ATHENS — When Georgia defensive lineman Julian Rochester was asked how the
Bulldogs maintain their intensity for a lower-level team like Middle Tennessee after an emotional SEC win like South Carolina,
he merely smiled.
“Kirby does a good job with that,” Rochester said. “He comes out there fired up every single day, so if we don’t
come out with his same intensity, he’ll make us match him.”
The 42-year-old Smart, who is most often cool and collected in his press conferences, allows his emotions to
come out when pushing his players in practices and celebrating in the locker room.
Georgia’s award-winning film crew released footage of the SEC championship coach addressing his team and celebrating
with them after the 41-17 win at South Carolina last Saturday.
“This is what Georgia is, do you understand me?!” Smart said after the dominating triumph.
“Offense came out third quarter and grinded … defense two three-and-outs, both third down stops, and just changed
the whole dynamic of the game!”
But for all the excitement, Smart reminded his players, “look at how many things we can still get better at.”
That has been Smart’s message throughout the week, albeit with a more collected tone in his media dealings.
“I think the only way you develop your team towards the end goal, which is to be as good as
you can possibly be by the end of the season is to improve during the season,” Smart said, “And that’s where I think
we can separate ourselves because we can improve during the season.”
That mean full pads and contact on Tuesday, and more best on best work in preparation for the
Saturday night home game against Middle Tennessee.
Smart and the Bulldogs plan on doing a lot more celebrating, each game presenting an opportunity to improve,
and each game a reward for all of the hard work the program has put in during the offseason.