ATHENS — There’s a saying around Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall that “Kirby is everywhere, and he hears about everything.”
It’s a reference to how Georgia football coach Kirby Smart makes it a point to know everything going on in and around his football business. By most indications, it’s not much — if any — of an exaggeration.
And now Smart figures to hear, see and know even more once practices resume, as hard as that might be to imagine.
Smart revealed he plans to incorporate the new technology he has learned amid these trying quarantine times of the coronavirus pandemic into his routine as the Bulldogs’ leader.
“Maybe you’re finding a better way to do something you should have been doing all along,” Smart said on Bulldogs’ Game Day this week. “Definitely innovative, technological ways that maybe coaches weren’t comfortable with (before).”
There are limits, which Alabama coach Nick Saban has often tested with innovation that pushes the bounds of what’s covered by the NCAA. Its a governing body headed by the man who once helped hire Saban at LSU, Mark Emmert.
Programs are allowed to provide workouts for players to do at home during this unprecedented sports break. Coaches are allowed two hours of video “chalk talk” instruction per week.
But coaches aren’t allowed to supervise workouts. That brings into question Alabama distributing Apple watches to its player where workout data can be recorded and sent back to the school, per a recent Yahoo report.
There are a lot of particulars within the interpretation of the current NCAA rule, and what can or can’t be proven in terms of what constitutes supervision and by whom.
Smart’s application of technology, however, makes no attempt to skirt the boundaries of NCAA rules. Instead, Smart looks to make his program more efficient by increasing his ability to multitask.
“I can sit in on a defensive meeting, listen in on an offensive meeting, and still have something up in my office watching tape,” Smart said. “So it’s very unique, and you’re able to see more things at once, and that’s been a learning curve.”
Indeed, Smart disclosed earlier in the week how he’s using his time to maximize program development.
“It’s not overcoming as much as it is making the best out of it you can,” Smart said of the limitations that have come with social distancing.
“We’re trying to visit with more staffs, it’s been really unique because professional development is a big part of football so you want to see what other people are doing and visit with other people,” Smart said. “I’ve actually found that we’ve had it wrong all along. We were flying to go see USC or we would go visit another program whether it be Miami … and learn football and learn what they’re doing.
“Well now, we’re able to visit everybody just by way of Zoom. We’ve probably averaged 3-4 NFL teams, a couple colleges per day just going in the afternoons after we do the work that we need to do. That’s been unique for me and I’m able to sit in because I’ve got a laptop. I’ve got a phone, you can be in the 2-3 different Zooms at once kinda watching what’s going on.”
When Smart isn’t “everywhere,” be that listening in on staff meetings, or using videoconference apps to sharpen football knowledge, he’s maximizing time at home.
“You don’t take that for granted in the profession I’m in, sometimes you don’t get this kind of time, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back,” Smart said.
“So I’m trying to be as optimistic and positive as I can and enjoy that time with our family while we pray for others and pray for those at the front line of this thing fighting the fight, day in and day out.”
Kirby Smart WSB Bulldogs Game Day
ICYMI: @KirbySmartUGA talked with us about adjusting to a unique off-season and the quality family time he’s gotten the last few weeks!
— Bulldogs Game Day (@WSBbulldogs) April 5, 2020
DawgNation Kirby Smart offseason stories
— MikeGriffith32 (@MikeGriffith32) April 5, 2020