ATHENS — Kirby Smart revealed the tone at SEC Media Days last month.
Now Friday, the start of fall drills, the fourth-year Georgia football coach will press the accelerator to the mat.
It’s national championship or bust for these Bulldogs. Smart makes no attempt to dodge or couch that notion.
It will be a “one game at a time” approach, but we all know where that’s expected to lead.
Smart already said that 12 wins in a season isn’t enough for Georgia football.
As preposterous as that notion might seem when measured against the likelihood of maintaining such a torrid pace, Smart is all in on believing it.
The tenor of his players the past two seasons indicates they, too, are sold on the notion they are worthy of a national championship.
UGA fans are starting to realize that when their head coach says he’s going to do everything possible to win championships, he means it.
Smart’s “Do More” slogan is very real, and it comes at a price.
The Jacksonville bunch must grimace, but also acknowledge, their beach trip doesn’t trump the program value of a marquee home SEC recruiting weekend.
Further, this one-hour Saturday fan day isn’t ideal for fans, but Smart is going to minimize distractions and maximize his athletes’ time.
And, no, no open practice for fans this fall.
Smart and his new coordinators are building a football Frankenstein behind locked doors and closed gates.
Surprise is too great of an element to sacrifice with a Top 10 Notre Dame team headed to Georgia in September.
The Bulldogs will have some tricks up their sleeves for Vanderbilt in the opener. Georgia will stun he Commodores early before pounding them into submission behind its so-called “Great Wall” of an offensive line.
Murray State and Arkansas State, opponents in Weeks 2 and 3, are great opportunities to let players carry out their positional competitions.
Georgia will be primed for the Irish, and then one final bye week sets the stage for a championship run in October and November.
Today, Smart will say, is the continuation of competition at several positions from spring practices and through summer drills.
As new players join the mix, Smart’s staff will continue ironing out the new wrinkles that have been installed, a more complex defense, a more versatile passing game.
Smart’s message and tone today will do enough to get people excited, even if the head coach himself doesn’t yet have all the answers.
Most importantly, Smart and his Bulldogs have a championship attitude in place, even if it’s not the most fan-friendly.
Indeed, in Smart’s mindset there will be plenty of time for pictures and vacations when a national championship has been won.