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Kirby Smart reiterates firm disciplinary tone with Clay dismissal

Kirby Smart has gained control at Georgia?

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

By now you've no doubt heard that Georgia football coach Kirby Smart dismissed freshman defensive back Chad Clay from the football team yesterday following his arrest on suspicion of stealing a pair of $30 headphones.

It's a disappointing outcome for sure. Clay wasn't the most highly-rated player in UGA's 2016 class but he looked to have a solid shot at early playing time. You may recall that Clay was also involved in that Christmas Story-esque bb gun incident a couple of months ago along with fellow freshman Julian Rochester.

The method Mark Richt would have used to handle this situation isn't really terribly relevant here. But it is instructive in one sense.  I suspect that Kirby Smart's dismissal of Clay following the relatively absurd bb gun incident and this misdemeanor theft charge is at least as harsh a disciplinary path as one would have expected under Richt, and perhaps more stringent. Take for example the case of Alec Ogletree, arrested for stealing a $35 scooter helmet in 2010 and suspended for one game.*

Part of that is likely Smart asserting his authority to his new troops. But for those Bulldog fans who were worried (I believe a bit excessively) that Smart was going to turn Butts-Mehre into a Machiavellian football factory with no rules other than winning, this is some evidence that the new head 'Dawg intends for his players to act like Mama would expect them to. Admittedly, I like the approach. Some degree of flexibility is required when dealing with teenagers. But there have to be consequences when players just aren't doing the things they need to do to be productive teammates, students, and citizens. And now we await the drama over Clay's list of transfer choices. Spoiler: Smart isn't going to release him to go just anywhere. Until later . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!

*To be completely fair it should be noted that Ogletree did not have a prior arrest when he got into trouble with the law, so it's not an exact comparison. That being said, I have a hard time believing that another minor offense like Clay's bb gun rampage through his dorm room would have taken him from a one game suspension to the road out of Athens. Again, just my hunch from watching Mark Richt handle a lot of disciplinary issues.