ATHENS — Kirby Smart loves a good slogan as much as any coach, but it comes with a stipulation: the players have to back it up.
Smart expounded on that during an interview with CBS at the SEC Media Days when asked about his Georgia Bulldogs’ “Unfinished Business” theme.
“I use it to hold our guys accountable,” Smart said, finding yet another way to create an edge in his program.
“Every time they think about an action or something they want to do, or they are overweight, or they aren’t working hard, I tell them ‘hashtag unfinished business.’ "
It is well-documented senior defensive tackle Jordan Davis has been challenged to maintain a healthy weight, and Smart hasn’t been shy to provide added motivation.
The head coach, however, is lighting a fire under all of his players on the verge of entering the padded portion of preseason prep in August.
“If you stayed, you stayed for a purpose,” Smart said in a no-nonsense tone one imagines he uses with his players. “The reason to stay is to get drafted higher, to win more games, to do it the right way, and we’ve really pushed that to our guys In the offseason.”
Quarterback JT Daniels pushes himself, and like Smart asks of his players, holds himself to that higher standard.
“Having that unfinished business, and having so many guys buy into it, it’s a big deal,” Daniels said. “You have a lot of consistent development from a lot of good players, you do simple better.”
Davis, to Smart’s point, is all about maximizing 2021 alongside his teammates.
“I wanted to maximize my value and do everything I can, (because) I felt like I left a lot on the table, and I feel like a lot of my teammates left a lot on the table, that’s the reason Devonte came back,” Davis said.
“Even now I still have something to prove. Just having that hunger and that drive, it keeps me pushing. The team keeps me pushing so that’s all I can ask for.”
Davis’ unfinished business already includes preseason recognition, as he and punter Jake Camarda were the only first-team All-SEC preseason selections last week.
More recently, Davis has been named to the Outland Trophy Award list along with teammates Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List with Tykee Smith and Nakobe Dean.
Other UGA players on preseason watch lists include Arik Gilbert and Darnell Washington on the John Mackey Award list, and Adam Anderson, Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker on the Butkus Award Watch List.
Center Warren Ericson is on the Rimington Trophy Watch List, and running backs Zamir White and James Cook were named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List.