I hit you with some truth last week. It was hard for some people to hear that we had a less talented roster than Ole Miss even though we sit on the most fertile recruiting hotbed in the country. We may have had an even more demoralizing loss last weekend and many will question where this team stands.
I won’t do that. I loved what I saw against Tennessee. We saw physicality, heart and a refusal to accept a loss. Sure, there were bone headed plays, poor end game execution and a few coaching head scratchers. But the core of this team is strong and it is emerging. The next 7 games are all winnable and I think this loss pissed off a young team with a ton of potential.
There are zero moral victories in the SEC. But there are measuring sticks. Tennessee’s best team in a decade needed a hail mary to beat a first year coach and his band of freshman.
I saw a report from Bruce Feldman earlier this week where he talked about Kirby Smart’s struggles as a first year coach and I wanted to quickly comment on it. Most of his claims revolved around Kirby “struggling with his overall management style of the football program and its effect on the operational aspect of the team”. First, let me say that I really admire the job Kirby has done both in recruiting and on the field. I think he is the right man for this program and will lead Georgia to sustained success. What I am 100% sure that Feldman is referring to is the resistance from the athletic office to spend “Alabama money”.
What do I mean by that? In case you weren’t aware, Nick Saban has a closet full of former head coaches, coordinators and high school coaches. And these guys aren’t even one of the nine full time assistant coaches. They are quality control members, graduate assistants, recruiting assistants and analysts. Hell, Jeremy Pruitt was the director of player development 6 years ago. Since then he’s won 3 national championships and forced an indoor practice facility on Greg McGarity. Steve Sarkisian is currently an analyst. Add that to 2 former head coaches and two former coordinators in reduced roles on the full time staff and these guys have a full army of eyes that guide the program at all times. These well paid assistants have all been in critical in helping Saban attain the program he’s developed. This is the style Kirby Smart has been used to for 7 years. And now he runs into Greg McGarity and the conservative athletic staff at the University of Georgia
Sure it was rosy at first. Kirby was probably promised full autonomy. But that is not what he has received. Instead he’s been forced to make do with what has been allotted by the Czar of Georgia Athletics. There were raises initially, but Kirby wants and needs more. The already measly pay of student assistants was cut in an effort to pay more full time staff members. Meanwhile, your money is being hoarded by an athletic association too conservative to spend. But hold on, Georgia is building a $30 million Indoor practice facility. They sure are, and they asked for even more of your money to do it. $16 million had already been raised in February and the goal is to fund the entire project by private donors. I won’t speculate on what the giant surplus of money from the 15th ranked money-making athletic association in the country is being used on. But it is not being reinvested adequately in its most lucrative sport. If you want Kirby to bring you a national championship, you must insist that your money be used on what he wants. Sure, more staffers probably doesn’t allow Georgia to knock a Hail Mary down, take the SEC East lead and ride into the sunset. But as I’ve said many times, the little things add up to huge differences in this league. Keeping up with the Jones’ of the SEC ain’t cheap, so pony up McGarity.
II. Tennessee Recap
· Sack Fumble in the Endzone- what happens when a freshman QB and a questionable play call meet? A negative game changing play. I totally understand Chaney being aggressive and going for a first down and a possible win, but you can’t put a freshman in that situation. The risks far outweigh the benefits. I bet you Eason never pump fakes in the endzone again
· Celebration Penalties- this is tough. These penalties have always been such a major buzzkill and so deadly. You could see this outcome a mile away when Rico McGraw was stupid enough to run onto the field with his helmet off. To reference my earlier point, more authoritarian eyes, more control on every aspect of your program
· Contain Josh Dobbs- I gave you the key to the game last week. If Georgia contained Dobbs they would win. Dobbs scrambled for an alleged TD and hopped out of the pocket for two more TD passes. Dawgs get the L
· Midget Corners- hey you, guy who has been asking why Lorenzo Carter was in the endzone instead of rushing. 1. Have you seen Carter rush the passer this year? 2. We have midgets playing in the secondary. Malkom Parrish is legitimately 5’9” and Dom Sanders wasn’t exactly recruited for his physical prowess. If you don’t put your tallest jumpers back there you get former basketball players pulling down a game winning hail mary…..
The Guarded Optimism
· Run Game- physical interior and edge bending run game. The type of Georgia football that gets my dad hyped. It felt good to reestablish that against what should have been a good run defense. Some shifting on the O-line. Hopefully they keep it going with both scheme and physicality
· Brian Herrien- an absolute steal. That kid is such a hard runner. It really shows how dedicated you have to be in recruiting. Mark Richt and staff never game Herrien serious consideration. Kirby had been scouting Herrien at Bama and stayed on him. When Whaley decommitted, it was time to turn up the heat on the kid to get his grades in order. Thank God he did. Georgia’s backfield will be in good hands no matter what happens after this year
· Deandre Baker- didn’t get tested deep very much but could be an answer as a more instinctual corner who turns and looks for the ball every once and a while. That hit to force a fumble on Hurd got me a little bit too excited
· Eason- the damn Truth
· Riley Ridley and the Freshman Squad- We knew in spring ball that he could be a difference maker. He was Saturday and hopefully built enough confidence to carry him through the season. Same goes for all of these talented freshmen. Georgia is on the path
III. South Carolina Preview
First off, prayers to everyone that will be affected by this storm. It reminds me how unimportant all this football stuff is when people’s lives are at risk. I need start finding some more meaningful hobbies.
With that said, man it must be convenient to move a game to a Sunday when you have a bye week the next week. I totally agree that the game needed to be moved in regards to safety of both the players and fans. But you could tell that South Carolina was not going to budge in moving this game from Columbia. They did it last year, it went horribly and Spurrier quit immediately thereafter. It wasn’t happening again. Plenty of time to figure something out in Atlanta, Athens or an even more neutral site, but USC or the SEC sat on it and now we play water polo on Sunday. It’ll be a shame if a kid gets hurt or the weather really turns and people are in a dangerous spot due to staying in town for the game.
Hopefully we avoid all of that and only see a Sunday version of the Dawgs whipping that ass. Away games at Williams-Brice are always tough, especially with the unknown factor of weather. But I like an angry and emerging Dawgs team.
IV. SEC Predictions
V. Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week
What the hell happened Bucky? 1-3 last week? That’s garbage son. Still 11-9 on the season. I lost you money last week and that pains me. Time to double down Dawgs.