Georgia went through an offseason it hasn’t experienced in 40 years after winning the national championship. But the Bulldogs’ quest to repeat starts at training camp, and Kirby Smart shared his message for his players as practice gets underway.
Smart said he wants his players to get back in the right mindset, and that’s tougher now than it’s ever been before. He noted there used to be enough of a break in the summer, but that’s not the case anymore, and he wants his players to get themselves back into a routine with the season less than a month away.
“Our guys are ready to grind,” Smart said. “It used to be a time where you didn’t do anything over the summer or you had a long break over the summer or you might have a week off. But that’s really not the way it is now. It’s continuous.
“I talked to our guys last night about separating summer or what you would call mini-camp or what you would call summer practices and training camp. You’ve got to kind of step out of your mindset, a routine and re-focus.”
Kirby Smart: ‘Lock in what you’ve got to do and lock out everything outside of it’
Smart also called on his players to make sure they’re dialed into football and avoiding the outside noise. He cited conversations with Georgia players in the NFL and said blocking everything out will be important once the season really gets rolling.
“Talked about some of the guys I’ve talked to in the NFL currently and what they do and try to transition our brain from one stage to the next stage,” Smart said. “We kind of talked about locking in and locking out. Lock in to what you’ve got to do and lock out everything outside of it and the noise. It’s a unique time for a college athlete where you really don’t have class … they get to focus solely on football.
“They spend 11 to 12 nights in a hotel where they have no responsibilities other than football and it’s kind of when the mental and physical toughness starts to take place for your roster and your team. So there’s no way to really build for it other than to do it, and that’s the stage we’re in. We’re really focused on getting better. We’ve got a lot of really good players to replace and we’ve got a lot of good players to replace them with. So it’s about getting the right guys on the bus and getting the guys in the right seats just like it is every year. But I’m excited to get out there and get to work with them.”