Kirby Smart: ‘I don’t think our players realize how hard they have to work to be great’
Kirby Smart has mentioned his players’ work ethic and the need to improve it. He reiterated that stance recently.
“I don’t think our players realize how hard they have to work to be great,” Smart said on ESPN’s “Championship Drive” podcast. “I think pushing them to do that and pushing them harder and making them realize they can do more is a big part of our job as coaches. They’ve got to understand they can work harder than they’re currently working and they can take more reps and they can do the reps the right way at a high rate.
“Obviously, we’ve got to improve the overall talent level and depth, but more important than that, it’s going to be whether or not these guys push through the ceiling and go through what they think they can and take the roof off it and go work a little bit harder. We start up June 1 with our entire team. It’s important to have good summer workouts and meet the demands of the program.”
This could be perceived as another slap at the way the players worked under former coach Mark Richt, who averaged just under 10 wins per season during his tenure. But the truth is that Smart is working with a young football team. Along the defensive line, for example, 11 of the 12 scholarship players are sophomores or freshmen.
Smart obviously feels a need to hammer home to the younger players that hard work and not sheer athletic talent is what gets you wins in college football. At the same time, he likely is letting the older players know that they need to meet Smart’s expectations if they want to play.
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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