ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart isn’t about to get caught up in expectations.
The former Bulldogs’ safety and Nick Saban protege has far too much experience and perspective to fall into those sort of trappings entering his third season leading Georgia.
“Every team is independent of the previous, so the challenge for us is not necessarily to measure this year’s team based on last year’s team,” Smart explained last month at SEC Media Days.
“We look at it as potential versus effectiveness — what is our potential, which is dormant ability, or, our effectiveness, which is what we get out of our players,” Smart said. “This year will be measured by how effective we are tactically, mentally, physically. We have to do the best job we’ve ever done preparing this group for that.”
Georgia football focus
No doubt, because while Smart can and will control his team in the locker room and on the field, there will be more touch points for the players where they will be subjected to the pressure of repeating as SEC Champions.
Junior J.R. Reed presented one of the more healthy approaches when he said the SEC Championship didn’t mean anything without a national title.
That mentality encourages a sense of urgency for Georgia football to realize its window of opportunity in 2018, as opposed to becoming complacent with the step taken in 2017.
Smart said the staff will keep a close eye on attitude throughout fall camp.
“You just look at it and say, ‘Are we paying attention, what’s the attention to detail,’ “ Smart said. “The intensity of your coaching staff has an effect on that.
“Our attention to that as a staff will me more critical this year, because it’s human nature to relax, and the last thing we need to do is relax.”
Coaches step up
Smart said he expects the best from his players in fall camp, but he continued to emphasize the role the coaches must play if the Bulldogs are to remain national title contenders.
“We drive them by how we prepare them, what we do with them,” Smart said, “and then the challenge is getting he younger players to develop into the leaders we had last year.”
Pressure is a privilege for the Bulldogs football team this season, Smart famously said earlier this offseason, coining an early buzzphrase for the 2018 season.
From now until the Sept. 1 opening game, Georgia football will have to embrace the pressure and prepare for the privilege of another championship run.