Kirby On Team Maturity, Leadership In 2017

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Kirby On Team Maturity, Leadership In 2017

Kirby Smart coaching them up on the first day of fall camp 2017
Kirby Smart coaching them up on the first day of fall camp 2017

Kirby Smart was asked about his team’s maturity during Tuesday’s press conference, and that topic may be as important for a successful 2017 as any other aspect of the team. In the second year of Smart’s tenure, the composition of the squad will begin to reflect a more balanced class structure. That is, upper classmen numbers will be more in line with the norm. Of course, having four upper classmen skip the NFL draft helped.

“We are more mature; there’s no question. Yes, we have an influx of this freshman group, but we’re no longer, like, 60 percent freshman/sophomore. It’s a little bit more like 55 percent. We had two large classes of freshmen and sophomores, but our senior class this time has more guys that are mature. So, the leadership factor is a lot better. A guy doesn’t come out to practice taped. It’s never a senior. It’s one of the rookies. A guy’s late to a meeting. It’s not one of the seniors. It’s one of the young guys getting lost. So those guys, the mature guys, are helping the young guys along.”

Kirby pointed out that the maturity he noted above is producing better leaders:

“I’ve really been pleased with the enthusiasm of the team. A lot of leaders leading and guys pushing each other.”

When asked if the players are getting the message about the standards he has set for the program, Coach Smart replied:

“I know that it’s getting through to our players, and that’s what matters to me. I mean, the organization understands that, the coaches understand that, and the players are beginning to understand that. They understand that it doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. It doesn’t matter what you did last year, and it really doesn’t matter what you do tomorrow. It only matters what we do each day. As long as they can focus on that, I’m completely happy, and I’m just challenging them day by day to go out and give me all they got, and trust that we’re gonna back off ‘em when they get really exhausted and tired.”

It will be the team leaders who most effectively spread that message of focusing on today and trusting the staff. We will find out just how forcefully they have grabbed the attention of their peers in just over a month.

Kirby Smart Presser August 1, 2017

Uploaded by Bulldawg Illustrated on 2017-08-01.


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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.