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Kirk Herbstreit identifies Kirby Smart’s winning edge as Georgia football coach

ATHENS — Kirby Smart has several strengths as a head coach, but Kirk Herbstreit hit on the key one during a Saturday telecast.

Georgia players are bought in and want to play for him.

“I think the guy right now that’s the best at figuring out how to work the minds of his players, is Kirby Smart,” Herbstreit said while providing color analysis in the final minutes of Oregon State’s 30-3 win over Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl.

“He’s figured out a way to get through to them.”

The Bulldogs have been hard at work of late preparing for their showdown with Ohio State at 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 in the CFP Peach Bowl Semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

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Smart can relate to his players as he was once in their shoes as a Georgia football player himself.

Former Georgia SEC Player of the Year Ray Goff signed Smart when he was the head coach, launching the career trek of the current Bulldogs’ head coach.

WATCH: Kirby Smart shares hilarious recruiting tale with Ray Goff

Smart played from 1995-1998 and was a team captain who earned All-SEC honors his senior season, then playing for former UGA coach Jim Donnan.

Smart understands the challenges players can go through with coaching changes and SEC level of competition and can relate.

RELATED: Ohio State a popular CFP pick, against the odds

“There’s a lot of individual talent there to play in the NFL,” Herbsteit noted of the current No. 1-ranked Georgia players.

“But he gets them to play for Georgia and play for championships.”

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