UGASports - Complacency a problem? Smart's defensive players give their take
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Complacency a problem? Smart's defensive players give their take

Georgia defensive players see Kirby Smart's "complacency" comments as a way to motivate.
Georgia defensive players see Kirby Smart's "complacency" comments as a way to motivate. (Radi Nabulsi)

Head coach Kirby Smart raised a few eyebrows last week when he noticed a bit of complacency as far as his defense was concerned.

He wasn’t shy about speaking his mind.

For those who missed it, here's what he had to say:

“Right now, I see some guys who are complacent and comfortable in their role – meaning, I’ve started here for two years, I’m comfortable in my role, I’m a leader on this team, I’m comfortable in my role and not challenging myself to get better,” Smart said.

So, what do his players think? Does their head coach have a point?

“I think that’s a word he uses to motivate us,” linebacker Reggie Carter said. “But we’re out there working, we’re working to get better for this upcoming season.”

But with 10 starters back, Carter and the rest of the Bulldog defense knows expectations are high. As well they should.

“I can only speak for myself, but as a group, we really need to pick it up and really execute because that’s probably the thing we’re lacking,” defensive back Aaron Davis said. “A lot of times if we’re not doing the things we’re supposed to be doing it can be looked as at complacent or a lack of focus for whatever reason, but guys have to lock in and know what to do.”

If not, they won’t be on the field.

That’s a fact Smart has made quite clear.

“Your job is never safe,” Carter added. “If you think your job is safe, that’s when you become complacent. But we’re working and I know if I’m not doing my best, other people behind me are working.”

Per senior safety Dominick Sanders, it’s all about developing the proper mindset, one which success isn’t hoped for, but expected.

Right now, that’s not quite the case.

“We’ve got to understand that we’ve got to come out and dominate. We’ve got to have a better year than last year,” Sanders said. “Our main thing is we’ve got to focus on what we’ve got to do.”

Davis believes he and his defensive cohorts will do just that.

“I don’t think so. I don’t think about what we have, what guys we have coming back, that we have 10 guys returning and who is ahead of other people,” Davis said. “You can have teams with a lot of freshmen who play and be successful, and you can have teams who bring back a lot of people but aren’t as successful as they want to be. It really just depends. But if we lock in and focus on what we need to do, how many people we have coming back or how many freshmen we have won’t dictate how we perform.”

Sanders agrees.

“I see a big improvement,” he said. “Guys are bigger, faster, stronger... But even the guys that came back, we’ve got mistakes too, we’ve got to learn from our mistakes.”

As for Smart’s suggestion that “complacency” is a problem, Sanders had this to say:

“We don’t look at that,” he said. “That’s media talk.”