Kirby Smart explains the two-sided nature of coaching at his alma mater
Much has been said about Kirby Smart returning to his alma mater to coach the Bulldogs, but the Georgia coach hasn’t opened up much about how the job has positives and negatives.
On the SEC coaches media teleconference this week, Smart admitted that he never aspired to, or had a goal, to come back to Georgia.
“I wanted to be successful, I wanted to stay in the Southeast, wanted to help young men,” he said. “When you get older, you lose ties to that type of things … I got this opportunity, which made it more special, but it wasn’t a be all end all.”
Smart also is well aware of the alumni base, and said it’s good, but can also be stressful. There are challenges.
“Guys I’ve played with or coached with, it makes it where there is an expectation on your time demands,” he said. “However, the positives outweigh the negatives, for sure.”
This week, a key matchup will be Georgia CB Deandre Baker against UMass WR Andy Isabella, who earlier this month became the school’s single-game leader in receiving yards with 303 yards on just nine catches in a 62-59 triple-overtime victory over Liberty.
“They do a tremendous job of using his skill set, he never lines up in the same spot. He motions, shifts, lines up in the backfield,” Smart said. “We play offenses they don’t allow you to follow a guy around.”
Speaking of his defense, Smart offered some praise for DB Otis Reese.
“Otis has always been a physical player, he is big, tough, physical. He can knock back backs. Many DBs struggle to do that in our league,” Smart said. “He is one of the smartest practice players we have played, he takes it very serious. He is one of the smartest players we have.”
Smart deflected a question about the SEC being the best conference, and said he doesn’t see enough outside of the conference to judge.
Georgia has had three big wins after the LSU loss, and Smart offered an explanation for the turnaround.
“Probably resiliency,” Smart said. “There’s been great bounce back. we practice hard, the bounce back has been to dominate both lines of scrimmage. the only way you do that is to run the ball and stop the run and both units have done that.”
One of the problems for Georgia recently has been struggles at the goal line. He said there are several issues, starting with penalties and not being able to score inside the 3-yard line.