Kirby Smart, Georgia
Kirby Smart’s seat isn’t hot. It’s not even warm. But that doesn’t mean the pressure isn’t on for Georgia’s fifth-year head coach.
Smart won an SEC championship, Rose Bowl, and was a few plays away from winning a College Football Playoff National Championship in just his second season in 2017. In the past two seasons, he’s guided Georgia to two more SEC Championship Game appearances and two Sugar Bowls.
A lot of teams would envy those kind of credentials, especially in the amount of time that Smart has been a head coach.
But what should the realistic expectation for year five be?
To compensate the loss of three-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm to the NFL Draft, Georgia brought in Wake Forest grad transfer Jamie Newman to lead the offense. The Bulldogs also lost running back D’Andre Swift and four starting offensive lineman — including Cade Mays, who transferred to Tennessee in January.
In all, Georgia is tasked with replacing 11 players on the offensive side of the ball while also breaking in a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken.
With so much to replace and a new offensive coordinator with a new pass-heavy system, a regular spring football session would have been important for Smart and Georgia. But the talent on the roster alone after four-straight top-five recruiting classes coupled with Smart’s reputation as not being able to finish in big games will push for fans to expect more results in 2020. The opportunities will be there, as Georgia plays at Alabama on Sept. 19 in Tuscaloosa.
Georgia also returns one of the best defenses in the league that was among the top in nearly every defensive category a season ago, which on its own can win the Bulldogs a lot of games.