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The Kirby Smart Hater’s Guide to Georgia’s Battle with Samford

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NCAA Football: Georgia Spring Game Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Kirby Smart Hater’s Guide to Georgia Football, where we give a voice to the fans who will never be happy with Kirby Smart at the helm in Athens.

I’m really interested in how Kirby Smart fans can defend the guy at this point. Even when he tries to lose, he can’t do it. Say what you want about Mark Richt, but when that guy committed to losing, by golly Georgia lost. Ask Alabama or a number of half-way decent teams that ran the Dawgs out of the building.

Kirby can’t even follow through on losing a football game. Against Notre Dame he followed the recipe for an L almost to a T and still wound up with a W:

  • Commit 10+ penalties: Yup!
  • Stagger and stall on offense: Oh yeah!
  • Convert less than 25% of third-down opportunities: You know it!
  • Commit two awful turnovers: Check!
  • Rely on a true freshman QB over proven star running backs: You bet!
  • Leave points off the board with special teams mishaps: Sure!

And even by doing all those things, Smart still couldn’t figure out a way to lose. So now he’s stuck in an awkward pivot, trying to make it seem like he’s excited about beating a team that is 5-11 in its last 16 games. What a victory! Statement win! #DawgsOnTop

The trouble is, this is the same old Georgia. The only new breed of Bulldog we’re going to see anytime soon is the powerhouse team traveling from Alabama with an undefeated record.

Samford has everything that should make Georgia nervous. First and foremost, Samford has a defense. It may or may not be a good defense, but it is technically a defense nonetheless and Georgia has yet to find a consistent way to navigate around one of those in the post-Aaron Murray era. Sadly, I don’t think Jake Fromm is the answer to those shortcomings. His cadence tends to be a bit off and his throwing motion is too slow. He’s not Jake Fromm State Farm; he’s Jake Fromm Late Arm. Just look at this pick at the 1:10 mark.

If history is any indication, Fromm is going to throw for between 141 and 143 yards on Saturday. There’s no reason to expect anything outside of that range because he’s literally never done anything more. That’s what you get when you have the nation’s 112th-best passing offense. Unless Samford doesn’t field a defense, this Georgia offense will be in trouble.

Know what else Samford has? A mobile quarterback. One-hundred percent of the multiple touchdowns Georgia has surrendered this year have come from the fleet feet of athletic QBs. With that in mind, Develin Hodges could be a real problem. Last week, Hodges torched West Alabama for 51 rushing yards, including a 25-yard run and a touchdown. If this Georgia defense doesn’t wake up, we’re going to have to change this kid’s name from Hodges to Hedges because he’ll be all over the field at Sanford Stadium.

You can’t really find a major statistical area in which Georgia looks better than Samford, but the real story is about points scored. After all, to win you have to outscore your opponent. So far this season, Georgia is averaging 25.5 points per game. Samford is averaging 38.5. There should be a slight talent advantage in Georgia’s favor (though that may be my homer bias), but if having more talent meant scoring more points then last year’s team wouldn’t have lost to the likes of Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. So in a Dawg on Dawg battle, talent goes out the door and this thing comes down to coaching.

Who are you going to trust in this coaching matchup? A coach with 134 career wins (Chris Hatcher) or a coach with 10 career wins (Kirby). A coach who had his Bulldogs in the college football playoff last year (Hatcher)? Or a coach who can’t even lose to Notre Dame?

Bulldogs are gonna win. You heard it here first.