Tag Archives: Kirby Smart

Closer than you think

Once more, if you don’t have a subscription to The Athletic it’s a shame, because Seth Emerson’s piece on Mark Richt and Kirby Smart ($$) is definitely worth reading.

“I’ve always had a greater purpose in coaching than trying to get a raise or trying to win a championship or coach a Heisman Trophy winner,” Richt said. “I mean I’ve been blessed to win championships, coach Heisman winners, All-Americans, national championships, ACC championships. I know we didn’t do that at Georgia as a national champion. But you know, I experienced all that. And if that’s all there is at the end, it’s empty unless you help these guys.

“And that’s what people misunderstand sometimes: I’m highly motivated to win the national championship. But just because I care about them beyond football they think, ‘Oh he’s more worried about that than he is winning.’ No, that’s not true at all. Not true at all. I want to win, and we’re gonna do the best we can to try to win. But I feel like we truly are educators and we truly have a responsibility to help these guys.”

I get the people who are angry about Richt’s legacy because they feel personally cheated by the program’s lack of ultimate accomplishments.  What I don’t get is the bitter armchair psychoanalysis of Richt’s character from people who have never met the man.

By the way, there’s some very good stuff in there about Smart, too.  All in all, a great read.



Filed under Georgia Football

Is it in their heads?

Jeez, the folks at Roll Bama Roll are borderline obsessed with Kirby’s recruiting.


The silence was broken and Clay Webb from Oxford, AL made his commitment to Georgia this past weekend. He has a great future in the CIA if he wants to take that route. Somehow the press never put two and two together and figured out that this 5-star offensive lineman had deep roots in Athens, GA.

From Friday’s JP:

Clay’s mother Dana, a phys ed teacher at Oxford High where Clay attends, is from the metro Atlanta area and the bulk of her family still lives there. Her sister lives in Athens and both she and her husband graduated from Georgia.

I am not sure how or why this all became a state secret but we at RBR have been speculating that it was more Kirby shenanigans. Our theory goes that Webb wanted to commit to UGA but their staff asked him to keep it quiet so Kirby could build his recuitment up and make it looked like he snatched Webb away from Saban’s clutches at the last second and that they were building some kind of momentum.

“Webb Of Deceit” — get it?  Haw, haw.

Dude, Georgia’s second in the Sports247 Composite right now.  The momentum was built long before Webb committed.

And first is ‘Bama.  Why are you guys fretting, anyway?


Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Recruiting

Are we having fun yet?

Two big wins, a study in contrasts…

Somebody needs to enjoy themselves a little more.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

Kirby gets jiggy.

Tell me this game doesn’t mean a lot.

I don’t think those moves were imported from Tuscaloosa.


Filed under Georgia Football

So much for the everybody knows it was Saban’s defense narrative.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that Kirby gave a coaching lecture at the Texas High School Coaches Association Convention..

If you’re looking for a remarkably deep dive into what he had to say, click here (h/t Chris Brown) and strap it on.

Smart’s lecture was broken into several parts: 1) the evolution of his defensive scheme; 2) winning 3rd down; 3) TFL study (how to get more of them); and finally 4) a question and answer session. What I really enjoyed about Coach Smart was the fact he was willing to admit he needed to change. Many coaches, especially at his level, can get comfortable after a lot of success, but that breeds complacency. He had several comments on how he needed to adjust his defense to what they were seeing and encouraged everyone to go and visit people to gain new ideas and insight on their particular scheme. Don’t be a dinosaur – adapt or die!

That’s Smart’s overall philosophy in a nutshell, but if you’re looking for specifics, here you go:

Most know that Saban and his proteges base out of his Match 3 coverage Rip/Liz scheme, but Smart has discovered that you have to adjust not only the overhangs (Saban likes his outside leverage) but also how the CF safety plays (MOF). I’m assuming a lot of this change came after he went and met with current Texas DC Todd Orland when he was at Houston. This wanting to adapt came after Ohio State scored 42 points and beat Alabama in the 2015 Sugar Bowl. Tome Herman, former Houston HC and now Texas HC, was the OC for the Buckeyes at the time. Interesting stuff.

  • Smart is moving away from the DEEP middle third safety (unless D&D calls for it)
  • The “High Safety” (FS) now plays the RPO (think like a high low hole player -Quarters guys should be familiar with “robber,” and if you are in Big 12 country the 3-safety Dime).
  • The safety sits at 10 yds and is like a “High Rat” or robber player reading the QB. He will take the inside RPO to let the LBs fit run. Think of it as a funnel. The overhangs are outside leverage and funneling everything to the safety who is sitting at 10 yards reading the QB.

This is an interesting idea because it allows your ILBs to be late. Smart referred to it as similar to Tampa (think an inverted Tampa). The way I see it, it is like what the Big 12 teams are doing with their 3-safety (Dime) looks, but from a Sabanistic perspective (Rip/Liz). I love the way he adjusted the scheme to fit what he knows.

Notice the references there to what Big 12 defenses are doing.  Looks like Kirby may already be a step ahead of Lincoln Riley’s perception of Georgia’s defense.

Because of the way he was aligning his Ni, Spread teams could force his hand and get what they wanted. He noticed a lot of teams were going FIB and dictating where the Ni was depending on his front. If Smart had his 4-down unit in, teams knew the Ni was going to the passing strength, so they played relatively normal. When he would go 3-down, the Ni would now go to the field no matter what and he was getting a heavy dose of FIB. If he tried to leave a hybrid package on the field and switch from 4 to 3-down, but teams would tempo to get him to play “Palms Up Defense” because his verbiage was too long.  This changed the way he thought about his defense: 1) he needed to cut verbiage and 2) he needed basic rules for alignment – the Ni always goes to strength.

  • The Change:
    • Smart figured he must be able to line up versus tempo
      • Eventually switched to pass strength in every package (alignment)
      • Started using one-word calls
    • He tried to devise ways to keep alignments consistent even when switching packages
    • Simulate tempo in practice
      • “Fastball” starts versus formations – this is like a pursuit drill:
        • Team aligns to a formation
        • The ball is snapped and thrown to a spot on the field
        • The team runs to the ball. The whistle is blown and they must get lined back up
        • Repeat with a different formation (x4)
        • He would add scouts and work leverage on the ball versus screens and “pop” or snag routes
    • Don’t line up and play “vanilla.”
    • Design a field/boundary and match-up defense. This allows you to give different looks and the players know where to go instantly by the call.

I hope nobody tells Todd Grantham about this.

There’s plenty more there and you should read it all if you’re interested in learning more about what goes into designing the Georgia defense.

If you want more of a tl;dr analysis, Ian Boyd’s got you covered.

If Georgia winds up not missing Roquan too much this season, Kirby ought to be coach of the year.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

Some good stuff here:

Kirby Smart needed outside help.

Alabama’s defense had just been shredded for 42 points and 537 yards in the Sugar Bowl by the eventual national champion Ohio State Buckeyes. A defense that had been top 5 in yards allowed per game six years in a row finished 12th nationally. A unit full of future NFL Draft picks looked a step slow, finishing 59th in pass defense.

So Smart, then Alabama’s defensive coordinator, gave Tom Herman a call.

“You talk about evolution and adjusting to the competition, for us that meant talking to coach Herman,” Smart, now the head coach at Georgia, said during a coaching lecture at the Texas High School Coaches Association Convention. “We said, ‘Give us everything you got. Help us, be honest. Tell us where we stink.’”

They “stunk” where they weren’t supposed to stink.

That meant facing a fact – Alabama was built to stop a thing of the past.

“We’re built for big, physical, eight or nine in the box. How are you going to stop the run?” Smart said. “That’s a dinosaur.”

Smart’s lecture began with a chart of Alabama’s starting lineup during the 2009 national championship game. Featured prominently were nose tackle Terrence Cody (365 pounds) and inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower (260 pounds). Smart flashed to another slide displaying his 2017 equivalents to that All-American pair, John Atkins (305 pounds) and Roquan Smith (225 pounds).

The dinosaur age of Smart’s defense involved stopping 21 personnel and two-back sets. That’s what Hightower and Cody were built for. In the age of three and four-wide sets, Atkins and Smith represented an evolution. The recruiting prototype changed for Smart changed from big run stuffers to more agile prospects capable of running in space.

I would have loved to have seen Kirby’s reaction when he first realized what he had in Roquan Smith.

Anyway, read the whole thing.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Rock me on the water.

Needless to say, there’s been plenty of angst in certain corners of Dawgnation in reaction to Jack Jake Fromm’s summer injuries, enough that beat writers have felt compelled to write stories reminding us that there’s no rule student-athletes have to be bubble wrapped during the offseason.

Appearing at former NFL head coach Bruce Arians’ Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic at Lake Oconee, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said what Fromm did during his offseason isn’t much different than what he did when he was in college. Therefore, there isn’t any blame to be passed around, especially for an injury that isn’t a big deal.

“We do what we do as kids,” Smart said. “I did the same thing when I was playing. A lot of people do that. I don’t think you live your life scared and worried about that. You want to be safe, you want to take precaution, but you don’t want things like that to control your lifestyle.”

A nice, measured response there from Kirby.  Also from Kirby:

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Georgia’s head coach was trolling some folks.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple