On Monday, the Bulldogs will begin their first fall practice of the 2016 season. And it also will double as the first fall camp for new coach Kirby Smart.
The Bulldogs also will be a little over a month away from their first game, as they open up against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Smart will have to make number of decisions, ranging from who will be his starting quarterback to how available Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will be.
Smart hasn’t done a lot on the field for Georgia yet. But in his first offseason, he’s already done plenty. Here are just some of the stories DawgNation’s Chip Towers and Seth Emerson have done documenting what got Smart to Georgia and what may lie ahead for the first year head coach.
We forget a lot of times about the effects a coaching change has on a coach’s family. In this profile of Mary Beth Smart, we are introduced to the First Lady of Georgia football and how she helped settle the family while Kirby balanced coaching at Georgia and Alabama.
Every coach gets his start somewhere, and for Smart, his was at Valdosta State as a secondary coach. He was brought to Valdosta by one of his former college teammates, Will Muschamp. Smart ended up taking Muschamp’s job in his second year at Valdosta State, as Muschamp left to join Smart’s future mentor, Nick Saban, at LSU.
Just because a coach played or attended a certain school doesn’t guarantee success. For every Steve Spurrier, who led Florida to its first national championship, there is a Ray Goff, the last full-time Georgia head coach who was also an alum. Spurrier, along with former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer and others explain the difficulties of coaching at the alma mater.
A list of head coaches who played at schools where they also coached. Some, such as Spurrier and Bear Bryant at Alabama, won national championships. Others, such as Alabama’s Mike Shula and Nebraska’s Frank Solich, didn’t have as much success.
Just because one head coach is wildly successful doesn’t guarantee his assistants can replicate those results. For every Bob Stoops, who won a championship at Oklahoma after serving as Florida’s defensive coordinator, there is a Charlie Weis. Stoops was the last coordinator to win a national championship in his last year as an assistant and then win as a head coach, and he shares insights on some of the differences between the positions.
Smart, Bobo and Summers were all sons of high school football coaches. They’re all from various parts of south Georgia. As college assistants, they would carpool to visit recruits. And now all three are head coaches, with Smart and Summers being first-timers. The three reflect on what got them to their current jobs.
Part of Mark Richt’s dismissal had to do with his own shortcomings as a coach. But it also had to do with landing Smart. Before Smart was hired, Towers lays out why this offseason was the time to bring Smart back to the University of Georgia.