Kirby Smart has been everything Dawg Nation ever wanted him to be. The former Georgia safety left Nick Saban’s side as Alabama’s longtime defensive coordinator to become the head coach at his alma mater in 2016. Since October of his first season, Smart has not lost to a divisional opponent. Alabama is Smart’s final obstacle. Will this year be the year? Jake Fromm and Co. made their case at SEC Media Days.
The Best Thing Kirby Smart Said — SEC Media Days legend Bob Holt began a question by saying, “Nick Saban’s former assistants are 0-16 against him.” Before the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette reporter could finish his question, Smart interjected. “I’m well aware.”
It wasn’t the only time he was asked about Alabama.
“Well, the next step for us, and I don’t mean this to be trite, but it’s Vanderbilt (Georgia’s season-opener). You have to get to that point because we don’t have Alabama on our schedule.”
The Best Thing Kirby Smart Said (Out of Context) — “It’s easier to initiate contact.”
Coach Speak 101 — I thought Mark Stoops was at the podium when I heard Kirby Smart say, “He works day in and day out, really does a good job in the classroom. He was banged up last year.”
Croakies, ever heard of ’em? Georgia’s quarterback really looks the part of a Georgia quarterback.
— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) July 16, 2019
Transfer Portal Problems — There are many old-man, get off my lawn takes flying around about the transfer portal. Kirby Smart provided one from the some vein that actually makes sense. He believes it has streamlined the process, one that will serve as a learning moment for some players.
“If the transfer portal has done one thing, it’s made it easier for players to understand what they have to do to be able to go look and see other places, but they also have to be careful about the grass being greener on the other side,” Smart said.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see how many people in this room report how many guys are in the transfer portal with no home to go to when the season kicks off because I venture to say there’s going to be young men that have nowhere to go with lost scholarship opportunities that now don’t have a scholarship in other places.”
Georgia’s Scariest Player — Fromm and D’Andre Swift will make headlines because of the efforts of Andrew Thomas. The First Team All-American left tackle leads a Georgia offensive line that loses only one starter from 2018. It’s tough to beat a team when they can completely control the line of scrimmage.
Good News for UK — Georgia only has one returning wide receiver that caught more than three passes last season. UK’s inexperienced secondary won’t be so exposed after all.
Bad News for UK — It’s hard to find a win Between the Hedges. Kentucky has won just one game in Athens since 1977 and it took four Georgia turnovers and incredible performances from Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb to squeak by with a 34-27 win.
Fear Factor — 9.999999
Kentucky has narrowed the gap, but as you saw last year, there’s still a long way to go to catch up with the Dawgs.