ATHENS — Kirby Smart says he’s like everyone else, “trying to figure out what the new normal is” amid the sports stoppage triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The fifth-year Georgia football coach can’t be on the field with his players, but he’s doing everything he can to look out for them.
“The number one thing we do is try to worry about the well-being of our players and making sure their families are ok,” Smart said on Tuesday, speaking on 680 AM and a teleconference. “We’ve tried to encourage them through conversation and talking to them and spending time with them over the phone.
“The biggest thing is control what you can control, take care of your own health first.”
Smart and the Bulldogs were scheduled to be taking the field for their seventh practice on Tuesday.
Instead, daily staff meetings are being held via video conference. Players are allowed two hours per week of videoconference calls with their coaches for “chalk-talk” related football instruction.
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“It’s an adjustment for everybody out there,” Smart said.
The NCAA canceled the spring sports practices, seasons and championships on March 12 amid the coronavirus pandemic. The SEC has suspended all on-campus activity.
Georgia, most recently ranked No. 3 in USA Today’s preseason rankings behind Clemson and Ohio State, is scheduled to open the season on Monday, Sept. 7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Virginia.
Georgia returns nine starters from defense and five off the offense that took the field against Baylor in the Sugar Bowl.
“It’s been a different three or four weeks than I’ve ever experienced,” Smart said on a teleconference on Tuesday. “I can’t speculate on what I don’t know. We don’t know a lot about the future and what that holds, so I’m not gonna sit back and say this is what I think should happen.
“The number one thing is the well-being of our players,” Smart said. “We’re trying everything we can to make sure they have everything they need.”
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