ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has hit the reset button, and his energy and optimism is unmistakable.
Smart is never one to get ahead of himself, and he’s certainly not complacent with any aspect of his program, even though Wednesday’s Pro Day was proof positive he has recruited and developed championship-caliber talent.
But Smart’s confidence and the clarity with which he sees the future of his program was evident in an SEC Network interview he did with former UGA story and College Football Hall of Fame Matt Stinchcomb on Wednesday.
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Here are three bullet points from the interview, and what Smart had to say:
SMART: “We’re a long way ahead of where we were last year, I can promise you that. Maybe that’s the most underrated statement of the day. Just after one practice, for them to start and be able to do things that we couldn’t do until fall camp last year …. we couldn’t line up, or get this formation, so they are at a really good pace of install.
“We have some young talented players on offense we’re trying to make sure utilize, (but) they are really far ahead of where we were last year, and they are further ahead of our defense right now.”
TAKEAWAY: A more proficient offense that’s better equipped to handle pressure packages and utilize talent is a given with the benefit of 15 spring practices the Bulldogs did not have last year on account of Covid.
Promise of JT Daniels
SMART: “That carryover effect, we haven’t had that in a while, obviously we were very fortunate with Jake (Fromm) for a while to have that continuity factor, and now with JT you feel like you have that.
“It was small portion we got to see, but he certainly improved, he got more comfortable in our system. I think (Todd) Monken’s system and JT match up well because it gives him the freedom to do some things at the line, which is his strength.
“His mobility has improved this offseason. He’s been able to move around, conditioning himself with the knee. So we’re excited to see where it goes.”
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TAKEAWAY: Smart’s confidence in Monken and Daniels is clear, as he’s giving the former USC quarterback the green light to make calls at the line fo scrimmage. Also, it’s important to note Daniels’ improved mobility, as that will allow him to better escape pressure and buy more time to make plays.
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SMART: “We’re going to find out. I feel like we’ve got some really good run stoppers up front, (but) who is going to be the Azeez (Ojulari) on the edge?,Who is gong to be the dominant rusher on the edge — is it going be Nolan (Smith)? Is it going to be by committee, (or) is it going to be by scheme?
“How are we going to use Adam Anderson, who we think is a really hard guy to block. We have to find ways to use him on the field.
“The most obvious question, who is going to replace the DBs? We had a lot of experience leave. and I don’t have those answers yet, I’m one practice in. It’s going to be interesting to find that out.”
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TAKEAWAY: Nolan Smith is getting first crack at Ojulari’s position, and Anderson is going to be Smart’s Frankenstein, as he has the sort of skills and athleticism to wreak havoc on offenses when moved around like a chess piece.
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