Kirby Smart preaches toughness in introductory presser


Kirby Smart held his introductory press conference as the next head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. Smart wants to have a “tough” Georgia football team.

Monday afternoon in a disclosed location, the University of Georgia introduced the newest head coach of their football program in former UGA defensive back and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

Smart was a bit emotional as this is a dream job for he and his family. He said that he met his wife Mary Beth while in Athens and that so many great men like Vince Dooley, Ray Goff, Jim Donnan, and Mark Richt helped pave the way for Kirby Smart to assume the head coaching position at his alma mater.

-= Related: Kirby Smart officially named head coach of Georgia Bulldogs =-

The theme of Kirby Smart’s introductory press conference was a mix between a homecoming and instilling a brand of “toughness” on all fronts with being a student athlete. Smart made it a priority to put student before athlete, as he recalls many times sitting in the living room of a teenager’s parent’s place during recruitment and getting the joy out of seeing his players graduate five years later.

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If toughness was the identity that Kirby Smart wants to have his players to have in his coaching regime, he quickly went on to say that the first step is through recruitment. Smart mentioned that he would use every minute available to him to hit the recruiting trails before having to return to Tuscaloosa for Alabama bowl practice.

Smart had the supportive endorsement of Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity and university president Jere Morehead to do the right thing and close his 2015 chapter at the University of Alabama the right way before taking over Georgia full-time in January. Kirby Smart wants to help his former team, the Alabama Crimson Tide, compete for a National Championship in the 2015 College Football Playoff.

As for how Kirby Smart wants to handle his coaching staff at the University of Georgia, he’s not putting eminent pressure on it as he wants to ensure fairness to the remnants of Mark Richt’s staff who have a bowl game to coach against Penn State in the TaxSlayer Bowl on January 2nd.

While Smart did say that members of the current UGA staff would have their names considered as part of his staff in 2016, he does want to build the staff himself. He did speak highly of Georgia’s interim head coach Bryan McClendon, who will coach the Dawgs in their bowl game against Penn State. Perhaps that is a sign that McClendon does have a place as a part of Kirby Smart’s new 2016 coaching staff.

Though the introductory press conference was necessary, it seemed like the clock was ticking in Kirby Smart’s head, knowing how important every precious second is when it comes to recruitment.

He visited with 4-Star offensive tackle and long-time commitment Ben Cleveland in Toccoa, Georgia yesterday afternoon. Cleveland, along with 5-Star quarterback commit Jacob Eason of Lake Stevens, Washington, have been two of the primary internal recruiters of the UGA Recruiting Class of 2016. Smart will reportedly fly out to the Pacific Northwest to meet with Eason and his family Monday afternoon, probably presenting the prized quarterback recruit with a short list of who UGA’s next offensive coordinator will likely be.

Next: Georgia Bulldogs to Face Penn State in TaxSlayer Bowl

With former head coach Mark Richt all about The U and Kirby Smart speaking with the media somewhere in the Athens area, we are now officially in a new era of Georgia Bulldogs football. Smart wisely didn’t put a time-table on how long it would take for Georgia to become a National Championship contender. Nobody can answer that question, but the expectations for this program still seem as high as ever. Welcome back to the University of Georgia, Coach Smart!