Kelee Ringo speaks about Kirby Smart's coaching style: 'Listen to the message'
Kirby Smart is one of the gruffest coaches not just in the SEC, but in all of college football. The Georgia coach utilizes a tough love approach that can be difficult to process for some players.
However, sophomore cornerback Kelee Ringo embraces the approach by Smart. Ringo responded on Monday to a question about leaked audio from Smart at practice prior to the victory against then-No. 1 Tennessee.
Georgia CB Kelee Ringo was asked today about the leaked audio from Kirby Smart at practice before the game against Tennessee pic.twitter.com/L2FbIgZubz
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) November 8, 2022
Smart brings the intensity in practice and then it ratchets up even more during games. Ringo personally chooses to filter out the tone and absorb the teaching message when Smart approaches him on the sidelines.
“He’s a great coach. The main thing you have to focus on is listening to the message and really not the tone. A coach like that has a lot of emotion throughout the game. He wants success so much. If you kind of pay attention to the tone a little bit more then it can mess with you a little bit,” Ringo said. “But just trying to stay focused on the things that he’s trying to teach you and how it can set you up for success on the very next play, is the main thing that you try to focus on.”
Ringo added that sitting out his freshman season and being near Smart on the sidelines prepared him for what he’s receiving now. Ringo also touched base with his teammates to get a sense of how to handle the feedback.
“I wouldn’t say it bothers me too much but I felt like my freshman year, I didn’t play the entire season, so I’ve seen a lot of it just being on the sideline throughout practices and learning how to react from it,” Ringo said. “I definitely asked a lot of players how they reached from it because obviously when you’re really fatigued on the field, you just messed up a few plays or you gave up a few balls and Coach Smart is on you on something that you didn’t do right, it can mess with your mentals. So trying to stay strong mentally and just realizing that he’s only trying to help you with the message that he’s giving.”
Ringo has made 21 solo tackles and has an interception this season for undefeated Georgia. Next up for No. 1 Georgia is a road matchup at Mississippi State on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/ESPN).