Perfection is not really possible in football. So as Georgia strives to bounce back from two consecutive losses against Alabama in the SEC Championship and Texas in the Sugar Bowl last season, it will shoot for excellence instead.
The Bulldogs' first day of preseason camp began Friday, August 2. If there’s one thing Kirby Smart has learned in his first three fall camps as head coach, it’s that the little things don’t need as much attention this time around.
“At the end of the day, there’s a lot of big things that are going on that are a lot more important than the little things,” Smart said.
Quarterback Jake Fromm is entering his third year at Georgia. He said he has learned to slow things down.
“There’s so much that’s happened so fast,” Fromm said. “I’m starting my third camp. I’m like, holy cow, I need to slow things down. I need to enjoy the little things.”
Fromm’s head coach isn’t always successful in his attempt to suppress the granular details from taking up too much of his time. Asked what he now understands to be less important, Smart couldn’t pin any down.
“There’s a lot of little details that I still really focus on because I like to and I think it’s important,” Smart said. “Every inch of practice — we only get a limited amount of time on that grass. So every inch of that is really important.”
Fromm said Smart is doing better.
“He definitely does (sweat the little things), but maybe he is doing it less,” Fromm said.
As usual, the Bulldogs conditioned extensively this summer. Monty Rice said players could come in on the weekends to do extra push ups or pull ups.
Fromm studied himself on film and saw some mechanical details that needed to be refined.
“It’s what I see from myself at practice,” Fromm said. “I’m clicking through, I’m watching myself, and I’m like, ‘I just don’t like that.’ Because I’m clicking through, and I’m watching Drew Brees, I’m watching Tom Brady, they don’t do that. Why am I doing that?”
On defense, Georgia is searching for an elite pass rusher to replace D’Andre Walker’s 12 sacks last year. No other Georgia player had more than 2.5 sacks.
“Defensively, we’re trying to improve our pass rush and and other things,” Smart said. “I’m excited about seeing those guys. We got a lot of competitions on defense that are going to be wide open.”
Rice, an inside linebacker, will be surrounded by two new freshmen this year. Nakobe Dean will be competing for playing time at inside linebacker and Nolan Smith, the nation’s No. 1 2019 recruit, is at outside linebacker.
Richard Lecounte, who led the team with 74 tackles last year, leads the defensive back group. Smart said Lecounte has gotten even better.
“Richard is much wiser,” Smart said. “He’s much more coachable. He understands he’s in pursuit of excellence, not perfection, and there’s a difference. I think as he grows, he can help the younger players in that room realize, you’re not going to be perfect, but we are in pursuit of excellence.”