Size and depth are two critical needs that Kirby Smart has mentioned consistently as the number one issues facing Georgia as he begins his tenure as head coach.
While Coach Smart may not want to label any area of needed improvement as number one, he has mentioned Georgia’s size across the lines of scrimmage and team depth several times during his first week on the job. During yesterday’s teleconference with UGA media, when asked about his new offensive line coach Sam Pittman in place to begin recruiting, Smart responded (at the 6:45 mark in the recording below):
It is a line of scrimmage league, everybody knows that everybody said it, it’s critical to our success and I think that’s an area we got to improve. We’ve got to get bigger people if we want to be successful at Georgia, and we got to get more depth within the people we have.
Later in the interview (8:20 mark), he was asked about Georgia’s depth again:
(…) the actual facts of height/weight and how many of them there are? That’s the biggest discrepancy in, what I would say, the upper echelon SEC teams were this year and Georgia, and that is something we’ve got to improve on. The only way to improve on it is to develop the one you’ve got here and (…) try to get more and try to get bigger ones – and that’s what we’re trying to do.
One has only to look at the offensive line to see the problem for UGA and to realize that there will be no overnight nor one-season fix in terms of threatening Alabama’s league supremacy. For most of 2015 Georgia played six offensive linemen. That simply is not enough quality depth to compete for championships in the SEC. However, there is no quick fix. Offensive linemen take time to develop. Depth is about having players who can enter a game and contribute quality minutes without a substantial drop-off in the quality of play. Offensive line depth is a matter of allowing scholarship slots in each class and training the recruits, and training is a multi-year process.
Will Kirby Smart get the time he needs to develop the size and depth he needs? The administration will stay behind him as long as Sanford Stadium remains a sea of red. Time will tell if fans understand the magnitude of the job ahead.
I’m guessing that playing North Carolina in the Dome to open the 2016 season is not what Kirby Smart would have placed at the top of his wish list.