Kirby Smart’s team-building philosophy was not better exemplified on Kelee Ringo’s game-sealing interception. It also didn’t happen when Jalen Carter blocked a basket. There was an even more telling moment in the Georgia schedule than when former replacement Stetson Bennett threw the touchdown pass to 3-star freshman AD Mitchell.
The game that best shows what Smart wants and settled into his team came on a 24-yard completion at Alabama wide receiver Agiye Hall.
Georgia and Alabama aren’t the only talented schools, however. Many schools sign the top 10 classes, only to go 6-6 and play in an average bowl game. It takes a lot more than a good relationship in high school to get to a national championship game.
It takes the buy-in of the players. They need to go shopping early in the morning during the offseason at Sanford Stadium. By straining and being connected to a team.
“It was all the work we did in the offseason, getting to know each other, all the connecting pieces, just everything we did just this offseason, it’s unlike any other I’ve had “said linebacker Nakobe Dean. “That’s when I knew this team could be special and get the job done, and that they had the group of guys to do it.”
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Dean had a moment similar to Walker’s. The junior linebacker snapped a safe touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Latu, despite Channing Tindall getting in his way. After the play, Dean confronted Tindall and demanded accountability. Tindall responded by sending Young on the next play to force a placement.
Some might cringe at the way Dean spoke to Tindall. But Kirby Smart said that all season it has been a player-led team. This Dean moment and Walker’s tackle is what it looks like.