If anyone listens enough to head coach Kirby Smart press conferences, it becomes clear that leadership is one of the most important values he tries to instill in his team.
Leadership qualities are cultivated in Georgia players from the first day they step foot on campus and are honed throughout each season. Smart’s efforts to create team leadership were apparent when Georgia’s starting quarterback JT Daniels spoke with reporters Tuesday.
Quarterbacks are expected to be team leaders. After starting the final four games of the 2020 season, it was certain Daniels would assume a leadership role going into this offseason.
It takes a consistent, concerted effort to be an effective leader and Daniels is undoubtedly putting in the work to lead the team this spring.
When asked what it means to be a leader at quarterback, he told reporters, “I think that it’s important that I’ve just focused on my overall body language and my mannerisms. Typically, I’ve always been just more of a laid-back kinda guy, especially on the field.”
Daniels’ calm, laid-back attitude was on full display last season even as he sparked new life into the offense. When asked when he became a leader, Daniels answered, “Something we’ve talked about a lot as a team is that everybody on the team is a leader. Whether you’re just joining as a walk-on or you’re Jamaree Salyer, or Lewis [Cine], or [Ameer] Speed or any of them.”
An aspect of Daniels’ personality that has undoubtedly helped him cement his status as a leader is his love for the game. Asked whether he had a chance to decompress after the 2020 season, Daniels told reporters, “I don’t need time to decompress; I play this game because I love it. I really don’t need much time away from it.”
He also revealed he hasn’t left Athens since arriving last summer. The dedication to winning and his teammates, which Daniels has displayed during his Georgia career, is inspiring.
Defense wins championships was once a fundamental rule of football. In today's game, that is no longer the case. This maxim has been replaced by the simple fact that to win a national championship, a team must have an elite quarterback. No amount of talent at any other position on the field can surpass the boost that having an outstanding signal-caller gives the team. Georgia fans should feel confident that Daniels’ leadership has already shown he is elite at one of the game’s most critical aspects.
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