Marc Weiszer reports about some changes Kirby Smart will make to the weekly schedule during the season. Both the weekly news conference (Monday) and the Bulldog Hotline (Thursday) will be shifted around.
Those changes aside, I’ve been wondering how the game day experience will change under Smart. Each coach wants things his way, and sometimes the changes can be jarring: fans of a certain age can remember the smoky entrance and music (Macarena, anyone?) that ushered in the Jim Donnan era. The pregame we all know by heart now evolved during Richt’s 15 years – everything from the Dawg Walk itself to the pregame walk and huddle about 40 minutes before the game came about with Richt. Smart will and should have the opportunity to establish his own routine.
Some elements and ads are produced by the athletic department and sponsors, so I don’t expect that find-Hairy-behind-the-french-fries is going anywhere. But I do think that warmups and pregame activities might be tweaked. Nothing major – just enough to feel a bit off from the routine we became conditioned to over the past 15 years. Is it the end of Baba O’Riley? Of Nickelback? Will Smart prefer different in-game video? Does he care?
I was glad to see Smart embrace the Dawg Walk tradition as part of G-Day, and there’s no reason for a recruiting-savvy coach to scrap one of the program’s best recruiting experiences. The Dawg Walk will be modified by necessity in a season or two – the team will move to a new locker room under the west stands instead of crossing the field to the east endzone. The team will dress in that new facility rather than pre-Dawg Walk. Many teams arrive at their stadium in warmups or coat-and-tie, and that could be a big change for fans used to seeing the team come through the Dawg Walk in uniform.
Will the new locker room also mean the team will take the field from the opposite open side of the stadium? We’ll find out in a year or two when the new locker room is complete.