Kirby Smart details how coronavirus restrictions are leading to innovations for Georgia football
Like so many other people out there, Kirby Smart and the Georgia football staff had travel plans. The staff, as so many do, we’re planning on visiting a few other programs around the country and swapping ideas. In 2019, Mario Cristobal and Oregon coaches came to Athens to talk shop with Smart and the Georgia staff.
That obviously can’t happen now given the various travel restrictions and the fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak. So like everyone else, the Georgia staff is adapting.
And in one aspect, the adaptations are actually leading to innovations.
“I’ve actually found that we’ve had it wrong all along,” Smart said on an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show. “We were flying to go see USC or we would go visit another program whether it be Miami … and learn football and learn what they’re doing.
“Well now, we’re able to visit everybody just by way of Zoom.
Zoom is one of the many teleconferencing apps that teams around the country are now using to communicate with each other over distances.
Smart added that through Zoom, the Georgia staff now is more efficiently able to meet with and chat with teams, both at the college and pro level. And that’s something that Smart very much enjoys.
“We’ve probably averaged 3-4 NFL teams, a couple of colleges per day just going in the afternoons after we do the work that we need to do,” Smart said. “That’s been unique for me and I’m able to sit in because I’ve got a laptop, I’ve got a phone, you can be in the 2-3 different Zooms at once kinda watching what’s going on.”
Communicating with other staffs isn’t the only way the Georgia staff has been using Zoom or one of the many teleconferencing apps. This is also how teams are meeting with players and holding positional group meetings.
Starting this past Monday, the SEC allowed for coaches to communicate with their players through telecommunication for up to a required two hours a week.
“Coaches are obviously not able to provide any physical delivery of information, or conduct any physical activity,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said “But if you want to sit down online with a group of wide receivers and show video, and teach and have chalk talks, all that is fine.”
Players cannot be physically required to workout during this process but a strength and conditioning coach, like Georgia’s Scott Sinclair, can provide a workout or drill instructions to players, they just are not able to observe the drills themselves.
As far as when all this might come to an end, Smart didn’t want to speculate or what kind of effects it might have on the start of the season. He stressed the importance of sheltering in place — hunkering down to use the Georgia vernacular.
The NCAA this week did announce that it would extend the dead period for recruiting from April 15 to May 31. The dead period prohibits any in-person recruiting. The SEC also announced on Friday that all in-person activities would be suspended until that same May 31 date.
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