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Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com
Kirby Smart appears to be cut from the same cloth as Nick Saban.

It’s perfectly fine that Kirby Smart is imitating Nick Saban’s style

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Kirby Smart, Nick Saban and the Coke bottle

The biggest social media reaction from Georgia’s Monday press conference didn’t come from Kirby Smart talking about his quarterback or the injury situation. It came when there was a Coke bottle placed on Smart’s podium.

A number of media members and fans quickly called to attention the fact that this is the exact same thing that Nick Saban does at his press conferences. It’s relatively small in the grand scheme of things but it’s also just the latest in a long line of traits and characteristics that Smart has mimicked of his former boss.

They’re both tenacious recruiters. They both have extensive backgrounds in working with defensive backs prior to moving up the coaching food chain. Both employ similar policies with the media and both happen to find themselves in strikingly similar quarterback situations .

Every coach, and really person, takes tips and traits from other people. This is hardly a new phenomenon, as Saban undoubtedly took some things from Bill Belichick, his former boss. And while some might be quick to mock or criticize Smart for running Saban’s playbook, it’s also worked so far.

And let’s Smart some credit. Not every Saban disciple has been a success. Just look at the two Florida hired—Jim McElwain and Will Muschamp—or Derek Dooley. Smart is at least doing something right, as Jimbo Fisher is the only other Saban disciple to coach a team in a national title game. Smart has undoubtedly added in his own wrinkels to Saban’s process, as Saban has no doubt tweaked his own process over the years.

While some Georgia fans might despise Saban, mostly because all he does is win, they’d be doing backflips if Smart were able to bring home championships. Sometimes to beat the best, you have to think and act like they do. And if Smart is going to think and act like a great college coach, it’s better that he’s picked Saban as opposed to how Dan Mullen has mirrored some of Urban Meyer‘s qualities.

Fromm the quarterback himself

While Smart didn’t name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against Austin Peay, he made it very clear that the first Georgia quarterback fans are going to see is Jake Fromm. For one, Smart has continued to reiterate that Fromm has been working more with the first team offense than freshman Justin Fields.

Secondly, Smart allowed Fromm to meet with the media on Monday, something that rarely happened last season.

As for what Fromm had to say, both Chip Towers and Mike Griffith did an excellent job recapping some of the many topics.

The highlights included:

  • Fromm saying he has a much better understanding of the Georgia offense
  • His relationship with Justin Fields
  • Drawing Tom Brady and Peyton Manning comparisons from senior center Lamont Gaillard
  • An update on his injured hand, which he says is much better and getting back to normal
  • How he can no longer just go shopping at Walmart or Academy Sports without getting mobbed

Hopefully we get to hear a lot from Fromm over the course of the season, as he’s going to be a key figure for Georgia in this upcoming season. While Fields may nip at the heels, Fromm was very good for a true freshman and had maybe 6 bad quarters all season(the first Auburn game, the second half of the championship game). As he’s laid out, now that he’s more comfortable in the offense, he and Georgia should only get better, even if Georgia does have some personnel losses to replace.

Oregon gets big payout for Georgia game

When Oregon visits Atlanta in 2022 for the Chick-fil-A kickoff game, it will be traveling a long way and almost certainly into enemy terriority, given its proximity to Georgia.

But the Ducks will also be getting paid. Big time, according to the Oregonian’s Andrew Grief. Per open records request, the Ducks will receive a $4.5 million payout to play in the game. The open records request did not show much Georgia would be getting in the game.

While this game will be a great season-opener, part of me, and as Towers wrote last week as well, wishes that this game was being played in either Athens or Eugene, Oregon. It would’ve been a great trip for both fan bases.

Forum Fodder of the day

We’re trying something new here on Good Day, UGA where we recognize one topic or thread on DawgNation’s forum. One thing that caught my eye yesterday was a discussion about South Carolina and whether or not Georgia should worry about that program on the horizon.

While there are some reasons to be concerned—Muschamp is an excellent recruiter, South Carolina should only get better as it gets more talent, playing Georgia early in the season, on the road—I’d add that while South Carolina might nip a few 4-star prospects from Georgia, it’s not poaching Jadon Haselwood or Nolan Smith yet. And while South Carolina has played Georgia tighter than most under Smart, Georgia still hasn’t lost to South Carolina since 2014. So while sure South Carolina looks to be on the rise, it still has a long ways to go to where it is challenging Georgia in manner similar to how Auburn challenges Alabama.

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