As you guys know, I scour the Internet on a pretty thorough basis for the blog. More than five years into Smart’s run as Georgia’s head coach, I’m not sure I’ve seen anything he’s done in that time draw as much of a (virtual) reaction as the twin signings of Derion Kendrick and Arik Gilbert have. Twitter, message boards, web sites — you name it, there’s been a ton of takes running the gamut. (One outlier is StingTalk, but that’s because they’re going through one of their periodic episodes when they close the joint to outsiders. Our loss, I guess.)
While it’s fun to bask in the angst of rival fan bases’ sour grapes, and sour is almost an understatement there, I do think there’s something more worth our focus. I touched on it when I posted about Brandon Marcello’s “no excuses” piece yesterday and reiterated what I thought with this tweet.
At some point, if you’re building a team expected to compete for national championships, and doing that job well, plans have to come to fruition. The general perception, and this Chris Hummer post at Dawgs247 is a good example of that, is that the time is now.
“Every team, even contenders, has a concern. It was cornerback for Georgia after losing Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell and Tyrique Stevenson in the same offseason. That worry seems silly in June as Georgia added two All-American candidates via the transfer portal (Tykee Smith, Kendrick) and will reclaim the services of the No. 1 cornerback in the 2020 class (Kelee Ringo) after he missed last season with an injury.
That’s a long preamble. But it’s important to note because one thing is clear with UGA’s roster: There are no true weakness. Will Georgia miss George Pickens? Of course. Does the offensive line have a few questions? It does. Yet after pulling in five straight top 4 recruiting classes, there are no holes. Smart’s roster is loaded. He has his quarterback. He has a schedule in which Georgia should be favored in every game but one (Clemson). Other contenders nationally are resetting at critical positions. Everything is positioned for Georgia to emerge as a national champion.
This won’t be Smart’s only chance to win a national title in Athens. But it’s his best chance for the foreseeable future.”
There is no such thing as a perfect roster in college football. The question is whether a team has put together a championship caliber roster. Like it or not, the general perception is that Kirby Smart has stepped over that bar. Also like it or not, the staff and players are going to marinade in rat poison between now and the season opener against Clemson. Yes, they’ve had the spotlight shine on them before, particularly after the success of the 2017 season, but, if the last day or so is any indication, it looks to be more intense than ever this year.
Will this Georgia team hold up? It’s impossible to say from here. The transfer portal taketh and the transfer portal giveth; how that impacts team chemistry is something we won’t know until they start playing the games. Then there’s Smart himself, entering his sixth season, facing the reality of a downward projection for his program since that stellar 2017 season. What has he learned along the way? It’s one thing to say pressure is a privilege. It’s another to live it, especially when Alabama’s been there more often than not to spoil the party.