Dean Legge / Dawg Post

Kirby Smart: Coaching in Motion

ATHENS - Kirby Smart is one of the most animated coaches in college football. There are very few times you find him standing still and keeping quiet during a game, which was more than evident in Georgia’s upset loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Along with the rest of the Bulldog nation, Smart was agitated with Georgia’s inconsistency in the run game, costly penalties and special teams blunders. And like any coach who’s flustered, he strutted up and down the sidelines to blow off his steam. What is surprising is the amount he actually walked during the game. If you guessed he put in over two miles throughout the entire game, you’d be about right. During the first half, where the Bulldogs never held a lead, Smart covered approximately 2,158-yards, measured by the number of steps he took, with the average step-length for a man his size being roughly three feet, or one yard. 

But in the second half, when Georgia had a lead for 14-minutes and four-seconds, Smart dropped that number by more than four football fields, down to 1,729-yards, or just short of a mile. In total, Smart covered 3,887 yards, Between the Hedges in Saturday’s contest. To put that into perspective, Smart burned around 220-calories compared to the average 544-calories a football player burns in an hour of playing. He racked up a lot of those yards during UGA’s weakest times, on punts and kickoffs, when he’d run down the sideline yelling at the special teams players. 

Smart paced in frustration between hash marks all game, but that wasn’t his only stress reliever. 21 times Smart jumped up and down like he’d won the lottery, but generally only when the Dawgs committed an undisciplined penalty or gave up a big play. For how animated he usually is, Smart was surprisingly calm when UGA came up with a big play themselves. On those occasions — and there weren’t many of them — he assumed a typical coaches stance, bent over with his hands on his knees, sometimes for as long as a couple seconds after the play concluded.  

When a team is down in a game, motivation is such a key factor to getting back in it, and Smart’s motivation tactics are physical as well as verbal. When fighting a losing effort in the first half, Smart tapped, grabbed or embraced his players 55 different times. That figure fell to 31 occasions in the second half when the Dawgs stepped up their performance. 

These numbers go to show Smart’s drive and competitiveness. It’s when he’s on his heels we see the true fire in Smart. And with the team now on its heels at 4-3, it’s likely we’ll see a more active, engaged Smart for the rest of the season.

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