Lorenzo Carter put it best after Georgia’s G-Day game Saturday.
“I wasn’t surprised by it. Kirby kind of gets what he wants,” Carter said, when he was asked what he thought of 93,000-plus fans attending the spring game.
So far, it looks like Carter is right.
Smart mentioned that he wanted Sanford Stadium packed for the spring game, and the Bulldogs’ fans answered that call and delivered. It was stunning to see, really. There was no way anyone really could believe that 93,000 fans would show up to watch a practice, but there they were Saturday.
The seats were full, and some fans even had to stand and watch, at least until the second half when the crowd thinned a bit. That’s remarkable.
That’s a terrific step for the program and a statement for Smart and what’s next, and it certainly has to help with the recruits who were on hand. Again, it was a spring game, just a scrimmage, but it the turnout shows the excitement that the fan base has for the new coaching staff. Oh, and that new quarterback.
Smart and freshman Jacob Eason were the focus of the show (other than Ludacris, right?), and they didn’t disappoint. Granted, the excitement about Eason’s 19-of-29 performance has to be tempered a bit by concern about the secondary, and Smart has those concerns, as well. He has expressed those throughout the spring, and they were on full display Saturday, no matter what the numbers said last year about that group leading the nation in pass defense.
But back to Eason because Smart will get the secondary issues figured out. Eason looks the part of a starter for the Bulldogs; we just have to see if he’s in that role this fall when the season rolls around. Smart shot down the idea that Eason is the clear favorite to be the starter for the Bulldogs, and that’s the right answer to that question right now.
Eason could end up being the starter, and he’s probably the best choice (he has more talent than Greyson Lambert and makes better decisions than Brice Ramsey), but it’s hard to head into a college football season and just hand the ball to a true freshman. That’s a tough choice, even for a first-year head coach who appears to be wildly popular within the fan base.
Smart, however, seems to be the right choice to make those kinds of decisions. He doesn’t sugar coat issues on his team – a departure from the previous coaching staff – and he has a plan in place. Yes, he’s a first-time head coach, and it’s yet to be seen how he will do in that new role, but Smart has the pedigree to be a success as the Bulldogs’ head coach, and he seems to have everyone on his side.
If Saturday is any indication, he’s going to be a big success.