Home NCAA Kirby Smart: Complacency Is Georgia’s Biggest Enemy Entering 2023 Season

Kirby Smart: Complacency Is Georgia’s Biggest Enemy Entering 2023 Season

Kirby Smart: Complacency Is Georgia’s Biggest Enemy Entering 2023 Season

The Georgia Bulldogs are on a quest to make history, aiming to become the first team in nearly a century to achieve a three-peat of national championships since Minnesota’s pre-World War II dominance.

As the anticipation builds for another promising season, Head Coach Kirby Smart and his team made their appearance at SEC Media Days on Tuesday to discuss their approach to combat one major concern: complacency.

The Bulldogs impressive back-to-back national championships have raised expectations to unprecedented levels, but Smart is aware that complacency could undermine their pursuit of history.

During the press conference, he emphasized the team’s commitment to the motto “better never rests.”

“Everybody here has talked about if the emphasis is on three-peat.. ‘What are you going to do next?’ ‘How do you top an undefeated season?’ The threat for us is complacency,” Smart said. “The first thing that you have to do is acknowledge that it’s a threat. If you acknowledge that it’s a threat, it’s the first step towards stomping it out.”

The battle against complacency is an ongoing effort within the entire program, with Smart emphasizing the importance of thinking independently of outcomes and avoiding becoming overly focused on past achievements.

“We want guys who think independent of outcomes,” he explained. “When you see complacency take over, it’s when a team’s enthusiasm and ego take over and they start worrying about outcomes. That’s not what we do at Georgia. That’s not what we bring into our place. That’s not something we bring into the culture that we have.”

Maintaining the elite level of success the Bulldogs have enjoyed over the past two seasons has involved perfecting the “next man up” approach.

The ability to groom new talent and maintain continuity has been vital in Georgia’s championship runs. Smart highlighted how young players have witnessed firsthand the rewards of staying committed to the program.

“They’ve seen the return on investment from some of the older players that stuck around,” Smart said. “They’ve seen [linebacker] Quay Walker not start his sophomore year, start his junior year, and go as a first-round pick his senior year. They’ve seen a lot of the evidence of success. They’ve also seen the buy-in and leadership.”

The “better never rests” mantra was inspired by the New Zealand All Blacks, a legendary Rugby team known for their sustained success.

Smart revealed that the Bulldogs delve into the All Blacks’ guiding principles each week to draw inspiration from their century-long legacy.

“We study it,” Smart said. “We take their six or seven mantras and we study each one per week. We dive into it and go deeper into what their mantras are and what they’ve done over 100 years to remain successful.”

Despite the excitement surrounding the Bulldogs’ potential three-peat, Smart remains grounded and focused on the daily grind. Drawing from his experience as part of the Alabama staff during a failed three-peat attempt in 2013, he understands the challenges ahead.

“It would take a lot of work,” he admitted. “We are a long way from that to make that assumption or that theory relevant. If we get to that point in time, I can assure that, if we get to that point, I’m going to be worried about the next day’s work more than I am the achievement.”

Smart also shed some light on the Bulldogs quarterback situation entering camp – and admitted that Carson Beck is the leader in the clubhouse.

“He’s certainly the leader, but hasn’t done enough to say he’s the starter.”

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound junior is competing with redshirt sophomore Brock Vandagriff and redshirt freshman Gunner Stockton to replace the much-accomplished Stetson Bennett.

Smart reflected on the days when the coaching staff actually had Beck slotted ahead of the two-time National Champion Bennett.

“There was a time when the coaching staff had Beck in front of Bennett, so we inherited a pretty good quarterback if we thought this guy was better than Stetson Bennett,” Smart said. “People forget that, but there was a leapfrog in there and Stetson ended up being the best guy and it turned out to be the right decision.”

Will Georgia maintain the level of hunger and intensity required to win their third national championship in a row?

Who do you want to see win the starting quarterback job?



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