Posted: 9:56 am Friday, October 13th, 2017
By Jay Black
If you want a fun experiment, go to your Google machine and type “Millenials are” but don’t finish it and just look at what the auto fill options are.
You see phrases like millennials are lazy, millennials are stupid, millennials are killing everything, millennials are killing the beer industry, millennials are killing lunch (lunch?, but I like lunch), millennials are killing everything.
You get the point. The previous generations are not impressed with the newest one.
In a related story, water is wet.
It’s no surprise that older people think this younger crowd expects everything to be handed to them and they don’t have to work for anything. It’s the “everybody gets a trophy” generation (of course the trophies suggested and handed out by the older folks complaining now, but that’s another column).
This chorus might be heard the loudest when it comes to college football players.
Fans complain about players who transfer from one school to the next until they find more playing time. Coaches moan that these kids don’t want to compete for a spot at a better school, they just want to go where the road is easy.
So if that premise is true everyone, it would seem Kirby Smart’s university would not be a great place for the spoiled high school kid to attend college. If there was a word bubble around this coach’s press conferences, the word ‘”competition” would have to be one of the big words in the middle.
Smart sure does bring it up all the time. When it comes to kickers, or offensive line or defensive backs and especially the quarterback. Like last week.
Many members and one Vanderbilt head coach sort of rolled their eyes when
Smart refused to name a starting QB last week.
“We compete every position every week,” said Smart. “It’s not something we have to announce. We are not announce who the starting left corner or right corner is. We will announce it based on how they practice.”
I have no doubt all coaches are aware that competition makes you better. Heck this is true in the business world, in the radio world and in your own family (see sibling rivalries, well maybe).
The catch is, finding the people that buy in and want the competition.
To Smart’s credit, it appears he’s seeking out the guys who don’t want a starting spot handed to them. The ones that say, “I’m the best and I’m going to prove it. Bring it.”
Many people, myself included, were a little surprised that a QB as highly rated as Jake Fromm picked Georgia knowing full well that Jacob Eason was here too. The top quarterback in his class.
“I don’t think Jake Fromm cares about the depth chart,” Smart said before Fromm’s first start at Notre Dame. “He wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog all his life. That’s what he chose to do. It didn’t matter who was here.”
And now of course, Georgia has its third stud QB coming to Athens in as many years.
“Coach Smart hasn’t promised me any playing time,” said Justin Fields, the top dual-threat QB in this year’s class who committed to UGA last week. “The only thing he’s promised me is he’s going to play the best player.”
Or the bevy of running backs that keep signing up for Running Back U. Elijah Holyfield didn’t have a problem with Sony Michel and Nick Chubb here. And those three didn’t scare off D’Andre Swift, who in turn hasn’t frightened Zamir White, another 5-star stud.
If that’s not enough, UGA is still trying to grab 4-star James Cook from Florida.
May the best man win.
So with all this talent, what’s Smart’s sell line for these running backs?
“You just turn on the tape of the last game,” Smart said. “And say, ‘Do you want to be one of those guys? Or do you want to be one of the guys that’s pass-[protecting] for everybody else in the country?’ They’re throwing there.”
And that answer is easy. What running back says “I want to block coach, I don’t need the ball.”
But back to the quarterback issue. It’s seems unlikely that Fromm, Eason and Fields will be on the same team next year. Franky, no one would blame someone if they left, because the point is to play.
Still, how did all of these guys end up in this position in the first place? Because it’s easy to convince running backs that rushing 15 times a game and being a healthy member of a stable is better than getting your head pounded in 30 times a night.
Quarterback is a different beast. You only play one.
Evidently Smart’s pitch to his QBs and his RBs and his DBs and all his other players is the same.
“We tell every player we recruit that we’re going to go out the next year and try to recruit somebody as good or better than you,” Smart said. “We’re very forward thinking in that. We tell them honestly that, hey, you have to come here and compete because we’re going to try to bring guys in behind you that are just as good or better and so would you if you were in our shoes.”
Use whatever cliché about competition you want. Iron sharpens iron, etc. But Georgia is 6-0 in year two with a team that really looks legit. The battles that are happening in practice can only help.
So bring it on. May the competition continue.