Tag Archives: Kirby Smart

Gotta start somewhere.

Good story from Seth Emerson’s piece ($$) on Valdosta State, cradle of coaches, where Kirby Smart landed his first defensive coordinator job, barely three years out of playing at Georgia:

After one season, Muschamp moved on to LSU, where Nick Saban hired him to be the linebackers coach. Smart was elevated to defensive coordinator, thrust into a job running a defense just three years out of college. He didn’t think he was ready. He called up Joe Kines, who had been his DC at Georgia, who told him: “There’s no book for that. You don’t get ready for that. The only way you get ready is you take the job, and you sink or swim.”

Although I’m sure it sounds better told in the original Kines.



Filed under Georgia Football

“Once we see you’re in the portal, you can be cut.”

In case you were wondering, there are a lot of coaches who really, really don’t care for the transfer portal.  Like this guy:

Kirby Smart is torn. Georgia’s coach believes players deserve a certain amount of transfer freedom. Excuse him, though, if he’s not exactly celebrating the seven-month anniversary of the transfer portal this week.

“My biggest problem with the portal is that it gives kids an easy way out,” Smart said. “I know the devil’s advocate of players’ rights and they should be able to go wherever they want to go. But I’m telling you, no normal parent would say, ‘At the first sign of trouble, I want my son to run.'”

I really love this “easy way out”, quitter bullshit.  The reason the portal is a reality isn’t because, as Smart intimates, some kids are too soft.  It’s because there have been plenty of Smart’s peers over the years who have been unreasonable in their restrictions on where and how kids have tried to transfer from their programs.

Add to that a heavy dose of hypocrisy…

It’s difficult to have sympathy for coaches when their biggest headache is “roster management.”

But there is also that ethical, psychological, loyalty component to it: Be a man. Finish what you started.

Coaches preach it until they don’t and leave for the next best job overnight. A bit of hypocrisy at work there?

As for loyalty, you won’t find the following phrase written in large type on the portal: A school doesn’t have to renew the scholarship of any player who places his name in the portal.

I got news for you, Dennis.  A school doesn’t have to renew the scholarship of any player who doesn’t have a multi-year commitment, portal or no portal.

Smart, Georgia coach: “[The transfer issue is], ‘Where are you going to go to get developed the best?’ But that’s not the society we live in. We live in the, ‘Me, now, I want mine now. I want to go play right now.'”

Man, losing control really sucks.


UPDATE:  One further thought from Dodd’s piece that some might be overlooking…

Clay Helton, USC coach: “I’m hoping kids get educated on it. With it being new this year, I think it went over the top. … I’ve got to figure there will be a lot of people without homes.”

Although unofficial, that 247Sports transfer portal list shows approximately 400 of those 720 FBS players have yet to find a new school.

Herm Edwards, Arizona State coach: “It’s caught a lot of kids by surprise in the fact that a lot of guys don’t have scholarships. There’s a little bit now, ‘Whoa, what just happened?’ I think they assumed their name is in the portal, ‘I’ll get a scholarship somewhere else.’ The unintended consequence has hit them in the face.”

There’s a distinct possibility that some of this might be self-correcting, as it begins to sink in with kids pondering a portal decision that they might not be in as much demand as they think they are.

Of course, I pose that realizing that every year there seem to be more college juniors who think they’re destined for an NFL roster than it turns out.


Filed under Transfers Are For Coaches.

Kirby Smart, on stopping the RPO

Good three-minute clip here that’s worth your time.  In fact, it’s good enough that Tom Luginbill’s presence didn’t irritate me.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Filed under “that’s for me to know and him to find out”

Hmmm… this sounds vaguely ominous.

During a recent appearance on Atlanta-based radio station 680 The Fan, Smart was asked if he was aware of Florida’s trolling of Georgia.

“Yeah, I heard,” Smart replied.

As for a response, Georgia’s coach didn’t really want to go there.

“I’m really comfortable not talking about it,” Smart said when asked for his response.

My guess is that he’ll be really comfortable watching his team bludgeon the Gators in Jacksonville, too.

Again, trolling only works when you can back it up, Dan.  See, for example, the Evil Genius.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

“That has not always proven to be best for kids.”

Kirbs, at his disingenuous best:

Speaking on Sirius XM Radio Thursday, Smart did not hold back on his opinion of the transfer portal, which has seemingly created a new landscape in college football.

“I don’t know that it is right for college football,” Smart said. “It may be good on an individual basis. But when you give kids an easy way out sometimes, sometimes they take the path of least resistance. People can say ‘well, coach, you are free to go wherever you want to go,’ we also have a contract and they are free to fire us anytime they want. So they can fire us anytime they want as an assistant coach.”

You can deny renewing a scholarship to a kid, or simply letting him know he’s buried on the depth chart forever, anytime you want.  At least your contract has a buyout provision.  That student-athlete being tossed aside doesn’t even have that much.

“For a student-athlete, to say they should be able to go anywhere, I really believe if the kid graduates now, he should be able to go anywhere he wants to go,” Smart said. “I am even okay if the kid has been there three years because that probably means he has been there long enough realize I can or cannot play.

“But giving kids a way out when early on it’s tough, and the process is hard, that’s the biggest problem I have.”

Yeah, Smart at least is copacetic with graduate transfers (although you can cynically argue that’s because he’s been the beneficiary of those), so he’s not as rigid as others I could name.  But to pretend transfers are generally wrong because as a coach you know better than the kid does about what’s best for him despite the obvious conflict of interest is just another way of saying “best interest of the kid” = coach’s control.

Let’s remember what “giving kids a way out” means here.  If a student-athlete wants to leave a program, ultimately there’s nothing Smart or any other coach can do to prevent that.  All that’s being debated here is how much information should be available to a potential transferee about places that would take him in and whether he should be immediately eligible for financial assistance if he moves.  If you’re a coach objecting to that, well, there’s your real hard process.


Filed under Transfers Are For Coaches.

A few more thoughts on Georgia’s scheduling news

I wanted to unpack a couple more things from yesterday’s announcement about Georgia beefing up its future scheduling.  First, here’s how what we’ve had confirmed plays out:

2019: Notre Dame, at Georgia Tech

2020: vs. Virginia (in Atlanta), Georgia Tech

2021: at Georgia Tech

2022: vs. Oregon (in Atlanta), Georgia Tech

2023: at Georgia Tech, at Oklahoma (not official yet)

2024: vs. Clemson (in Atlanta), Georgia Tech

2025: at UCLA, at Georgia Tech

2026: UCLA, Georgia Tech

2027: at Florida State, at Georgia Tech

2028: Florida State, at Texas, Georgia Tech

2029: Texas, at Clemson, at Georgia Tech

2030: Clemson, at Georgia Tech

2031: Georgia Tech

2032: Clemson, at Georgia Tech

2033: at Clemson, Georgia Tech

Add in one more home game with Oklahoma, and that’s really something.

Now, I like to think I have a decent grasp of how Kirby’s football mind works, and while I have little reason to believe this wasn’t a primary consideration behind the push…

… I do not doubt for a moment that he offered this ($$) sincerely.

They also believe that in an era of dwindling attendance for weaker opponents, Georgia fans will respond well to strong home-and-home agreements. “We think that’s going to be the lay of the land,” Smart said. “The fan, what they’re asking for and what they’re paying for tickets, they want to see those kinds of games.”

This is, in all facets, one of those rare win-win-win situations, good for recruiting, for the fan base and for the box office.

It’s pretty obvious from these comments (as well as the few tepid remarks McGarity added), that Kirby is driving this particular train.  He deserves a ton of credit for getting B-M to abandon its knee-jerk approach to scheduling seven home games regardless of the number of cupcakes it takes to get there.  Raising the quality of the schedule is good for business, because at its heart, it’s a fan-friendly call.

Certainly there’s a greater risk of losing a game as a result, but Smart deserves credit for embracing that risk.

“We’re not running from Power 5s,” Smart said. “(The selection committee) has proven that later games in the year have more impact on who makes the Playoff, so if you can get a Power 5 team late in your schedule, I’m talking the last three or four weeks, you’ve got a chance to spike and send yourself into that conversation.”

It’s not exactly on point, but that strikes me as somewhat echoing the calculated move Bobby Bowden made with FSU’s “we’ll play anyone” scheduling approach early in his tenure in order to elevate the national perception of that program.  That canny decision worked as intended, and it’ll be interesting to see if this move pays similar dividends with the selection committee’s appraisal of Georgia in the coming years.

Mike Griffith makes this point with regard to another position Smart has taken:

Smart, a former All-SEC safety at Georgia himself, has been a proponent of a nine-game SEC schedule, too.

“I’ve always been in favor or a nine-game schedule, (but) it’s not my decision to make,” Smart said last October, asked his thoughts on adding another league game with respect to the fact that UGA made its first trip to LSU since 2008 and under the current model wouldn’t be in Baton Rouge again until 2030.

“I think it (would be) a good thing, but I think you will have teams with more losses,” Smart said. “Does it affect a team getting in the playoff? I don’t know, but I know you have a lot more games to get up for, a lot more good rivalry games.

“It’s not just about traveling, it’s just as much about the atmosphere of playing an SEC opponent, I think you are playing more comparable teams to your talent level, I think it’s important for college football.”

You’re preaching to the choir there, Kirby.

Of course, the difference is that upgrading the home-and-homes only takes McGarity’s consent; a nine-game conference schedule is a matter above McGarity’s paygrade.  (Yeah, yeah, keep your snarky comment to yourself here.)  But again, from a business standpoint, over the long-term it makes more sense because it gives the fans more product to be engaged with.  Will Georgia take a more public lead in getting the rest of the conference to change its mind?  It would sure beat the hell out of Michael Adams’ crusades.

Which brings me to what provided the most impetus for this post.  You may recall that Nick Saban has groused a good bit about students cutting out early from Alabama’s routine seal-clubbing of cupcakes.  While you might think that a schedule upgrade would be the most obvious way to fix some of that, apparently that’s not how they think in Tuscaloosa.  This is how they think.

An email sent Monday to every corner of the University of Alabama campus had Nick Saban’s fingerprints all over it.

The message from the school’s athletic department alerted students about their options for buying tickets, informing them of their eligibility for both full and split packages that included a select number of home games.

There was also a section outlining the prices — $20 for an SEC matchup and $15 for one of those rent-a-win affairs.

Then, at the very end, was a note describing a new initiative called “Tide Loyalty Points.”

“Through the Tide Loyalty Points program, students will earn points for attending home football games and for their support in the 4th quarter,” the email read. “Those points will contribute to students’ priority access to regular and postseason tickets.”

What a grim way to get kids — you know, the folks you hope will turn into future season ticket holders one day — to hang around long enough to satisfy the head coach.  That’s meant literally, by the way.

“Look, our players work too hard and they deserve to have everything and people supporting them in every way and have tremendous spirit for what they’ve done,” Saban said last fall. “And they might not be able to continue to do it and we’re going to work hard to continue that but there’s a part of it that other people need to support them, too. And there has to be a sprit that makes it special to play here because that’s what makes it special to be here. And it that’s not here, does it continue to be special to be here or not? That’s the question everybody has to ask and I’m asking it right now.”

Admittedly, I’ve done my share of mocking the way Kirby has tried to turn the fan base into a G-Day prop for recruiting, but he’s never pretended that the program is entitled to fan support in the way that Saban proposes.  When it comes to spending my money and my passion, if I’ve got to choose between a place that’s made a conscious decision to chase both by offering a higher level of entertainment in the competitive sense and a place that makes it an almost joyless obligation… well, that’s not really much of a choice.

I never thought I’d see the day when I could honestly say that the Georgia football program has approached something in a way more worthy of respect than Alabama has, but here we are.  At least in one area, the pupil has clearly surpassed the master.  Thanks, Kirby.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

Kirby’s presser

Something old.

Something new.

(Somebody’s been reading some Bill Connelly, it appears.)

Something borrowed (from PAWWWLLL!!!).

(Of course, he doesn’t say whether he has a relationship issue with anyone else in Tuscaloosa, so I guess we’ll await further news from Finebaum.)

Something blue.

I didn’t think it was possible, but Mr. Impose Your Will has managed to make Mike Bobo and Mike Leach spin simultaneously in their graves.  Rhetorically speaking, that is.


Filed under Georgia Football