“I just see the potential in what Kirby wants to bring in and what he wants to build with the program.”

So, while you were sitting around unwrapping presents and eating your Christmas meal, this happened:

Kirby Smart’s first Christmas as the head coach at UGA won’t have an empty stocking. Peachtree Ridge 4-star linebacker Breon Dixon chose the day to make his commitment to UGA.

Dixon tweeted out the news to wrap up a quick commitment. He only received a UGA offer from the new staff less than two weeks ago. The 6-foot, 215-pounder didn’t have an offer from the previous staff at UGA, but Smart made sure that situation was quickly rectified.

“He said ‘If I offered you at Alabama why wouldn’t I offer you here? You know you have a scholarship to the University of Georgia’ in so many words,” Dixon said. “That was what I wanted to hear from Kirby.”

That can only mean one thing.  Kirby Smart is such an awesome recruiting machine that he can get kids to commit to Georgia while he’s 100% focused on being Nick Saban’s lackey.  Imagine what he’ll be able to do upon going full time in Athens!

Okay, enough with the facetious stuff.  Evidently Smart and his staff are able to spend some current time on recruiting, even as he chases a national title for Alabama.

Look, I’ll be the first to concede there are plenty of unanswered questions about Georgia’s new head coach. Who knows how the new staff will wind up looking, whether Smart is ready to make the jump from solid assistant to head man or, most importantly, proves to have a better grasp of details than what did his predecessor in?  All are big concerns at this point.

But what I don’t worry about with Smart is the effort he’ll put into recruiting.  As well as anyone, he knows it’s the lifeblood of any successful program.  More importantly, he’s got a far better framework in place than Richt did coming in to the program back in 2001.  If you’ll recall, Richt assembled a staff with zero ties to the state, other than the one holdover on the staff in Rodney Garner.  Somehow, that class managed a few success stories.

Smart’s got resources now that Richt could only dream of back then, starting with an enlarged support group for recruiting.  On top of that, he’s retained two good recruiters in Rocker and Sherrer and added the best recruiting o-line coach we’ve seen at Georgia in decades.  Not to mention that Smart’s ties to the state, along with the recruiting efforts he’s made here for years, are far stronger than what Richt brought to the table when he arrived.

Take it easy, Chicken Littles.  It’s not the bringing in of talent that should have you anxious in the short run.  It’s what the staff will do with the talent after it gets here that’s the question.

59 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

59 responses to ““I just see the potential in what Kirby wants to bring in and what he wants to build with the program.”

  1. JT (the other one)

    IMO Kirbo is also better qualified than Richt’s resume’ was walking into the Georgia job. Kirbo has coached at Valdosta St, LSU, Miami Dolphins, Georgia and Alabama. He also has deep ties to Georgia. I think those same boosters who continually questioned Richt are the ones he has ties to via his time as a Bulldog and the fact his dad coached for a very long time and is well respected. I will only be surprised if we aren’t in the running for the east at the end of the year.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      At the end of the year we will either be east champs or not. The number 2 team will not be in the running at that point.

      I figure you mean you hope we are in the running for the east championship going into the last regular season game, as we were in 2014. Since we hired Smart to win championships and not finish second I expect him to have us in the running going into the Thanksgiving weekend beginning next year.

      Before anyone jumps me for unreasonable expectations, we are paying him $3.75 million next year. He did not negotiate a “first year, rookie mistakes” discount for 2016, so neither the Smart and The J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics are lowering their expectations for 2016.

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      • adam

        “Before anyone jumps me for unreasonable expectations, we are paying him $3.75 million next year. He did not negotiate a “first year, rookie mistakes” discount for 2016, so neither the Smart and The J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics are lowering their expectations for 2016.”

        Ugh. Are you serious?

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        • Gaskilldawg

          I am serious. You think Smart takes the ” 8-4 is fine with me as long as the 4 are moral victories” attitude? You think the AD is setting low standards for him?

          I recognize that when we play the games things happen, both good and bad, injuries occur, refs make bad spots, etc. so it is not fair to judge how well he coaches until after the games are played. That said, I will throw your query back to you. Are you serious in suggesting that Smart and the AD do not have as their goal winning every damn game? If not, why are we paying him what we are?

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    • J-Dawg

      I looked at our schedule and it looks favorable. If we can beat Rocky Top I feel we can take the East. FL has no QB, is losing all their skill players to the NFL and suffered decommits wholesale. Mizzou is rebuilding, USC will not pose a threat in Boom’s first year, and we should be able to handle UK and Vandy. The game that scares me is UNC at the dome. A win there would really build momentum.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Agree, J-Dawg. That is why those folks who post, “I am fine with 8-4 so long as we don’t lose to teams we should not and our losses are close” are unrealistic. I think that a lot of fans, me included, will not put much concern into a loss to UNC in the opener, especially if we put a first time starter under center and he struggles. Mississippi will be tough in Oxford, and I will not view a loss there as a harbinger of anything. Otherwise, where are the two losses that folks would not characterize as losses to teams we should not lose to? UT is at home and losing to UT at its place was an inexcusable loss, so we should beat it at our place.

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        • Puffdawg

          I have not really looked into it yet, but doesn’t Ole Miss lose all the studs from that signing class they obviously paid for? Tunsil, Nkimdechie, Connor, Treadwell…

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    • His resume is pretty much the same. Years of coaching under the greatest of his generation. Coordinator of the side of the ball his school was famous for. Multiple conference and national championships on the staff. Turned down or refused to be considered for multiple head coaching jobs. Both known as ace recruiters as assistants. Coached multiple national award winners in their specialty. Except for the side of the ball, the resumes are pretty much exactly the same.

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  2. AusDawg85

    A hearty mug of spiked eggnog from the Senator!

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  3. Normaltown Mike

    Pfft.

    Saban told Kirby to offer this kid.

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  4. MLB2

    I have to admit, I’m really looking forward to watching the LOS play on both sides of the ball.

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    • Cousin Eddie

      That is why I believe Smart will ultimately be successful, line play. The SEC is still a LOS league and he has two of the best line coaches in the country.

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      • Argondawg

        +1
        Pittman and Rocker are both excellent. Probably the strongest on the lines for as far back as I can remember. It is going to take awhile for our O-line to be what he wants but when he gets it rolling….. And Rocker took a veteran group and made great strides with them. They weren’t as athletic as some lines but they had solid technique.

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    • For everyone who thinks just because Pittman is in Athens that we’re going to develop a road-grading type of offensive line overnight is somewhat delusional. I looked at the data a year ago … the state of Georgia does not produce a lot of blue chip offensive linemen. Most high school coaches in Georgia take their best big men and put them on the defensive line. Of the ones that the state has produced recently, many of them already had ties to leave the state (Mitch Hyatt and Vadal Alexander, in particular) or never intended to stay in Georgia (Edoga).

      To produce the type of offensive line we are all expecting, we are going to have to expand our recruiting footprint to a national model because the state just doesn’t produce the high-level talent in the offensive line that it does everywhere else.

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  5. Russ

    Great to hear that recruiting will continue at a high level. Though, isn’t this LB smaller than some of our others? I thought the common wisdom here was that Kirby didn’t like our supposedly midget LBs.

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  6. W Cobb Dawg

    IMHO CMR’s first recruiting class was probably his best (Pollack, Davis, Shockley, Blue, Clemons, Geathers, Gibson, etc.). But man, the roster Donnan left behind was loaded (Boss, Edwards, Greene, Sullivan, Sean Jones, Phillips, Musa, McMichael, Watson, Stinchcomb, Haynes, Grant, Henderson, Mallard, ‘Spoon, etc.).

    CKS has some talent to work with, but nothing close to what CMR enjoyed. I feel we’re still in a rebuilding mode, so a lot depends on this 2016 class. Six weeks to go and looking forward to closing strong.

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  7. HVL Dawg

    Comparisons between Richt 2001 and Smart 2015 are quaint. What about when Pop Warner took over in 1895?

    If there is one thing NOT to be worried about it’s Kirby’s recruiting ability.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      We were 5-1 under Robert Winston and 3-4 under Pop Warner. Those who were worried about a drop off from Winston to the rookie Warner were justified.

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    • I don’t think anyone is concerned about Kirby’s ability to get players or to put together a defense once he’s in Athens. Many of us are very concerned about how is going to handle the other responsibilities of the new job and especially how he handles the overall game management on the sideline. How well does he manage the clock and timeouts? Can he motivate the entire team to play hard for 60 minutes? How does he handle special teams? Can he consistently make the right in-game decisions (kick vs. go for it, deciding to change QBs)?

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      • You must not be seeing all the whining about recruiting I am, then.

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        • Senator, I don’t follow recruiting closely until later in January after the all-star games when the uncommitted blue chip players (4+ star types) start making their decisions. We may take a hit on the recruiting front this year because committed players are reevaluating their options, but long term, I don’t see recruiting as a problem for Kirby (both because of his ability and the bounty of talent the state produces).

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  8. Gaskilldawg

    I was relieved to read that. It is evidence that Smart is doing so work for us. If Alabama offered Dixon then I am sure he is a valuable pick-up.

    this is heresy, I know, but I hope Michigan State scores 30 first quarter points so that Saban fires Smart on the spot and Smart is on a plane to Athens by halftime. I want him finished with his Alabama duties as soon as possible.

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    • so 2 weeks is the difference between championship and not…OK…I don’t get all the people that think him finishing out the year at Alabama puts UGA behind the 8 ball, I mean what can he not do for UGA while at Tuscaloosa, he can still talk to recruits that call him, he can still hire staff that are interested, I don’t see the big deal for him to delay his arrival in Athens a couple of weeks

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      • Gaskilldawg

        He has to hire a staff. There are a lot of new head coaches this year looking to hire talented staff from the same talent pool. The talented assistants looking for new jobs do not want to wait until mid-January to secure new jobs. The new assistants then want time to make an impact on the uncommitted recruits, and will have just 3 weeks to do so.

        I know a college assistant coach who has had some discussions with Smart about a job. Smart told him he would get back with him later on filling the position (that position has not yet been filled.) The guy I know has an offer at another college. The job is not as attractive as the one open at UGA but it is a nice step up in his career and he is seriously considering taking the sure thing rather than wait for Alabama to lose. The worst thing in his mind is letting the other job get filled and not being hired at UGA.

        I don’t doubt there are other guys similarly thinking about taking sure things available rather than waiting.

        I agree Smart can telephone recruits, as he did with Dixon, but I do not believe he can interview assistants as well during his spare time.

        Quality assistants are more important than a recruit here or there and the assistant hires affect the team for multiple years.

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        • I agree with your point of guys not wanting to let a sure thing pass, but I have a feeling Smart has a pretty good idea who he is going to hire he just is waiting on the post season to come to an end

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          • Gaskilldawg

            I understand Smart wanting to finish the post season with Alabama. I really do. That said, I see no benefit to UGA from its head coach finishing later rather than sooner.

            We get no benefit from Alabama beating Michigan State, so why would I not want our new coach devoting all of his energy to UGA 11 days sooner rather than 11 days later?

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            • Otto

              By staying, It is an easier sell, to the current players and new recruits that he cares about his kids and will put in the extra hours to see them have their best shot at a title. Do you want a coach that takes the stance of taking the easy way out?

              Yes this could be spun all sorts of ways. I did not want a new HC without HC experience, and Kirby was not who I wanted. However he has not seemed to have a problem getting coaches hired and is seemingly getting B-M to move off their wallet.

              Would I like to know who will be coaching next year, and news of new commits flooding in? Sure, but Rome not built in a day. Kirby may prove to be the next Muschamp, Bielema, Saban and anywhere in between. So far, I am content with the news out of Athens, or T-town.

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              • Gaskilldawg

                Otto, I said in my first sentence that I understand why Smart is in Tuscaloosa. I am not second guessing that. What I hope is that Alabama ‘s season ends asap so we get his undivided attention asap. What is controversial or unreasonable about that?

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                • Otto

                  Nothing I may have responded to your post but I have read many posts over various blogs, and other forms of social media wanting him in Athens now and that stay on at Bama only hurts UGA. My post was more for those that had that view. Yes, Bama falling in the 1st game may help UGA, I can see that argument. If they do I hope the defense still looks great.

                  I believe a strong image of the SEC helps any SEC champ get in the playoff should there be a debate. So I will be pulling for Bama.. but… that is another debate.

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                • PTC DAWG

                  Go Sparty..and OU too

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                • Otto

                  Screw the Big10, Delany and their self righteous attitude.

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                • Unless the SEC champion ever has 2 losses, that team is getting into the playoff. Even then it depends on if other conferences have a 2-loss champion.

                  I don’t think Smart in T-town helps us. Sure, he’s getting things done at night, during lunch, etc. As a Georgia fan, I want him in Athens on January 1 (or Jacksonville on January 2) to take the reins of our program. That’s why I hope Junior blows it on December 31, and the Tide’s season ends in Jerry’s World.

                  For those who cheer for the SEC for conference loyalty, I’m done with “S-E-C! S-E-C!”. After the way Georgia has been consistently treated by the suits in Birmingham and by the talking heads on the conference’s network, I’m only “U-G-A! U-G-A!”

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        • W Cobb Dawg

          We still have 4 openings for assistants, as well as the recruiting coordinator position. Of course there’s going to be trepidation for each day that passes and we haven’t filled an opening. I think we all expect to hear news on that front in the upcoming week, rather than more recruit commitments.

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        • 92 grad

          As long as the incomplete pass coordinator and the 3rd and 19 coordinators are gone, I think things are looking up.

          Then there’s the fumbled kick return coordinator, them’s hard to find.

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  9. CannonDawg

    “It’s what the staff will do with the talent after it gets here that’s the question.”

    That is truly the critical question, is it not? Teaching, motivating, and building a winning team out of high-profile recruits will determine whether Kirby (or any other head coach) is the real deal. Georgia has had it successes, but with all its former players spread throughout NFL rosters, one is left to wonder how much of that potential might have been left on the red-and-black table. My sense is there’s been a gap between player potential and player performance that needs to be closed. Maybe The Process will address that.

    One grizzled old Marine gunnery sergeant to another: “They look great on the parade deck, but can they fight?”

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  10. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Some of y’all been drankin’ a little too much egg nog, imo. But, it’s fun to read, anyway. Really enjoyed the Winston/Pop Warner comment. 🙂

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  11. I hope Kirby has a plan to develop some CJ Moseley and Reggie Ragland type of linebackers. Guys who can fill gaps and tackle at the LOS and drop into coverage to punish guys over the middle.

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    • I agree. I would also like to see the bigger WRs that Bama always seems to have at least one of every year. I love Godwin’s speed but I’d love to get a Julio jones, Amari Cooper type player that can physically dominate.

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      • AJ Green was that type of player and deep threat. Conley had those type of games where he would just fight a guy for a ball (and another downfield threat). Malcolm didn’t have the size of those 2 guys, but the kid is a baller. Justin Scott-Wesley was becoming that type of play (215 pound WR with jets) before his injury on that damn cow pasture in Kneeland.

        Chigbu and Stanley could both be those type of receivers of the young guys on the roster. Godwin and McKenzie are the slot guys who have the ability to make a 3rd corner or a safety miserable with their speed and moves.

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