Sam Pittman is the newest Arkansas Head Coach. This came on the same day that the news of Mike Bobo to South Carolina leaked out. While the Bobo move isn’t official as of yet, it appears all but done.
As all of this news began to come out Sunday afternoon, UGA Twitter began a collective anxiety attack. Coupled with the disappointment of yesterday’s SEC Championship, some might feel like the sky is falling.
While the Dawgs will certainly miss Pittman’s recruiting abilities in coming years, he was the builder of the heralded “Great Wall of Georgia” after all, the biggest priority for Kirby Smart and Co right now will be keeping their current offensive line class committed to the Dawgs.
I have good news for you. There’s PLENTY of offensive line talent still on Georgia’s roster, and much of it is not fully matured yet. Georgia will be fine in the trenches.
Plenty of rival fans have decided to use today’s news and yesterday’s loss as a sign that Georgia is crumbling under Kirby Smart. If you can find me a position coach anywhere in America that wouldn’t trade their job for the head post at an SEC school I’ll happily sell you a bridge in Brooklyn. Pittman gave a lot to Georgia, and I wish him the best. His loss is a product of Georgia’s success.
While the Pittman news is a genuine bummer, the Bobo news seemed to bring just as much angst out of Georgia fans. While I am among those who were tantalized by nostalgia for the offensive outputs of old, I also agree with those who think his rehiring would have been fighting an old battle. For better or worse, Georgia is built very differently than they were during the Bobo days. Ironically, a lot of that can be contributed to Kirby and Pittman’s recruiting on the line of scrimmage.
Current personnel aside, Kirby and Bobo are best friends. Genuine friendships are hard to come by in the coaching business, and mixing business and friendship is likely something that neither of them wanted.
I am In full agreement with all of those who think Georgia’s offense needs fixing. There were certain issues with Georgia’s passing game all year, but at one point yesterday all six of Georgia’s leading receivers on the season were out of the game. If any or all of Hardman, Holloman, Ridley and Nauta were on the team this year, I think Georgia would have been much more explosive. I also think a healthy Georgia offense would have had a more respectable showing than the banged up one we saw yesterday.
I bring all of this up not to rehash the issues that have been discussed all year, but to say this is college football, and roster management is harder than its ever been. Additionally, Georgia’s passing game in 2019 was in many ways a victim of its own successes in 2018.
There are two things I know to be true about Kirby Smart. Number one is that he can recruit. Number two is that he is as competitive as anyone in college football. As much as I hated watching Georgia get walloped last night, I’m sure he hated it more.
I have faith that Georgia will have plenty of stud pass catchers roll into Athens over the next few years, and I believe that we will see something different from Georgia’s offense moving forward.
The difference that much of Bulldog Nation wants to see involves the termination of James Coley. To be frank, I don’t know if Coley has been calling Kirby’s offensive strategy this year or his own. It’s easy to look at some of this year’s results and say Coley is terrible, but he might be an extremely competent coordinator without the handcuffs. Then again, the cuffs might not be there at all.
As we go through the next month, I don’t know what will happen. Rumor has it that Matt Luke is the favorite to replace Sam Pittman. That seems like a very good choice. Perhaps there’s an analyst in San Francisco or Foxboro or Kansas City that can be brought in to improve Georgia’s passing concepts. I can hope, but I don’t know.
The reality here is that the Dawgs are still the three-time defending champions of the SEC East. Everyone in the division is chasing Georgia. We played some truly awful games on offense this year, and we finished the season at number five. We have won three straight over Florida, Tennessee, Tech and Auburn. All that has happened despite Georgia having 68.5% underclassmen on their roster last year. When you’re that successful, lessons can be hard to come by. Yesterday taught Kirby Smart a lot about his team.
After watching his tenure thus far, I’m still in the camp that believes Kirby Smart will make us into a national champion. The sky is not falling. It just feels a little rainy today.
Without Sam Pittman and Mike Bobo it might not look how some of us imagined it would, but Georgia still is on track. There’s still a lot to look forward to in Athens.