Georgia head coach Kirby Smart took the podium for his press conference on SEC Media Day Tuesday and had several important things to say.
The Bulldogs are the presumed favorite to win the SEC East and will contend for a college football playoff berth. Smart is entering his sixth season with the program and is seeking his first national title as a head coach.
We recap the key talking points from Tuesday's presser.
Arik Gilbert Will Be Eligible
Smart confirmed that LSU transfer tight end Arik Gilbert will be eligible to play this fall. Gilbert is expected to fill in for injured wide receiver George Pickens in the X-receiver spot.
Gilbert hauled in 35 receptions for 368 yards, adding two touchdowns in the process in his freshman season in Baton Rouge. The Marietta, Ga., native is one of the most talented prospects to come through the high-school ranks in several years and will be a difference-maker for the team in the fall.
Bulldogs Taking Advantage of Spring Practice
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, college football teams could not host spring practices leading up to the 2020 season. This was difficult for all teams, but specifically Georgia, who tried to integrate a new offensive coordinator and starting quarterback.
When asked about the difference between this offseason and last year's, Smart replied:
"You don't appreciate spring practice until you don't have it."
He explained that the Bulldogs were behind other teams heading into the season because they couldn't fully install the offense to their liking.
Smart later said that offensive coordinator Todd Monken and quarterback JT Daniels have continued to develop their relationship this offseason and have been fine-tuning the offensive scheme.
Smart Remains Confident in Recruiting
The landscape of college recruiting looks different now than it did three months ago. The Name, Image, and Likeness Bill was passed into legislation, and players are now allowed to profit off their talents.
Furthermore, Georgia lost several recruiting battles over the past few weeks. Many fans are currently worried about the state of Georgia recruiting, but Smart appeared unfazed.
When asked about the impact of the NIL, Smart said it will be a factor in a player's decision but added that:
"NIL doesn't make for a competitive advantage between schools in conference."
He underscored that things are different across the country with this bill and that recruits need to be careful when considering which brands to associate themselves with.
History reflects that the Bulldogs do their best work in recruiting in the closing months of the cycle. They will continue to build foundational relationships with these recruits now and later capitalize on it.
Smart even threw in a harmless recruiting pitch, saying famous rapper Quavo, a part of the Migos, had reached out to Smart and talked with him about how recruits need to be careful with the NIL, and make sure they aren't "thirsty" when it comes to the opportunities they take.
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