That’s not how he would do it.

AJC.com Atlanta Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter” has some serious advice for Kirby Smart.

“I think there’s a problem at Georgia, I think some of these kids are coming out too early…”

“I don’t know how they (Georgia) are handling this, assistant coaches or the agents, but they are over-gassing these guys up and not giving them good reads on where they will go in the NFL Draft,”Ledbetter said.

“This is the second year in a row the Bulldogs could have kept some of that talent and made a run at a national title again, as opposed to guys going up to Carolina as a practice squad player (Holyfield),” he said. “I don’t know if the kids don’t like school, don’t want to study, or what the situation is, but they have to figure out a way …to keep some of their talent that’s leaving early than they should be.”

Sure.  And while they’re at it, maybe the coaches can figure out a way for these kids to avoid underage drinking, smoking weed or losing control of their tempers in public.  Easy peasy!

I think we’ll have to settle for Kirby’s good sense.

“It is a trend, and I think it will continue to be a trend in college football for every team to deal with, and every team deals with it differently,” Smart said last March. “Our answer is to make sure we have good players in our program so that we’re not having to play true freshmen, but because of the way it is, you’re going to have a young team all the time, there’s not a lot you can do.”

Smart said every case is indeed different.

“Some of that stuff is out of your control, how well does a kid play as a junior, what kind of grades does he get, what kind of choices does he have to make for his family, so everybody is in a different situation and you manage every one differently,” he said.

“You just do the best job you can to handle it, and then you move on, and that’s what we do.”

And you wonder why Smart gets curt with the media sometimes.

57 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

57 responses to “That’s not how he would do it.

  1. Greg

    Thought the same when I read it…..easy to be critical, just a little bit tougher to find a solution.

    Like

  2. I certainly get it, but what can you do when moma and cousins all say how great you are, we can be rich! But this true, been several guys a year that are good but missed on great.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hunkering Hank

    He’s not wrong. Sure would be nice if some would stay – for the team and for themselves. But of course, if you have a legit chance to get paid….

    Like

  4. Dawg93

    Ledbetter is an absolute doofus of the highest order. Not at all surprised to see him make these kind of statements.

    Like

    • mwo

      His bow tie is too tight.

      Like

    • spur21

      D. O. is the king of the comma splice / run on sentence. Some of his stuff is actually painful to read. Now that being said something (I don’t know what) needs fixing. Too many of these guys are making bad decisions. I really think allowing them to make a few (or a lot) of bucks off their name / likeness would slow the trend down.

      Like

  5. Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

    I know Led is going to be mostly maligned here, but is he wrong? He’s not wrong. Riley Ridley and Isaac Nauta both should’ve stayed in school another year. Jake Fromm should’ve stayed. I do think he’s wrong about Wilson, who will be a first day pick, but otherwise, we’ve had our fair share of players leave when they had no business leaving. Sometimes you can’t help that. Sometimes the players are just too stupid and easily led astray to know better, like Trenton Thompson.

    Here’s what I don’t get: This is a problem right? Has Kirby changed his approach to try to stem the tide of this happening? Is that why he brought in Cochran? Bama generally didn’t have issues with players leaving too early. The Juniors left when they should leave and became first and second round draft picks, and the Juniors who weren’t ready generally stayed to improve their draft stock. We know Cochran was a big part of advising players. He was a guy they trusted. Why isn’t Sinclair like that for us?

    At the end of the day, whatever Kirby’s done the last couple of years to make this happen less hasn’t worked. Ridley and Nauta leaving, followed by Fromm, shows that. Now. Ridley and Nauta could’ve left because they were tired of playing in an offense that didn’t take advantage of their talents, and Fromm could’ve left because he saw how poor his mechanics became under Coley and didn’t know if Coley would be gone or not. So bad coaching and bad scheme or philosophy could’ve played into their decisions.

    I just don’t understand how a coaching staff who do a good job of taking 5-star recruits and breaking them back down and deprogramming them from the “you’re so great” b.s. and get them to buy into the ATD mentality are so bad at keeping players who aren’t ready for the draft in school another year.

    Like

    • Good Lord.

      The issue here isn’t whether those kids should have left early. It’s the idea that somehow coaches can make these kids stay when they don’t want to. What’s your suggestion to Kirby on that?

      Like

      • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

        Like I said, you can’t help the kids who are too stupid or easily swayed by outside forces, but you’re telling me some of these kids couldn’t get better advice or have the right thing said to them in a better way than it’s been done the last couple of years? That can’t happen?

        Explain why Bama doesn’t tend to lose Juniors early who aren’t ready at the same clip we have the last few years. Someone is getting in their ear to lay it out for them straight. Someone like Cochran? Someone they trust implicitly? Maybe the issue is the Georgia coaches haven’t done a good job identifying the players who are thinking of leaving early? Maybe the issue is there’s no one in the program the Georgia players trust in the same way the Bama players trusted Cochran to advise them.

        It’s a question that’s out there. Why has this happened far less at Bama than anywhere? Same with the transfer portal. Until this off season, Bama was among the schools with the lowest percentage of players leaving by the transfer portal. Why?

        Like

          • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

            Before this offseason. I said before this offseason. And again, I also said that the Bama players who leave early get drafted in the first two rounds.

            I’m not saying all players leaving early is bad. I’m saying the players who leave early who shouldn’t leave early is bad. I’m saying this has been historically less of a problem at Bama.

            You’re not arguing against the point I made. You’re arguing against a point didn’t make.

            Like

            • “Why doesn’t Georgia do things more like Alabama?” isn’t exactly a novel question on your part.

              Since we’re asking questions, what changed for ‘Bama this year?

              And I’m still not hearing any specific thoughts about what Kirby could be doing to keep more kids from leaving early. “Be more like Nick” doesn’t count.

              Like

              • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

                Again, I didn’t say Bama didn’t lose a lot of Juniors.

                I said the Juniors at Bama who are ready to leave, leave, and then ones who need to stay, stay, as a general trend, and asking why that is, giving you a reason as to why it could be from what we’ve heard (Cochran), and wondering aloud if that’s one of the ways Kirby is trying to stem the tide at Georgia of Juniors leaving before they should.

                Seriously, you’re not arguing against the points I’ve made. You’ve reframed my points to better suit what you want to say.

                Like

                • Did you read Smart’s quote? Does he sound as absorbed in this problem as you are?

                  I have no idea if Cochran was Saban’s secret sauce in talking kids away from leaving early and neither do you. In any event, the 2020 numbers are certainly inconvenient for your argument that he might be.

                  Like

                • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

                  No they’re not. I’ll say it again: I’m not saying Juniors leaving early is bad. I’m saying Juniors leaving early who should not leave early is bad.

                  All of those Bama Juniors leaving early this year you think you’re making a point with here? All of them are slated to be drafted in the first two rounds this year. They’re all leaving because they should be leaving.

                  My point is, again, that Bama has had the secret sauce for keeping almost all their Juniors who should stay to stay. I think Kirby IS addressing the issue here at Georgia by bringing in Cochran (the secret sauce).

                  Like

                • Greg

                  Thinks you need to change your handle to Coach Whackadoodle so that we can see you coming.

                  Probably make things easier…….you are WAY out there, but entertaining….

                  Like

      • Greg

        ”What’s your suggestion to Kirby on that”?

        LOL!….good luck with that.

        Like

        • Down Island Way

          Here’s a novel idea for Kirby….keep on crootin’ coach, when you get the good ones they’re only here for 2-3 years of steady playing time…$$$$$ talks….blue bloods of ncaa hoops absorbed the “here today, gone tomorrow” process years ago

          Like

    • Riley should have left and Nauta was going early from 8th grade on.

      Like

  6. Russ

    And they said journalism is dead.

    Like

  7. Faltering Memory

    JMO, pro scouts know any given player has a chance to make it by early to mid-high school, barring those truly late bloomers. Each league should have to post a reliable draft list of players who have a reasonable to certain chance to be drafted, a round rating, and a free agent rating (1. some chance to make the team or practice squad, 2. camp fodder, and 3. don’t be foolish). The NFL could publish theirs on Dec. 1. The NBA by March 1. In the NFL, each team could submit 15 names, in secret of course. The NBA two or three. Hopefully, this would reduce the influence of agents, friends, and the desparate uncle on marginal players. College coaches could plan better for the next season. Talking about blue sky, maybe some of the players would study eough to remain eligible and graduate. NIL could also be included. And there should also be a readmission path within a few days after the draft. Don’t know about allowing participation in the draft combine. A few teams didn’t send all their usual personnel this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. RangerRuss

    There is no replacement for senior leadership and experience. That’s what got the Dawgs within a cat hair of winning the NC in ’17 and won it all for Clemson in ’18. Convincing the men to stay for college team pride and glory versus professional team pride and glory plus big bucks got much harder after the recent success of Hardman and Michel.Those two and others are much more visible than the Trenton Thompson’s of the world.
    That asshole I called dad was able to convince me to stay my senior year in HS and at UGA, even though I’d completed the requirements, by emphasizing how I had the rest of my life to work and a limited window to have fun and be somewhat irresponsible. With all those analyst positions maybe one should be chief of senior retention.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This, of course, is the best part of the discussion. Smart got some key players to buy in ahead of the 2017 season and stay. Maybe he has a clue.

      Like

      • spur21

        I’d venture a guess that Smart has more of a clue than 90% of this group. Smart might also look at a player and think well I’ve got a better one in waiting so we won’t miss the early departures.

        Like

        • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

          Who on the roster for 2019 was better than Ridley and Nauta in 2018? I’ll hang up and listen.

          Like

          • Maybe Nauta saw the writing on the wall about TE usage under Coley and decided there was no reason to return. Maybe he didn’t think the position coach would help him develop further.

            Why is this simply a question about usefulness to the program?

            Like

            • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

              It’s not just about usefulness to the program. I did address those very same issues you bring up, above. I also asked as to why Georgia’s coaches / analysts haven’t been able to lay out in simple terms for these players in a way they trust that leaving early would not be in their best interest. I think Kirby is trying to shore up that deficiency on his staff by bringing in a guy like Cochran who Bama’s players trusted implicitly to tell them the unvarnished truth.

              Like

              • Were you in a coma after the 2016 season? Or did you not notice the four kids Smart convinced to return for the next season?

                The idea that Smart’s players don’t trust Smart is certainly interesting. Almost as interesting as the idea that someone who’s been with the program the shortest period of time will be the most trustworthy.

                Like

          • spur21

            My statement was a generalization you are cherry picking. Another thing to consider – you / we aren’t privy to what is going on with the team. There are so many moving parts that picking a single player or two is pointless.
            Kirby may have begged Ridley and Nauta to stay – he may have told them they were making a huge mistake you / we just don’t know.

            Like

  9. If you get a 2nd or better draft grade, you are a fool to stay. You likely get to your 2nd contract which is the big one.

    If not, you are placing a big bet on yourself to get to the 2nd contract. I do think the NCAA should allow an underclassman to pull his name out of the draft within 10 days after the combine.

    That would encourage the borderline guy to stay in school to work out in preparation for the draft and then have the option to return.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ASEF

      Calendar gets tricky. What if a guy opts to come back and the roster is full after signing day? Things like that.

      Like

      • FlyingPeakDawg

        He can stay, new kids stay, but count against next year’s limit and equal number must be on RS or injury list to have opening game roster down to 85. This could be worked out if the NCAA had any interest in the kid’s welfare. I suppose Saban would find some way to abuse this and the transfer portal complicates things further, but it’s not rocket science to find a way to help kids stay in school and get a degree if the professional opportunity does not pan out.

        Like

      • I think the NCAA should allow a team to go over the 85 cap for the guys who would decide to come back. If you aren’t enrolled in the spring semester or you sign with an agent (given the current rules of amateurism), you’re done.

        Like

  10. ASEF

    It’s kind of head scratching to me.

    Holyfield comes out and runs a glacial 40.

    Nauta comes out and runs a glacial 40, then lifts like a slot receiver. I was surprised someone even took a 7th round flyer on him.

    I have to believe someone in the program told them, straight up, “Your grade is undrafted.” And they want anyway.

    Which just means they were done with college ball. About the only two things Kirby can do to get a guy from going pro are give him good information and plenty of good reasons to come back, relationships being the primary thing among those “good reasons.” I mean player to player, for each other, not with coaches. Not a ton you can do to force those.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dawg93

      This^^^. I just don’t think folks realize how much the NFL is the ultimate goal for these kids and that the money temptation is just too great. And sometimes that extra year of college just isn’t going to improve their draft stock. Holyfield is a great example – was he getting any faster staying another year? Or getting more carries, barring a long-term injury to Swift? He took arguably the best year he could hope for at the college level and tried to turn it into a pro career. Going undrafted means his climb is a little harder/longer but he seems like the type of kid that will persevere and have a nice career. But was any of that changing with another year of college ball? No.

      Liked by 1 person

      • His footwork was horrible and yes he could get faster by getting a track coach. He was a big, lean gym rat and not a good RB. If his feet were better his shoe string tackles could have been huge runs. He loved weights more than his game.

        Like

    • 123fakest

      Anyone who has seen Nauta’s tattoo, understands that he makes really bad decisions.

      Like

  11. RangerRuss

    The successful solution to senior retention would give the Dawgs an edge over the rest of the top six or so teams. I’m very interested in hearing solutions and hope CKS is on the mutha.
    But dammitya’ll !! After all this rain I need to get out in the sun. Maybe catch some crappie for supper.
    GO DAWGS !!!

    Like

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    I think he has a point, though one can argue the jury is still out until the upcoming draft is finished. If a big part of your recruiting pull is saying you put players in the nfl, consistently having busts can, and likely will, come back to haunt you. And players who get neither a degree nor nfl gig is a big black eye.

    So yes, I think the staff could do a better job convincing players to return. It’s certainly in our self-interest to bring em back.

    It’s not a one-off. It’s become a recurring issue. Staff excuses eventually ring hollow. The fact that players on the bubble continue to leave early shows we aren’t making a compelling argument for them to get their degree and/or return for a possible championship run.

    Like

    • So yes, I think the staff could do a better job convincing players to return. It’s certainly in our self-interest to bring em back.

      Gee, maybe Smart hasn’t tried the “please come back because the guy behind you isn’t as good” approach.

      If it’s so easy convincing kids to stay “in our self-interest”, why are so many coaches fighting the one-time transfer?

      Liked by 1 person

    • W Cobb Dawg

      I’ll add that the rules could be changed so players can opt to return to school and continue to play if they aren’t drafted. But then I’d have to listen to all the b.s. about the sanctity of the amateur experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Bigshot

    D-Led needs to stick with the Falcons. Why doesn’t he sit down with A Blank and ask him why he can’t bring a winning franchise to ATL.?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sashko1943

    This whole discussion is dumb. These guys are kids – most of whom have come from poverty or middle class families – that are staring at a chance to make more money per year than their parents would see in two decades. They are betting on themselves and the opportunity to make generational wealth. You can can argue with them and tell them it’s in their best interests to stick around, but how can you honestly guarantee a kid that? So Holyfield stays another year. That’s not going to make his 40 time drop to 4.45. So Nauta stays another year? So Ridley stays another year? Or Fromm for that that matter? It’s utter speculation from people who literally know the absolute least about the talent evaluation posturing and it’s made worse when you consider he’s writing from the comfort of history’s complete certainty.

    Like

  15. To be fair, I’ve always felt like Kirby’s recruiting circle of life played a part in this. I also don’t feel like he encourages guys to stay. He allows the young adults to make their own decisions and he’s always recruiting the next good/great ones anyway. Not once do I recall reading or hearing him say one of these bubble guys should come back for another season. His roster management and recruiting seem perfectly sorted suited for modern football.

    Like

  16. Yall realize some of these guys were always going early? It wouldnt matter which said what. If Cleveland want a bag of rocks he’d be gone too, he hates school. The idea has always been to be a school future NFL guys want to come to. Having guys that are good stay is more rare. And with QBs, they are looking at whose likely coming out the next year as well as current.

    Some guys hate the school process, they’re beat up, been playing since 7th grade. Got 5 children to feed.

    Like

  17. Rocketdawg

    DLed is a complete tool. A total embarrassment for that rag of a paper the AJC (and considering they once employed Schultz and still employ Mark Bradley that is saying something).

    What an ass-clown

    Like

  18. abuzwingli

    There are a number of issues here:

    Kirby is right; the decision to stay or go is intensely personal so no “one size fits all” approach will work for those that want to go but shouldn’t.
    As well, I don’t think that a degree is as important to kids in our current generation as it was to mine (GenX). That is not an indictment of those kids; a degree is less economically valuable now than what it used to be.
    The generational money and the real risks of each college game played drives a risk/reward calculation which tilts toward going pro. The relative low cost of finishing college (doesn’t have to be UGA) and the relative low worth of a degree in comparison to the money of even one minimum pro contract makes the risk of coming back too great unless you can make a compelling case that doing so will drive a big jump in draft stock.
    For every Sony and Nick for whom staying pays off there are many that get injured and each injury negatively impacts pro-potential long term. I don’t put Kirby as wrong to not be talking guys into staying. I think that he may be actually be concerned about his players welfare. If Dabo actually talked Etienne into staying, I don’t think he was doing the guy a favor. The risk/reward in Etienne’s case is just hugely overweighted in the risk direction.

    Like

  19. BuffaloSpringfield

    To spur21 up there I hear you.
    Hollifield’s dad came and stated publicly that he was not ready. Perhaps Nauta felt like the TE’s in Coley’s playbook wasn’t in his best insterests. Fromm seemed to regress and admitted his footwork was sloppy. Now you not figure a coach would tell him before the fact. No one really noticed Fromm’s lack of ability till his junior campaign. It started with the USCjr defensive plan and every opponent followed suit.
    The 19 team did not have the unity of 18, nor 18 that of 17. You could lay that on talent or say a different level of talent but they were different. Personalities jell or collide, just like some kids like school and others don’t adapt academically or personality wise. As for me I have some idea of the work it takes these men after coaching high school for 30 years. Most of us would say we’d give our left nut just to be apart of that unity. Unless we go through the drills and we’d have our bags packed.
    I wish we knew the answers for every player but as CKS states their all different and unique situations. I was surprised a bit of some of the defections loading up to the Sugar. I was even more surprised at CKS stating that there was a culture issue and if their not all in they ain’t goin. ( Herrien per example a DGD, not a super talent but sure worked hard to get where he was just to stay in Athens )
    My take is this is gonna be the norm rather than the past 2 years of questions. CKS got one eye on the team and another on crootin’.Think it wasn’t but a week after a Jake declared that suddenly none of us had heard of Newman. He had been linked to two other schools but he was in Athens. Ya maybe crazy enough or naive enough that Fromm didn’t know what was happening.
    I always told my players at my players know I care about you and where your going. When I quit talking to you I am working on someone to take your place.
    Just saying it’s a two way street.

    Like

  20. TimberRidgeDawg

    Every time I see him I keep thinking D-Led should have been one of the Cosby kid characters on that Fat Albert cartoon show.

    He needs to stay in his lane and spend more time asking why Dan Quinn still has a job.

    Like

  21. Mid-Age Man Coniston

    Anyone paying attention to D-Led now hasn’t paid attention to D-Led for the past decade or so. Dude fell into his job when AJC (like so many journalistic sources) was squeezing every penny it could. If my rusty memory is correct, he was the assistant falcons beat writer, who was promoted to full beat writer when the job opened up. He settled into a niche and does a job that anybody with any nous could do — without doing it particularly well. But, there again, if he can offer a click-bait headline/content, then why not utilize him? Sigh

    Like

  22. Cosmic Dawg

    How about this – you can play in the NFL if you can get a team to sign you, and you can play in college if you can get a team to offer you a scholarship.

    Try the draft and nobody picks you? No problem – go back to college and play if a college wants you. Why on earth would you deny that to somebody?

    Like