Why Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is vague on offensive capacity, personality
ATHENS — Georgia football players are arriving back on campus in waves, medical screenings underway, with next Monday’s training within sight.
Coach Kirby Smart, however, won’t be present when the players go through their work outs.
Further, NCAA rules prevent him from monitoring the players’ workout results.
Smart and his staff will, however, have the ability to maintain 8 hours per week of contact via virtual meetings leading into the undetermined start of football drills.
“Experience is probably magnified in this season, this setting, more so than ever before,” Smart said when he met with media last week on a Zoom call.
“We have obviously been shortened in terms of spring practice, in terms of meetings, in terms of summer conditioning we are already being shortened,” he said. “So a lot of those things have shortened us, and we will have to be wise in the decisions we make.”
The offense figures to be significantly more limited — particularly at the onset of the season — than the defense.
This is because the defense returns nine of 11 starters from the Sugar Bowl starting lineup and 80 percent of the production from a 2019 unit that led the country in scoring defense and rushing defense.
The offense, meanwhile, is in complete reload mode.
Two-time 1,000-yard rusher D’Andre Swift has moved on along with go-to receiver Lawrence Cager and a pair of tight ends headed for NFL camps.
Further, three players were drafted off the offensive line, and of course three-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm is no longer the voice in the huddle
Todd Monken is the new offensive coordinator, and Matt Luke is the new offensive line coach and has heavy influence in the game-planning.
Smart prefers execution over complexity.
Once supervised practices take place, it will quickly become a matter of Smart and his assistants figuring out how much his players can handle.
“You can have too much offense, and too much defense, and too much special teams, and then you can have not enough,” Smart said. “Our jobs as coaches is to try to determine what that volume is.”
That’s complicated by the fact that four more freshmen receivers are arriving, along with a potential freshman impact player and graduate transfer tight end.
Of course, Georgia also recently added USC transfer QB JT Daniels, who’s expected to appeal for immediate eligibility.
Smart, with good reason, will go into fall drills with an open mind as to what the Bulldogs’ offense could look like — and the level of sophistication.
“To try to say have we said ‘ok, are we only going to put 50 percent in, we are only going to put 70 percent in, we are only going to put 90 percent in,’ I can’t say that,” Smart said. “That’s not where we are because we don’t even know the threshold or the capacity of some of our players.”
Especially when it hasn’t been determined who all the players are that will be on the field.
“We did not get to go through spring ball with necessarily some of the positions, especially on offense, of guys to see what they can handle,” Smart said. “We will find out what the NCAA and the SEC are going to allow us to do leading up to the season, because right now we do not know that.
“The more they give us time wise, the more we will be able to do. The less they give us the less we will probably be able to do, but that is not something we have decided right now.”
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