February 23, 2024


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Kirby Smart: ‘Much ado about nothing’ on Mark Stoops’ comments about UGA buying players

Kirby Smart: ‘Much ado about nothing’ on Mark Stoops’ comments about UGA buying players

ATHENS, Ga. — After Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Georgia “bought some good players,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said it was “much ado about nothing” and that Stoops was just doing what all coaches try to do: raise money For their associations. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Georgia beat Kentucky 51-13 on Saturday night, marking the 14th straight year Georgia has beaten Kentucky.
  • Georgia has had one of the top four recruiting classes every year since 2017.
  • Kentucky never ranked higher than 17th during that period and usually ranked in the 20s or 30s.

Stop comments

During Stoops’ radio show Monday night, a caller opined that “Georgia woke up and remembered she was Georgia.” Stoops first responded by saying his team made too many mistakes, such as on penalties, and then moved on to the question of talent.

“The flip side if you want to do that is complain or deny or make excuses and we’re not going to do it. It is what it is. The fans have that right, and I give it to them,” Stoops said, adding: “I’m just encouraging them to donate more because this What these guys do. I can promise you Georgia, they bought some good players. You are allowed these days. “We could use some help.”

Georgia nose tackle Zion Logue said he was confused by the story.

“It’s the zero era. Everyone’s kind of buying players,” Logue said. “It’s about who can execute on Saturday. You can buy whoever you want. It’s the way you execute it.”

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Stoops may have been concerned by a former caller, who cited statistics that Stoops had only beaten two SEC teams that finished with conference records. (Story in the Lexington Herald-Leader He asserts that the statistics are correct but lacks some context.)

Stoops’ comments did not appear to be directed at Georgia, but rather were a plea for Kentucky donors to step up in this new era of NIL rights.

Smart non-response

When Smart was asked about Stoops’ comments after Tuesday’s practice, he shrugged.

“No reaction. Much ado about nothing really,” Smart said. “I think Mark is trying to attract attention and money from his fan base to his group. And we’re all trying to do the same thing, trying to raise money for our groups. Mark and I talked about the NIL pregame. We talked about it in our meetings. I don’t bite on that.

It wasn’t a surprise because Smart and Stoops have a good relationship, and after Saturday’s game, Stoops continued to talk with Smart and Georgia assistants Will Muschamp and Mike Bobo.

Smart typically resists getting into Steve Spurrier-style verbal wars with his fellow coaches. During his first year, after Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh tweeted at Smart about the satellite camp issue, Smart’s sarcastic response was: “What’s the tweet?” This has pretty much been Smart’s MO ever since.

(Kirby Smart Image: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)