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Kirby Smart: ‘I want more than relevance, I want dominance’ for Georgia football

SystemSystem Posts: 7,416 admin
edited March 31 in Article commenting
imageKirby Smart: ‘I want more than relevance, I want dominance’ for Georgia football

ATHENS — Kirby Smart’s goals will not change, even as the transfer portal and expanded playoffs modify the makeup of college football.

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  • MontanaDawgMontanaDawg Posts: 1,846 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Ohio State and Ole Miss were the winners in the transfer portal. However, the Dawgs did pick up some great additions. As far as dominance goes it will depend on a few things:

    • First and foremost, we've got to field a havoc and suffocating defense. Last year was a disappointment on the defensive side of the ball compared to previous years. We couldn't contain the edge or get an effective pass rush. That's got to change for the Dawgs to be dominant. Several key DL & LB players need to step up their game.
    • Beck has got to really get in sync with all his TEs & receivers in the off-season and generally improve his decision making. He should go far this season if he stays healthy. And the receivers have got to be able to create space and be feared route runners. We lost our best route runners in Bowers, Mitchell, and McConkey.
    • Etienne and Robinson need to be a seriously effective RB duo.

  • GtheGreekGtheGreek Posts: 917 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    "Ohio State and Ole Miss were the winners in the transfer portal.
    However, the Dawgs did pick up some great additions."……Spot on MontanaDawg, I believe we will meet and exceed the three points you made. I'll also posit, the additions The Dawgs made are individuals that have come to be part of a winning culture, and will contribute at all cost to WIN…when I look at the additions made by TOS and Ole Miss it seems to me a function of how much can this team do for me attitude…they will have success but when the going get tough, that NIL endorsement is only fluff!

  • MontanaDawgMontanaDawg Posts: 1,846 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited March 31

    @GtheGreek…I hope you are right. The additions that TOS made were pretty impressive though. They should have the best duo RBs in college football if Judkins gets rid of his attitude and focuses on improving his game. The question mark for TOS is Will Howard and how he adjusts to the new offense. If Ryan Day can't at least get deep into the playoffs with this year's squad then he has blown his best opportunity. TOS should be competing for the Natty with the talent on their team and a pretty manageable regular season schedule (other than Oregon in Eugene). Ryan Day may be on the hot seat after this season if he doesn't produce this year. At least Michigan shouldn't get in the way of TOS this season with this Wolverine's roster.

    Now, Lane Kiffin has proven that he loves the portal and knows Ole Miss just can't recruit as well as some of the elite teams. If he can keep all his portal guys focused and working as a team, they should be a formidable opponent and should make the playoffs.

  • BigDawg61BigDawg61 Posts: 2,399 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited March 31

    The way I see it, is.......Which would you rather have...50-60 ESPN 300 guys that grew together over 2 or 3 years in a Kirby Smart-led CFB Program....OR....30-40 guys you picked up in the TP, plus 25 brand new recruits? How do you possibly build and maintain a Player-led leadership structure & Team Culture with a revolving door built into you locker room? I don't see how that's possible.

    Those are the "One-Hit-Wonders", ole Kirby is talkin' about. The hit 'n miss Champions....like Cam Newton's Auburn or Orgeron's LSU . Lol

    The Dawgs don't "win or lose" off anyone's back. They win through sustained superior performance from a dedicated group of bought-in, young men. And, occasionally....Kirby offers some deserving young man, the opportunity to be adopted by what amounts to "The Richie Rich Family". Lol

  • MontanaDawgMontanaDawg Posts: 1,846 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited April 1


    Obviously, I'd rather have guys who played together and bought into the team and culture Kirby builds. And some players will continue to follow that formula. But the game has changed. There are more options and temptations out there and more pressure from the outside. I read recently that the average compensation (NIL, Collective, whatever) for the top players is over $500k now. That's enticing and something that hadn't been legally possible just a couple of years ago. That's life changing money for most of these guys. And not all of these players will go pro. If a player can transfer and start at another program why shouldn't he do that? Can't he get good development if he wants it at this new school? Sure. It's not a wrong decision. It depends on his goals now and after college.

    And bottom line it is all about winning. You can't blame Kiffin for building his program through the portal when he has an obvious disadvantage in recruiting. Ole Miss has definitely improved. Ohio State got some key players that filled some gaps to make their roster one of the best in the country. Whether a program builds itself through development of in-house players, mostly transfers, or the combination of both, the goal is to win a National Championship. Over the next few years we'll see which method works better in today's college football environment. Can a portal heavy team win a Natty? We'll see.

    BTW, NC State basketball brought in (8) new transfer players this season (including one freshman)...and look where they are now. It's all about winning. I'd trade winning over "development " any day of the week.

  • BigDawg61BigDawg61 Posts: 2,399 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I'm not saying the transfer portal is a bad thing. I'm saying it can be bad or good...depending. I take it on a case-by-case basis. Some players may benefit, while others will take a step or two backwards. Then, there's the education disruption [if anybody cares, anymore].

    For Kiffin...it may be the only way, he brings a Natty to Mississippi. That's the hit 'n miss version, Kirby was talking about. That team building method has made Ole Miss "relevant"...but, it hasn't made em "dominant".

    Any team can strike gold, one year, through the portal. However, that's not sustainable....I don't care how much moolah they throw at it. There are no shortcuts to what Kirby has built…not even the portal.

    That being said....you make a good point. The portal can destroy what Kirby built overnight. So, it's best we don't take it for granted. There are no safeguards, to protect the investment, schools like UGA have made in their program. It is what it is.

    I like the way Kirby Smart has managed the Program at UGA...but, if he were at Mississippi….he'd probably be doing it, a lot like Kiffin. Recruiting is like real estate...location, location, location.

    IIMO...You have to target kids that have the psyche and proven track record, to follow through with a mentally and physically challenging, training program. Kind of like Herb Brooks did with the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team.

  • MontanaDawgMontanaDawg Posts: 1,846 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    @BigDawg61 ...as much as we prefer the development model over the portal, there are risks on both sides - Kirby spending a couple of years developing and coaching a player only to see him transfer elsewhere. We've obviously seen that happen numerous times. Heck, even starters like Bear Alexander transferring to USC. That move made no sense to me at all but there must be a reason. On the other hand, you have portal players that don't mesh well with the new team or teammates. Or they simply don't work out and end up being a disappointment. We've seen and heard that before. My biggest question after this season will be whether Kirby goes outside the program for an experienced talented QB. We'll know more later this season.

  • BigDawg61BigDawg61 Posts: 2,399 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I think Kirby would go to the portal to get whatever he needed, to be more competitive...including a QB. But, till now at least...he hasn't HAD to do it...which allows him to be very selective. Even then...everybody hasn't worked out. Gilbert comes to mind, there.

    IIMO...as long as Kirby and The Dawgs continue "winning" and being relevant....they will continue to keep the cupboard stocked with elite talent. Which gives em a chance to become dominant. It's a self-sustaining model that not many Programs are capable of achieving. The TP actually enhances Kirby's effectiveness, even as he "appears" to lose talent thru the portal every year.

    I think Kirby uses the Portal like the Fine Tuning Pot on an old TV set...while Kiffin [etal] applies it like the Coarse Adjust knob. Lol...either way, is a challenge, in the current CFB Recruiting environment.

    One thing's for sure...a head coach EARNS his money, these days.

  • DallasDawgDallasDawg Posts: 1,266 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Good points all around. I think I agree with @MontanaDawg, though, in that I'll take winning over development. You get trophies for winning championships, not developing players. Also, I know I'm in the minority on this, but I think expanding the playoffs will hurt UGA's chances for another Natty, simply because of the numbers. With only four teams, you just had to win two games and if you were clearly the best team out of the four, odds were you would probably win. But now you'll have to win 3 or 4 games and the chances for getting upset have doubled. Just look at the NCAA basketball tournament to see that. Although a blue blood still typically wins, a lot more blue bloods get upset in the lower rounds. I can see that happening to Georgia. I mean, look at last year. If we don't have to play Alabama, we walt into the playoffs and probably win it all again. But by playing — and narrowly losing to them — we lost the opportunity for all of that. I'm torn because I wanted the playoffs to expand, but I do think our road will be harder now.

  • BigDawg61BigDawg61 Posts: 2,399 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited April 1

    I happen to agree with you, on the playoff expansion. I thought 4 teams was perfect and hard to screw up....till this year. Lol.

    UGA has to go through a longer gauntlet, than before. Anybody can be beaten on any given day, at that level [top 12 teams].

    From a numbers standpoint...A. The odds decrease with more opportunities to lose...OR....B. The odds increase with a larger margin-of-error, offering more opportunities to win.

    IMO....It depends on the school and the program. In UGA, OSU & Michigan's case....the odds would not favor them, due to the likelihood, they would be in the Top 10 and would likely be contenders anyway. While it favors teams like Tennessee, Ole Miss and Notre Dame...teams not quite able to get over the hump.

    UGA would have been well served by a 12-team playoff during Mark Richt's reign. But, now?...huh uh. Don't need it and don't want it. Stay with 4 teams...but, no more than 8. That's the way I see it, right now, anyway. Lol

    Go Dawgs!

  • MontanaDawgMontanaDawg Posts: 1,846 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited April 1

    @BigDawg61…." continue to keep the cupboard stocked with elite talent. " Ain't that the truth! Having quality and talented depth…That's the challenge because you never know when one of your key players decides to leave - even a starter like Mitchell, Burton, or Alexander. Each one of those guys hurt us when they left.

    Concerning your comments on the playoffs…it will be a HUGE advantage for any Power 5 (more like 4) team who can win their conference championship. That BYE in the first round of the playoffs is BIG.

  • MontanaDawgMontanaDawg Posts: 1,846 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited April 1

    @DallasDawg…actually I totally agree with you about the playoffs and the chances of winning another Natty. I'd add that I think it will be super tough for ANY team to go undefeated all the way…even if you win the NC. Those days may be about over. I expect the Dawgs to lose one or maybe even two regular season games this year and will be pleasantly surprised if they don't. You just can't go unscathed with our regular season schedule. However, that doesn't mean we won't be in the playoffs and SHOULD be competing for the Natty as long as injuries stay manageable, and we play like we are capable.

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