UGASports - Smart on football; his golf game
{{ timeAgo('2022-05-05 18:44:05 -0500') }} football Edit

Smart on football; his golf game

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was focused on raising for his foundation earlier this week in Greensboro.

However, Smart also took some time during this week’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge to talk some football with event hosts, including his biggest concern after winning the national championship.

“The biggest thing you worry about coming off a national championship going into the off-season, you worry about complacency,” Smart said. “You worry about guys thinking they’ve arrived.”

Fortunately, Smart said that did not occur.

His Bulldogs went through spring practice with a strong sense of purpose. If there was any complacency, Smart did not see it.

“I don’t think our group did that. We had a shorter window. We had a little less time to prepare. We had one less week to lift before spring practice. We played an extra game in the season with the playoffs, so the injuries played a factor with that,” he said. “We probably had more guys out this spring than we ever had before.”

Luckily, none appear to be out long term. Smart said in the spring that most of his players should be at or near 100 percent healthy when fall camp begins in August.

Defending the championship is not a concern.

“The biggest thing is not worrying about that. We don’t defend the title,” Smart said. “We start new with a new team and develop new chemistry to see what this team is going to be about.”

Smart noted the season-opener with Oregon at Mercedes Benz Stadium is not that far away.

Coached by former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, Smart said he and his assistants have already started scouting the Ducks.

“We looked at them in the spring and studied those guys. It makes it awkward in the spring. With the new head coach, you can take the film, but the things you’re looking for is who the players are more than anything,” Smart said. “We’re of course very familiar with Dan Lanning, but we’re also familiar with other guys on their staff. Their offensive coordinator (Kenny Dillingham) was at Auburn, and also at FSU, so we’ve looked at those guys. We’ve got a lot of respect for Dan, what he did for our program, and we know he’ll do a really good job there at Oregon.”

Smart and former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville finished fourth in the tournament with a +45 to raise $12,500 for his Kirby Smart Foundation.

“We’ve been able to donate over a million dollars to places within the state of Georgia, all over the state of Georgia. Down in Macon, at Children’s Hospital, we were able to name a room after the Kirby Smart Family Foundation,” Smart said. “We’ve had a ‘Do-More’ project in which we did some things in the Augusta and Atlanta area. We partner with CHOA (Children’s Hospital of Atlanta), which is important to us. It’s just so important to give back to the communities, especially in our state and surrounding area, to give to children and families in need.”

Smart joked his team’s national championship did not help his golf game.

“My golf game was never very good. Covid probably helped my golf game because we had a lot more time on our hands and downtime because we couldn’t work with our student athletes, so got to play more,” he said. “Since Covid and recruiting starting up, it’s non-existent. So, it went from non-existent, to winning a national championship, to remaining non-existent.”

Although he does not get to play often, golf has always been Smart’s favorite retreat.

“I pull for Kiz (Kevin Kisner); I pull for all the Georgia golfers,” Smart said. “Being an alumnus, I pull for all the Georgia guys that I know and have been around that think are quality people.”

Kirby Smart talked some football and golf during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge.
Kirby Smart talked some football and golf during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge. (Paul Abell)