The Georgia Bulldogs football team has won back-to-back national championships and has a solid case for a three-peat this season. However, head coach Kirby Smart remains flummoxed on how to deal with the program’s biggest off-field problem at the moment.
Smart said Tuesday that he doesn’t have a solution yet for the ongoing issue of his players getting pulled over for speeding and other car-related offenses that have plagued the program.
The SEC coach told reporters he is “constantly looking and searching” for ways to address the problem.
Last week, freshman linebacker Samuel M’Pemba was ticketed for driving 88 Mph in a 55 mph zone. That came just one hour before receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint appeared in court and pleaded guilty to driving 90 mph in a 45 mph zone.
With M’Pemba’s citation, that makes 11 traffic-related moving violations that involved Georgia football players since January. The initial incident, in which offensive lineman Devin Willock and football staff member Chandler LeCroy were killed in a crash after allegedly racing former Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter, still casts a shadow over the upcoming season.
“I’ll be the first to admit we haven’t solved that issue or problem,” Smart told reporters Tuesday. “I don’t honestly know that anybody has, but certainly for us, it’s important to acknowledge it first. We’ve had a lot of intervention in terms of talking and visiting, and discipline measures have been implemented in terms of education. We’ll continue to do that.”
Smart told ESPN in March that he was asking for help from various local police departments in educating players about the dangers of reckless driving.
“It’s one of the things that we want to manage, but it is a tough situation to manage when you have 18- to 22-year-old men [and] a lot of them are driving for the first time,” Smart said. “You know, every fall we have 25 new guys. We’ve averaged five guys that come here at 18 years old with no driver’s license, and we continue to work on that. I don’t have the exact answer. I wish I did, but we continue to work at it.
“I’m one of those that believes abuse brings control, and we’ll continue to educate our players the best we can and try to do a better job with it.”