Kirby Smart is asking “Why not Georgia?”
In a recent radio interview, Coach Smart posed a question that resonated in my ear. The question is one that many in the Bulldog Nation ask themselves all the time. When referencing the success he experienced as Alabama’s Defensive Coordinator, Smart asked the simple question: “Why not Georgia?”
It wasn’t what Kirby said, it was how he said it that stood out to me. Kirby, of course, meant the simple question as a statement.
However, for many Georgia faithful this would not have been a rhetorical question. During the past years many UGA fans have learned, discussed and written about the answers to the same simple question.
Why not Georgia? Because The University is too academically challenging for blue chip prospects.
Why not Georgia? Because the school’s drug policy is too strict.
Why not Georgia? Because our facilities are not on par with the rest of the conference.
Why not Georgia? Because we have failed to identify and develop talent at key positions.
To put it succinctly, the way Coach Smart asks the question means these answers are no longer valid. Smart has continuously asked “Why not Georgia,” in his fresh approach and benefitted from the energy and enthusiasm that his question creates in the 7 months since he became UGA’s 26th head football coach.
In fact, Smart’s “Why not Georgia” bravado has yielded recruiting momentum and enthusiasm never before seen in the Classic City. Smart’s outlook and leadership has turned the answers from 7 months ago into today’s poor excuses.
Why not Georgia? After all, The University of Georgia is one of the top ranked public universities in the nation. UGA’s 140 plus degree offerings mean that virtually every recruit that gets a coveted Georgia offer will have the opportunity to study what they want in one of America’s best schools.
Why not Georgia? After all, UGA’s drug policy makes it a leader in SEC and in college football. Yes, the policy is more strict than other schools, but that is because many of them are getting it wrong not a failure on UGA’s part.
Furthermore, while professional teams covet production at every position, they also value impact players who they can count on to take the field. UGA’s policy stands to benefit the student and the athlete side of the student-athlete equation.
Why not Georgia? After all, Georgia is currently building what Coach Smart has called a “first class facility,” in the new $30 million indoor practice complex.
AD Greg McGarity has pointed out that “We’re certainly not taking any shortcuts,” when speaking about facility upgrades. This work, along with the recently announced upgrades to Sanford Stadium, promises to put UGA on a level playing field with other powerhouse schools around the nation.
Why not Georgia? After all, Georgia now recruits depth and competition at every position. Just take a look at quarterback where 2016 5-star freshmen Jacob Eason will welcome the nation’s number 3 rated quarterback in Jake Fromm to campus is 2017. 2018’s top rated player, Trevor Lawrence, also has the Bulldogs on his short list of potential schools.
One thing is clear about the UGA quarterback position. The young man who takes the snaps in the fall will be talented, and he will have earned the spot through stiff competition at practice. Fans of the program can also conclude that if talent and competition are the hallmarks of Georgia’s most marquee position; then the same dynamics are at play all over the field.
The jury is still out on whether or not Kirby Smart is a good head football coach. We don’t know how well he will have his team prepared on Saturday afternoons. We don’t know anything about his ability to handle the clock or if he has that intangible but very real “feel for the game”. There is a great deal that we don’t know about a Kirby Smart coached football team, but there are a few things we have learned in these first few months of the Smart era.
Coach Smart has shown the Georgia fan base that he is a respected and well prepared to lead the program. If this were not the case; he could not have assembled such an outstanding staff.
Coach Smart has shown that he can recruit. He put together the No. 7 class in 2016 despite the transition and juggling two jobs. The 2017 class is looking like one of UGA’s best ever classes.
Finally, Coach Smart has united the Bulldog Nation by reminding us that “Why not Georgia?” is a question that shouldn’t seek answers or excuses. “Why not Georgia,” Should be asked with a bravado that signals to those who are listening that; “It’s our turn!”