Kirby Smart: Georgia football prioritizes consistency of championship-level play

12/4/21 - Atlanta - Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart takes the field for the SEC Championship football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Curtis Compton /

ATHENS — Georgia fans who have been around long enough know that Kirby Smart doesn’t take kindly to football advice and doesn’t always heed conventional wisdom.

When you’re 46 years old with five national championship rings — including one as head coach at your current school — self-assurance should not be an issue.

So it was that Smart rejected a popular notion that winning a second national championship is more difficult for a program than winning its first.

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“A guy came up to me the other day, a fan, and they were talking about how they were so proud and read books where once you get that first one, that second one was really hard to get to,” Smart said on his SEC Network Sirius XM interview last week in Destin, Fla.

“They’re all hard. What are we talking about here? It’s not easy. If it was easy, everybody would have one, so they are not easily attainable.”

And as for that second national championship Georgia seeks, Smart’s not about to make things any harder on himself or his program with a less-than-ideal mindset.

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“I don’t know what the future holds, I do know we’re going to work really hard and do things the right way to put ourselves in a situation to be successful,” Smart said.

“We’ve finished Top 7 five straight years, nobody else can say that,” He said. " So we’ve been in the batting order, we’ve been at the plate, we’ve been around it, we just haven’t been able to conquer it until this year.”

Smart has indicated the 2017 and 2018 teams were championship quality but didn’t necessarily get the necessary breaks.

The 2018 team, for example, was one of the nation’s four best teams but had two losses and was left out of the College Football Playoff.

“So now, we want to continue that consistency,” Smart said. “I want people to look back and say, ‘golly, they had really good, consistent classes in recruiting and consistent performances on the field.”

To that point, UGA is on the verge of being a preseason Top 5 ranked team for a fifth-straight year -- none of Vince Dooley’s great Georgia teams were ranked in the preseason Top 5 and did not carry the same sort of national expectations.

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“You do that (win) enough, you’ll hit the right rhythm with guys,” Smart said, “whether it’s leadership, skill players, defense, whatever, to win one (championship).”

Mike Griffith has covered the SEC for 25 years, follow him on Twitter @MikeGriffith32

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