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.
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.