Zeus’ thunderbolt and Kirby’s bad hair day

You take your team to the national championship game ahead of schedule, nail recruiting like nobody’s business, bank a huge raise after only your second year on the job… well, you’re somebody who I’d figure has his shit under control.

Not yesterday, though.

“It’s really not fair that all you guys run out there and throw stuff out there and we don’t have a chance to talk to his parents,” Smart said. “We’ve talked about that in here before. If you ask me about it after practice, that’s fair. That’s not fair for that kid’s mom to find out about it from somebody talking and texting from someone in here.”

I tried to interject at this point that nobody in the press had reported anything, that only people who allegedly had seen it happen during the scrimmage were talking about it on social media. But Smart cut me off.

“Yeah it was all over; I got it Chip,” Smart said. “But you asked about it. So I’m sure you guys sent something out. Next.”

Nope, we didn’t send out anything. Next.

My DawgNation co-hort, Mike Griffith asked the next question.

“I’m new to the beat,” he said. “I don’t know the policy, but were there people in attendance?”

Smart: “Oh, yeah, absolutely there were people there and I’m sure they said something about it. That’s not a problem. The only problem is if it comes from in here and the question is, ‘is that normal for him to be on punt? I mean is that a fair question? Is it a fair question, I’m asking y’all? If you watch football it’s probably not a fair question.”

Methinks it’s that latter point that really chapped Smart’s ass yesterday.  I say that even though I agree with him about it and think Chip whiffs here:

Well, yes, actually that is a fair question. We’re all well aware that Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift were on the punt coverage team for Georgia last season, and did quite well at it. But it does seem reasonable to ask if a running back who is still wearing a knee brace from his last ACL surgery should be covering punts in scrimmage eight months after going under the knife.

We’re not doctors or head football coaches, we’re Internet experts, which is just as good.  The question isn’t fair, because it’s not really meant as a question, but as a gripe in response to a freak occurrence we all wish didn’t happen.

That all being said, Kirby’s just as guilty for griping about something he likely didn’t have any control over, either.  Here I refer to not White’s injury, but the presence of outsiders at a supposedly closed practice.

But it wasn’t truly a closed scrimmage. Actually, there were probably about 1,500 people in the 92,000-seat stadium watching it. About 1,100 members of the Magill Society — an elite donor group that gives money to the football program — were there. They were joined by players’ parents, families and friends, a few NFL scouts, some former Georgia players and coaches, and other “friends of the program.”

Sure, some of those there were no doubt present by Kirby’s invitation, but I think we all know why the Magill Society folks were allowed to watch, and from where the premature (from Smart’s perspective) disclosure of White’s injury came.  To expect people who were present for reasons other than Smart’s invite to respect the privacy he obviously prefers isn’t realistic.  In fairness, I believe Kirby knows that as well as I do, knows there’s nothing he can do about it — and still chose to take it out on the media.

Now that I think about it, that’s a pretty good summary of the state of things with big college athletics these days.

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55 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

55 responses to “Zeus’ thunderbolt and Kirby’s bad hair day

  1. gastr1

    Coaches. They’re not the only ones in the world who have to deal with social media, but they sure act like they are.

    Figure out a plan for this kind of situation ahead of time, Kirby, and frigging deal with it, because you’re not ever going to be able to control the phones of reporters and fans.

    Like

  2. I can understand his reaction in the moment, even if he was wrong. That being said, since it can be pretty conclusively shown whether any media guys (or gals) tweeted it out or anything, it would go a long to showing Kirby’s character if he apologizes at his next presser if he’s in the wrong.

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  3. Jim

    Can’t blame him for being grumpy. Sounds like it wasn’t a great scrimmage and one of the shiny new toys broke

    I thought the same thing as the poster above about a potential apology. But chip probably didn’t help himself by immediately posting an article defending himself

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  4. Bright Idea

    Kirby was frustrated and wrong to accuse the media so I hope he will apologize. I’m not among those who believe that we need to know everything about UGA practices as much as we’d like to. It’s not national security or a tax increase so we don’t absolutely enjoy a need to know so I disagree with Towers there. Letting the heavy hitters watch a closed practice to the exclusion of the unwashed masses encourages giving for the program and Kirby must accept the side effects of leaked info. Damn, sounds like politics. The question about RBs on punt team was a backdoor criticism of “letting” Z get hurt IMO.

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    • Mayor

      Your last sentence is spot on.

      Like

    • Cojones

      Yes, Smart got testy about the implied criticism when the punt return team had a guy with a brace for recovery from one knee’s ACL injury only to have it happen on the other knee. I submit that he also would have taken the report the same way if Zeus wasn’t returning punts and sustained the same injury. We have additional faith in Courson’s reason for clearing him to play and the injury that happened was plain bad luck shit that happened since Zeus chose to be on the field.

      Chip was not reasonable for asking the question and I understand why Kirby got upset. I wasn’t very pleased with Chip questioning Kirby and Courson since it didn’t impact the cause of the injury and I’d expect Zeus , Kirby and Ron weren’t feeling too good about it either. Hopefully, Zeus’s parents can see through the unnecessary falderal as well. I’m sure that Chip’s comment will make the rounds of negative recruiting with other coaches taking the horseshit path of saying Kirby plays players that are hurt.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        I guaran damn tee you there are thousands of Internet cowboys complaining about White being on the punt team, and Towers gave Smart a chance to explain and defend why he was on the punt team before the criticism grew.

        Liked by 1 person

        • David Chadwick

          This. That question is all over the boards.

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        • Cojones

          Why should he have to explain or defend? He has made it plain for some time that he will have any player play on special teams and the injury didn’t come from a tackle. He has been practicing this week and the brace was for added safety as he has gone through practice without it.

          Am I missing something here? Is there anything concerning practice or field presence that you think may have been done to impress donors?

          This is much ado about bad luck as far as I can see.

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  5. Otto

    Glad to have Smart coaching UGA and don’t see the problem.

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  6. McTyre

    Agree that Kirby apologizing a bit – with levity rather than a Jimmy Swaggart mean culpable – for blaming the press corps for social media chatter is in order. He’s certainly entitled to be cranky after a subpar practice. However, this looked a bit like the 2016 HC whose penchant for snark and defensiveness in some press conferences suggested he wasn’t yet comfortable in his own skin. Rants about social media and propriety of basic questions not only appear foolish in this 24-7-365 infotainment era – one that often promotes the program with fans and recruits – but makes Kirby’s demeanor less commanding. Yes, assertiveness and edginess is one of his defenses to complacency, but a confident and engaging Kirby is his better public persona. He channeled Capt Queeg and strawberry supply a bit yesterday.

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  7. Tony Barnfart

    D’Andre Swift should be off limits for any contact outside of games.

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  8. california_dawg

    Damn I feel gut-wrenched for Zamir. The physical and mental battle from facing another ACL tear/rehab must be insane. Good news is Ron Courson is one of the best in the biz. I can’t wait for Zamir to kick all kinds of ass next season.

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    • W Cobb Dawg

      Zeus is in a pretty impressive club with Gurley and Chubb. Hate it for the kid. We were all really looking forward to seeing him in 2018.

      Hang in there Zamir. We’ll be eager to see you in 2019.

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  9. jtp03

    I first heard about it from someone who was at the practice as a magill member.

    Then I saw random twitter people.

    Then I saw it from the media.

    Smart is off base here.

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  10. Biggen

    Meh, it’s sour grapes from Chip. I could care less what his national Football writers association from Huffpuffle require from schools for media access. That is his main gripe. He doesn’t get the coverage he wants from UGA so he takes to the internet to cry about it when he got an ass chewing from CKS.

    He better toughen up because that won’t be his last one.

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    • Cojones

      Seems that I saw a gripe in Chip’s post yesterday that he had only 7 minutes to watch the practice before being ushered out, so yes, I think Chip had a hardon and expressed it in more than one way.

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  11. JCDawg83

    On balance, I agree with Chip on this one. Letting reporters watch 9 minutes of warm ups is borderline insulting, especially when there is a crowd of people who did nothing more than write a check who get to stay for the whole practice. I wonder if a reporter who had the financial wherewithal made a donation to the Magill society would be allowed to watch a full practice? KIrby and staff aren’t developing nuclear weapons or sending spies to other countries. The secrecy seems a little silly to me.

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    • Cojones

      It was a closed practice and Chip doesn’t have a leg to stand on since he didn’t expect to report on it anyway and had to wait for the presser to get his info from Kirby.

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      • JCDawg83

        Every practice is closed to the press and Chip, nor any other actual reporter, didn’t report anything until after the presser but that didn’t stop Kirby from attacking “the media” about reporting the injury. I’m a fan of Kirby but he’s wrong on this one. I’m sure Kirby wasn’t in a great mood after the injury and a practice he wasn’t totally thrilled about the way the practice went but attacking the media was uncalled for.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      Agree. It is crazy that if Kim Jong Un makes a $25,000 donation to the Magill Society tomorrow he can watch every second of a closed practice and tweet about it as he watches, but the long time beat writer only gets 420 seconds.

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    • Biggen

      I would bet if you donate enough, CKS would let you into that scrimmage but would strongly discourage you from writing about anything that happened after the general media is ushered out.

      The whole idea is to let donors view specific practice/scrimmages because they are a privileged class BECAUSE they DONATE. Chip wants to donate, he gets in. But I bet he is asked not to report on the doings of that practice. If he breaks it, he is out for good…

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      • You really think they’re going to ban a MS member for that?

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        • David Chadwick

          Spot on. You want that check. That’s why they were there. The whole presser was theater. I chuckle at the people who think Chip’s question caught Kirby off guard. Laughable.

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        • 79Dawg

          They might threaten to, and perhaps some of what Kirby was doing was firing a shot across the bow so McGarity can have a “chat” with whichever donor put it out there, but at the end of the day, he who has the gold makes the rules…

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      • Gaskilldawg

        You’re first statement is correct. If Kim Jong Un donated at the Magill Society level he would have no less access than Fran Tarkenton has. Call him a straw man if you will, but he would be a strawman sitting watching a practice, if you’re first sentence is accurate.

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      • atlasshrugged55

        They also receive the privilege of not being singled out as the guilty party passing injury news while practice is still going on. I’d guess that it was a MS member who put out the initial news of the injury & how it occurred.

        But Kirby knows not to fuss at them or they might cut donations. Instead he targets the media.

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        • Atlas nailed it on this one. One knows where their bread is buttered.

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          • Erk's Forehead

            Agreed. And it isn’t just MS members getting the pass here from Kirby – – as original article notes players’ families and “friends of the program” were also in attendance and likely to have also sent news of the Zeus injury before the presser. (Wonder if his parents were among those in attendance?).

            Also, orig article notes that two “Media” members – Donnan and Kevin Butler – – were among the friends of the program in attendance, so it seems Kirby’s already had to decide whether or not to warn those two about not reporting what goes on in a secret scrimmage. Wonder if he has…

            Also, also, the video component of the Towers/Griffith article reporting about the injury (and presser) does note that Kirby DID stick his head back in the press room (after cooling down) and apologize to Anthony Dasher, the reporter who incurred his wrath with the first Zeus question.

            In short, tough day for all. But reporters have a responsibility to report, just as Kirby has a right to be cranky and feel awful for a kid whose career is threatened again by injury. That’s the only lasting pain here…

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            • 79Dawg

              Wow, Donnan must be doing amazing things managing the reserve fund’s investments to be invited back to practice – pickle juice futures maybe?

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  12. 92 grad

    I hate to admit it but I am willing to allow Kirby (anyone with the team, really) some free air, so to speak. Season fast approaching, stress levels at peak, hot and long days, I’d be real cranky too given that one of my kids just got hurt.

    I do believe the multi million dollar salary demands a high degree of professionalism, but our team had a bad day that day, and the pressure they’re under is immense. Just a tough deal there.

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  13. ApalachDawg

    What a bunch of cry babies. I see zero reason to apologize.

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  14. artful codger

    You want a mutual respect? Stop it with the clickbait DawgNation headlines that twist and/or embellish facts.

    Like

    • california_dawg

      I’d be happy if they hired an actual editor worth a damn. So many misspellings, sloppy writing, getting players names wrong, even from their veteran writers.

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  15. Debby Balcer

    I hope White’s parents did not hear from a tweet. I doubt a reporter tweeted it. I can understand frustration over that but Kirby does need to do better at Press conferences. Unfortunately he did not get much practice with that part of the job at Bama.

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    • You would think with 8,000 support staffers and GAs around, Kirby would have the foresight to designate somebody to cover contacting parents quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • How can any coach work around that? The moment a kid goes down in a practice anyone there can text a friend who then tweets what happened. The assistant would need to be pretty quick, but at the same time use some restraint so as to not worry a parent needlessly. I don’t see a way around this unless you collect all phones on entrance to the practice, or jam cell and wifi coverage in the area.

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        • I doubt parents are reading the texts of MS members. It’s getting out secondhand. There’s enough time.

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          • Kirby seems to leave no stone unturned…so far. If he has not managed this situation so far…being as important as it seems and as much angst he has shown about it…then I am inclined to believe it is not so simple as you may think.

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        • dawgfan

          dudemankind is right. There were 1500 people there with cell phones! Do you really think they were just texting one another? There is no doubt CKS and his staff did everything that could be REASONABLY done to contact the parents ASAP and handle this the best way possible.

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  16. Will Trane

    I’d say ole Chippy is a tad sensitive to strong comments from a coach. Dare say he was covering Bama he would never drink Coke again.
    Are the press the only ones allowed in to talk with Coach Smart? Possibly some MS folks. Next time take a roll, and record it all.
    And why was so many trying to hit up Chippy? Must be a valid reason for that, too.
    Most thoughtful, reasonable, and respectful folks would have not been so sensitive. Perhaps, “sorry to hear that coach, but I heard he was injured. Was he injured? and do you know the extent?”
    If you come from covering UT, you know the drill at all SEC pressers. If not, find another trade, or trade school, ie, there is one in Atlanta.
    The message to the MS and others via the presser, you are invited to watch and to keep your little thoughts and contacts to yourself. That is why ii is a “closed practice”. Perhaps you jeopardized your privelege and future attendance.
    Fortunately no one died on field or off, or Chippy would be contacting OSU and UM.
    Just remember Chippy hired a guy from UT is always reminds us he knows football because he was “there”.
    Oh the areana never changes.
    Kirby is getting closer to Saban each week. Good deal!

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  17. Will Trane

    Interesting article in the Columbus paper.
    All about UM’s practices.
    And press reports.
    Interesting that a Columbus paper has an article on Canes considering where there reader base is located.
    Richt provided a written response to the press.
    Hello Dawg Nation.
    Start checking in with the SID in the future for reports on the Dawgs.

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  18. Will Trane

    Coach Richt now gives written responses to the press after a scrimmage of practice according to a state wide paper

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  19. the funny thing about hindsight……It’s always 20/20

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  20. Mike Cooley

    I don’t understand why Kirby needs to apologize to anybody. At least not publicly. What he said wasn’t that bad and it’s totally understandable in light of what had just happened that he probably wasn’t ready to answer questions about it and snapped a little at Towers’ implication. No big deal. I don’t see where Towers is owed an apology but if Kirby feels the need to make one then going up to Towers man to man should be plenty.

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  21. Bulldog Joe

    Adversity often comes when you least expect it. Only guarantee is there will be more of it.

    Hate it for ZW and his family. How one hears the news doesn’t change the outcome, but they already know they’re with the best in the business when it comes to recovering on-and-off the field.

    Roughly one out of every five plays is a special teams play. Delegating them to walk-ons and reserves puts the team at a competitive disadvantage, as Georgia fans know only too well. It’s frustrating, but knowledgeable fans know why ZW was out there and why he will be out there again when he recovers.

    We have recruited to the allowable numbers and beyond…for situations just like this.

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