Number one rankings are kinda like age, amirite, Kirby?
Seriously, how can you not appreciate this team’s mindset?
“The goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the season, we always know that. Everybody’s goal is there, but to have an opportunity to do that you’ve got to be in the four (in the playoff). That’s the most critical part. We won’t get caught up in that and let you guys write about it. That’s not a burden we carry. The burden we carry is how to play.”
“Do you worry about the psyche of guys reading it and looking at it?” said Smart, in the middle of his sixth season as Bulldogs coach. “Yeah, you’ve got to do a good job talking to your guys and keeping them grounded. That’s kind of what we’ve been working on for 10 months around here.”
“It’s really what you control your thoughts on and what you put your priorities into,” he said. “I’m very honest with our team in the way they’ve handled things to this point. They’ve handled practice well, they’ve handled leadership well. They’ve bought into the DNA traits of our team. They’ve got to continue to do that.”
Maybe that’s just coach talk, but after watching this team’s play through the first half of the regular season, it’s hard to deny the buy in. They’ve gone about their business week after week (5-1 against the spread, and the one was South Carolina cashing in a touchdown in garbage time). They don’t seem to get too high or too low. You might have thought they came out with low energy at Auburn, but in retrospect they were mindful of keeping their emotions in check in a hostile road setting.
This season makes for an interesting contrast with 2017. That season felt like it was fueled by emotion, starting with the exciting Notre Dame game. And, between the decision of the four key players to come back and the unexpected course the season took after Eason’s injury, how could it not have been?
2021 feels way more business like. Yeah, there are moments that are celebrated, but they’re brief. This is a team that knows what it can accomplish if it keeps its collective head on straight and plays with that in mind. That’s good coaching.