Georgia won the national title, but Kirby Smart set a serious tone this spring – The Athletic

ATHENS, Ga. — Spring soccer games used to be a big mistake. Former Georgia head coach Vince Dooley paid so little attention to them that he hired celebrity coaches to manage the divided teams in hopes someone in the state would pay attention. (Imagine that.) In a year, he “hired” Ted Turner. Also James Brown, Burt Reynolds, sportscasters and even sportswriters (who were brilliant, of course).

Potential donors always went to the front of the line.

“Once we (Gulfstream founders) had Alan Paulsen,” Dooley said. “We tried to get a gift out of him and I think he gave us $1 million after that. But I stacked the deck a bit. I gave him some of our best players.”

Kirby Smart would have no part in such stupidity. OK, so he briefly considered hiring a few celebrity assistants for Saturday’s Georgia spring game, but powerful college football coaches are now keen to set the tone in even frivolous exhibitions, even five months before anything counts.

“I’ve been thinking about it,” Smart said as he rushed from his post-game press conference to a golf cart to meet with recruits. “I’ve been thinking about having Coach (Ray) Goff and Coach (Mark) Richt out here. But I was afraid they would do the play calling.”

(He was joking, I think.)

The Bulldogs played a football game for the first time since driving out championship demons with a 33-18 win over Alabama in the national title game in January. That was a simple defense. You couldn’t lose. Georgia won the national title, but Kirby Smart set a serious tone this spring – The Athletic

Olly Dawes

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