Kirby Smart addressed the media for the first time on Tuesday which marked day one of spring practice. The head coach opened up with remarks about creating a new identity for this team after losing 12 starters last season. Smart stressed the importance of identity and it seems that will be one of the main focuses this spring.
After Georgia won its the SEC championship game, won in the Rose Bowl against Oklahoma in double-overtime and narrowly loss to Alabama in the national championship, many would think Georgia’s right on track. According to Smart, that isn’t necessarily the case. He mentions that when you lose guys like Roquan Smith, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, there is no replacing them. The team must create its own identity along with each individual player.
Everyone wants to talk about the guys that left,” Smart says. “I’m certainly excited about those guys getting their last chance to showcase for pro-day, but you don’t replace a Roquan Smith. You don’t replace a Nick Chubb, a Sony a Michel, you don’t replace any of those guys. Because there’s not going to be another Roquan Smith there not going to be a guy exactly like him. So each one of our players has to create an identity for themselves. This team has to create a new identity for itself. I think every time you change one player or 10 players or 25 players on a team, the team changes.”
Smart talked about how excited he was about this team. He wants to find those guys with the personalities that will lead guys in the right direction. According to Smart, some of the players have already begun challenging and pushing each other this offseason. But the underlying question is who will be the leaders?
That’s the biggest question about this team is who are going to be the leaders,” Smart states. “Who are going to be the guys that demand a lot out of each other. It’s not talent alone. You don’t win the SEC you don’t play in the Rose Bowl with talent alone. You got to have great leadership and that where we got to really improve.”
Leadership is just one of the changes coming for this team. The other is how players handle competition. Smart says that Georgia has a lot of positions that will battle it out. Every position has competition according to Smart.
Going into the spring we will have a lot of position battles, but for me, there’s competition in every position,” Smart states. “We know that and we talk about it all the time. Our kids in this room know that there will be changes on the depth chart throughout, there will be tough competitions. What were trying to do is get every guy on our team to play better. It’s not about who we play next year, right now we worry about us.”
The head ball coach had plenty to say in his opening remarks, however, this statement hit the nail on the head. Something that seems to be the motto for the team.
Change is inevitable, but growth is optional,” Smart says.
Teams change, players leave, the new ones come in, and the cycle continues. However, its how teams take on those changes that turn them into great ones. Smart mentions that the last set of seniors set the standard. Now the young guys must continue that standard and hold each other to the same level of excellence. However, only time will tell if this team matches that standard and potentially exceeds it.
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