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.