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College
Q&A with Steve Spurrier: Fierce Georgia rival shares thoughts on Kirby Smart
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Q&A with Steve Spurrier: Fierce Georgia rival shares thoughts on Kirby Smart

Q&A with Steve Spurrier: Fierce Georgia rival shares thoughts on Kirby Smart

Q&A with Steve Spurrier: Fierce Georgia rival shares thoughts on Kirby Smart

GREENSBORO, Ga. The SEC's "Head Ball Coach" chuckled and indicated he likes what he sees from Georgia's Kirby Smart, particularly his sideline apparel.

College football legend Steve Spurrier continues to mix playful fun and jabs into his sharp insights even at 74 years old.

Fact is, Spurrier has lived a life of getting the best out of his players and getting the best of his opponents.

Spurrier and Florida dominated the SEC during his 12-year tenure coaching the Gators. Spurrier won the 1996 national championship along with six league titles, making life miserable on Georgia with an 11-1 mark against the Bulldogs.

Even as head coach at South Carolina (2005-15), Spurrier remained a thorn for SEC East teams, as he was 5-6 against Georgia, 5-5 against Tennessee and 5-5 against Florida.

And, if anyone thinks the game has passed by Spurrier the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner and seven-time SEC Coach of the Year they surely weren't watching the AAF this spring.

Spurrier's Orlando Appollos went 7-1 and sat atop the now-defunct 8-team league.

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Q&A with Steve Spurrier: Fierce Georgia rival shares thoughts on Kirby Smart

Spurrier took a break from the driving range to do a one-on-one with DawgNation during the Arians Family Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament earlier this week:

What are your thoughts on Kirby Smart?

Spurrier: "I told Kirby the first thing I like about him is he wears a visor on the sideline, and I said you've got to have some guts to do that, some of those Bulldogs might try to accuse him of acting like that Gator coach a few years back, but nah, a lot of of coaches are wearing visors everywhere now.

Obviously he's done a really good job, the next thing he's got to do is beat Alabama, as we all know. Man, they've been in position, and when they start beating them, they might can keep doing it, who knows.

How close are Georgia and Alabama?

Spurrier: "They are very even, and the winner is the guy that plays the best that day, it's as simple as that. The recruiting is good and wonderful, but when it comes down to game time, you've got to make plays, and make your kicks and don't do stupid stuff, and all of that usually determines the winner.

What do you think about the College Football Playoffs?

Spurrier: "I'm a proponent of sending eight teams to it, to tell you the truth, but four is better than two, like they used to do. I guess it's pretty good, (but) I certainly don't like committees determining the champs. We're the only sport in the world that still does that. (Saying) that will probably not get me on the committee ever, but that's OK. I told somebody the other day, talking about the SEC Championship Game, the first one in 1992, of course, and I told our guys, We're going to try to win our division, and then we're going to get a chance to play for the SEC Championship, we don't have to worry about anybody voting, or any committee selecting us to go play in the game. So let's try to win that division and go from there.' So we liked that, and then after that they told you what bowl game to go to, and if you were the SEC champ, you usually went to the Sugar Bowl. That was one thing I liked about the SEC Championship Game."

What happened with your coaching stint in the NFL with the Redskins?

Spurrier: "The big thing, and why I left after two years, was the owner, and I thought we were going to hire a general manager, and I thought I was going to be in charge of the football team. And the second year, I didn't even pick the quarterbacks. I said, You mean I can't even pick the quarterbacks to make the team?' And they said, Nah, now we're going in this direction.' I said OK. So he was the owner and the general manager. He's out of it now, he acts like an owner now and he allows his people to do it. But that's the only job I've ever had as a head coach where I wasn't in charge of the team, simple as that."

How much did you enjoy coaching Orlando in the AAF?

Spurrier: "Oh yeah, yeah we had a good bunch of guys. Man, their attitude was wonderful. Garrett Gilbert, the quarterback, man he is a really good player. If he gets an opportunity in the NFL, I think he'll play super. And Charles Johnson, our wide receiver, Philly signed him, man, he was our MVP, and he and Garrett on offense. And our tailback D'Ernest Johnson averaged 5.8 per carry, and he caught the ball out of the backfield. So, we had a good bunch of guys with wonderful attitudes and we won some close games. We were 7-1, lost one close one, but we won about three that could have gone the other way, too.

Did you bring any new offensive concepts to the AAF?

Spurrier: "There was a little bit, some ball plays here there and the other, but I'll tell you what we did do late in the games a lot, we'd get in the old I-Formation and run the blast, or iso play, the toss sweep and the lead draw, and to run out the clock, that was our formation. And the guys did a really good job with just those three basic plays from days gone by. Instead of always being in the shotgun, we got under center and ran some I-Formation plays which really helped us.

What made Roy Kramer such a special SEC commissioner?

Spurrier: "He changed college football, a visionary, I guess that's what they call these guys that think out of the box a little bit and ahead of the other guys. When he said we're going to have divisions, and we're going to have a championship game, and I said, Is that legal?" He said Yeah, if you have six teams on each side.' I said well how come we haven't been doing that all along? I guess we had to have (add) two teams to get to twelve (South Carolina and Arkansas), but he said that was legal, and it was like, dang, everybody ought to be doing that, and now they are, except Notre Dame, they don't have to."

Will the Georgia-Florida rivalry move from Jacksonville to a home-and-home?

Spurrier: "It's up the the ADs and Presidents, I guess. Jacksonville loves it and I hope it stays there, but heck, when I was coaching at Florida, I said it's to our advantage to get on the bus, and they've got to get on the airplane, and we're in the state of Florida, (and) the stadium used to be called the Gator Bowl. It's a good game for Jacksonville so I hope it stays there"

The post Q&A with Steve Spurrier: Fierce Georgia rival shares thoughts on Kirby Smart appeared first on DawgNation.

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Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is keeping one eye on the weather report and another on Kentucky game film with Saturday night's Homecoming Game fast approaching. The No. 10-ranked Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 SEC) play host to the Wildcats (3-3, 1-3) at 6 p.m. on Saturday (TV: ESPN) looking to shake off a historic upset loss to South Carolina last week. RELATED: Georgia QB legend Eric Zeier shares fixes for offense 'Every player was sick about the performance, just like the coaches,' Smart said Thursday night on his radio show. 'I've always said sometimes the worst thing you can do is play bad and win, because you don't learn the things you need to learn.' No doubt, Georgia's offense sputtered against Power 5 competition the first half of the season, even as the Bulldogs were building a 5-0 record and rising to No. 3 in the ranks. The Bulldogs' offensive objectives and fixes have been well-documented this week as concerns about a wet-weather game have risen. Smart, known for his detailed-oriented nature, typically likes for Georgia to get wet weather work in practices whenever possible. 'I'm concerned about the weather conditions, because you never know what they will be, it's not a variable you can control,' Smart said. 'I like going in the rain once every two or three weeks, but if it's lighting, I can't. 'But we have wet ball drill and we do it once every two weeks, it's on a rolling schedule, so even if you've gone two or three weeks without a wet practice,' he said. 'We spray the ball down, and make the quarterbacks and receivers catch it, throw it, exchange it, (and) kickers, holders, snappers everybody has to. We were doing it (Thursday), spraying it down, making it as hard as possible' The current forecast for Saturday's kickoff (as of Friday) reflected a 100-percent chance of rain in Athens at 6 p.m., with the likelihood of precipitation not tapering off until 9 p.m. Georgia-Kentucky Game Week 7 Georgia players to watch under center 3 keys for a happy homecoming vs. Kentucky Promising Nolan Smith grows, expands role Receivers must step up, beat press coverage Closer look: How Georgia's offense adds up Cover 4: How do Bulldogs get back on track D'Andre Swift says We know how good we can be' Big Ben Cleveland says challenge to go out and prove something' The post Georgia coach Kirby Smart concerned about the weather conditions' appeared first on DawgNation.
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  • ATHENS Georgia legend Eric Zeier has played and seen a lot of football as the SEC's former all-time leading passer and current Bulldogs radio color analyst. Zeier is as measured with his opinions as he once was his passes, so his thoughts on fixing the Bulldogs are sure to resonate in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. The No. 10-ranked Georgia football program plays host to Kentucky at 6 p.m. on Saturday (TV: ESPN) looking to get back on track after a shocking 20-17 upset at the hands of unranked South Carolina last week. 'I think we'll get back to who we want to be and who we are this week,' Zeier said on Kirby Smart's coach's show on Thursday night. 'We want to be a big, bruising team that plays great defense, that's able to control the ball on offense. In the critical moments of games we are typically balanced last week we got out of that a little bit.' Zeier suggests versatile and explosive playmaker James Cook could be part of the solution, and he's surprised the Bulldogs didn't look more to him last Saturday. 'South Carolina has been able to get after quarterbacks, we've seen that, (so) I thought we were going to try to get the football out of Jake's hands, utilize the quick game,' Zeier said. 'I was a little surprised we didn't get James Cook more involved in the football game.' Zeier said 'the blueprint is out right now, on how to attack us on the offensive side of the football,' and that 'you've got defenses that are selling all out against the run.' Indeed, Jake Fromm attempted a career-high 51 passes in the loss to the Gamecocks with a career-high three interceptions. Fromm who had not been intercepted in the first five games, also was sacked three times and fumbled away a center exchange. It was not all on Fromm, but Zeier did not give his fellow quarterback a pass. 'It was probably the one time I've seen Jake Fromm miss reads, where we had guys running open, and all of the sudden if you hit that, if the correct read is made and you complete the pass on the seam or going outside, now all he sudden, you look like a genius when you're calling plays,' said Zeier, who finished his career between the hedges in 1994 with 67 UGA records and 18 SEC marks. 'When you miss a couple of reads, make a couple of bad throws, you drop a couple of passes, all those things add up to a bad game all the way around.' Zeier said Fromm had his challenges on account of the Georgia receivers not creating separation. 'We are not creating space, so the windows that we're having to throw the football into, in many cases it looks like an NFL game, where you've got elite defensive backs where your window is extremely small,' Zeier said. 'How do you help receivers get off the jam? Get them in motion, get them moving, so you don't allow a defensive back to come up and get in your face where that first step you've got a problem,' Zeier said. 'You can also utilize slot receivers to get down the seam in quick fashion, get mismatches, get James Cook on the outside as opposed to having a receiver, force defenses into different looks than they are accustomed to, create mismatches with your alignment, and then get movements going and motions going to try to loosen up what defenses are trying to do.' Zeier indicated the forecast for rain at Saturday night's game against Kentucky should not concern Georgia fans, nor should they be worried the South Carolina loss was the start of a new trend. 'Rainy weather, with the way we can go play football, shouldn't be a problem,' Zeier stated. 'I have not one doubt in my mind; that (loss) will galvanize us as a football team and drive us to the level of excellence we have played under Kirby Smart since he's been here.' Georgia-Kentucky Game Week 7 Georgia players to watch under center 3 keys for a happy homecoming vs. Kentucky Promising Nolan Smith grows, expands role Receivers must step up, beat press coverage Closer look: How Georgia's offense adds up Cover 4: How do Bulldogs get back on track D'Andre Swift says We know how good we can be' Big Ben Cleveland says challenge to go out and prove something' The post Georgia legend Eric Zeier shares fixes for offense, key player to get involved appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football coach Kirby Smart used the phrase 'step up' quite a bit this week. The 20-17 overtime loss to South Carolina certainly wasn't acceptable, and nothing less than a convincing win over Kentucky at 6 p.m. on Saturday (TV: ESPN) will satisfy. RELATED: 5 questions with Kentucky football columnist Here are seven players to watch that all into the 'Step Up' category if the Bulldogs are to evolve into the championship contender they were projected to be: QB Jake Fromm It starts with the quarterback. Fromm is under pressure to bounce back from the worst outing of his career, a performance that brought his talent into question. Heavy rain is forecasted, so it's not likely Fromm will get a chance to prove he can win a game when he throws more than 30 passes (UGA is 0-5 in such games). Fromm will, however, get a chance to show he can pull a teetering offense back together. The junior captain needs tothrow his tight ends and receivers open after an uncharacteristically spotty performance last Saturday. Fromm missed a handful of reads and was not as accurate as he had been the first five games of the season. Center Trey Hill Hill was the weakest link last Saturday on the rotating front line once known as the 'Great Wall.' The mere mention of the nickname draws snickers from opposing fanbases and makes even the most loyal Georgia fans wince. The fact is, UGA's projected starting line played just one game together, at Vanderbilt, before injuries led to bodies shifting in and out and a breakdown in continuity. Hill has remained a constant in the lineup. The sophomore was exposed by South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, and his low, slow shotgun snaps appeared to throw off Fromm's timing. RB D'Andre Swift Swift isn't a big talker, but he made sure to get the message out for everyone to hear that he's not going to accept results like last Saturday's against South Carolina. Smart said Swift had developed into more of a vocal leader, and that was obvious by the fact he came out and publicly took accountability on behalf of the entire offense. A straight shooter, Swift has been honest about his intent to turn pro after this season. It's clear he doesn't plan on the Bulldogs going out with a whimper his final season in Athens. Swift bowed up last Saturday and showed he could handle short-yardage situations. RB James Cook Will Georgia get this exciting playmaker involved this week? Or will Cook go back to being a decoy and/or end around specialist? It's baffling OC James Coley hasn't gotten Cook more touches, but game flow has apparently dictated the ball go to other perimeter threats. Cook would be an easy quick throw into the slot, his ability to make yardage in space superior to any of the receivers. Smart said opponents have schemed to prevent Cook from touching the ball. Good plan; part of the reason the Bulldogs are lacking explosive plays is because explosive players like Cook aren't touching the ball enough. Safety J.R. Reed The Bulldogs need playmakers in the secondary, and Reed's production does not yet match his preseason All-American accolades. Reed is second on the team with 31 tackles behind linebacker Monty Rice, but he has just one interception and three pass break-ups through six games. The senior's talent and savvy is unquestionable. But Reed has yet to show he can play with the level of enthusiasm necessary to ignite teammates and raise the level of play around him. Punter Jake Camarda Can this sophomore punter put two solid games back-to-back? Can Camarda handle a slick ball and snaps in inclement weather? Camarda has been shaky in big moments this season, but he's apparently the best option Georgia has on the roster. The Kentucky game will give him an opportunity to win back some trust and gain much-needed confidence and momentum heading into a pivotal November stretch. Receivers Impossible to name just one with what has happened. Who will step up? Kearis Jackson, Matt Landers? Tyler Simmons? Demetris Robertson? George Pickens? Dominick Blaylock? Maybe all of the above, but whoever lines up at that receiver position needs to show reliable hands and an ability to make yards after the catch. Georgia receivers haven't helped Fromm out much in that capacity, unable to get much separation from coverage, they are often tackled immediately and don't break tackles. Smart said on his coaches show the receivers group has shown the most improvement since the start of this season. But he also said they had the furthest to go. Georgia-Kentucky Game Week 3 keys for a happy homecoming vs. Kentucky Promising Nolan Smith grows, expands role Receivers must step up, beat press coverage Kirby Smart breaks down Georgia offense, keeps it simple Closer look: How Georgia's offense adds up Cover 4: How do Bulldogs get back on track D'Andre Swift says We know how good we can be' Big Ben Cleveland says challenge to go out and prove something' The post 7 Georgia football players to watch against Kentucky, starts under center appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Tom Crean is like any other basketball coach when it comes to stressing fundamentals and going back to basics. But this year's Georgia team is taking it to another level. These Bulldogs, lacking height but filled with athleticism, are aiming to be interchangeable to the extent that UGA doesn't list positions. 'B' for basketball player is the descriptive for each. Crean's message is that he plans to have interchangeable parts from the opening tip this season. The Georgia men's team, predicted to finish ninth in the SEC at the league's media days earlier this week, opens at 7 p.m. on Friday at Stegeman Coliseum against Division ll Valdosta State. Admission is free. RELATED: Anthony Antman' Edwards already making history Crean anticipates a high scoring contest, though he's concerned it could get sloppy. 'We've worked hard on our ball handling and driving, but I'm hugely afraid that with a team like this in Valdosta State, that was fifth in the country in Division II last year in points efficiency, that it could be a track meet,' Crean said on Thursday. 'We just don't want it to be turnover fest.' Georgia returns five players from last season, but 10 of the players are new, including nine freshmen. Freshman Anthony 'Antman' Edwards is the most notable newcomer. He's a projected lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and was widely considered the top prospect in the 2019 signing class. Edwards told media following the Stegmania fan event last Friday that he was working at point guard duties, among many other things. Anthony Edwards Crean explained how the Bulldogs are working to have a versatile team that can change positions on the floor without breaking stride. 'We try to put them in different situations, we have what we call our leopard offense,' Crean said. ' We're a spot team, we're not, You're the 5 man, you're the 2 man,' It's You're in the 2 spot, you're in the 5 spot.' 'The point guard is a little different, but other than that it's spot oriented. We're trying to teach guys a lot of different places to be.' So long as the Bulldogs end up on the right side of the scoreboard, the momentum figures to grow. Georgia set attendance records last season despite a 10-21 mark. UGA has already sold out its season-ticket allotment (5,750) with another 2,000 designated for students unavailable to the general public in the 10.523-seat arena. Georgia coach Tom Crean The post WATCH: Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean ready for track meet' exhibition game appeared first on DawgNation.