Kirby Smart, keeping it real

Georgia’s head coach addresses the perception that his calling players out publicly isn’t the best policy:

“I don’t know. I think I’d leave that for y’all to judge,” Smart said. “I mean, I don’t think as many kids look at the stuff as you think they do, but if they read that we’re challenging them physically, then we probably are challenging them physically to their face, so they already know that. They know it’s an honest opinion; it’s not a motivating tactic; it’s just honesty.

“I just think when you’re honest with players, they trust you more. I would rather just tell them exactly like I feel.”

In the end, that really is the proof in the pudding.  It’s not important whether the public airing of grievances sits well with the fan base; it’s whether the kids are turned off by it that matters.  There are quotes in the article from Sanders, Smith and Kublanow that indicate the message is being accepted in the spirit in which it’s given, but who’s to say that malcontents would step up and disagree on the record?

In short, I’d expect that this is simply a part of everything that goes on when there’s a coaching change and a new mentality surfaces in the program.  Some players will have no issue with it, while others will drift away after the season ends.

Just out of curiosity, for those who are a bit squeamish about letting the world in on this kind of stuff, what do you think of this as an effective rebuttal?

Kublanow wasn’t on the team in 2012 when then-senior safety Shawn William had his famous pre-Florida rant, which caused waves but lit a fire under the defense.

Then-head coach Mark Richt reacted to Williams’ rant by saying he preferred such things stay behind closed doors. And Richt would rarely publicly criticize his players.


Filed under Georgia Football

45 responses to “Kirby Smart, keeping it real

  1. “She’s making progress.”

    Bill Parcells on Terry Glenn

    Worst coach evah!

  2. DaddyRichATL

    Style difference really, Richt welcomed the comment but preferred it was SAID behind closed doors. Both coaches would rather have the discussion and that is the key.
    I don’t understand why some people think that acknowledging anything Richt did well automatically means one is against Smart …they are not mutually exclusive.

    • Jared S.

      Excellent point. There are things Richt did well, and just because CKS does them differently doesn’t mean he’s not also doing them well.

  3. GADawg

    and Reggie Wilkerson was unavailable for comment?🙂

  4. Argondawg

    These guys are not delicate snowflakes. They are competitors. If he calls them out then that is his style. It either motivates them in the direction he wants them to go or motivates them to find a new home. Tough love sucks some times but it teaches a lot of life lessons.

    • There’s absolutely no problem with calling individuals out on the team. The question is whether saying the same thing to the media is helpful or not. Even if my boss said the exact same thing to me in a team meeting, I wouldn’t be terribly motivated if that person said it on an investor call.

      Tough love teaches lessons, but if you want that lesson to stick, you do it in the right forum.

  5. Jared S.

    We just need to get better.

  6. Bright Idea

    We’re gonna have to let Kirby be Kirby. The proof will be in the pudding but not this season or even next. Yes, some guys, including coaches that he hired, will leave at season’s end but so what? Kirby will ultimately be changed by his record, not how nice he is. I don’t get all of this angst over his demeanor other than he’s the antithesis of Richt. A lot of it is coming from the AJC crew IMO.

    • Bright Idea

      Judged by his record.

    • PTC DAWG

      Agreed, we will know nothing after this year.

    • 69Dawg

      “We’re gonna have to let Kirby be Kirby.” Don’t you mean we’re going to have to let Kirby be Saban? After all that’s what this is all about. A career assistant coach trying to emulate his old boss. Let’s just stop the idea that Kirby knows any other way to get it done and hope like hell it works.

  7. Keese

    Is his brain connected to his mouth? I find it amusing how any coach could say it’s their “policy” especially a new head coach

    • Policy – a definite course of action adopted for the sake of expediency, facility, etc.

      How long do you have to have been a head coach before you can set the course of action for your team and assistants? Wasn’t he hired to set a new and different “policy?”

  8. Greg

    I think most do not want to be publicly embarrassed. I know that I would not, nor would I want my son to be….or to play for a person like that. You do that stuff behind closed doors. If it continues, I think you risk alienating the team.

  9. Hogbody Spradlin

    These days everything must be adjusted for the most thin skinned among us. Or so ‘they’ say.

  10. Russ

    Good on Kirby for addressing it.

  11. Spurrier and Saban didn’t have a problem being honest about players. It’s just a different approach. If you don’t want to be publicly criticized, then do your job the why you’re asked.

  12. Gravidy

    “…but who’s to say that malcontents would step up and disagree on the record?”

    I don’t know what malcontents would say on the record, but I do know they wouldn’t be approved to speak to reporters in the first place.

  13. It’s a hyper competitive environment… or at least that’s what Kirby wants it to be. Players that thrive under pressure and under scrutiny will win more games than those that need to be cuddled. The weak-minded spend most of their time complaining that life isn’t perfect while those that perform do so in spite of their circumstances. I see coaches as a lot like parents. Parents don’t need to be their kids’ best friends. They need to be their parents. The players can be friends with the players. The coaches need to give the instruction, encouragement, and discipline that the players need to be productive.

    The key part to me is that he shouldn’t sugarcoat his words to the players and then criticize them in the media. As long as he is offering the criticism first to the players in meetings or film review or on the field, then I don’t have a problem with his criticism in the press room. It is far less critical and less personal and probably much, much more helpful than the critics that offer their suggestions here or on twitter or the dawg vent or the ajc or facebook or even in the stands.

    • garageflowers

      Funny, I see Kirby calling players out as him partially deflecting responsibility from himself. Sure, his last statement is usually to toss in some form of “it’s on us coaches”, but ultimately all of this is on him. Seems to me that Kirby currently has a difficult time handling the pressure and scrutiny. Note: I am all for Kirby doing a great job and being at Georgia a long, long time.

      • Fair enough.

        Seems to me that Kirby currently has a difficult time handling the pressure and scrutiny.

        What in particular gives you this impression?

        • garageflowers

          From the way he handles the interviews. To me, it really looks bad with him airing out things that should be kept in the locker room. I can see no benefit from doing it. Maybe he is a little thin-skinned? This is all new to him, and I think he will grow to be a great coach and leader. He is too motivated not to be, IMHO.

          My “Funny” above wasn’t meant as a criticism of your comment. I agree with what you said, I just think it applies to Kirby a little also.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      Half the time it’s not about effort, though. Half the time is Kirby bitching that his players are sub-par athletes. And it’s consistent with his “battleship” comments and similar noises, and it adds up to a coach who has not yet fully learned how to lead, encourage, and take responsibility.
      He can just be a bit tone deaf. For instance, while all the fans were pissed at the trifling, uneven way Rico’s penalty was applied, all CKS had to say was Rico was “undisciplined”. Why not say that, but also note the kid is obviously invested in the success of his teammates and has a competitive fire, enthusiasm for the game, etc?

  14. Scorpio Jones, III

    “In short, I’d expect that this is simply a part of everything that goes on when there’s a coaching change and a new mentality surfaces in the program. Some players will have no issue with it, while others will drift away after the season ends.”

    Great comment, Boss… Changing coaches is complicated?

  15. W Cobb Dawg

    One could easily see this is a typical ajc hatchet piece without clicking the link. Your daily ajc piece to place a negative slant on everything UGA.

    But I do appreciate the reminder of how Shawn Williams and our D knocked the stuffing out of fu. Wouldn’t surprise me if fu WR patton still has bruises from Williams’s hit.

  16. South FL Dawg

    New coaches always have resistance but even so, there’s what you put out for the public and what really happens.

    The only reason this is even registering is because the media covering Georgia isn’t used to it. Paul Johnson on the other hand can call everybody stupid and they give him a free pass.

  17. MDDawg

    As someone else said above, as long as he’s not sugar-coating it with the players and then turning around and saying something different to the media, I’m fine with what Kirby has said about the players so far. None of it has sounded demeaning or personal, it’s just simple stuff like “Eason needs to do a better job managing the huddle” or “If Lorenzo gets that sack…” or “we need to do a better job blocking and tackling”. And what gets overlooked is that he usually follows it up with some kind of praise like “I’ve seen them do it right in practice.”

  18. lakedawg

    A, expecting a few players will be leaving at year end.

  19. 69Dawg

    I’m sorry but I’m old and Richt wasn’t the only coach that never called a player out in public. Dooley, Dodd, Bryant and all the greats said what the team did wrong and took full responsibility for it. Kirby makes it real personal too many times then finishes it off by saying the coaches need to do a better job. The players know they screwed up, how does it help to tell the press something anybody watching the game already knows. He is tone deaf or just DGAS. This thing will catch up with him on the recruiting trail like it did with SOS who couldn’t get a great QB at SCU to save his life.. Nick can get away with anything because he wins championships, Kirby has not won anything as a HC.

  20. Shane#1

    Bear Bryant’s standard line after a loss was “I didn’t coach well enough.” Then Monday’s practice was hell for the players. His assistants had already caught it in meetings. I have a cousin that played for Bear and was a GA while in law school. He told me how things went with Bear. He would give people hell, but not in the media.

  21. Turd Ferguson

    People just want to find anything possible to criticize him about. Like a bunch of kids critiquing everything their new stepdad does. “Well, that’s not how dad used to do it …”

    • Cosmic Dawg

      Kirby just wants to find anything possible to criticize players about. Like a new stepdad critiquing everything their new stepchildren do to show he’s boss. “Well, that’s not how the Bama players used to do it …”

    • AusDawg85

      I know, right?! Like his decision to pooch kick or start Lambert, or have a pool day, or…wait. You meant Kirby? You? Look up hypocrisy while you have some cheese with that whine.

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