The current on-going global pandemic has put the world at a halt, and Georgia head coach Kirby Smart spoke with the media Tuesday morning for the first time about how it’s affecting his program.
Smart describes the current situation as a “unique experience,” but that is just an understatement. As of now, there are quarantine and shelter-in-place orders and the possibility that a college football season potentially won’t happen has even come into question. Either way, this is uncharted territory for players and coaches as they are having to get used to these unusual times.
“It’s getting easier to do now that we’ve gotten into some of the Zoom sessions,” Smart said. “I can pop on and see a face and talk to a guy face to face in a group setting. But we, we obviously are trying to reach out to our guys, every chance we got just, you know, not knowing what the next step is because a lot of these kids don’t understand and when they’re at home, they’re usually off and be at home and be in school was very unique for our players.”
Smart said that the coaching staff is currently holding their daily meetings via Zoom video chat. It seems like business is back to normal day-to-day operations, but the staff is having to do their duties from home. Coaches are discussing current team-related issues, but they are having to take a whole different approach to recruiting since on-campus visits are suspended. The staff can still keep in contact with recruits via telephone, text, or video chat. The Bulldogs even solidified a hard commit from a recruit since the lockdown.
On Monday, it was the first day the SEC allowed players and coaches to meet via video chat, but the two parties are limited to just two hours per week. Smart added that the players are probably a whole lot more technologically skilled at using these programs than the staff, but the coaches have been testing the waters the past few days in advance to Monday. But he still isn’t certain about the outcome when it comes to player preparation and development.
NCAA rules don’t allow coaches to require players to participate in physical workouts due to the shelter-in-place ordinances around the country. Players are responsible for keeping themselves in shape, and many guys have done that posting their workouts via social. Eric Stokes, Monty Rice, Nolan Smith, Ryland Goede and Prather Hudson are all individuals who have posted videos on their respective Instagram or Twitter accounts of them doing self-workouts.
UGA strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Sinclair has also been posting daily workouts instructing on how they can stay healthy, and be productive without access to a gym or practice facility. Smart didn’t comment on if he had been partaking in Sinclair’s workout regime or not, but he did indicate that spending time at home with family was good for his overall well-being.
“I’m not the type of guy who can just stay inside all day,” said Smart. “I have been going on walks when I can, and trying to devote that time to being more active outside.”
This follows a brief amount of time where Smart and his family had to self-quarantine after returning from a trip to Central America. He said that they all had to socially distance themselves from society for 14 days before they were able to return to somewhat normal life in these conditions.
Smart made sure it was known to the media that he didn’t want to speculate on anything, especially whether or not the upcoming college football season will happen. For him, it’s a one-day-at-a-time perspective.
“I don’t want to speculate anything because I don’t know what will happen, and I will leave that to the experts,” Smart said. “As coaches, I don’t think that’s our job to do that.”
Currently, Smart remains at home probably chomping at the bit waiting until this global pandemic to end. For now, his kids are being homeschooled and he said that his wife doesn’t think he has the patience to help in aiding them. He’s just like everyone else, just trying to get by day until this is over.
Smart said that is just sitting at home, and in his free time looking for things to watch. When asked if he’s seen the social media crazed Netflix Documentary “Tiger King” he said “couldn’t stomach” it after two episodes. It seems like the Joe Exotic versus Carol Baskin rivalry was just too much for him.
“That’s not my cup of tea, I’ll say that,” Smart said. “I’m more of an ‘Ozark’ guy.”
Here is the video from Kirby Smart’s Tuesday teleconference: