Bulldog coach Kirby Smart met the media this afternoon following an underwhelming effort at home against South Carolina, and the questions were pretty straight to the point. It doesn’t take Vince Lombardi to know that turnovers, clock management, and a feeble offense doomed the ‘Dawgs to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten. Among the topics of conversation.
- Kirby rightly noted that it’s statistically unheard of to win an SEC football game with a minus 4 turnover margin. Really the other shenanigans could have probably been overcome if Jake Fromm doesn’t throw a pick six because he didn’t get enough on a ball he tried to throw away, or doesn’t bobble a center exchange. Or if Tyler Simmons doesn’t pop up a Fromm throw that gets picked off. This was the first time Georgia’s lost the turnover battle this season, and the worst turnover margin since Georgia also went -4 against LSU last October.
- The top ‘Dawg had some words of support for Jake Fromm, who indeed will likely battle back from this one. That being said, this was the worst game I’ve ever seen Fromm play, and the first time I watched him play was as a sophomore in high school. This one doesn’t fall completely on the Bulldogs’ junior leader. And he’s done more than enough to earn a pass from UGA fans for being a touch off here and there. But there’s no doubt a couple fewer mistakes from Fromm and this one probably turns out differently.
- Smart gave the South Carolina defensive front credit for controlling the line of scrimmage. I’d add that I personally scratched my head a little when I saw Justin Shaffer get the start at guard. It looks like that was because Solomon Kindley and Ben Cleveland remain a bit banged up. Smart noted that “everyone wants to talk about the offensive line” but in the end “they’ve got to do it.” It will be interesting to see if this one serves as a gut check for a unit that hasn’t always played up to its glowing preseason press clippings. Note at the 10:30 mark that Smart seems to be implying that some of the disjointed play calling on offense (read: ineffective deep throws out of nowhere . . .) may have resulted from an effort to loosen things up up front when the offensive line just wasn’t getting a push.
- A few injury notes: Lawrence Cager continues to play with a separated shoulder, Justin Shaffer joined the walking wounded in the guard rotation, along with Kindley. Oh joy.
- The line of the press conference: “There’s a lot of things we can get better on as coaches.” He’s absolutely right. At the 14:50 mark Kirby explains his rationale for calling that time out late when it looked like South Carolina was going to have a delay of game to force 4th and 6. I’ll let you listen and make your own decision. I stand by my initial assessment that South Carolina came out of the huddle fast and Kirby freaked out. He thought it was a “speed huddle.” In fact they were just running out of time.
You can see the full video below courtesy our our friends and yours at Bulldawg Illustrated. Feel free to include your assessment in the comments below. Until later . .