Kirby Smart looks back on opening with onside kick against South Carolina in 2017
Kirby Smart has established himself as a coach who isn’t afraid to roll the dice on special teams.
In the 2017 season, Georgia entered the South Carolina game ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff selection committee rankings. Smart wanted to set the tone early and called a surprise onside kick on the opening kickoff. It didn’t work, but Smart has no regrets. In his Tuesday press conference, he explained why it’s important for UGA to be aggressive from the get-go.
“I’ve always looked at it as we want to be aggressive, and not be the one receiving the blow,” Samrt said at his press conference. “We want to be the hammer and not the nail, and that’s how we go about things. We’re aggressive – if we think something’s there, whether it’s starting the game off against South Carolina two years ago, or it’s fourth-down and 1, it doesn’t matter, if we think it’s there and we think we’ve got an advantage we always try to look.
“We want to keep pressure on the other team. And you keep pressure on the other team by looking for strengths of yours or weaknesses of theirs that you think you can take advantage of. But we’re always trying to be the hunter and not the hunted.”
With this year’s game coming earlier, there are no CFP selection committee rankings to worry about, but Smart’s squad will enter the game as the highest-ranked team in the SEC East. Perhaps we’ll get some more special teams surprises.
Kickoff in Athens is set for noon ET on Saturday. The game will air on ESPN.