Kirby Smart has a reputation for always trying to find an edge. And what he did Monday will do nothing to tarnish that image.
Georgia's football coach used one of the fastest players in country — freshman track sensation Matthew Boling — as a ringer in a rigged race for players hoping to get out of post-practice conditioning.
The football team had been lined up on Woodruff Practice Field anticipating wind sprints when Smart interrupted over his microphone and asked if they would rather pick a 4x100-meter team to run a race over on Spec Towns Track against a team picked by the coaches. The Bulldogs took the bait and fashioned the best four-person team they could within the position parameters laid out by Smart.
But Smart and track coach Petros Kyprianou had an ambush planned. Boling — who has run 100-meters in 9.98 seconds and won an ESPY Award this year for his high school track exploits — was hiding next to the track in the shadows of the Butts-Mehre building. At the moment of truth, Boling jogged out on the track and took the baton for the final leg of race. And like he famously did in track meet earlier this summer, Boling made up an enormous amount of ground to pass Richard LeCounte to win the race.
The Bulldogs immediately recognized Boling for who he is and were appreciative of blazing speed he displayed. The freshman track star was swallowed up in an impromptu celebration beyond the finish line
Georgia football fans shouldn’t get their hopes up. Boling is at UGA strictly to run track and hopefully lead Georgia — and eventually his country — to glory.
For now at least, Boling has won his first race as a Bulldog.
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