5 things Kirby Smart said about Florida, playing in Jacksonville, ahead of Saturday
Georgia coach Kirby Smart wanted to clear up what he called a “misnomer” about his opinion of the Georgia-Florida series being played in Jacksonville. He’s not against Jacksonville, he just doesn’t want to lose the ability of having a home game for recruiting purposes.
Smart said a trend in recruiting is more kids commit after a home weekend, and having one less shot at those weekends is something to consider.
“The first misnomer there is I don’t want the game in Jacksonville, that’s not the case for me,” Smart said. “I love playing there. That’s one of my best memories ever as a player, being able to do that. I think the landscape of college football is such now that your home and homes are so valuable that you go out and try to find other teams to play. You play these other teams we play out in the future, you’ve got a home and home, so you’ve got one less home game. A team that’s used a bye to come play you, you’re going to have one less home game. With us, every other year it might be two less. So it makes it tough in that perspective. I also think the financial significance of this game and all the historical significance of these game weighed in the factors and administration felt like that was the best thing to do and I’m 100 percent on board. I’m a team player and once the decision is made, it’s made. It’s a two-year commitment. We’ll continue to see where it’s going in college football.”
In terms of Florida, Smart said the Gators have an elite pass rush, and possibly the deepest group of wide receivers where six or seven can make plays.
Asked about growing up in South Georgia and if he was ever a Florida fan, Smart said, “I did go on an official visit to Florida when I was recruited in high school. But no, I was never a Gator fan.”
Smart has said he has petitioned the SEC to allow recruiting at Jacksonville, but doesn’t believe teams like Alabama and Tennessee, for example, would be on board.
“What do you think those other teams are going to do with that,” he said. “If you’re Alabama and you’re Tennessee, you’re going to help Florida and Georgia out? I don’t think they’re going to go for that, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m all for it if it can help us. I don’t know how realistic that is.”
This game begins a stretch of multiple games involving SEC teams playing each other as both of them are in the top 10.
“I think when you strap it on in our league, it’s like you better come ready to play, because week in, week out, you’re going to have to play in big-time matchups,” Smart said. “It’s the way it should be. You look at the SEC East, those two teams … Georgia and Florida have been pretty dominant in East picture for a while. This game has always had some bearing on who goes to Atlanta and I think that both teams are good, it’s what college football is all about.”
Smart was asked about what more could be done about improving the offense coming out of the bye week.
“First of all, we look every week, but bye weeks we look at every team in the country,” Smart said. “What are they doing, what are they doing, what’s been successful? What tools are they using, what positions are they putting their best players in? How are you utilizing your playmakers to try to get them the ball. We’re always evolving in regards to that, that’s no different. As far as what our guys and being able to put them in a good situation, I think we’ve been able to put a lot of our backs in good situations to be able to win. Again, at wide out, it’s tough, because we haven’t had a, there’s not been a core group that’s just been there every game and been able to do it. Cager’s the one guy you can make a case has made some plays when he’s been available and made some plays on 50/50 balls, we’re going to have to be able to do that.”