‘If you’re not coaching something, you’re letting it happen.’

It’s easy to give Jeff Schultz crap about some of the stuff he writes, but in my opinion, he really nails the expectations surrounding the Kirby Smart hire with this piece.

This, for example, is what we’re all hoping Smart brings with him.

Smart said Saban’s methods suggest, “I’m going to affect players more mentally than I am with X’s-and-O’s.”

The most important thing Saban taught him?

“How to compartmentalize,” Smart said. “You have all these boxes with all of these jobs you need to do them all really good within two hours of each other. You go from one meeting about a game plan to another meeting about recruiting to another meeting about academics. And in the middle of it all, maybe somebody gets arrested. But deal with each issue as it comes up. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the stuff you’re dealing with. He’s a master of that. He’s a master of psychology with the players. He’s changed a lot from the first time I met him at LSU.”

Details are what did Mark Richt in.  He never found a consistent way to manage everything.  Ultimately, that’s what kept a good coaching career at Georgia from being a great one.  And if Smart can’t do a better job in that department, well, he won’t get 15 years to figure it out.

It’s not all on Smart, either.  Which is still my biggest fear.

So why can’t everybody do it? Are Saban’s methods that complicated, or is he just smarter than everybody else?

“It’s really hard work, and it’s a grind,” Smart said. “It’s having the full support of the athletic department and the president and an unlimited budget to get what you need. He gets every competitive advantage that he can think of.”

Does that really sound like something we should expect to change at Georgia?  Color me skeptical about that.  I hope I’m wrong, but I’ll have to see the new leaf turned first before I’ll buy in.

Saban loves talking about the steps in his “process”: The vision, the procedure, the daily discipline to make it work, regardless of circumstances encountered along the way.

Most coaches have a similar philosophy. What they don’t have is Saban’s resume – or resources, power or job security. That’s why it’s so difficult to replicate.

If Kirby Smart manages to succeed despite a less than full commitment to the process and someone comes calling a few years from now who promises unconditional support, do you think he’ll show the same organizational loyalty that marked Richt’s career in Athens?  If so, why?



Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

35 responses to “‘If you’re not coaching something, you’re letting it happen.’

  1. Harvey

    You’re hurting my head, man. Hope springs eternal. Can’t I enjoy that without already fretting over losing someone we might want to get rid of?


  2. Derek

    Alabama turned over the keys to the castle to Saban after losing 5 straight to auburn. Desperate times called for desperate measures. The dynamics that existed in Tuscaloosa in 2006 are not likely to be replicated in very many places and won’t be in Athens. Whether or not it’s a good idea or not to have a hc with unchecked power and resources, the fact is that it’s not a common circumstance and not likely to be one in the future.


  3. 3rdandGrantham

    Call me insane, but I think Smart will get all the support he needs. Why? Because too many jobs and reputations are on the line with this recent coaching change, starting with ADGM.

    Let’s also not forget Morehead’s influence, as it’s quite evident that he’s far more committed to football than Adam’s ever was. Hence, the IPF finally got greenlighted after years of feet dragging or continuing to put bandaids on the situation, such as with the poor man’s IPF that now is being torn down just a few years after it was built.

    As for CMR, it’s been evident for years that he struggled with the crucial, finer details in running a program, with constant fires popping up one right after another. At his UM opening press conference, he could be seen wearing a UGA belt. That alone pretty much encapsulates everything in a nice little package, and it should be warning sign to UM folks of what is to come when it comes to overall program management and attention to detail.


  4. Not sure about Smart but I have ZERO confidence in the program’s(admin) ability to be cut throat and to dabble in the gray. It’s gonna take more than just a great coach/manager to match the elevated expectations that firing a good coach brings.


  5. Bright Idea

    Will Smart fight for this type of control? Richt didn’t and everybody around him was glad that he didn’t. That would have made him like Pruitt…annoying.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      The Senator’s post yesterday about Pruitt says all one really needs to know. He doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I was thinking CKS is going to need the same veracity, bet perhaps with more diplomacy.


  6. Theotherdoug

    Smart has a couple of things going for him:

    McGarity doesn’t want to get fired.
    The cupboards aren’t empty. They aren’t overflowing either, but he doesn’t have to restock it completely.
    The SEC East sucks. Auburn sucks. GT sucks. 10+ wins and a trip to ATL doesn’t seem out of reach.

    I think Kirby will struggle 3-4 years down the road when UF and UT are back and the road to Atlanta is a bitch.


  7. Russ

    Even with all of Saban’s resources, they still lose football games, so it’s possible for us to win the SEC and go to the playoffs. Richt almost did it in 2012. If Kirby is indeed getting the increased support from our administration, and he can channel some of Saban’s discipline and coaching to our talent, then we have a good chance of success. Both have yet to be seen, but I’m (always) optimistic.


  8. “Full support” + “Unlimited budget” + full autonomy <> The Georgia Way

    Barriers to full support:
    Jimmy Williamson and his band of Barney Fifes and the Athens-Clarke Co Police Department
    ADGM and his tendency to have people blab about what’s happening inside the athletic building
    The “good ole boys” within the donor base and the athletic department apparatus that want to keep their gravy trains

    Barriers to unlimited budget:
    The reserve fund … need I say more

    Barriers to full autonomy:
    See Jimmy Williamson above
    Post-Jan Kemp mentality
    One of the most draconian drug policies in the NCAA … and it isn’t going to change
    The Atlanta media – in particular, the author of the above column and his partner in crime

    If Kirby is Smart enough (sorry, I couldn’t resist) to be successful in spite of the Georgia Way, Alabama will come after him hard … We’ll really get a test of the Georgia Way at that point. I hope that happens for the good of the fan base and the student-athletes.


  9. rchris

    You know, when McGarrity had been here from Florida for a while, Richt tried to pick his brain about best practices in Gatorland. “What are they doing better than us?”, that sort of thing. McGarrity replied, “They’re outworking you.” Maybe he should’ve wrote it on the wall.


  10. FarmerDawg

    I truly believe that coach Smart is going to blowup the Georgia Way in a public way early in his tenure. If he wins it want matter who he pisses off, and if he doesn’t win enough we’ve already proven that will get you fired. I don’t see him being a lamb like coach Richt when he doesn’t get what he wants to run the Process.


    • Mayor

      I hope you are right. Nothing has really changed at B-M. New face as HC. New faces as assistants. Same old “Georgia Way” where decisions are made by others about the direction of the football program and those decisions are money primarily about money. We had a chance here to fix what is really wrong with Georgia football and we (the alums and fans) let McCheap and the rest of ’em snow us.


  11. FarmerDawg

    One more reason I don’t think coach Smart will be scared to stir the pot is because it seems to be working out okay for Agent Mushchamp.


  12. W Cobb Dawg

    That schultz article started by naming several assistants who’ve matriculated. It failed to say that saban develops many of his assistants from raw clay. For the most part young-ish guys with talent and drive. And the ‘no shit’ part of the article was that saban pays attention to details.

    Pruitt tried to do all that, and look where it got him. I have little doubt CKS will run into the same problems Pruitt did. The only question is whether CKS is going to confront BM or back off like CMR did.


    • Pruitt tried to do all that, and look where it got him. I have little doubt CKS will run into the same problems Pruitt did. The only question is whether CKS is going to confront BM or back off like CMR did.

      That isn’t how things went down.


  13. Rick

    “Details are what did Mark Richt in”?

    I don’t understand why we think we can figure out why Mark Richt wasn’t good enough to win 80% of his games, and was only good enough to win 75%. It’s just going to be overeager pattern seeking nonsense, and it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that stupid fanbases get bored with .750 coaches after 15 years, and in 2016 they are able to be loud enough to make things happen.


  14. Says it all with resources and control. Alabama is in a field all their own with that. Plus spend the same amount of money. Of course, if I were a head coach, I would want it the same way— Absolute control and unlimited resources. If it did not happen at UGA would I leave and go somewhere else if it were promised. YES.


  15. 69Dawg

    I personally think that Kirby is just using us as a HC training ground to wait for Saban to retire. If Kirby can get us to even the play-offs Alabama will make him an offer he can’t refuse and we sure as hell won’t match. One of Mark’s biggest mistakes was to never test the waters. Once Buttsmear found out he really meant what he said about never leaving, he lost any leverage he had. Kirby is not going to be that loyal to UGA bank it. Of course we can always fall back on Bobo.


    • Mayor

      I totally agree about CKS. If he is successful at Georgia Bama will hire him as successor to Saban when Saban retires in the next 2-3 years. If CKS fails, he drags the Georgia program down and gets fired. Either way, it is a no-win situation for Georgia. This is the bottom line reason why I think he was a bad hire. Other reasons, too. But this is the main one.