Staples has been on that kick for a while now. Here’s what he said about it all the way back in 2015:
Do Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee, South Carolina and others come in and poach Georgia talent? Absolutely. But there’s such an abundance of it in the state that Georgia can afford to lose a few top in-state targets and still field a team capable of competing for SEC and national titles. Alabama and Auburn have to invade Georgia. During that five-year period, their state produced 36.4 Power Five signees a year. People talk about LSU’s monopoly in its state, but the numbers between Louisiana and Georgia aren’t even close. Louisiana’s average number of Power Five signees during that span was 38.6 a year.
Add to this great facilities (now that the Bulldogs are building an indoor), great tradition, a sharp athletic director, possibly the best college town in America and the fact that they play in the easier division of the nation’s deepest conference. That’s the recipe for a great job that just about every coach in America would crawl over broken glass to take.
I dinged him for that “sharp athletic director” comment, and, really, it’s amazing to think that back then, folks outside the program considered Greg McGarity to be an asset. The reality is that Georgia football from that period was something of a dysfunctional mess and that Richt and McGarity were essentially working at cross-purposes with each other.
If Georgia since then has in fact become the nation’s paragon in that regard, it’s because Kirby Smart was given carte blanche to remake the program and nobody, especially including McGarity, stood in his way.
When Smart accepted the job, McGarity didn’t issue marching orders. He asked questions. What did Smart now need from the administration to build a championship program? “He needed to educate us,” McGarity says, “about what it meant to go big-time.”
I don’t know if it’s the best job in the country, but I do believe it’s a better place to be a head coach at than it was when Mark Richt had to pay his assistants’ bonuses out of his own pocket. Then again, maybe I don’t understand college football at all.