Kirby Smart-Georgia football-talent
091121 Athens: Georgia head coach Kirby Smart watches game action against UAB with his coaching staff from the sidelines during the second half in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept 11, 2021, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Kirby Smart doesn’t really care what you think about his team’s talent level

Welcome to Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Kirby Smart doesn’t care about Georgia football talent level perception

Shane Beamer isn’t the first coach to say it. He probably won’t be the last. He may have been trying to compliment the team Kirby Smart put together for the 2021 season.

But given Georgia’s history, praising its talent level isn’t always seen as a positive. If anything, it’s often used to question why the Bulldogs haven’t won more.

“(He) may have, probably does have, the most talented football team in the history of Georgia football, and that’s not an embellishment,” Beamer said Tuesday. “From top to bottom, the 11 that start on 11 and 11 that start on defense, all of their special teams units, the depth that they have, the size, the physicality, the speed.”

Related: Georgia an uncomfortable heavy favorite over South Carolina

Gus Malzahn made similar comments ahead of last season’s Georgia-Auburn game. Those comments came back to bite Malzahn as his team lost 27-6 to the Bulldogs.

Smart was asked about Beamer’s comments on Wednesday’s SEC teleconference. His response can best be described as prickly.

“I haven’t paid attention to him. He’s not the first to say that,” Smart said. “They say that every year so it’s always nice for those guys to be able to say that when they are saying that about the next team they play too.”

Smart reiterated again this week how important accumulating talent is for a college football program. Smart has always excelled as a recruiter. That’s only continued in his time as the head coach at Georgia.

And even in a transfer portal era, he still prefers to pull most of his talent from the high school ranks.

“It’s the number one, you know attribute to having success is getting good players,” Smart said. “You got to develop them, you got to make sure they go to class and do their academics and they develop as a player, but number one thing you can do is be able to sign players and we’ve got a tremendous recruiting staff.”

Smart though recognizes the neccessaitty of the transfer portal. It’s why he pulled JT Daniels, Tykee Smith, Derion Kendrick and Arik Gilbert from it in the last two seasons. All were thought to be major contributors for this Georgia team. Due to injuries though, only Kendrick has played in both games so far.

The Bulldogs have so much overwhelming talent, it hasn’t mattered to this point. Georgia still had enough quality depth to handle a rash of injuries in August and beat Clemson to open the season.

Per the 247Sports Team Composite rankings, Georgia ranks No. 2 in 2021 in total team talent with 1001 points. That’s actually a higher point total than the 2020 team that ranked first in the country in the metric. Alabama, which had six first-round picks come off its 2020 team, ranks No. 1 this season at 1004.

It’s worth keeping that in mind when discussing how much talent Georgia. To most teams, the Bulldogs have a comfortable talent margin. But the team they are so often compared to still has more raw talent.