THIS Is Why the Georgia Bulldogs Are About To EXPLODE

 

 

 

 

THIS Is Why the Georgia Bulldogs Are About To EXPLODE! Georgia Football is about to flip the script on the way last season. In this episode I will discuss all the reasons why that’s the case.

 

 

 

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The DISRESPECT for Georgia Football is CRAZY

 

 

 

 

The DISRESPECT for Georgia Football is CRAZY! Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs are the preseason, odds-on favorites to win the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2024, but it is Ohio State, Oregon, Ole Miss, Alabama, and Texas that are the sexy picks everyone seems to be talking about during the aphelion of the college football offseason. I talk about a few reasons why that is in this episode.

 

 

 

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Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart speaks to the media at the 2023 SEC Football Kickoff, Tuesday July 18,2023 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Nashville,Tn . (Jimmie Mitchell/SEC)

cover 3 podcast – College football experts pick Georgia to win the National Championship

“Is it a 4-peat if Georgia wins next year?”  – Bud Elliott

Chip Patterson: Who would be your title pick next season Bud?

Bud Elliott: Georgia. They return the best QB of all of the…what we would consider the immediate contenders. From the chatter it sounds like Dumas Johnson was gonna get Wally Pipped. He got dinged up and it was like “Oh! CJ Allen is a future ten year pro.” Wilson is coming along. It seemed like Georgia got the right guys to not declare. They have the QB coming back, so I would pick Georgia.

Tom Fornelli: I would also pick Georgia. And then the question is if Michigan’s title gets vacated is it a three peat for Georgia.

Bud Elliott: Is it a 4-peat if Georgia wins next year?
Georgia’s schedule is certainly tough as the chat is pointing out. But you have to consider things differently in this new era.

Chip Patterson: 12 team expansion

(They discussed other possible teams)

Ohio State- Dog backed into the corner mentality. “Desperation Day………..Part III”

Texas- If Arch lives up to being Arch Manning (Isn’t Ewers back? Weird comment unless he changed his mind.)

Michigan- Got enough coming back to make a run. Perhaps even more run heavy. Defense is gonna be great.

Arizona- 18 starters back and easy conference

Oregon- Have to put them up there. Roster is rapidly improving. Dylan Gabriel is a vet.

Penn State- Chip doesn’t like. Tom doesn’t like. Conference is tougher. May make the playoffs, but no real chance.

Alabama- Milroe may not be likely to improve, but certainly a possiblility he does.

Bud: I like that there are so many teams we can’t rule out. If Georgia plays so well it’s a foregone conclusion, you still have to go win three tough games in a row.

Washington- losing too much off the roster. Not in the playoff.

If Harbaugh goes NFL would Kalen D. pull a Kevin Durant?

 

 

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Alabama Fans Are OBSESSED with the Georgia Bulldogs

 

 

 

 

Alabama Fans Are OBSESSED with the Georgia Bulldogs! My recent interactions lead me to believe that the majority of Alabama Football fans are suffering from a massive inferiority complex and are wrestling with a severe identity crisis. I can see no other reason they would be so drawn to the Georgia Bulldogs and the content about Kirby Smart and his program. I suppose it’s because now that Nick Saban is gone they know things will never be the same and coping with this new reality is not going to be easy.

 

 

 

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2023 Georgia Bulldogs Defensive Line:  A Force to be Reckoned With

 

The 2023 Georgia Bulldogs have assembled a defensive line that embodies strength, skill, and raw talent. Under the guidance of Coach Tray Scott, and with the strategic oversight of defensive coordinators Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp, this group of Nazir Stackhouse, Zion Logue, Tramel Walthour, Warren Brinson, Mykel Williams, Jordan Hall, Jamaal Jarrett, Tyrion Ingraham-Dawkins and others promises to dominate the field for the Dawgs.

Nazir Stackhouse:
A force to be reckoned with, Stackhouse brings an unparalleled level of power and intensity to the defensive line. His agility and ability to penetrate the offensive line make him a formidable presence on the field. Stackhouse’s explosiveness and relentless pursuit of the ball carrier make him a key asset in disrupting opposing offenses.

Zion Logue:
Logue’s versatility is key, possessing both the size and athleticism to excel in various defensive schemes. Logue’s ability to create pressure and collapse the pocket often leaves quarterbacks scrambling for a way out. His quickness off the snap and solid tackling technique make him a consistent threat to opposing offenses.

Tramel Walthour:
Walthour’s exceptional strength and technique make him a valuable asset to the Bulldogs’ defensive line. His ability to control the line of scrimmage and shed blockers allows him to disrupt running plays effectively. Walthour’s dedication to his craft and relentless work ethic make him a player to watch in the coming season.

Warren Brinson:
Brinson’s intelligence and football IQ contribute greatly to the Bulldogs’ defensive line success. Brinson’s ability to read plays and quickly react allows him to make impactful tackles and disrupt offensive game plans. With his natural instincts and physicality, Brinson consistently demonstrates his potential to be a dominant force in the trenches.

Mykel Williams:
Williams showcases an impressive combination of size, speed, and agility. His ability to generate pressure from the edge and disrupt passing plays is a testament to his exceptional athleticism. Williams’ versatility and strong work ethic make him a valuable asset to the Bulldogs’ defensive line.

Jordan Hall:
Hall’s tenacity and relentless pursuit of the ball make him a standout player on the Bulldogs’ defensive line. His ability to quickly diagnose plays is a testament to his football IQ, while his energy and athleticism will allow him to contribute to the overall success of the unit this fall.

Jamaal Jarrett:
Jarrett’s explosiveness off the line of scrimmage is a sight to behold. A space-eater in the middle, his ability to create chaos in the backfield disrupts opposing offenses and forces quarterbacks into making hasty decisions. Jarrett’s natural athleticism and determination make him a critical component of the Bulldogs’ defensive line.

Tyrion Ingraham-Dawkins:
Ingraham-Dawkins displays incredible strength and power, and he is poised to step forward and be a dominant force on the defensive line. His ability to shed blockers and collapse the pocket is a testament to his raw talent. Ingraham-Dawkins’ physicality and relentless pursuit of the ball carrier will keep him on the field.

The 2023 Georgia Bulldogs defensive line is a force to be reckoned with and the 2023 edition should continue the level of excellence, especially against the run, that the unit has displayed in recent seasons.

 

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EVERYTHING KIRBY SMART SAID FROM THE PODIUM AT SEC MEDIA DAYS

 

KIRBY SMART: According to Claude Felton, I’m not allowed to go over 10 minutes. After Eli’s filibuster yesterday, I have decided to set an alarm that will not let me go over.

Love you, Eli. That was directed right at you.

I want to thank Greg Sankey, number one. His leadership is incredible. I don’t think you guys understand how good a job and how I always feel like I’m being redundant because I say the same thing every year, but this year I also wants to give kudos to the staff in Birmingham that does so much for the rest of us.

So many of them go unmentioned, but the SEC staff does an incredible job of educating us on a lot of issues and helps us out with that, so appreciate that, Greg, and all of your leadership.

Then I want to thank you guys. I also want to issue you the greatest challenge that has ever been issued to the media group here. I thank you for what you do, but your challenge today is to get more than three sentences out of Brock Bowers, which we have not been able to do in three years.

If you can get him to talk, it’ll be a great challenge for you and see if you can get it done.

19 of my 25 years coaching has been served in the SEC footprint. I think that’s pretty cool when you can go 24 of 30 when you include the five years that I played at Georgia. But 19 of the 25 years has been in that footprint.

I’m very comfortable in that footprint. I enjoy the SEC footprint. Listening to Commissioner Sankey yesterday talk about all the accolades of this conference, I mean, I love it. I love going to see — our conference dominant. All the spring sports that we compete in seem so dominant. I love and embrace SEC athletics.

I want to give a quick thanks to all our fan bases. The SEC is just different. When you think about the fan bases in our conference they make it what it is. They allow us to recruit to the largest attendance in the country, and it makes our job much easier when you’re in the best conference there is in the country.

This off-season, how have I spent this off-season? I think when you think about that, first thing I think about is July, because the only time we have anything off as coaches is end of June and July.

My family and I went on a family vacation there for about a week in July, and then I got to enjoy what my mother started about 13 years ago and she’s so proud of. She calls it Julymas. Julymas is Christmas in July.

Because we have bowl games as coaches we don’t get to kind of celebrate Christmas as a family, so we bring my brother’s family, my sister’s family, my parents, eight grandchildren all under one roof for three to four days, and my parents absolutely love it. I don’t know that my wife always does, but my family really enjoys it, and we get to have a good time.

I also got to spend five days in the SEC footprint in Mississippi. Travel baseball dad, which is fun and exhilarating, and my wife wants to go to Italy and the Amalfi Coast, and instead we spent it in Mississippi for five days in Southaven. I enjoyed every minute of that, and getting to be a travel baseball dad is something I enjoy.

Our staff, our team, our university, our entire Dawg Nation went through one of the highest of highs in January, which was to win back to back CFP Championships, which had never been done.

We then endured the loss of two dear family members, Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy. We love them and we miss them.

So many people have stepped up for our players within our organization during this time of need. One of the toughest things I’ve ever been through as a coach was to experience that.

But some of the leadership that really helped us, we have a rising star in our athletic department in Reese Griffin.
She’s been there for me, our players, and so many others during these tough times. She’s our senior deputy director of athletics and the sport facilitator for football.

Thomas Settles, our team chaplain. What an incredible asset he has been for both our players, our coaches, and people in our organization.

A tragedy can either divide or unite us. I’m proud of our players. It has definitely brought them closer together and united our team and our family.

A while back I was sent something I thought was pretty unique, and I was actually at my desk the other day combing through some things, and it literally hit me right between the eyes as I looked at it. It’s a Post-it note that was posted. I had gotten this probably a couple years ago and it was posted behind my seat at my desk.

I think anyone can tell you the benefits of great leaders. Anybody can tell you what it looks like. They can tell you what leadership can do for you. They can tell you how to develop leadership. There’s tons of books written on great leaders and leadership.

But you won’t see, and what you will never see, is people talk about the costs of leadership and costs associated with leadership I should say. If we truly want to be honest and up front about leadership, you can’t ignore the costs of leadership.

Great leaders are willing to accept those costs. I want to share quickly three of those things. Three of the costs that are plastered on my desk right behind it that kind of caught me between the eyes last week.

Number one, you will have to make hard decisions that negatively affect people you care about.

Number two, you will be disliked despite your best attempts to do the best for the most.

Number three, you will be misunderstood and won’t always have the opportunity to defend yourself.

Those are three costs that come from being a great leader. The reason I share those, these three costs, are exactly

what the three players we brought from UGA represent.

They don’t fear those costs. That’s the reason we decided to bring them. They accept those costs, and they embrace those costs, and it’s not hard for them to see the benefit of

I want to talk real quick about those guys. Brock Bowers, junior tight end from Napa, California. We all know about his phenomenal athleticism. He’s got a 3.45 GPA in finance. I remind him constantly that’s 5.05 right behind where I was as a finance major at Georgia.

It’s the only thing I’ve been able to beat Brock at. But Brock is unique. He’s easily, easily the quietest, hardest worker I’ve ever been around, and it’s such a joy to bring him today to see him squirm on that plane and be uncomfortable and thinking about having to talk to you guys. I’m so excited to see his growth he gets from visiting with you guys and getting to enjoy it.

I wanted to share a quick story on Brock that I think epitomizes who he is. So our off-season conditioning program, we have these things called boxes. As part of our program we do running in boxes. You’ve got to run down one side of the field and then you jog across the end zone, and then you’ve got to run, sprint the other side.

So one day — I don’t think these tight ends would claim for this to be true — but one day our younger tight ends had decided that they were going to finally get Brock. They were going to beat Brock on the boxes.

So they took turns, which you’re not supposed to do, running as fast as possible down the straight away, the 100 yards you run down the straight away, and they were going to eventually beat Brock. Because while one of them was sprinting, one of the others would be resting and they had to try to beat Brock.

Well, not only did Brock win every one of those races, he beat every single one of them turn by turn by turn while they rested and waited up, and they just couldn’t beat the old vet. It just shows his work ethic and how hard he competes at everything he does, and does it with silence.

Next guy I’ll bring up is Kamari Lassiter. Kamari Lassiter is a junior corner for us who I have tremendous respect for. He’s a 2.7 GPA sports management major. I’ll say this about both Kamari and Brock Bowers, they are what we call COVID babies. They came in during the COVID class.

And I shared this earlier. I think it’s very unique to our place. We signed 20 high school players the COVID year; 17 of those 20 are still in our program. That’s hard to find anywhere in the country.

They didn’t get to go on visits. They didn’t get to go on official visits. These guys are the core leadership group of our team, that 17 of 20, which would be a junior class if

those costs as leaders of our team.

they weren’t redshirted.

But Kamari is part of that class, too. Kamari has got a great personality. He loves competition. He’s fierce. He’s a great tackler. This guy must have sent us 800 videos of himself during COVID because he wanted to prove he was worthy of a Georgia scholarship, and he earned that.

Something else I’ll share on Kamari that I think is unique. I sat in his skull session because I move around when we have these meetings, and he was talking about his why. It really kind of hit me in the heart, man. It hit me right in the gut when he talked about his mom, Miss Kammie, and how much she sacrificed so he could go to the best high school, private school, and get the best education.

How many jobs she worked, how she slept on the couch at his auntie’s house. An incredible job that Kamari did explaining this, making himself vulnerable to the rest of our team and our players. Just love Kamari and everything he stands for and how he practices and how he leads our team.

Then the last guy would be Sedrick Van Pran, senior center New Orleans. He is an art and design major, and he wanted me to emphasize that to you guys. That’s extremely unique. He’s very talented. Ask him to draw something; he can do it. 3.26 GPA. He decided to return for his senior season because he wants to be the best at his position and he loves his school.

At the end of the day, this guy loves Georgia.

Quick story on Sed I’ve never told anybody. We were at SoFi having the first practice for TCU. I was frustrated. I was on the mic. We weren’t practicing well. We had a little bit of maybe jet lag.

I felt like we weren’t practicing good and I said on the mic, you’re practicing like you don’t want to be here. Nobody here is practicing like they want to be here, and then after practice, of course I had forgotten I said it an hour earlier.

I walked by and Sedrick tapped me on the shoulder and said, Coach Smart, you really hurt my feelings when you said that I didn’t want to practice and didn’t want to be here, and I thought, this dude is serious and he remembers everything you say and it matters to him.

He cares about this team a lot and it means a lot to him, and he’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever been around.

Before I wrap this up, I do want to speak briefly on dealing with the threat of complacency. Everybody here has talked about is the emphasis on three-peat, is the emphasis on

what are you going to do next, how are you going to top that, how do you top an undefeated season.

The threat for us is complacency. The first thing you have to do is acknowledge that it’s a threat. Like if you acknowledge the complacency is a threat, it’s the first step towards stomping it out. So we look for two things when we look for people to join our organization. I’m not talking about players, I’m talking about anybody in our organization. Do they love football and do they embrace being part of something bigger than themselves. Are they selfless.

We want to find people who love football and embrace a selfless role. Those two qualities, loving football and embracing being selfless, are not dependent on outcomes. They’re not dependent on win or loss, did I get a sack, did I touch the ball. That’s not what we’re looking for, guys that are dependent on outcomes.

We want guys that think independent of outcomes. So when you see complacency take over it’s when a team’s enthusiasm and ego start worrying about outcomes.

That’s not what we do at Georgia. That’s not what we bring into our place. That’s not what we bring into the culture we want to have. We want selfless people who love football, and that’s what we build around.

This off-season we’ve done the same thing we did the last two years. We’ve tried to change it up. This year we studied the New Zealand All-Blacks, most successful sports team in the history of really teams, over 100 years they’ve had the highest winning percentage. So we took a deep dive. We took a six weeks. We took a title and a mantra from them and studied those things for six weeks because we don’t want complacency. They’ve done it better than anybody else, and we use that.

One of their big mantras is better never rests. We believe that. Those are strong words now when you think about it. Think deep on it. Better never rests.

Our kids understand it. Our kids have learned it. What drives us for this season is intrinsic motivation. We’re not going to be controlled by outside narratives and what people say and who’s going to be the quarterback.

The intrinsic motivation comes from within and what we decide to do. This team, the 2023 team, is still defining itself. We don’t know where that goes. That happens over the course of the rest of the summer and fall camp, but I like where it’s at. I love the buy-in. I love the fact these guys being around each other and they love competing and they love football, so that’s important to me.

A couple points before I go to Q & A I want to hit real quick. Every full-time coach on this year’s staff — listen to me

carefully — every full-time coach on this year’s staff was on last year’s staff. Tell me the last time a National Championship team can say that.

The same strength and conditioning coach, Scott Sinclair; the same player development coach, Jonas Jennings; and the same athletic trainer, Ron Courson, has been at our place for eight consecutive years, the entire time I’ve been there.

We have 26 UGA grads on our staff. Retention for us is the key to sustaining success. Again, retention is the key to sustaining success.

We can’t do that without a supportive administration, and we sure as hell can’t do that without a great culture of people wanting to be part of our program and pouring into our kids.

With that, I’ll open it up for Q & A for you guys.

I did go over.

Q. Speaking of a guy that’s been in your program since the beginning, you were with Coach Saban so long. I know he worked with you there. Talk about the development of Glenn Schumann and what he’s meant to your program defensively and what he’s helped you accomplish thus far.

KIRBY SMART: First off, Glenn Schumann is an incredible man and person. He’s a graduate of Alabama. He came there on the Bear Bryant Scholarship. His dad played football at Alabama. He is the son of a football coach. He is extremely bright, extremely passionate. I rely heavily on Glenn for input on practice schedules, defensive design, thinking outside the box.

There’s not a time when I think of who can I ask on my staff that understands what we want and what we need, Glenn Schumann is that guy. He’s very talented.

Glenn Schumann will be the first to admit he came to the University of Georgia without ever getting an on-the-field coaching position, and I was very confident in his role to do that. What has he done with that? He has produced one of the most productive inside linebacker rooms in the country, and he’s one of the people that really believes in growth being a part of his process, and he continues to grow to this day.

Q. Number one recruiting class, back to back Natties,

more kinds in the league in your first seven years than any my coach in the modern college ball era. That being said, with all those accomplishments is there anything you improve on as a coach? And also, before you answer, I don’t know who this guy is, but he told me y’all are going 7-5 before she handed me the mic.

KIRBY SMART: So going back to the original question of you want to know what we can do better or what I can do better, well, there’s a lot of things we can do better. We can play much better pass defense late in the season. We can grow as a team and continue to get better on our special teams assets. It’s like a constant improvement for us, right. Better never rests. We firmly believe that.

We’ve done a lot of studies this off-season at things we can do better and things we can improve on. Our kids understand that, that we don’t want to be just a football factory. We want to produce people that are quality citizens, that do a great job in the community, and I’m constantly evolving as a coach. And I’ve talked about it several times here today, that I think the best thing I’ve done is allow coaches to do their job. Take a step back and say, you know what, maybe it’s not better that I sit in this meeting and tell somebody what I think they should do.

It’s probably better that I let them do it and just oversee it and spend more time with the players so that I know Kamari Lassiter’s why, I know Brock Bowers’ why, I know Sedrick’s why. I can probably get more out of them by spending more time with them as players.

Q. You talked a lot about complacency after winning back-to-back National Championships. You obviously did the same thing at Alabama as defensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013. What lessons are you maybe taking from that part of your career and maybe what lessons are you taking from Saban in battling that complacency?

KIRBY SMART: I can’t even remember that far back. I’ll be honest with you. I don’t remember that next season or anything that carried over from that season because you’re not thinking about the last season.

I think sometimes as media you guys want to make it about, well, what are you going to learn, how are you going to combat this. All we’re thinking about is the next 24 hours. Like how can we get better in the next 24 hours. I’m not sitting here thinking of some motivating factor.

People are like, what are you going to tell your team this year? You going to tell them people are going to say you’re going to be 7-5?

No. I’ve never said that anybody thought our team was going to be 7-5. We expect to be good at University of Georgia. We want sustained success. So we have to do that by winning every day. That’s not going to change whether we win it or not this year.

Q. You touched on the tragedy obviously that hit your program there, but you’ve had a number of traffic-related incidents since then. Are you disappointed that your players don’t seem to have gotten a message from that?

KIRBY SMART: I’m disappointed anytime we have traffic incidents. It’s very evident when you look at it, we’ve had traffic citations and incidents throughout the history of being at the University of Georgia. We actually don’t have more now than we’ve had in the past.

What concerns me most is the safety of our players, and when you drive at high speeds it’s unsafe. We don’t want that to happen.

We’re going to do all we can to take that out and make sure that’s eradicated.

But I’m also smart enough to understand and know that 18- to 20-year olds is when this happens. It’s when it happened to me as a student-athlete. That’s when speeding happens. What we want to do is take that out and make it safe and not have high speeds. As long as they don’t get a speeding ticket, it should not be a super speeder.

Q. You mentioned retention was the key to y’all’s success. What’s the secret there for you? How are you getting everyone to stay at Georgia with you?

KIRBY SMART: Well, everybody doesn’t stay at Georgia. We have all kinds of analysts and turnover in other spots, but making sure people enjoy their work environment. Like I want to come to work each day. A lot of the motivation to come to work and enjoy it is that you enjoy your time with your family.

I’m always trying to find an innovative way, and I’ve had people outsource this, like come in and tell me how we can use our time more efficiently, and therefore our coaches get to be with their families and enjoy their families, so that when they are here they’re more passionate about their work and they want to stay.

The college calendar, the coaching calendar, it’s one of the toughest things out there. Go ask an NFL coach. They’ll tell you. They’ll laugh and say, it’s crazy what you guys do.

Well, I want to make it enjoyable for our coaches so that

they feel good and they want to stay and they can bring their family to every event we have and let their kids run around and enjoy it. That’s important to me because I want my kids around, as well.

The retention part is letting them do their job and making their job more enjoyable.

Q. The Classic City Collective is one of seven collectives that plans to introduce a revenue sharing model. What are your thoughts on potential revenue sharing in the future?

KIRBY SMART: I’m not an expert on revenue sharing. I do know that our class at City Collective has been on the cutting edge of sharing information, trying to get best practices, trying to find a better way.

I’ve been a big proponent of like why can’t — just like we talk across different programs to figure out the best way to run a defense or do an offensive play or study, let’s figure out the best practices of this so we can get some uniformity among them and try to grow it that way.

That may not answer your question because I’m not an expert on revenue sharing or the way it would be set up.

Q. You were talking about the retention rate. That 85 percent of those COVID babies sticking around, how hard is that in any given recruiting cycle to get that kind of hit rate?

KIRBY SMART: It’s only that hard if you don’t recruit the right people. I’m proud of the fact that 17 of 20 guys are still in our organization from a COVID year in which we didn’t get to host an official visit.

They didn’t get to go and do unofficial visits, and we’ve retained those guys because we’ve invested in them as freshmen. We’ve invested in them as sophomores. They’ve seen kind of return on investment for older players that stuck around.

They watched a Quay Walker not start sophomore year but start his junior year, and then go a first-round pick his senior year. So they’ve seen a lot of evidence of the success, but they’ve also seen the buy-in of the leadership.

I challenge anybody to dig up that COVID class, and that’s been a really good — and you know what we evaluated that class on? Love of the game and being selfless. Like that’s not hard. It’s hard to find, but it’s not hard to evaluate.

Q. In the wake of the hazing reports out of Northwestern, do you or have you addressed the topic of hazing with your team, or do you — how do you handle maybe the idea of team bonding within your locker room?

KIRBY SMART: Yeah, that’s in our checklist. I think every coach would say at the beginning of the year you have a certain checklist you go through, and what’s happened uniquely is that most of your roster is turning over in January.

So a couple years ago when we had 18 or 19 mid-years we began doing an August session of this is our new team, these are our new players, these are our team rules, and here’s the policies we go by. And then we have to do in January now; whereas in the past ten years ago, eight years ago we never did this in January, but our team is turning over in January, so we do twice a year.

We do education, we go through, and I lead that session because it’s important to me that they hear it from me, and our entire staff is in there and our entire players are in there.

That’s one of the things we talk about each other, not so much hazing as it is welcoming the freshmen.

I remember being a freshman and having to carry people’s trays and getting your head shaved when I was a freshman back in 1994. I just thought that was so dramatic.

But now those freshmen, the guys we sign, they have to play. So when you create this separation of they have to do this and they have to do that, they’re not ready to play. They’re like a different team.

So we do more of a brotherhood. Take this guy in. He’s at your position. Can you go out and teach him and walk him through, embrace those guys and make sure they understand that hazing will not be tolerated, and if it is, they need to let us know.

Q. I wanted to ask about recruiting. How much have you seen recruiting change throughout your tenure as a head coach, and what needs to improve, if anything, in terms of recruiting?

KIRBY SMART: When you say what needs to improve in terms of recruiting, I don’t — recruiting has always been recruiting. It’s changed because the rules and parameters have changed. We moved up a signing date, moved it to December, which then made us all do official visits in June.

I’ve seen this whole transformation from a recruit in 1994 that went on an official visit in late January to you would never even bring a guy in on a visit in January because

they are almost all already enrolled.

The cycle has flipped in terms of that.

But when you talk about improving recruiting, I think so much used to be built on your facility and how can you show them how you can develop them, the education, what’s your major going to be. Like what do you want to do, life after football.

So much has now become towards directed towards NIL, and I think that’s some of Commissioner Sankey’s frustration of trying to make that at least somewhat uniform so that we’re not operating under different rules state to state.

Q. You guys have run as many multiple tight end sets as anyone over the last couple years with Darnell Washington moving on is that something that you guys will continue because it’s in your philosophy, or with the personnel changes, do you think we will see less of those multiple tight end sets?

KIRBY SMART: Very simple answer to that question: We’re going to play the 11 best players that give us the opportunity to be successful. If that’s seven wide outs, if that’s two running backs, if that’s four running backs or two tight ends or 13 personnel, we can go through all the numbers.

Every offensive coach will tell you and every head coach will tell you we’re going to get the best 11 players on the field. Last year Darnell Washington and Brock Bowers were two of our best football players. That is probably yet to be determined this season.

Q. Earlier you alluded to being the only program to win consecutive national titles in the College Football Playoff era. Since 1936 at the Division I level, no team has won three straight since Minnesota in 1936; 12 teams have attempted to duplicate that but have come up short, including one you were part of in 2013 with Alabama. If Georgia is indeed the last team standing this year, what would that mean and represent for you personally and also for the Georgia program?

KIRBY SMART: It would be a lot of hard work that had been acknowledged. I think we’re a long way from that, so to make that assumption or that theory relevant, we would have to get to that point in time. But I can assure you if we get to that point, I’m going to be worrying about the next day’s work more than I am the achievement.

Q. I was curious if you talked to your team about history, if you’re a history major in college football,

and talk about trying to do something that hasn’t been done since the 1930s and the relevance of all that.

KIRBY SMART: We have not addressed that with them. We’ve certainly looked at some three-peat scenarios of teams like the Bulls and different sports teams that they might actually know about.

No offense to the Minnesota 1935 team, but I don’t know if it’s going to resonate with my audience.

We’re going to try to — and I don’t care about the three-peat, the two-peat or the one-peat. I care about complacency. If the focus is on that and the outcomes, I think the rest will take care of itself in terms of allowing our guys to focus on being the best they can be.

 

Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart speaks to the media at the 2023 SEC Football Kickoff, Tuesday July 18,2023 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Nashville,Tn . (Jimmie Mitchell/SEC)

 

 

 

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EVERYTHING BROCK BOWERS SAID IN HIS Q&A SESSION AT SEC MEDIA DAYS

Q. Some changes in the off-season, offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, he’s off to the NFL to Mike Bobo, and quarterback Stetson is out and you have Beck, Vandagriff, you have Stockton. How has the transition been from one offensive coordinator to the other, and what’s your chemistry been like with Carson beck?

BROCK BOWERS: Yeah, it was pretty seamless because Bubba was there last year and then the tight end room actually helping out and just being the offense, quality control, assistant kind of role.

So everyone was kind of used to him. I mean, everyone really likes him. So it’s been a pretty seamless transition.

Then, our relationship with Carson Beck is actually really good. We’ve been locker buddies, I guess. We are right next to each other in the locker room every day. He’s been doing really good. So we’ve been around each other the last two years, so it’s been pretty — pretty easy.

Q. There are several NFL tight ends at the top of their game right now. Is there a player that you emulate your game after and that you admire? Obviously Travis Kelce, right here in Nashville, or are there others?

BROCK BOWERS: Yeah, I think Travis Kelce and George Kittle both do a great job. I just try to take what I can from them, and just, they are awesome.

Q. AD Mitchell obviously transferred to Texas. What did you see from him when you were a teammate with AD?

BROCK BOWERS: Yeah, AD was a beast. He was one of the twitchiest dude I’ve ever seen. He’d take one step and be the opposite direction at full speed. He’s just an impressive player, and I’m just hoping for the best for him at Texas.

Q. You’ve been around the program the last few years but how has a guy like Ladd McConkey in the wide receiver and tight end room. How important is it having a guy like who has worked hit butt off to get to where he is, like you guys, but also just as a leader in the program and the wide receiver room and tight end room and the team as a whole?

BROCK BOWERS: You said, what is it — can you repeat that, please?

Q. Yeah, no problem. Having Ladd McConkey in the wide receiver and tight end room as a leader, what’s it mean for the younger guys and obviously the team as a whole?

BROCK BOWERS: He’s an awesome leader. He’s kind of like me, kind of leads by example, and he does a really good job at it. He just comes in with a positive mindset and smile on his face every day.

So I feel like he kind of brings the whole team’s vibe up a little bit, and he just does everything right.

Q. You guys have seemed to build a lot of talent in that tight end room. Obviously you had Darnell going to the NFL last year; yourself, you’re one of the top tight ends in the country and you have Pearce and Lawson coming in, as well. You’re kind of building Tight End University there. What’s it like in Georgia that’s really allowed you guys to grow and be the best versions of yourselves that you can be?

BROCK BOWERS: I think a big thing it has to do with is Coach Smart and his staff, and especially Coach Hartley who coaches the tight ends. He’s a great football coach, as well as coaching us off the field, and as well as trying to have us be the best version of us that we can; and be a great father, friend and just kind of everything off the field, too.

Q. What are some of the challenges of getting to and winning the National Championship and what did you anticipate are going to be some of the hurdles you’ll go

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through going for a third one this year?

BROCK BOWERS: I think Coach Smart talked about it a little earlier, but it’s kind of like the whole thing that better never rests and we are trying to battle complacency.

Coming off two income National Championships, we are trying to stay hungry and be the best we can be every single day. Actually I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job that have and we just have to keep it going throughout fall camp and the end of the season.

Q. What makes Georgia, Athens, the Sanford Stadium a special place within the SEC?

BROCK BOWERS: I think it’s so special because of our fans. Shoot, we have our National Championship parade, it was freezing the first year and they packed out the stadium. They were all lined up on the street, just cheering us on. They just have a huge commitment to us and the community does too. Yeah, it’s just awesome to see.

Q. One of the hurdles in repeating as a champion or winning a championship is blocking out the outside noise. There’s been a lot of that since you guys won the most recent championship. What can you say about the program in terms of accountability and discipline?

BROCK BOWERS: Yeah, I think we have a very strong culture among players and coaches and everything. We’ve had numerous meetings about what we can do better on and off the field, and I think we have done a pretty good job of blocking out the outside noise and focusing on ourselves and focusing on the stuff that we can get better at personally.

Q. What are some of the hurdles you’re trying to jump this year to be better? You’ve done so many things in your career right now, winning championships and accolades and things. What are you trying to do this coming year?

BROCK BOWERS: One of the things I’m trying to do better at is be a better leader. Because now I’m the old guy in the room somehow, and I feel like time flew by and I feel like just yesterday, I was sitting in the same seat as those freshmen.

It’s a little nerve-wracking for those guy. So I’m trying to help those guys best I can and lead by example, and I guess just maybe try to be a better vocal leader and say something when something needs to be said.

Q. Seemed like last year the team took on the mantra

of being the hunters. Is that something that’s carried over to this career or something new that you guys are adopting within the team?

BROCK BOWERS: That carries over. Obviously we always want to be on the hunt and never be hunted. Also, like I said, better never rests. Just got to keep getting better every day because if we are not getting better, we’re getting worse.

Everyone is trying to catch up to us.

Q. I asked Kamari this earlier and you’re switching offensive coordinators this year, as well. What have the changes been like? Is it like business as normal?

BROCK BOWERS: About the offensive coordinators you said?

Q. Yes, sir.

BROCK BOWERS: Yeah, I mean, like I said, Bobo was — Coach Bobo was in the tight end room last year so it was an easy transition. He brings a lot of the same offensive stuff to the table as Coach Monken did, and so he’ll be throwing a few wrinkles here and there, but it will all be same players and just got to do the same thing.

 

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers speaks to the media at the 2023 SEC Football Kickoff, Tuesday July 18,2023 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Nashville,Tn . (Jimmie Mitchell/SEC)

 

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EVERYTHING SEDRICK VAN PRAN SAID IN HIS Q&A SESSION AT SEC MEDIA DAYS

Q. Amarius Mims is a guy that thought about leaving and pretty sure he’s pretty glad he didn’t leave. Where does he fit in on the O-line and what excites you about his role this year?

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: So just being frank, I think he fits in as a goofball. He’s the guy that provides comic relief whenever things are getting serious and hot. You know, you may be a hundred degrees and running guys are ready to get after it, and he says something funny to kind of calm guys down. He’s that kind of guy.

But also, he’s like, immensely talented. That guy is one of God’s gifts, just physically. Super, super excited to see what he can do this year.

Q. Dating back in your senior year of high school, you won the State Leadership Award in the State of Louisiana for football players.

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: Yes, sir.

Q. You’ve always been a leader. What does leadership mean to you, what is your leadership style and how do you go about doing it?

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: So to be honest with you, I think leadership has always been important to me for the simple fact of — it’s going to sound weird, but I’ve always just cared about the guys that I put in time with.

So I’m a firm believer that if you’re a friend, you’re family. I think that’s how I’ve always been. I think that natural care makes you want to help people out when they may not be going in the right direction and I think that’s where it originated from is wanting to help out people that you love.

And what was the second half of your question? Oh, okay. Got you.

So leadership style I would say usually is very calm. So I

would try to build as best of a relationship as I can with people, and I try to be very good about it and the reason why is because, I’m not going to lie, sometimes I have a tendency to snap when necessary.

I think when you build those relationships, guys can take that because they understand that if iron the guy that’s going out of your way to go eat lunch with a guy or take a guy here or do this with a guy when you may raise your voice, they are not going to take it in the way of, oh, Like, this guy is trying to attack me, they are trying to do something to me. He’s just passionate about what we are doing.

So I think that’s my leadership style. I try to connect with everybody, and I try to have an understanding of who they are as people.

Q. You started every single game for the past two years, you’re a two-time national champion, you’ve proven to be one of the best linemen in America. Even though you were eligible for the Draft this year, you chose to come back. What went into that decision to return to Georgia for your senior year.

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: That’s a great, great question. I think starting off, just from the selfish side, even though I hate talking about myself, it would have to be that I felt like I could gain more from coming back. But then when you start to think about the aspect of the University of Georgia, I really felt like I had a great opportunity to help my guys. And I think that’s what ultimately drove me back is I think that we had a great opportunity to be a good team, and I wanted to be a part of it and help try to lead the guys to a good season for us.

I think that’s what it was and ultimately the connection that I felt with the guys in the locker room.

Q. They talk about your leadership ability, and that obviously was very last year; you only gave up nine sacks. As a unit, you guys were phenomenal. This year, a lot of new starters and turnover on that line. What’s it like trying to navigate that this year and also trying to make sure that as a leader, you are there for

those guys in helping them grow in that role?

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: So in my opinion, the beauty of the offensive line is that the more guys you have working, the more out comes you could possibly have.

So what we try to do is we try to spend as much time together as possible, whether it be working out, eating or whatever it may be, we just try to spend a lot of time together so that whenever there’s a situation where different guys could possibly play or be plugged in or whatever the case may be, we don’t lose a beat. That’s the hope, right. The hope is that you can have multiple guys play.

So that’s kind of what we try to, you know, I guess pride ourselves on as far as players is being so connected that multiple guys can play and be synchronized together.

Q. Ladd McConkey has come a long way within your program. How vital is it to have a guy like him back and in those rooms and at practice and all of the above?

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: Man, I would say this: It’s amazing. I know a lot of people talk about my decision to come back, but I think his decision to come back is something that really, really will help the team. I think it was essential for the team to really on a good start as far as work outs and things like that.

Ladd is a great guy. I was really, really excited that he decided to come back, but it’s been amazing to see his growth. I remember Ladd always talked about, he was so excited to just be able to travel, and then you know years later, man, he’s really, really been a big piece for us making plays down the field.

I’m super, super proud of him and really happy for him because he’s taken some amazing strides in his game and also as a person.

Q. We heard yesterday that the two new schools maybe don’t know what they are in for with the SEC. Based on your experience, what’s waiting for Texas and Oklahoma when they join this conference?

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: I want to be careful what I say because in my opinion, I think football is football, right. Anybody, any given day, like it doesn’t matter conference, size, any of that. If it’s your day, it’s your day.

So I don’t necessarily want to get into what’s necessarily waiting for them. But I will say, I do think that they will be very competitive in this league and I think that it will be

good for the league because when you add two premiere programs like that that have such rich histories, I think it only elevates the status of the conference.

Q. I could be wrong here, but when I turned on the film and the difference between 2021 and 2022, Luke and Searels being your coaching, both years, respectively, a difference in effort level. I could be wrong. But talk about what playing with effort means with Coach Searels and how he goes about coaching it?

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: Let me say this: I think Coach Luke did a tremendous job, and he definitely did coach effort. That was his biggest thing. Coach Luke would have us have nightmares about the word “strain”; how much he talked about it.

But as far as Coach Searels, man, I really think he does a really good job of just allowing guys to be themselves, right. Like he’s the type of guy that allows you to genuinely be yourself. He takes the time to build relationships, understands guys, and I think over time that allows guys to want to play hard for their coach.

Like Coach Luke, I think we played hard because we were connected to him and he taught that, but I really feel like, I think on face value, what Coach Searels has taught us, and you know just being connected with him, it makes a guy want to go out there and just genuinely play as hard as they can.

So I think that was something as to why we’ve played hard, really, to be honest, with both coaches just having that connection to them, whether it be Coach Luke or Coach Searels.

Q. Said rake, a while ago, I asked Coach Smart about this perception that the program off the field has been lacking in accountability and discipline, and his answer to that was, “Talk to the players.” What would you say about that?

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: Can you repeat that question? I’m sorry.

Q. Yeah, there’s a perception out there that this program is lacking in accountability and discipline off the field, all of the negative press you guys have gotten.

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: Yes, sir.

Q. And I asked Coach Smart about what he could say to change that perception, and he said, “Talk to the players.”

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: Okay.

Q. So I want to ask you, what you would say as far as that perception goes, and how you change that perception?

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: Well, I think it starts here. Perception, unfortunately, I think in my opinion comes from when you make a mistake and you kind of give people a way to judge you, right.

So I think starting off is taking responsibility and understanding that we have made some mistakes. Don’t shy away from it. Understand it and own up to it, but then from that point, take an action, right.

So make sure that if a guy is in a bad situation as a teammate, that you’re taking care of him. Hey, Bro, I got you. I’ll make sure you get home. Like, we’re good. All of those things, preventative measures, having guys, seniors, juniors standing up in front of the team and talking about what being safe and cautious really means to them.

And then I think going beyond that and bringing it even more is just understanding that we have a responsibility to the guys that have come before us, whether they be successful businessmen or guys that have played football to, protect the University of Georgia.

And I think that’s really the biggest thing is understanding that we have a responsibility to the university and some of the older guys really just speaking up about that.

Q. Kentucky played you guys better than anybody last year. Is that a game that you guys have circled on the schedule, just kind of making sure that doesn’t happen again, and if so, also, what’s your thoughts on this new Kentucky team with a lot of those pieces gone from last year’s team?

SEDRICK VAN PRAN: So I would say this: We try not to get into the specifics of each game, because to be honest, every game is tough. There are a lot of opponents that give great challenges no matter who it may be, in conference, out of conference.

But what I will say is that Kentucky has a great team. They really, really do play hard, especially in the trenches. Those guys are really, really talented.

So I will say that we always look forward to games where we know that we’ll have to like, you know, grind it out and things like that, but to be honest with you, it’s like that every week. Every game, in and out of conference is a grind for

us, so I will say, I do think that Kentucky is very, very talented. However, we try to make sure that we are on our best for every game.

 

Georgia lineman Sedrick Van Pran speaks to the media at the 2023 SEC Football Kickoff, Tuesday July 18,2023 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Nashville,Tn . (Jimmie Mitchell/SEC)

 

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Everything Kamari Lassiter Said in His Q&A Session at SEC Media Days

Q. Kamari, wanted to ask about another guy in the DB room, Javon Bullard, with the approximation change this off-season. What have you seen from him, and especially facing some of that adversity last year and coming back with the two MVPs at the end of the season. What have you seen from Javon this year?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: JB, that’s a guy that he comes to work in day-in, day-out. He’s the same guy every day, a hard worker, first-guy-in, last-guy-out type of guy, and he attacks everything with the same mindset and same heart. He loves the game of football. So I expect nothing less than for him to excel in that position.

 

Q. Seemed like last year that some of the guys almost had the mentality that they were being overlooked despite winning the national championship the year before. Now that you’ve won back-to-back, is that still the case or what is the mentality the team carries with them?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: The mentality for this year is really just better, never rest. We are trying to eat off the floor. We are not trying to be complacent this year. We are trying to uphold our standard and keeping the main thing the main thing.

Q. Obviously when you’re at Georgia, you’re competing the against the best of the best in practice. When you have a guy like Ladd McConkey on the offensive side of the ball whose motor seems to continue to just roll, how much of a challenge is that and how great is it knowing that you have a guy like that on your team?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: Whenever you have guys like that, it has to make you better as a player, especially whenever you go against them, you know every day. So you know with Ladd and with all the other receivers in the room, we have a lot of guys explosive and can make plays all over the field. So it makes the defense and me as a person in the secondary much better.

 

Q. Playing at Georgia, a lot of defensive players have gone on to the NFL, a lot of guys and a lot of first-round picks. Competing with those guys against those guys in practice, how does it help you develop as a player?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: First coming in, you don’t expect to see as much talent as you really see. But going over the years, it’s just made me such a better player. I can say that I’ve grown technically as a football player and as a man, just going up against these guys and learning from the older guys, and to now trying to teach the younger guys what I’ve learned.

Q. With Stetson Bennett moving on, the passing game is going to have a new quarterback this year. What have you seen out of the offense this off-season and what are you expecting from the Georgia passing attack this fall?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: I expect us to still be explosive. The offense is looking great. The quarterbacks, all three of those guys, they are three guys who are very composed and very good at manning the offense and keeping up the standard.

 

Q. What’s it like going against Brock (Bowers) in practice?

KAMARI LASSITER: It’s great. I love competing at a high level and I love going up against the best players in the country every day. It makes me better and I’m sure this makes them better as well. But I really take pride in knowing that I’m competing against some of the best players in the country every single day.

Q. What’s been the hardest part of having a National Championship season, and what do you anticipate going for a third one that are going to be some of the challenges?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: I would say really one of the challenges would be just keeping our head down and just maintaining a good work ethic and keeping the right mindset and attacking everything the right way.

 

Q. Along those lines, a third straight National Championship would be unprecedented in college football. Has there been a lot of talk around the program about the chance that you guys have to do something that’s really never been doing in the history of the sport?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: No, sir. We don’t really focus on that. We just try to focus on, you know, every day we come in, we try to get better at something, whether it’s trying to get stronger, faster, more conditioned. We just try and keep the main thing the main thing. We try and focus on the task at hand, and that’s just trying to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

 

Q. In this off-season, you guys brought in Dominic Lovett in the transit portal, and Lovett had a big year at Mizzou last year. Between what you saw against him in the game last year and what you’ve seen in practice, how do you feel he’s going to fit in this offense and what role do you expect to see him play this year?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: Dom is going to fit in the offense just fine. He’s a great player. He works very hard. You can tell that he loves the game of football. He enjoys being out there, and I enjoy competing against him and watching him compete against some of the other guys on the field as well.

Q. What is the K3? And if you had to describe playing defensive back under Kirby Smart, how would you tell somebody about that experience?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: Okay. So the K3, it’s pretty simple. My name is Kamari and my number is 3, but it also is for my family. So myself, my mom and my pops, we all — all of our first names start with the letter K. So it’s three of us. So it also stands for that as well. And playing under Coach Smart, honestly it’s a blessing. I take it as an honor. It’s not a job really to play under him. He played DB at Georgia and he takes pride in it because he loves the university. He just brings all the energy and passion to the meet room and the field every day. Myself and the other guys, we feed off that.

Q. What’s the weakness for this defense coming into ’23?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: I would say some of the things that we should look out for is just trying to keep the right mindset. I think that as long as we keep the right mindset and just continue to stay connected and lean on each other that we can be as great as we want to be.

 

Q. Stetson isn’t the only change that’s happened at Georgia this year. You also are now having Monken, obviously in Baltimore and the NFL. What’s it been like under Mike going up against that offense every single day? Have you seen changes? Are there a lot of similarities? What’s your thoughts overall?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: Overall, the offense basically has a lot of the same similarities. It’s the same explosive run, pass offense. You know, play-action, all that. It’s not many differences.

 

Q. You played in Alabama’s backyard, you went over to Georgia to play with that program. How has what has transpired matched up with your dreams?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: I would say that this is everything I hoped for and more honestly. Coming into Georgia, I wanted to prove myself right and show that I can play at a high level in the SEC. And you know, just coming in and the way that Georgia is preparing me, both as a player and as a man, I couldn’t really ask for much more.

 

THE MODERATOR: What are the specific challenges of handing the success that you guys have had there? There’s handling failure and there’s handling success. What’s the challenge?

 

KAMARI LASSITER: I would say some of the challenges of handling success would be just trying not to get too high when everything is going good. Trying not to stay on the high horse. Remembering the things that got you there to this point, and, you know, going back to that, doing the little things right and not taking anything for granted and not taking a rep or a day for granted, really.

Georgia defensive back Kamari Lassiter speaks to the media at the 2023 SEC Football Kickoff, Tuesday July 18,2023 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Nashville,Tn . (Jimmie Mitchell/SEC)

 

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2023 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE

From the offices of the The Southeastern Conference: 

 

The Southeastern Conference appearance schedule at its annual SEC Football Kickoff Media Days presented by Regions, set to take place July 17-20 at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Nashville, Tenn.

This will be the first time for the event to be held in Nashville and the third time for the event to travel outside of the Birmingham metro area. Atlanta has previously hosted the event in both 2018 and 2022.

A more detailed daily schedule with full television information, rotational breakdown and student-athletes attending will be available prior to the event.

SEC Network will once again bring the four-day event to a national audience.

Names below are listed alphabetically by school and not an indicator of actual order of appearance. Media registration for the event will begin in early-May.

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