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Georgia football coach Kirby Smart in the third-longest tenured coach in the SEC entering his sixth season as the Bulldogs' head coach.

3 burning Georgia football questions; Kirby Smart’s approach to change

ATHENS — The whirlwind of transactions with players coming and going and now staff turnover underway might seem like it could be overwhelming, but for Kirby Smart, it’s another day at the office.

In fact, it’s part of the plan.

“I don’t think you ever arrive,” Smart said following the 2018 season when he was pressed to replace both his offensive and defensive coordinators. “I could be sitting here in Year 10 and there’s still got to be growth. If you don’t grow then what are you doing, why are you doing this profession?

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“I challenge our guys to do the same thing, our staff. If you are sitting here doing the same thing you did last year, then we’re not going anywhere, because other people around us are changing and developing and getting better. If we’re not doing that, then we are going to get passed by.”

Georgia won its third straight SEC East Division title in 2019 with first-year coordinators at the helm, and Smart found a way for another Top 10 finish this season despite a quarterback quandary like no other and an injury-riddled defense.

Smart’s ability to quickly replace Sam Pittman with Matt Luke was impressive, as was the Bulldogs’ ability to secure not one, but two, top quarterback transfer prospects in one offseason.

Hiring Scott Cochran away from Alabama was a boost that will not be fully realized until this offseason, as the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the energetic Cochran from working his harmonic magic.

Still, there are challenges and major questions for every program to answer each offseason, and as Smart said, he recognizes it as part of the process.

Here are 3 burning questions entering the offseason

1. How hot is the hiring pool?

Georgia is an attractive place for assistants to come work, especially when one considers that three former Smart assistants have since become head coaches (Mel Tucker, Sam Pittman, Shane Beamer), and two others have moved up directly into defensive coordinator roles, most recently secondary coach Charlton Warren.

Former UGA athletic director Greg McGarity made it clear in past instances that fielding a competitive salary would not be a problem for the Bulldogs in the hiring process, and new AD Josh Brooks has expressed the same mindset when it comes to helping his head coaches do their jobs and get the things they need.

There are plenty of names in the rumor mill, some more realistic than others, as UGA looks for a proven, energetic coach that can teach championship technique and relate to players.

Smart has often hired assistants who have worked with or around him in the earlier stages of his career, leading to an intriguing list of names.

2. Transfers in?

Former Georgia recruiting target and LSU star tight end Arik Gilbert is a popular name in the transfer portal, but with classes underway in Athens Gilbert’s status remains in flux.

RELATED: Why Georgia could make sense for Arik Gilbert’s career path

The NCAA Division I Council, which plays a determining role in how NCAA sports are governed, made the decision to indefinitely delay votes on name-image-likeness (NIL) and one-time transfer legislation last week.

That action has made some transfers pause, as they await a more clear picture of how their appeals for immediate eligibility might play out.

That appears to be one consideration for Gilbert, who was considering the Bulldogs among other schools.

Georgia is also on the hunt for defensive backs via graduate transfer status, junior colleges, and, in some cases, the transfer portal.

It could be a case where the Bulldogs add more players after spring drills, as was the case with recent transfers Lawrence Cager, Eli Wolf and Tre’ McKitty.

3. Who’s out?

The Georgia football roster has not yet been updated online and has been fluid to say the least, as DawgNation has worked to keep up with via our ever-changing transaction post.

By one “unofficial” count, there are currently 82 players on scholarship who are enrolled in the program. And, by “unofficial” that means there could be more roster turnover that has taken place but not yet been made official.

Georgia is expected to add at least eight or nine more players to the roster before next season, meaning that more attrition from the list below is a certainty.

The big question: Who’s out?

RS Senior (2)

WR Demetris Robertson

DT Julian Rochester

Senior (2)

OG Justin Shaffer

DT Devonte Wyatt

RS Junior  (5)

QB Stetson Bennett

OLB Robert Beal

STAR William Poole

CB Ameer Speed

S Latavious Brini

Junior (8)

RB James Cook

OL Jamaree Salyer

NT Jordan Davis

OLB Adam Anderson

MLB Channing Tindall

MLB Quay Walker

S Chris Smith

P Jake Camarda

RS Sophomore (7)

QB JT Daniels

RB Zamir White

TE John FitzPatrick

WR Kearis Jackson

OT Owen Condon

OG Warren Ericson

DE Tramel Walthour

Sophomore (8)

RB Kenny McIntosh

WR George Pickens

WR Dominick Blaylock

DE Travon Walker

OLB Nolan Smith

MLB Nakobe Dean

MLB Trezmen Marshall

S Lewis Cine

RS Freshman (9)

TE Ryland Goede

TE Brett Seither

OT Xavier Truss

OT Warren McClendon

C Clay Webb

NT Tymon Mitchell

DT Bill Norton

DT Zion Logue

MLB Rian Davis

Freshman (25)

QB Carson Beck

RB Kendall Milton

RB Daijun Edwards

TE Darnell Washington

WR Marcus Rosemy

WR Jermaine Burton

WR Arian Smith

WR Justin Robinson

WR Ladd McConkey

OT Broderick Jones

OT Tate Ratledge

OT Chad Lindberg

OT Austin Blaske

OG Devon Willock

C Sedrick Van Pran

C Cameron Kinnie

DT Jalen Carter

DT Warren Brinson

DT Nazir Stackhouse

OLB Mekhail Sherman

CB Jalen Kimber

CB Daran Branch

CB Kelee Ringo

S Major Burns

K Jared Zirkel

EARLY ENROLLEES (16)

OT Amarius Mims

QB Brock Vandagriff

OLB Xavian Sorey

OLB Smael Mondon

OT Micah Morris

CB Nyland Green

SS David Daniel

TE Brock Bowers

RB Lovasea Carroll

DT Jonathan Jefferson

DT Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins

OLB Chaz Chambliss

WR Adonai Mitchell

DT Marlin Dean

CB Javon Bullard

WR Jackson Meeks

NOT YET ENROLLED (4)

OG Dylan Fairchild

ILB Jamon Dumas-Johnson

CB Kamari Lassiter

OG Jared Wilson

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