Tag Archives: Kirby Smart

Things Kirby and Saban hate, from someone who ought to know

Don’t know how I missed this clip before, but it’s Mike Bobo talking about what Alabama and Georgia were up to on the opening series of the national championship game.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Play to play

While I give Kirby credit for being on the side of the angels when it comes to graduate transfers, let’s not pretend he’s entirely selfless.  He’s a head coach, after all.  He’s paid big bucks to win, which in the SEC means fielding the best roster he can assemble.  So when a somewhat obscure walk-on, third-string quarterback who’s never taken a live game snap announces his departure from the program, leaving a gaping hole in scout team preparation for this season, you can’t blame Kirby for doing a Saban-esque reflection on what that says about human nature.

Smart, attending this year’s SEC spring meetings in Florida, said much of the movement among college quarterbacks stems from what he sees as a learned impatience at the high school level. Smart said he has observed quarterbacks’ families searching for high schools for their sons to play for as freshmen and sophomores. When that sort of immediate playing time doesn’t materialize in college, those players are leaving earlier than maybe they would a decade or longer ago.

“They’re positioning from eighth grade to ninth grade, ‘Where can I be the quarterback in ninth grade at this high school program?’ ” Smart said. “And when they go shopping and searching, they find a place they can go. A lot of them start for three or four years (in high school), where it used to not be that way. It’s now trickling up to us.”

… But the fact that Georgia won’t go three deep on scholarship at quarterback is a bit baffling to Smart.

“That’s crazy to me you’re not going to have that,” Smart said. “It’s a me-now society. They want the self-gratification. They want to know they’re going to be able to play. It’s different than any other position on the team. Every other position on the team, other than maybe kicker, they know they can have another role.”

Kind of like how coaches stay forever at the places they get hired at.

It’s a shame Kirby has to deal with so much self-gratification.  Obviously, this is what every parent wants to hear:

“I’d argue if you were the parent of a quarterback that you would say, you know what, where is my son going to get the best development? Where is he going to get the best reps, where is he going to learn to play the quarterback position like it is in the NFL, not necessarily play first. Where is he going to learn to play the position, sit in the meeting room where they teach you protections and the things they are going to learn at the next level,” Smart said. “They don’t draft you at the next level just based on your play performance, they want to see what system you played in, where you played, and did you grow as a quarterback. They want to know have you learned? But it’s tough keeping them around. They want to go where they can play right away.”

The selling doesn’t stop there.

“You’ve got to sell it to them that it’s about the team. It can’t be just about you, even though there is a me generation, a me society,” Smart said. “I think sometimes when you explain it to them, this is what’s best for you, then you can help them understand what you’re doing what you’re doing.”

I bet it’s news to Stetson and his parents that he’s throwing away his big shot at playing in the NFL one day.

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Filed under Georgia Football

It never hurts to ask.

I’m not sure what it is about the SEC spring meetings, but they sure seem to bring out the snark.

He’ll be here all week, folks.  Try the veal!

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Filed under Georgia Football

The honorable Kirby Smart

You know, for someone who was accused of doing obscene things to his old boss on the recruiting trail with a whiteboard, Kirby Smart sure played things above board when it came to offering Maurice Smith a chance to play in Athens as a graduate transfer from Alabama.

TRO: Given that great experience, what was the reason for wanting one more stop before your college career ended?

Smith: I saw it an opportunity when coach Smart and coach Tucker told the team they were about to leave and go to Georgia. I had never received an offer from them — it was one of the few schools who never offered me. Once coach Smart told me, I wanted to make the move and transition…

TRO: Did coach Smart (Alabama defensive coordinator) or coach Tucker (Alabama defensive backs coach) let you know before they took their jobs with Georgia that they may be moving, and that there would be interest in bringing you along if they did move? 

Smith: Honestly, it sounds funny, but we never even spoke about it. My relationship with coach Smart at ‘Bama was not what it could have been — it was not that strong or close. He recruited me out of high school, but once I was there a couple of things happened and went the route they did just because of him. It wasn’t like I didn’t like him or anything like that. I just didn’t understand what was going on.

Before the National Title game, we knew he was leaving, but he never spoke about it. Obviously, there were the little things: “You do what you do, and you will have success”. That kind of thing. But in terms of a conversation about me following him, that never crossed our minds.

The funny thing is, before the National Championship, once they both knew they were leaving, I kind of knew that we would end up crossing paths, but I never thought it would be in college. Georgia wasn’t even my first choice!

I was actually interested in a couple of other schools. One day my mom came up to me and was like “what would you think about going to Georgia?” And I was like “I dunno”. I wasn’t too fond of it: they hadn’t recruited me; I hadn’t been; I didn’t have a close relationship with coach Smart. I ended up speaking with coach Tucker, he had been one of my favorite defensive backs coaches. Once that happened, I thought about doing it and took a visit. After that it took off from there.

That’s about as straight up as it gets.  Not that there weren’t a few assholes involved in the story.  It’s just that all of them were located in Tuscaloosa.

TRO: Walk us through your transfer process?

Smith: Well, to start, I remember it was after the spring game — a couple of weeks after — I had ongoing thoughts about maybe I should explore different options. That’s what I ended up doing.

I went into coach Saban’s office and told him I wanted to look into other schools. He was like “what do you mean? Transfer?” I told him no, I just wanted to look at options. He didn’t take that lightly; he didn’t know my motive. He kind of went into tank mode, in the sense that he was asking the staff “why is Mo trying to leave?”

I never told anyone I wanted to leave, just that I wanted to explore options. I forget what it’s called, but I was trying to get the release so that I could speak to schools or something like that. That’s when it went south real quick. I was kind of surprised. I didn’t know where the madness or confusion had come from, because I hadn’t asked for a transfer.

The practices went on, and next thing I know things went even more south: coach Saban is telling me I’m not able to come into the facility or workout with the team if I’m going to leave.

Once that happened, things got real ugly.

And that was a week before he even thought about transferring to Georgia.  Nice.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

Filed away for future reference

Never interrupt a man in the middle of his golf game.

So much for putting that game behind him.

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Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football

Georgia Way, meet Jimmy Sexton.

It sounds like Kirby’s about to make bank today.  I bet there’s been a fair amount of blinking over the dollar amount, but resistance is futile.

What’s your best guess on where his new salary winds up?  It should be the result of what you get when you whip earlier-than-expected results, the ego-driven need to prove to recruits and competitors that your program is serious about winning and (of course) Sexton’s unparalleled ability to manipulate athletic directors together into one heady sauce.  Stay tuned.

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UPDATE:  If you had $7 million a year in the Kirby Smart salary pool, congrats.

That’s gonna be one mother of a buyout.  Hope they never need to pay it.

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UPDATE #2:  The new normal.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

From Richt to Smart to Chubb

I’m not sure if this makes me a Richtophobe or a Richtophile, but Nick Chubb’s comparison of his two head football coaches leaves as many questions for me as answers.

From Richt, he learned how to set priorities, and that “being a great man is more important” than being a great football player.

“He definitely was a strong man of faith,” Chubb said. “That rubbed off on us, how he approached every day and lived his life. Definitely a great man to look up to.”

But the culture under Richt — at least near the end of his tenure — was apparently not conducive to strong leadership among players. Chubb said the biggest difference with Smart was that he lets the team leaders call the shots.

“It was just more of a player-led team,” Chubb said. “Guys were finally fed up with losing so we kinda just took it over ourselves. Coach Smart was there and supported us and kind of led us in the right direction with doing that.”

Those leadership moments included calling players-only meetings and taking control at practices, per Chubb.

“Coaches didn’t have to get on anybody,” he said. “We’d get on them ourselves and hold everybody accountable.”

So Richt was a figure of admiration, but didn’t inspire the players to lead themselves, while Smart, who’s a notorious control freak (and in this context, I mean that as a compliment), let team leaders call the shots.  Um, sure.  There’s no doubt Smart got better results out of this team than late vintage Richt did, but I’m having a hard time seeing the grounds for it in Chubb’s explanation.  What am I missing here?

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Filed under Georgia Football