ATHENS — Bob Stoops didn’t just stop by and watch Georgia football practice on Monday. The now-retired Oklahoma coach was asked to speak to the team.
What did he tell the Bulldogs?
“He said that the best teams that he’s been a part of, they got better as the season goes on,” Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship said.
That would be quite an accomplishment for Georgia (5-0), which has risen to a No. 5 national ranking and has out-scored opponents 165-46 so far this season.
But it’s also a necessity if Georgia wants to truly have a great season, as the schedule is backloaded. Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech still await, as do possible trap games, including Georgia’s visit Saturday to Vanderbilt (3-2.)
“The biggest thing is the wind blows higher at the top,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said when asked what Stoops’ main message to the team was Monday night. “And as you’re climbing a mountain it gets steeper and steeper. You can’t let the outside world affect or control the outcome of your season. You’ve got to control that with the leadership on the team. That comes from working each day.”
Smart, who described Stoops as a “good friend,” invited him to speak at practice and to speak to the team. Stoops was in town to speak to the Athens Touchdown Club on Monday night, after speaking in Atlanta earlier in the day.
Stoops retired over the summer after nearly two decades as Oklahoma’s coach. Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator for Steve Spurrier at Florida.
“I do think most of our players know about Bob Stoops and his track record,” Smart said. “He’s had recent success. I think our players acknowledge that and know that he’s had experienced, elite teams that have had great seasons and won championships. He’s been a part of the SEC before. I think anytime you have a chance to have another message, another voice to your team, it carries value. They certainly listen when you have people like that come from outside in to speak.”