The culture in and around the University of Georgia football program seems different now that Kirby Smart is in charge. The Bulldogs are 5-0 for the first time since 2012 and show so much promise for the rest of the 2017 season. So what makes this program different this year than previous years? Is it the record or is it something else? Kirby spoke with the media on Monday and addressed some of the things the team have done and do to change the culture and maintain their composure despite what the fans and media are saying about them.
Smart says to the teams that “humility is a week away” to help keep the ego of his players in check. He said the team watches various film from the previous weeks and points out what each player can do better.
Humility is a week away,” Smart states. “That is what we talk to them about all the time. Again, humility comes through practice, going well on good, competing, getting better. It’s a 100-yard sprint and we are at 40 yards. Who cares? They don’t ever talk about who won the first 50 meters of a 100-meter race. I have never heard anybody talk about it. They don’t care. There’s a lot of football to be played and we are focused on Vanderbilt.”
Confidence as a whole plays into the overall picture too. Smart mentions that the team as a whole has grown up a bit. The players see the evidence from the practice habits they form. Smart believes they’ve bought into the fact that if they are physical throughout practice all week, the results will show on the field
“I think we’ve grown up a little bit as a team. I think they’ve seen the evidence in the practice habits they have,” Smart said. We didn’t know it would get the results we wanted from our practice habits last year. They’ve bought into the fact that if they’re physical on Tuesday and Wednesday, they’ll be physical on Saturday. That’s carrying over. I think we’re just a year older. I think that practice habit and culture change has been good for them.”
That quote brought up culture change and how it’s different from years past. Smart said the change starts with practice and how they execute. However, he believes that to continue this change they must have the numbers in order to practice the way they want to, to get in a certain number reps in during the limited time they are allotted each week to drill and work.
“I was not concerned with the way it was before, I was only concerned with how I saw it being,” Smart mentioned. “I thought that was important. It was nothing about before, because I wasn’t here. It was more about how I felt practices should be done. From a depth standpoint, you have to have good numbers to be able to practice things that you want to practice. We had to work to get toward that and we’re still striving to get what we need from a scout team standpoint, a rep standpoint, a physicality standpoint. We’re trying to improve that every day.”
The culture is definitely different around Georgia and a big part of that can be attributed to Smart and the Bulldog coaching staff keeping the team humble and focused. Change seems to look good on the Dogs as they continue their best start since 2012. Success, they wear it well so far.
Check out Kirby Smart’s full press conference below:
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