as good of a job as any bowl game of putting on a great event.
- “I have a lot of respect for Ryan Day. What a tremendous job he has done consistently year in and year out.”
- Smart said he has studied Ohio State in past offseasons because the Buckeyes have consistently been one of the best teams in the country. He said he has not yet studied this year’s team.
- Smart acknowledged that a lot of Ohio State’s players are players who Georgia also recruited. “It makes for a great talent matchup. I know NFL teams really enjoy watching these players go against each other.”
- Asked about Alabama’s 2014 College Football Playoff game against Ohio State, when he was an assistant coach at Alabama, Smart said that was a “long day” for the Crimson Tide. He particularly remembered how Ezekiel Elliott “shredded” Alabama’s defense in that game.
- On playing in their home state: “I certainly think it’s great to be in Atlanta.” He expects Ohio State’s fanbase will still have a significant presence at the game.