Does Georgia football need a change of perspective?

We all heard about Georgia’s buzz phrase for this past season.

Junior cornerback Aaron Davis met with the media after Wednesday’s practice and talked about the new mantra.

“We have this new motto: ‘Attack the Day,’ ” he said. “So just take each day for what it has and try to have your best practice every day.”

The new slogan has been put in as a reminder that the team just needs to improve on that day of work. It is meant to lead to incremental improvement throughout the offseason, season and, hopefully, into the postseason.

Under Mark Richt, Georgia used “Finish The Drill” in the hopes of the program reaching its first goal, which always was to win the SEC East. Richt constantly said when that if his team won the division and got to Atlanta, it likely had a great chance to play for a national championship.

Davis says Smart has not even brought up the idea of the championship game since he took over in January.

“Every team in college football wants to win a championship. But winning a championship has never been stressed,” Davis said. “That’s nothing he’s ever expressed to us.”

Davis said the coaches constantly remind the players to “ATD.”

“During workouts, during practice, all the coaches remind us, especially Coach Sinclair (strength coach Scott Sinclair),” Davis said. ‘He reminds us ‘attack the day.’ Get better today and just do all you can.”

Whether that was a successful approach for 2016 is a question I will leave for the subject of another post in the near future.  What I’m somewhat curious about is whether that’s the way Georgia needs to go about its business next season.

It’ll be the second year for the coaching staff.  If recruiting the class of 2017 plays out the way it appears to be headed, that, plus the attrition hit that most of the other schools in the SEC East are taking, would leave the Dawgs in the position of being arguably the most talented team in the division.  Add to that another potentially weak schedule and Georgia is likely to be pushed as the 2017 East favorite, regardless of how Kirby Smart wants to frame things.

Much is likely to be expected.

Expect Georgia to get the full-fledged Tennessee Vols treatment next summer, as the club that could make the leap from “uninteresting bowl team” to “playoff contender.” For Kirby Smart’s sake, let’s hope things work out better for the ‘Dawgs than they did for the Vols (who finished 9-4 overall).

Still, the hype will be justifiable for Georgia, a club that benefitted more than any other from a handful of players turning down NFL opportunities to return to college. Nick Chubb will be back for a fourth season after rushing for 1,130 yards this season and Jacob Eason is back after tossing 16 touchdowns as a true freshman. On defense, a number of key players, including linebacker Roquan Smith and defensive tackle Trenton Thompson return.

You can attack the day all you want, but if you coach your team to another year of missing the trip to Atlanta, the day isn’t all that’s likely to be attacked at season’s end.

I’m not mocking Smart’s day-to-day approach.  It’s a sensible tack to take for a team that’s settled into excellence mode and needs to stay on an even keel instead of racing ahead of itself.  But for a team that’s young and unproven on the one hand, that faces rising expectations on the other, is it wise to pretend to ignore those expectations?  (And let’s be honest, if the chatter gets loud enough, pretend is all they’ll be doing.)

Or is it better to adopt a mindset that embraces the expectations?  That’s the argument made here.  I don’t know the players as well as the coaching staff does, so I’m not sure it’s for me to say one way or the other.  But I don’t see how being labelled the 2017 version of Booch is a good look for Kirby.

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55 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

55 responses to “Does Georgia football need a change of perspective?

  1. Greg

    “There was no upset tonight … this is an expectation” – Dabo Swinney on Alabama game.

    It is a mindset in my opinion.

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    • Otto

      Agreed but this media hype can be dangerous with a public that buys in to the media without keeping up with the program.

      In my opinion the SEC East is within reach but UGA will not be up to Bama’s level. It took 2 attempts and turn over at Bama for Clemson to beat Bama, I don’t expect the world next year. I want 3 out of 4 against the Big 4 on the schedule and could be happy with 2 of 4 assuming GT is one of those 2 and the 2 losses are hard fought to teams that are really good. UGA assuming signing day goes well may have some OL depth but it takes time especially at OL to build that into a championship team, everyone is point to Chubb and Sony but what did they do with that OL last year?

      UT broke their streak against UF but the season is viewed as an absolute failure. While the season wasn’t the success they wanted or expected going into the season, it isn’t surprising given transfers and injuries. Booootch has brought the UT program a long ways from the dumpster fire it was.

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    • gastr1

      I agree, and it always bothered me that Mark Richt often refused to embrace the expectations as well. There was a lot of complaining about being ranked pre-season number 1 back in 2008.

      Like

  2. I have no idea what goals the team (coaches and players together) set for the season. No one cares about the day-to-day progress toward the goal. They want to know if you achieved your goals or not. That’s true whether you lead a Fortune 100 company, a sports team, or your own business. I heard a CEO once say, “Effort does not equal results, and we don’t reward effort by itself.”

    If winning championships or the number of wins isn’t discussed, it should be. Georgia isn’t Kentucky in football and should have a different set of goals (the opposite is true in basketball – Kentucky should shoot higher than Georgia). Otherwise, why keep score?

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    • dubyadee

      “If winning championships or the number of wins isn’t discussed, it should be.”

      I think you are going to be disappointed. This is almost the opposite of The Process (TM) which says that, in preparation, a player should concentrate exclusively on effort (physical and mental), and that it is the coaches’ job to direct that effort in a way that maximizes improvement in the players’ capacity and skills. On gameday, a player concentrates exclusively on execution, and it is the coaches job to decide (1) what game plan should be executed, and (2) which players can best execute the game plan.

      The Process (TM) considers a discussion of expectations to be a waste of time and focus. Numerical success is just a byproduct, not a goal.

      If successful, The Process (TM) makes for exciting teams, but the press conferences are either contentious (when writers try to get the coaches to discuss expectations) or boring (once the writers figure out no one will discuss expectations).

      Time will tell if Kirby can implement The Process (TM) successfully. Others have tried and failed, but there is little doubt that this is what he is trying to do, and that this is why you will not hear the coaches or players prospectively discussing championships or number of wins.

      If Nick Saban heard a CEO say, “Effort does not equal results, and we don’t reward effort by itself,” then he would think “that company either doesn’t know how to recruit the right employees, or those hard-working but unsuccessful employees are being wasted by poor management.”

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  3. Cpark58

    Championships and number of wins should be a headcoach’s concern alone because that’s how he’s judged. As far as the players are concerned, the staff needs to promote training, preparation and execution down to the smallest detail against a model of absolute perfection, not an opponent, because that’s all the players can really control.

    If the players are constantly doing their job against a standard of perfection regardless of the task or opponent, the wins and losses depend on the man making the money to put them in the correct positions with the right calls.

    Sounds easy enough from my office here in Savannah anyway…

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  4. NoAxeToGrind

    I suspect a significant improvement in performance on both sides of the ball and a significant increase in wins will render the question moot.

    Like

  5. DawgPhan

    Tough to say.
    You dont really have all the details here, but in general I like working towards a goal on a daily basis.

    so long term goal of SEC Championship and everyday we have goals that build up to that result.

    The problem is that you can’t just let 100 guys all get better in their own special way, the team need to get better every day. Every individual needs to have an understand of how their improvement works with their team mates improvement and how all of that makes the team better.

    But I suspect that this is just more OTJ training and smart will get it figured out eventually.

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    • DoubleDawg1318

      I think the goal for Kirby and this team will be similar to what it is at Alabama: The Standard. The mindset in Tuscaloosa is to play against the Standard rather than against a team. Therefore, even if you are in the MNC the task is always the same. Ultimately, if you play up to the Standard consistently then the rings will follow.

      Like

  6. Bright Idea

    Attack the Day is fine as long as it includes Saturdays.

    Like

  7. dubyadee

    This is Process 101. It has nothing at all to do with the coaches’ (or the fans’) expectations.

    Like

  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    College athletes are big on slogans and motivation, and the slogans need refreshing every now and then, so go for it.

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  9. The Truth

    Sorry, I couldn’t help but laugh when Kirby raised his head ever so dramatically and delivered the designated catchphrase during the now-required pregame hype video. How bout focus less on winning the hype video battle and go win some football games.

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  10. Macallanlover

    Attack the Day is a fine tactic to move the process along. Clearly getting better every day is similar to Sgt Carter’s brick-by-brick, it isn’t a bad slogan to keep young people focused on what is right in front of them, every single day. But the perspective is Atlanta, period. Attacking every day is the way you get to Atlanta because our goal is winning the SEC, and you much get to Atlanta to do that. Just make sure the end goal is mentioned enough to make sure they know what we all want, and make sure they hunger for that ring. Daily focus is a way to make sure we get there. You cannot win the SEC without winning the East, that is the primary objective every season. SEC title is all you can control, get there and great things might happen for you.

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    • AthensHomerDawg

      “Daily focus is a way to make sure we get there. ”
      I built 3 houses for my bride while the kids were growing up. At the top of the stairs hung a sign. Engraved on both sides so that you would read traveling up or down..

      “If you put the time in…you will get the results”

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  11. DawgFlan

    “Attack the day” is not too far from the Patriot’s “do your job” and I think it is fine for the players, as long as they embrace gameday and one of the days to attack. I am more interested to see how Kirby re-evaluates and grows into his role in terms of responsibility, delegation, flexibility, and management of the media and fan expectations.

    Since Saban is a Belichick disciple, and Smart is a Saban disciple, I think the following article excerpts applies (from http://www.patspulpit.com/2015/2/13/8033289/patriots-head-coach-bill-belichick-do-your-job-applies-to-everyone):

    If there’s one fatal flaw that spans across all offshoots of the Bill Belichick coaching tree, it’s that they’re overinvolved.
    While the Patriots head coach and general manager does have his finger on the pulse of the franchise, that doesn’t mean that he’s the heartbeat.

    Perhaps the most important reason for Belichick’s success has been his ability to delegate responsibilities after building the trust.

    Belichick:

    “Of course the game evolves a little bit from year to year, your team changes from year to year, but we kind of put together what we feel like gives us the best opportunity to work towards that end.”

    “I try to manage that and not screw it up, but those guys do a great job of pulling it together and we’ve been together for a long time and that continuity has really enabled me, given me confidence to give them more decision-making ability, more responsibility, and that’s probably benefited the overall organization quite a bit.”

    “I’m not caught up as much in some of the details or micromanaging, maybe, that I did earlier in my career,” Belichick said. “I have people that can probably do that a lot better than I can anyway, and I turn that over to them and they’ve done a great job with it.

    Here’s hoping Kirby has people he can trust, and that he refines his job description and delegates accordingly, because it sure appears there is a lot of room for improvement in gameday/clock management, game-plan development and execution, player deployment, and press relations. All would benefit from a HC with more confidence in which details he needs to own, and which can be trusted to others.

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  12. Uglydawg

    The players have a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do..so do the coaches. Some of the problems this year came from the brain trust on the sideline. That old thing…when you point a finger at someone you have three fingers pointing back at yourself..Sure Kirby knows this on an intellectual level, but does he really understand that he has to be almost perfect on game day? Every coach screws up (NS when AU ran back the short FG attempt…Pat Dye;s fourth and dumb, etc.,) but they need to be few and far between. Don’t mean to sound negative here..just realistic that we have a near rookie head coach, but one that is very, very motivated and is a hard worker.

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  13. When you’re doing it right The Onion writes stories like this about you: http://www.theonion.com/article/patriots-not-allowing-football-game-against-texans-55021

    All focus should be on the most immediate matter in front of you. The next rep, the next play, the next game. Worrying about January 2018 in March is a waste.

    Gauging success based upon a media created/fan adopted expectation isn’t helpful.

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  14. DawgintheDec

    This blog has taken a decidedly “get off my lawn” flavor of late. The cynicism and thinly veiled snark regarding every decision and statement Smart makes is distracting from what used to be very solid insight in my opinion.

    That said, we readers get what we pay for. I understand a certain level of scrutiny and disappointment in how the Smart era began, but I don’t think it deserves almost constant skepticism and even hostility.

    If he succeeds at the level he and everyone else expects in the next few years I hope to read some erudite posts regarding the taste of palate-cleansing crow.

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    • DawgFlan

      I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I don’t get where observing the uneven results of on-the-job training for a rookie head coach equates to a “get off my lawn” flavor. I want nothing but success for Smart and UGA, and it was the AD who set the expectations with the hire, not us:

      “It was critical to identify a person who would focus on a specific, defined process of developing championship football teams on and off the playing field,” said McGarity in a press release.

      “Someone who… understood the specific ingredients necessary to excel at the highest levels of college athletics — Kirby Smart fits that profile. I believe Kirby Smart is the perfect fit for the University of Georgia.”

      Why are is it a blogger’s or fan’s fault that we contemplate what needs to happen to make the above a reality?

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      • DawgintheDec

        High expectations and honest criticism when those expectations aren’t met are fair game. But constant sniping and a debate over the merits of the new team motto (for example) gives the impression that some would secretly enjoy another disappointing season as a justification of their cynicism. I hate to say it, but it smacks of resentment over the Richt firing. In my view it has become the overriding theme of the whole blog.

        Like

        • If you think I’m hoping for another year like the one we just endured, you obviously have missed the point of my mockery of the phrase “throwaway season”.

          Liked by 1 person

          • DawgintheDec

            Perhaps I did, Senator. Perhaps I did. By the way, my get-what-you-pay-for comment wasn’t snark. Just a statement observing that it’s your bat and ball and you get to name the game.

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    • My post wasn’t snarky.

      “That said, we readers get what we pay for”, on the other hand, is snarky.

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    • PTC DAWG

      I get this feeling too…

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    • AthensHomerDawg

      “I understand a certain level of scrutiny and disappointment in how the Smart era began, but I don’t think it deserves almost constant skepticism and even hostility.”

      Perhaps. The insistence of constantly running into the teeth of a hostile loaded DL…. behind an OL that clearly wasn’t designed for that style of fun was frustrating. Run,run,pass, punt got old in a hurry. ATD sounds cool but I was thinking ADD last season watching our OC call plays.
      Just sayin’

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    • Macallanlover

      I am not sure exactly what you expected, or will accept, but I see almost zero people who are against Kirby Smart succeeding. Nor have I seen more than a few random comments by anyone that were over the top negative about what Kirby is doing. If you see concerns expressed as “constant skepticism and even hostility”, you may be overly sensitive, or confusing what I have seen posted here with another forum.

      At least 95+% of what I see are Dawg fans who want to see the program succeed regardless of wears the HC title. The calls for improvement are genuinely meant and while Kirby has the keys to the car, don’t think hundreds of thousands are going to be blind to dents that appear on fenders and bumpers. 2016 was definitely a transition year and few expected anything more than being competitive and having a plan to get better. An appearance in the SECCG was a hope, but not a requirement, nor a strong expectation. I don’t hear any calls for his head, not anyone calling his efforts unacceptable. Some things looked better, some were just different and neutral, a few were concerns. Did you think there would be a blank check handed to him and zero accountability? This wasn’t a program that was in the toilet, or any where near that level. It would be negligent on the part of administrators and fans to not pay close attention. And everyone will not judge the same scores in all areas. Your comment judging posters here is far more cynical than the comments have yet been toward KS. I assume you have some grades below A, B, or C at this point yourself, no one should expect him to be perfect, and he hasn’t been. Nothing wrong with pointing those out, but the evaluation should be balanced.

      Like

  15. Spike

    Just beat the Gators.. Is that asking too much?

    Like

  16. TimberRidgeDawg

    This is straight from the Book of Saban… Attack the Day is “The Process”

    Alabama 2007
    Players began to understand ‘The Process’ as well, bit by bit. Saban never laid out a goal or expectation centered on a specific result. He laid out expectations for work and attitude.

    His new team was expected to work every day. There weren’t any big-picture discussions about where the program was headed; it was just one day of work after another.

    “We’re not going to talk about what we’re going to accomplish,” he said when he was named head coach. “We’re going to talk about how we’re going to do it.”

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    • The Truth

      This approach is all well and good, but doesn’t Saban’s statement certainly prompt the questions, “Do what, Coach?” “Accomplish what, Coach?”

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    • AthensHomerDawg

      I thought it came out of David Allen’s book… “Getting Things Done”.

      Like

  17. heyberto

    Wasn’t Mark Richt always talking about the goal being to win championships? Maybe a change in motivational program goals is in order…

    Like

  18. SouthGaDawg

    Speaking of slogans, I loved what Dan Quinn said to the Falcons in the locker room. He told them they has to “arrive violently.” This slogan works great for football players, not so much for postal workers…

    Like

  19. doofusdawg

    Kirby may be in his sophomore season but the projected starters on both sides of the ball are as filled with upperclassmen as in recent memory. One could actually argue that 2017 is Kirby’s year to get it done because 2018 will really be a young team once again… especially if several juniors leave early which is likely.

    Life is surely a process but if I were looking for a slogan in 2017 it would be something like “make it count”.

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  20. MGW

    People really hate buzz phrases when a coach doesn’t win a title, don’t they?

    Like

  21. South FL Dawg

    You can only control what you do, If you do that well enough the other stuff will take care of itself. I agree with Kirby.

    Like

  22. Mayor

    Kirby is the HC. Dawgs need to get behind him and the program. I thought I saw improvement as the season progressed, particularly in the bowl game. I’m optimistic. (Gimme that Kool-Aid, glug, glug, glug.)

    Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      See Macallanlover’s post above. Everyone wants him to go 300-0 over the next 20 years. That does not mean we cannot recognize things he may have not done well.
      When a teacher gives a student a C as a grade it does not mean the teacher is against the student.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. 92 grad

    The parallels etween athletic performance and music performance are staggering, I also contend that performance of any kind that is kinesthetic relies upon de-cluttering the mind. The key to unlocking my ability as a musician was found when I learned to focus on the right things which only comes from hard work. The most concise analogy I can come up with is “if I tell you to stand up you don’t command each of your leg and back muscles to do specific things, all you do is stand.” That mental level of operation needs to transfer to whatever task you have in front of you.

    Liked by 1 person