ATHENS — If it ain’t broke ….. find a way to make it better.
So says Georgia football coach Kirby Smart, though not in those precise words.
The 43-year-old Smart is one of college football’s fastest rising coaching stars, having put his Bulldogs on the brink of championship seasons two of his first three years at the helm.
Smart boldly stated last week that UGA’s 24-5 record the past two seasons wasn’t good enough.
“Do More” is Georgia’s 2019 slogan, though Smart acknowledges there’s always room for improvement.
“I don’t think you ever arrive …. I could be sitting here in Year 10 and there’s still got to be growth,” Smart said at SEC Media Days, reflecting on his maturation as a head coach. “If you don’t grow, then what are you doing? Why are you doing this profession? I challenge our guys to do the same thing, our staff.
“If you are sitting here doing the same thing you did last year, then we’re not going anywhere, because other people around us, they are changing and developing and getting better, and if we’re not doing that then we are going to get passed by.”
Smart shared more of his coaching philosophy at the 31st annual Cobb County Kickoff Luncheon in Marietta on Tuesday, encouraging coaches to demand more from their players.
“Challenge these young men in your organization or in your program,” Smart told DawgNation he said, “because, if you don’t challenge these guys, I don’t know if there will be anybody else in this society who will.”
Smart said throughout this offseason one way he’s doing that at Georgia is by breaking up the monotony and creating pressure situations in workouts.
“Coach (Scott) Sinclair and his (strength and conditioning) staff have really done a tremendous job this offseason more than any other to change it up and make sure they understand what ‘Do More’ means,” Smart said last week in Hoover, Ala.
“That might mean ringing a bell in the middle of a workout and we’ve got a fire drill, where we’ve got to go do something completely different, it’s almost like a turnover, or our defense got a turnover for the offense, so we’re doing a lot of different things like that.”
Smart sees the ability to manage sudden change as key.
Indeed, Georgia lost all three games last season that it trailed in, unable to stage rallies once falling behind LSU, Alabama and Texas
“I want the guys to grow and not know what’s expected every single day,” Smart said, “and have some things kind of pop out at them.”
Smart’s time as an All-SEC safety at Georgia gives him more credibility than other head coaches, in addition to the ability to relate and understand elite athletes.
Smart knows first hand one risk for gifted athletes is growing accustomed to getting by on talent alone.
“Human nature it to take the easy way out, I know when I was a player I felt that way, and I know a lot of our guys think that way, but it is not easy, so we try to make it challenging so they can be more successful when they leave school,” Smart said.
“I think we always look internally to say what can we do better, and I hope each one you guys do that,” Smart said. “When you’re green you grow, and when you’re ripe you rot, and we’re always trying to stay green.”
DawgNation from SEC Media Days