HOOVER, Ala. - Georgia has gone 24-5 during the last two seasons, but coach Kirby Smart says the theme going into fall camp this year is to "Do More."
The Bulldogs have won back-to-back SEC East championships only to come up just shy of winning a national title. The culprit each time: Alabama.
In 2017, they lost in overtime of the CFP National Championship Game against the Crimson Tide. Last year, with a second-half lead in the SEC championship and a spot in the playoff possibly on the line, Georgia gave up three unanswered touchdowns to lose once again to the Tide.
"We understand how close we've been to taking the next step," Smart said. "And although 24 and 5 the last two seasons is good, it's not good enough. It's not where we expect to be at the University of Georgia.
"Our mission is to bridge that gap."
It's not just the Alabama games that serve as motivation for Georgia, Smart said, pointing to last season's losses to LSU and Texas. His focus, he added, is devoted to the season-opener against Vanderbilt.
But given the magnitude of the Alabama losses and the fact that they've come at the hands of Smart's former boss, Nick Saban, they can't be ignored.
Smart was asked whether Saban's perfect 17-0 record against his former assistants will ever fall. He cut in, playfully saying, "I'm well aware."
"Am I confident someone will beat him?" he said. "It depends on how long he coaches ... Inevitably, with enough opportunities, it's going to happen."
Later, Smart was asked once again what it would take to overcome Alabama. And again, he handled it with a playful tone, joking, "Get rid of their backup quarterback, right?" citing how Jalen Hurts came off the bench to beat Georgia last year and is now competing for the starting job at Oklahoma.
Veteran defensive back J.R. Reed did his best to downplay the importance of beating Alabama, saying that the focus has to be on themselves and, "We'll focus on Bama when we get to Bama."
"I'm not depressed, I'll put it that way," Reed said. "You just go back and you look at any loss you have and look and see what you did wrong. You learn from it ... and then you move on."
The good news for Georgia is that it returns several keys pieces from last year's team, especially on offense, where quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D'Andre Swift and offensive lineman Andrew Thomas all have All-SEC potential.
Given the dismissal of veteran wideout Jeremiah Holloman and the lack of experience at the position, Smart said Fromm's leadership will be important to the group's development.
"(Fromm) certainly earned that right to be the leader of those receivers," Smart said. "I think a lot of those receivers understand exactly what he wants. He's able to convey that in a positive way.
"Jake has an aura about him. He rubs off on people."