From the Sidelines: Georgia Coaches’ Gameday Styles

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From the Sidelines: Georgia Coaches’ Gameday Styles

Kirby Smart gets air while gesturing to his team during Georgia's win against ULL.
Kirby Smart gets air while gesturing to his team during Georgia’s win against ULL.

We are not talking fashion here. Football coaches are expected to be loud, animated and, perhaps, even profane as they prowl the sidelines during a game. In fact, coaching styles vary considerably. Make no mistake, all of them are perfectly capable of fiery outbursts to grab the attention of their players, but these guys are pros. Their eruptions are under control and designed to produce the desired effect from the players involved.
The most prominent example of sideline entertainment comes from head coach Kirby Smart. To say that Kirby is physically and emotionally involved in the game is a wild understatement. If one could hover above the field photographing Georgia’s coach as he prowls the sideline, one game would provide all of the material necessary for a great portfolio in one half of football.
Smart is a dynamo. He is everywhere; consistently trailed by Scott Sinclair (Director of Strength and Conditioning) using all of his strength and conditioning to pull Kirby back to the sideline. One could only concentrate on Smart’s facial expressions for a complete play-by-play of the game. From broad smiles to painful winces to frothing anger, there is little mystery about Kirby Smart’s thought at any moment – and we have not explored the running, Olympics-worthy jumping or many other physical expressions of involvement in the game. Things sure have changed on the Georgia sideline.
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By far the most entertaining of the Bulldog assistant coaches is Tracy Rocker. Rocker can have a raw edge at times, but his sense of ironic humor is famous (infamous?) as he alternately encourages and scolds his charges. Coach Rocker does not mince words, and his players respond.

DL Coach Tracy Rocker getting after Georgia defense
DL Coach Tracy Rocker getting after Georgia defense

Sam Pittman is not loud, but his voice seems to burst through the din when he needs the attention of a player. Pittman’s offensive line has had its struggles this year, and he has tried to approach the unit with, mainly, positive feedback.

OL Coach Sam Pittman
OL Coach Sam Pittman
Wide receivers coach, James Coley, is very similar to Pittman. He seems as football coaches go, to be silent. Suddenly, his unmistakable tenor voice will explode, grabbing the attention of his target.
Yelling, the occasional curse word, voices trained to cut through the ambient noise to be heard by a player desperately hoping that coach missed his last mistake (coaches see everything, it’s their job) are what fans expect. However, this staff is made up of teachers. Providing instruction is what their jobs are about and gameday is just another classroom for each of them. Watch the sidelines. When a unit comes off the field, the players know that class is in session. Position coaches gather their men and begin to breakdown the previous series, sometimes assisted by a coordinator of even the head coach. Teachers need the attention of their pupils. Coaches are not shy about demanding it.


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Greg is closing in on 15 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.