David Greene tells an interesting story about his first season with Mark Richt.
Like Eason, Greene’s first year as the starter coincided with a new coach. There was a culture adjustment for the whole team, including Greene.
“They coached us and I think we practiced probably harder that first year than we ever did,” Greene said. “Probably a little bit harder than we should’ve. I think everybody was gassed by the end of the year, that first year. Our legs were toast. That first year was a complete grind.
“At least going into the second year you kind of knew what to expect, and our bodies were able to get prepared for it a little bit more. But Year 1 was a challenge. It wasn’t so bad in September and October, but it got to November and I was hitting the wall a little bit. Because I hadn’t done it before, and my body hadn’t been through it as well.”
Georgia started that season 5-1, highlighted by that memorable win in Knoxville. The Dawgs went 3-3 down the stretch, capped by a disappointing bowl loss to Boston College.
Does some of that effect explain last season? It’s not hard to see that it could, especially when you consider that Smart, like Richt, had never run a program before. Not to mention that Smart also had to deal with the fallout from a 2013 class that provided little depth by the time 2016 rolled around.
He’s got better numbers and more familiarity this season. Let’s hope that pays off much like it did for Greene and Richt in their second season together.