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Cardinal pitcher always said that, “It’s not bragging if you can do it.” Steve Spurrier, former Gator coach, was given to denigrating his opponents. He got away with it a lot of times, but you never saw anybody give him any sportsmanship awards. Furthermore, the “Spurrier way” has always reeked of a lack of class.

I’ve heard Kirby evaluate a player or situation candidly in private, but would never say anything about a kid or an opponent that could come back to haunt him. When Jamie Newman chose not to play for the Bulldogs after transferring to Georgia in 2019, Kirby supported his decision and said he would always consider the quarterback “a Bulldog.”

Who knows? Jamie Newman might have a cousin or a nephew whom Georgia might want to recruit. His high school coach will remember how the Bulldog head coach treated his quarterback. High school coaches across the board will remember that treatment, too.

During Alabama’s dominant era of the middle of the decade of 2010, I would always see Nick Saban at a function of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association in February. Congratulate him and he would politely say thanks and immediately take to the stump addressing the challenge of the next season.

Obviously, I am not an Alabama fan when it comes to SEC football, but that was Saban being Saban—always thinking ahead. Don’t drink to past success. Worry about the next game, the next season. After all, in the coaching business, champagne often turns into hemlock. Kirby Smart is of the same ilk. He likes his team being No. 1, but he is working overtime to maintain a championship focus.

At the end of daily practices, in the locker room after victory, he is always reminding his young charges that the best way to lose exalted status is to beat yourself. Teams always reflect the personality of their head coach. This Bulldog team is being conditioned to not take anything for granted.

Those who were around in 1980 see an attitude with Kirby’s sixth team that reflects a throwback to the last Bulldog team to win a national championship. This is a BIG TEAM, little me, team. It has exceptional talent. It has excellent leadership and telling depth.

While I am an advocate of worrying about the next opponent, the next series, the next play, I have reached the conclusion that the team that can best beat Georgia, is Georgia.

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