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.
“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.