Play to play

While I give Kirby credit for being on the side of the angels when it comes to graduate transfers, let’s not pretend he’s entirely selfless.  He’s a head coach, after all.  He’s paid big bucks to win, which in the SEC means fielding the best roster he can assemble.  So when a somewhat obscure walk-on, third-string quarterback who’s never taken a live game snap announces his departure from the program, leaving a gaping hole in scout team preparation for this season, you can’t blame Kirby for doing a Saban-esque reflection on what that says about human nature.

Smart, attending this year’s SEC spring meetings in Florida, said much of the movement among college quarterbacks stems from what he sees as a learned impatience at the high school level. Smart said he has observed quarterbacks’ families searching for high schools for their sons to play for as freshmen and sophomores. When that sort of immediate playing time doesn’t materialize in college, those players are leaving earlier than maybe they would a decade or longer ago.

“They’re positioning from eighth grade to ninth grade, ‘Where can I be the quarterback in ninth grade at this high school program?’ ” Smart said. “And when they go shopping and searching, they find a place they can go. A lot of them start for three or four years (in high school), where it used to not be that way. It’s now trickling up to us.”

… But the fact that Georgia won’t go three deep on scholarship at quarterback is a bit baffling to Smart.

“That’s crazy to me you’re not going to have that,” Smart said. “It’s a me-now society. They want the self-gratification. They want to know they’re going to be able to play. It’s different than any other position on the team. Every other position on the team, other than maybe kicker, they know they can have another role.”

Kind of like how coaches stay forever at the places they get hired at.

It’s a shame Kirby has to deal with so much self-gratification.  Obviously, this is what every parent wants to hear:

“I’d argue if you were the parent of a quarterback that you would say, you know what, where is my son going to get the best development? Where is he going to get the best reps, where is he going to learn to play the quarterback position like it is in the NFL, not necessarily play first. Where is he going to learn to play the position, sit in the meeting room where they teach you protections and the things they are going to learn at the next level,” Smart said. “They don’t draft you at the next level just based on your play performance, they want to see what system you played in, where you played, and did you grow as a quarterback. They want to know have you learned? But it’s tough keeping them around. They want to go where they can play right away.”

The selling doesn’t stop there.

“You’ve got to sell it to them that it’s about the team. It can’t be just about you, even though there is a me generation, a me society,” Smart said. “I think sometimes when you explain it to them, this is what’s best for you, then you can help them understand what you’re doing what you’re doing.”

I bet it’s news to Stetson and his parents that he’s throwing away his big shot at playing in the NFL one day.

Advertisements

56 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

56 responses to “Play to play

  1. Huntindawg

    I am wholly against free agency in college football, which means I am in favor of transfer restrictions. But I do think it should be limited to scholarship athletes. It’s amazing to me that a walk-on/ non-scholarship athlete can be restricted from transferring without penalty.

    Like

    • Otto

      Agreed, on the flip side I also see the QB’s point of view. QBs don’t play in rotation or make better plays to get more tackles or catches. It is 1 person on the field and if the roster is stacked at one place if you want a better chance moving might be the best option. However at the college year, I don’t see sitting a year as a penalty as being an unreasonable price to pay for the freedom of moving,

      Like

  2. Spike

    Oh, spare me Kirby.

    Like

  3. Charlottedawg

    Good thing coaches aren’t part of that me first mentality. Definitely don’t see them leave town at the drop of a hat for a better gig. I really hate it when other people look out for their best interests which makes looking out for my best interests harder. Why can’t they just be more obedient and question less???? I know what’s best for me, errr, them, I know what’s best for them damnit!!!!

    Like

  4. DawgByte

    I think Kirby’s assessment is on target. Adding to his remarks you’ve also got parents who’ve spent an ass load of money on QB clinics, private lessons, camps etc. and their own natural bias regarding their son’s abilities and Bob’s your Uncle. They want their kid to play and play N-O-W. Welcome to 2018.

    Like

    • What’s that got to do with Stetson Bennett? He was never going to start at UGA.

      Like

      • Greg

        Maybe he thinks he is another Baker Mayfield, he certainly got plenty comparisons to him when preparing the team for Oklahoma.
        I can’t blame a kid for wanting to play & having enough confidence to think he is good enough to play.

        Like

        • RandallPinkFloyd

          Is it possible that Kirby was speaking in general terms here and not taking a direct shot at Stetson?

          Like

          • Uglydawg

            Mostly, I think that was the case. General terms. But Stetson did attend some big time QB camps and is very high on his ability and potential. I appreciate the kid’s nature.

            Like

          • Greg

            Understood…it could be many things. He may have a little Munson in him, he could be using it to attract transfers, maybe his frustration of someone transferring (too much talent and being a victim of it), or just him just being “general”..

            Who knows, but I certainly don’t feel bad for him. Don’t feel that Bennett transferring will affect the team one iota, not a major hurdle to overcome imo.

            Like

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    I understand the Sabanesque criticism of what Kirby’s saying, but cannot criticize him for sighing out loud at 8th and 9th grade stage parents. I think what he wants to say, but doesn’t dare, is: some parents just have to realize their little Johnny ain’t a star.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. SEB Dawg

    We know the young man who was the quarterback at ECI the same year that Bennett was a senior. He told us that UGA had offered him a perferred walk-on spot contingent on what Bennett did. He really wanted to go to UGA. When Bennett took the PWO spot, there wasnt a spot for him so he went to JUCO to play baseball. I’m not saying that Stetson has done anything that wasn’t his right to do, it just slightly irritates me that his decision to attend UGA affected other people as well and then he didn’t even follow through with his decision.

    Like

    • ASEF

      Is it Bennett’s fault the NCAA says Georgia can’t have more players, even walk-ons, than Georgia State?

      Lift the roster and scholarship caps, and a lot of these issues just dissolve.

      Like

      • Otto

        The NCAA has allowed the FBS level to be overgrown, and they were wrong to let so many school move up. Mid majors should have their own division at current scholarship levels. The P5 should be allowed to have more scholarships as they once had.

        Like

  7. ASEF

    Kirby already blaming parents “these days” style? And he’s still in his 40s?

    Wow.

    Like

    • I’m only 37, and when I see the time/money/pressure put into youth sports starting at age 6, I wonder what the hell is wrong with parents “these days.”

      The expectation if you want to participate in MIDDLE SCHOOL sports is that you have been playing travel baseball/basketball/what-have-you. Since parents have to pony up thousands of dollars to get Little Johnny ready to play third base, it is no wonder they shop around to get payoff of their investment with high school playing time.

      The difference, though, is that the 100% commitment with no guarantees used to be reserved for college. Now that has trickled down into high school programs (and middle school feeders), so the kids now are exposed to the big business of sports before they get to college. The more savvy ones make business decisions that are in their best interest instead of the college team’s, and it hurts Kirby’s sensibilities… bless his heart.

      Like

      • Otto

        To an extent it was beginning before I was in high school. Zeier’s parents shopped him around.

        Like

        • Mayor

          Sure did. Zeier and his dad checked out numerous HSs in the ATL Metro area before deciding on Marietta because they both liked the coach there, Dexter Wood (he was a great coach, too, and won numerous state championships later at Buford HS).

          Like

      • ASEF

        We are putting our daughter into a private school for 8th grade, with some regrets that public schools just aren’t going to work for her. Her best friend’s mother says she wishes she could.do the same but can’t afford it.

        Her daughter does competitive cheer. $1,500 in up fronts. $250 a month all year. 6 all-weekend trips to cheap competition sites like ATL, Virginia Beach, Orlando, etc.

        That’s $7,000 right there. For a sport with near zero scholarship potential.

        Same with gymnastics. Now imagine parents with starting high school QB or PG on the line.

        Kids are the easiest way into a parent’s pocketbook.

        Like

      • Noonan

        It allows parents with money to give their kids an advantage over more athletic kids with less money. Unfortunately it’s bad for the kids on many levels, and lots of them burn out by the time they hit high school

        Like

    • Normaltown Mike

      Like

    • Silver Creek Dawg

      I’m a youth soccer official and easily the worst thing about working matches is the parents. Not the coaches and not the players, the parents. Damn few have ever played the sport at any competitive level and they all think they’re on the IFAB/FIFA committee that interprets the Laws of the Game. Or worse, they think they’re the next Klopp/Tata Martino/Wenger and “coach” their kids from the far touchline to do the exact opposite thing the coach they are paying is telling them to do on the near touchline.

      Like

  8. AusDawg85

    How sad some kid’s are opting to realize their dream of starting at QB instead of studying for a near 0% chance of making it to the NFL. Maybe Kirby should love ’em more and jump in a pool with them to get them to stay?

    Like

    • Lrgk9

      Kinda like Kirby is aggravated with the Eason-Bennett situation and is firing for effect.

      Totally off target and out of range imo.
      Gotta like Kirby but this is once his human nature is showing in the wrong places and he needs to get that tucked in and out of sight.

      Like

  9. Russ

    As long as the sausage tastes as good as or better than last year, I’m fine with what Kirby’s cooking.

    Like

  10. paul

    Everyone at the college level gets paid except the athletes. Everyone at the college level can move around at will except the athletes. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If athletes cannot move around at will the coaches shouldn’t be able to either. Let’s let the college president and/or athletic board restrict where a coach can work if they decide to leave before their contract expires. As for Stetson, I think he’s fully cognizant he will not be playing at the next level. Which is why he wants to play now. I hope he finds a place he can thrive AND play.

    Like

  11. Doggoned

    I’m assuming Stetson was convicted in his 18-year-old mind that he was going to come in as a preferred walk-on and earn playing time, even the starting job. I admire him for thinking that way. I also think he came to realize that no matter what he did at UGA, CKS saw him strictly as a scout team QB. Smart ‘s venting over spilled kid/parents transfers appears understandable but badly aimed. Best of luck to Stetson.

    Like

    • Otto

      How do you know he didn’t come in thinking he would be a part in helping a program he loved in any way he could and then discovered he could play at that level?

      Like

    • Spike

      Correct. Just ask Sam Vaughn what he was told in order to walk on and what happened to him. He’s just like Stetson only with out all the media attention.

      Like

    • Otto

      It also isn’t just Bennet:
      Top 50 quarterback recruit that signed from 2011-14.

      TOP 50 QB RECRUITS, 2011-14
      Stars Transferred Started early* Stayed anyway
      4/5-star 46.9 % 33.3 % 28.1 %
      3-star 52.9 % 12.5 % 33.7 %
      TOTAL 50 % 22.5 % 31 %

      https://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/signing-day-recruits-quarterback-transfer-clemson-hunter-johnson-alabama-tua-tagovailoa-michigan-dylan-mccaffrey-013017

      Bama has been dealing with transferring QBs as well.

      Like

    • Uglydawg

      In the beginning, CKS may have seen Stetson in this light (scout team only) but obviously he grew to believe Stetson was a viable #3. To have a kid with that much of the coach’s confidence and not have to spend a scholarship on him is a big deal. That he may have been offered is further evidence that he can play. Not saying he was ever going it challenge for top spots. Stetson wasn’t going to wait around on the chance that one of them got injured (either one would have made him 2, and he would have seen the field a good bit). And the very thing that makes a player stand out, namely competitiveness, also drives him to want to get out there and play. That’s where he is. Positioning himself to get a real chance to play. Honestly, any kid that is content to ride the pine for four years probably isn’t competitive enough or just doesn’t have the skills to be a winner. (And I said four years, not two or even three…as could be the case with Fields).

      Like

      • Got Cowdog

        Hoo boy, am I gonna catch hell for this …….

        Kirby is being Coachy. He needs Bennett to be his number three, maybe, in case he needs him. He’s probably a little pissy that he walked if for no other reason than Kirby believes, and his actions bear this out, Georgia is the best program there is and because of that belief doesn’t get why anyone wouldn’t want to be a part of it. It’s all about competing for the ring, right? In Kirby’s mind (and mine) Stetson has the best chance at being part of that team right where he is. But Stetson, by his own admission, wants to be the man. I tend to agree with Kirby, he’s being a little selfish and short-sighted but the heart wants what the heart wants. Best of luck young man.

        He’s a walk on. Neither he nor the University have any commitment other than the time and sweat spent to date. If he wants to play next week? Let him play, including in the SEC. The third string QB at UGA starting at ut (for example) in the fall likely wouldn’t be a threat anyway. To Uglydawg’s point: How many examples of 3 or 4 year backups have we seen with our own eyes (Looking at you, Coach Bobo) be truly successful as a starter here at UGA? Damn good Dawgs all, but clearly not at the level of a Greene, Stafford, or even Murray. YMMV.

        I also agree with Kirby about self serving parents and people in general. I see it every day with all high school sports. People transfer or play travel to get playing time and no parent wants to hear that their child isn’t as good as another in any area. The problem is a parent that refuses to accept the fact that maybe Junior or Juniette ain’t all that. They blame the coaches and will continue looking until they find someone that will tell them what they want to hear, usually with a private school or team which is in effect buying J/J’s playing time just like they have since 6yr old travel ball. I’m preachy about this, I know, but I don’t agree with it. At what point are you wasting you and your child’s time and a truckload of your cash for nothing? At the risk of having a “get off my lawn” moment there was a time when I realized I did not possess the physical skill set necessary nor was I willing to invest the time and effort necessary to play at a high level (High School Varsity). It was a tough decision and Got Sr. was most unhappy that his pup wasn’t gonna be an all star just like him. It is not something I ever regretted.
        I have heard on more than one occasion a parent say to another that if Junior sits another game we won’t play here next season, we will only play for our travel team. Kirby is dead on, like it or not. There is a growing segment of our society that is completely self absorbed. It is an unattractive fact, but a fact nonetheless.

        Like

        • Cosmic Dawg

          Agree with most of your points except Stetson being selfish – is it selfish when I change jobs, or move to a state with a better quality of life instead of staying put?

          Like

  12. Debby Balcer

    I get as a coach the all about me attitude is hard to deal with but for a student athlete it should be about him- that is why he is their to grow the best he can and develop the best he can. It is not like they will earn anything from the other teammates post graduation. Parents and student athletes should look out for themselves the NCAA and coaches are looking out for themselves.

    Like

    • ASEF

      I think the thing Smart is trying to allude to and whiffs (like most coaches) is the short-term perspective.

      Sometimes, staying and struggling is by far the better life lesson than always seeking a path of least resistance.

      But this wasn’t about struggle for Stetson. It was about not wanting to spend that much time every day to be an insurance policy.

      Kirby is going to lose some of this 2018 class. Guys who don’t want to outwork the 4 star next to them. And then they will transfer, and everyone will howl Kirby is forcing him out and blocking his dreams by not letting him transfer to Auburn….

      Like

  13. Uglydawg

    I really think the Stetson subject kind of opened up a conversation with Kirby that morphed into his talking about the whole subject in general. I don’t think he was slamming SB in particular. But he will learn, “Less said, Best said”.

    Like

  14. Jared S.

    I don’t blame Kirby at all for sounding like an old man whining about “kids these days.” I’m only 35-years old, but I find myself saying the very same things and in the very same manner — maybe I say them in my head and not out loud, but still, I identify with the man.

    Whenever something Kirby says rubs me the wrong way, I have to remember he was an actual, talented student athlete some 20 years ago and things have changed A LOT since then. I don’t blame the man for waxing poetic about what he perceives to be the “good ol’ days.” And I do think that’s really what he’s doing here, more than slamming anyone in particular.

    That being said, everyone – Kirby, myself and everyone else in the entire country including the SEC and NCAA – ought to buy more into the following reality:

    “The Good Ol’ Days are a mixture of a good imagination and a poor memory.”

    Like

  15. The Association of Hypocritical Football Coaches (AHFC)

    Do as we say, not as we do!

    Like

  16. Cosmic Dawg

    Hey, let’s all welcome back 2016 Kirby Smart!

    Like

  17. W Cobb Dawg

    I don’t really care about Stetson leaving. I have no doubt Kirby thoroughly explained his role on the team before the kid enrolled at UGA. And if the offer of a scholly is true, then I contend Kirby bent over backwards to placate Stetson. Stetson should’ve told Kirby about a transfer last year or back in January, when we had time to pick up a replacement PWO. I can understand Kirby being somewhat miffed after getting blindsided by a 5-9 QB who thinks he’s a step away from stardom – and Kirby Smart/UGA is the only thing holding him back.

    If the kid doesn’t want to attend UGA, then I say don’t let the door hit ya on the way out. And if he suits up against UGA, he won’t have the benefit of a protective green jersey when Brent Cox comes around the corner…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Tommy

    Why the insistence upon using a term for masturbation (“self-gratification”) in place of “instant gratification,” a phrase that’s been mainstream my entire 43 years? Can we talk about this without involving that image?

    Like

  19. Truckin

    I think Stetson just wants to play a meaningful role in a real game and not just a scrimmage which I don’t fault him for. He will not get taller and I doubt he expects opportunities at the next level but he wants to compete.

    I wish him good luck and wish he would stay but I get it.

    Like

  20. Charles

    Gross.

    Like