Kirby Smart has been careful with his words. It might be tough getting much information out of the new Georgia head coach in the next few weeks. He wants curiosity to be a trademark as his first spring leading the Bulldogs.
Part of it is Smart wants every Georgia fan from Dalton to Waycross at the G-Day game April 16. But the other reason might be Smart might not know much himself, at least not yet.
Smart and his staff have a lot of things to figure out this spring. They must try to make the Georgia players better, but evaluation will be the key. Smart has to figure out who is who and what each player can do, and to expect that to even happen in the 15 spring practices might be too much to ask.
Perhaps it's good that a new head coach is looking at a new quarterback. Jacob Eason started off with the third string Tuesday as spring practice kicked off, but that shouldn't last very long. The freshman quarterback is expected to push Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey in his first spring.
How Smart handles his freshman phenom from Washington will be his first major test as Georgia's head coach. Will Smart push Eason, or will Eason make it so easy for Smart to make the decision that it's a no-brainer? Smart probably hopes for the latter, that Eason ends the debate even if he's not named the starter until right before the opener against North Carolina.
Smart likely will be taken aback by the difference in his depth, compared to what he had as a defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa. He has already admitted the first 22 players -- the first stringers -- is not a bad group. But the difference is the players after that, which is what made Alabama a champion in Smart's years under head coach Nick Saban.
The offensive line will be so critical, as Smart knows the next three years he must have the talent to protect Eason. The problem is, again, the depth, which is just not there. That's why building the line of scrimmage has been Smart's first line of almost every speech he has given so far. He knows what he needs to fix, and he knows why Georgia has not won a conference title in a decade.
The line of scrimmage is the key. Even the year Georgia was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, in 2008, as the preseason No. 1 team in the country, the offensive line was an issue. They had three significant freshmen protecting Matthew Stafford in his junior season, which likely explains why Georgia did not live up to that high expectation.
Smart's hired gun as the offensive line coach, Sam Pittman, must make the current players better. Pittman won't have many reinforcements coming in until next year, so he has to take his players and simply improve their talent level. If Pittman can pull that off, he'll be a cult hero in Athens.
We saw improvement on Georgia's defense last year, and with Smart on board as head coach that side of the ball should be even better this season. And with a weak SEC East, anything can happen if Smart can get the most out of his players.
Smart is changing the culture in Athens, one day at a time. His first spring practice will be heavily scrutinized, and laying that first building block in these first 15 practices could be more important than usual if Smart is to get Georgia on the championship path.
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