“I’ve talked to people. It’s the only way to grow.”

This Kirby Smart Q&A with Jeff Schultz is surprisingly revealing, particularly with regard to Smart enunciating his vision for making the program elite.  I know we keep saying it, but the dude is laser-focused on Job One.

Q: What will it take to get Georgia to an elite level?

A: No. 1, recruiting. We don’t have four solid classes here. The first class lacked offensive linemen. The junior class has absolutely no DBs because there was a mass exodus because a lot of them didn’t think they were being treated well. There’s a hole in each class. Beyond that, there’s some culture things, some toughness, having the right belief system and structure.

And in much the same way as David Greene described his first year with Mark Richt, Smart’s biggest regret about how he handled last season was perhaps pushing his players too hard physically during the season.  The good news is two-fold:  one, he’s learned from the experience and two, his talent base has broadened.

Our roster probably had 50 guys who really played. There’ll probably be 70 guys this year. The cumulative burden of playing is heavier when it’s 50 than when it’s 70. So you have to decide, ‘Are you going to back off or are you going to try to push them through?’ I think it will pay off more this year that we pushed them last year. But the regret looking back is: Were we tired? Did we not finish against Georgia Tech because of that?’ Those are all things that are introspective for me.

Maybe it’s just more happy talk, but, yeah, it’s making my optimism level perk up a bit.

44 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

44 responses to ““I’ve talked to people. It’s the only way to grow.”

  1. Got Cowdog

    Damn. Now I have to shower again.

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  2. Paloaltodawg

    “Being uncomfortable is the only way to grow.” That’s the kind of observation that keeps me a fan. Especially as he is applying it to himself.

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  3. Greg

    “The Jimmys or the Joes”??…Most important imo:

    1) Coahing

    2) Talent

    They certainly had more talent than an 8 win team last year. Hope we’ve grown.

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    • Got Cowdog

      Have some Kool-Aid with us, Greg. We won’t tell on you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Cpark58

      I respectfully disagree at the college level. Jimmy Johnson, Bobby Bowden, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban are not better coaches than Steve Spurrier, Mark Richt, or Chris Petersen but yet they built dynasties with multiple championships because their teams’ 3-deep depth chart was better than 99% of teams they played.

      There is very little that is “new” to the game of football, you block the guy trying to tackle your ball carrier, you tackle the guy with the ball, you keep the ball away from the other team. If you can build a system where you routinely get better players to do those things more than the other teams’ players, you force the other team to a play perfect game (Ole miss vs Alabama) or produce a very special performance (See any 2013 auburn game).

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      • UGA85

        I guess my response is why then did Clemson beat Saban and Meyer and Fisher last year? Coaching, especially quarterback coaching, can level the playing field, IMO. Many times, the team with the better (or better coached) quarterback defeats the team with better overall talent. Recruiting, by the way, is just another part of coaching. Better coaches recruit better and also attract a better coaching staff. To me, it’s part of selling your program, which is a huge part of the job.

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        • Biggus Rickus

          The same reason Auburn won a national title under Chizik. I don’t think Dabo’s fall will be a as precipitous as Chizik’s – at least he still has his assistants – but they will not be nearly as good without Watson going forward. Having a guy with that kind of ability under center (or in the shotgun as the case may be) makes all the difference in the world.

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          • Clemson’s defense is going to be salty this year. Don’t see that as a Chizik situation at all.

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          • UGA85

            Why would you compare Dabo to Chizik? Dabo has been to the last two championship games, has won multiple conference championships, consistently competes and often beats elite teams, etc. over time. And before Watson, whom he recruited, coached, and developed, his program was already on the rise. Watson didn’t somehow fall into Dabo’s lucky lap, then develop on his own into a premiere college quarterback. Give the man credit.

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            • Biggus Rickus

              I think he’s a good coach. I don’t think he will ever get back to the college football playoff, though.

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              • UGA85

                Well, if you look at the quarterback talent he has on campus and the talent he has coming in next year, along with maybe the best coaching staff in football, I like his chances.

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                • Biggus Rickus

                  He may prove me wrong. Considering I thought his promotion at the time was an idiotic move, he already has.

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                • .DASH

                  He has a more highly-recruited quarterback than Watson coming in the ’18 class. If QB success is, as you say, the key to reaching the championship game, then Clemson is in as favorable a spot than literally anyone else.

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                • Biggus Rickus

                  Recruiting rankings don’t tell you how good a guy is actually going to be once he hits campus. Watson was a transcendent player. Not every good QB is.

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        • Cory

          Sure, Clemson beat OSU and Bama last year. But Gene Chizik went undefeated in route to a National Championship but I wouldn’t say he built a dynasty.

          My response is to Clemson winning last year is they played a perfect game and dismantled Ohio State and then a dynamic Junior QB put on a special performance and beat a stacked Alabama in the closing seconds. I didn’t say Saban and Meyer were unbeatable but by having a stable of great players, they force you to do something special.

          Average X’s and O’s coaches with 4+ straight top 3 recruiting classes that emphasize fundamentals are really hard to beat.

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        • It’s easy to point to QB coaching when the pupil is DeShaun Watson…..

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          • UGA85

            Yes it is. But the coach has to sell the program, recruit the player, and develop him into a champion. Do you think, for example, that Watson is more talented than Stafford? Murray? Eason? I don’t think so. But Watson won it all and is like kryptonite to Saban. And look at the other quarterbacks that Dabo drew to Clemson before and after Watson. Sometimes you need to just give credit where it’s due, even if you don’t personally like the person or program.

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            • .DASH

              Not that I don’t disagree with your point, but I would say Watson’s absolutely more talented than Murray and probably Eason, though it’s a little too early to tell with the latter.

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      • Greg

        Dawgs…2012: ’15 – 40 and 13 …or .755% / 2016: 8 and 5…or .615% (basically same roster – composite ranking, #6 nationally last 5 years)

        Way too many other examples, that is why you see good coaches get paid the big bucks. Some can recruit, some can coach / develop and very few can do both. Both are important, but good coaching gets the edge imo. Hopefully, Kirby develops into one…..

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        • UGA85

          It’s really difficult to judge a coach based on one year’s experience. CKS and CMR were assistant coaches and both had similar first year records. I’m glad we didn’t run CMR off after one year, and I’m glad we will also give CKS more than one season. The developing you mention doesn’t happen overnight.

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          • Greg

            Agree, would be hard to get a good one to replace them if you are running them off that soon. CMR proved that he is a good one, still waiting on Smart to prove he is a better one….but getting back to coaching & talent. Given the talent is equal on two teams….usually the team with the better staff wins. What was it (recent article)…we are #4 or 5 in the country with blue chip players (4 and 5 star)??…When you are that high, you better have the staff.

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            • UGA85

              I think you are probably right. Over time, UGA underperforms, in general, relative to our talent level. Spurrier was right when he pointed this out. Is this part of the Georgia Way? Get talent but don’t win championships? I’m not sure, but I am ready for us to be labeled as overachievers. If that ever happens, watch out.

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              • Biggus Rickus

                Spurrier made that crack while he was outrecruiting Georgia by and large. Outside of a couple of early classes, Goff weasn’t exactly stockpiling talent. Donnan was another story. He really did have championship level talent in 2000. He was mostly undone by Quincy Carter.

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                • UGA85

                  Again, IMO, UGA has had talent over the years, but has underperformed/underachieved as a program. The reasons are probably complex and beyond me, but our national reputation as a bridesmaid is well-deserved, I feel.

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          • And Kirby won his first bowl game as the leader of the pack, Richt did not.
            But if CKS can emulate Richt in his second year, I’m good with that!

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            • Winning is better than losing, but third tier bowl wins do less than nothing for me. Bad city, usually shitty weather, kids may or may not even want to be there. Really doesn’t mean much.

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        • Irwin R. Fletcher

          (basically same roster – composite ranking, #6 nationally last 5 years)

          Basically the same roster…except your number 1 WR…who was the only guy left over 6′ the year prior because of attrition, mind you, your top 4 leading tacklers (who also were your best pass rushers), your place kicker, your punter, and both of your starting tackles. Because there was no upperclassmen ready to step in, you replaced your 1 WR with a combination of a JUCO and True Freshman, you replaced your kickers with freshmen, you replaced your tackles with a D2 transfer and a guard. The only one of those spots that had depth ready to contribute was LB but no one would confuse the 2016 versions of Bellamy or Carter with Leonard Floyd.

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    • Irwin R. Fletcher

      “The Jimmys AND the Joes”…

      FIFY. They are 1A and 1B. Debating over which is more important is useless. You can win games with one or the other but you can only win championships with both.

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  4. Jared S.

    I’m really encouraged by some signs like this that appear to indicate that Kirby is loosening up some. Which I think is a good thing.

    I appreciate the point about possibly playing 70 players this year versus last.

    Man I love koolaid.

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  5. JG Shellnutt

    I appreciate his candor. He is being pretty honest in discussing his self-assessment. These are good signs.

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  6. 69Dawg

    I guess if you point out some mistakes you made you might be growing as a coach but that is what is so frustrating with the Georgia Way of hiring OTJ candidates for it’s head coaches. I know all coaches continue to learn over their professional life but the always a year away thing is frustrating for the older fans that don’t have that many more seasons.

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  7. HVL Dawg

    ” I’m not concerned that everybody’s looking at me.”

    I can tell by the monochrome outfit- square jacket, striped shirt (spread collar on that thick neck?), patterned tie and awkwardly executed pocket square.

    He needs to recruit a better stylist at Belk.

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  8. Macallanlover

    No one wants KS to succeed more than me, and it looks like he will have that 3-4 years of top talent to give himself the opportunity to achieve his (and our) goal for UGA. So we will see. I do think we move forward beginning this season.

    On a related subject, because he could have been ours, don’t bet against Texas recovering soon under Herman. I listened to an interview with Herman Tuesday on Sirius XM while driving. Talk about a guy that handles himself well, and he has only been a head coach for 2 years. I expect them back among the national contenders 2018-2019. You can catch that On Demand if interested, man is very polished.

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    • Biggus Rickus

      Assuming he doesn’t cut recruiting corners, or does it poorly enough to get caught, I see no reason Herman couldn’t be in the playoff within a year or two. The Big 12? isn’t all that good, and he should have no difficulty getting talent.

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      • Dog in Fla

        That’s what Charlie Strong thought too. Then he learned that The Texas Way is even better than The Georgia Way

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        • JCDAWG83

          Texas may be the only real rival Georgia has for doing less with more natural advantages than any other program in the country.

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        • Macallanlover

          Strong had to clean up discipline and culture issue left by Mr. February which set them back. Think that caused some problems with the wine and cheese crowd who had ignored those issues as they slid to mediocrity. Strong would have been OK had he been given the time, imo. Herman comes in after the house cleaning and has talent along with a proven staff and excellent, established contacts throughout Texas.

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  9. AusDawg85

    I question Kirby’s judgement for letting Schultz have that interview.

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  10. Senator, what’s the David Greene/Richt reference? Did I miss a post?

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