Screw that next year talk.

I wish I could say I share Pete Fiutak’s optimism about the margin of Georgia’s victory in the opener against North Carolina, but with the way I feel right now, a 37-17 result would be more like a shocking surprise.  (Not that I wouldn’t take it.)

That being said, I do think Fiutak gets one thing right that a lot of Georgia fans are brushing over, largely in an attempt to justify Smart starting Jacob Eason.

What’s Going To Happen?

Georgia will look fantastic. The pressure is on Smart to have his team looking strong and tough from Game One, and it’s going to do just that on both sides of the ball by being more physical and more energetic – that’ll matter in a game like this.  [Emphasis added.]

I agree.  Smart’s not looking to the future in his first game.  He’s a competitor.  He also wants to send a message that he’s ready for the biggest job in his life.

If Jacob Eason wins the starting job out of the gate, it won’t be because Smart’s already looking forward to 2017.  It’ll be because his head coach thinks Eason gives him the best chance of winning on September 3, 2016.


Filed under Georgia Football

46 responses to “Screw that next year talk.

  1. Timphd

    Interesting discussion about UGA on ESPN recently about how Kirby could lose the team if he doesn’t play to win this year. Said the team would be upset that Eason was handed the job to play for 2017 and would feel sold out that this season wasn’t a priority. I happen to agree with that. I hope if Eason starts it is because he won the job with his play in preseason and the whole team buys into him. Otherwise the message is that this year doesn’t matter.

    • RugbyDawg79

      I think Eason gaining 30 lbs of Muscle in 6 months won the locker room – no longer a skinny kid this is a 6 6 240 lb man that they know has talent – I believe they are anxious to follow him into Battle.

    • 69Dawg

      It’s Kirby’s job to determine if starting Eason would lose the team. We don’t really know how much of last year was effected by a transfer QB coming in and getting the start over the guys that had been there the whole time. The SC game probably settled it but we will never know. How about starting Bauta at UF, heck maybe the team played like crap because they knew the coaches had screwed. You never know with 18-23 year olds what they are thinking and Kirby is a new coach. Here’s hoping he gets it right.

      • stoopnagle

        Players know. They – unlike us and unlike reporters – are at and engaged with every practice. They talk to each other. They know who gives them the best chance to win.

        It’s going to be interesting and fun to watch how the quarterback situation is handled throughout the year. I’m expecting something like the approach in 2006 with Matt Stafford.

  2. 81Dog

    Agreed. It makes no sense to think KS would “play for the future.” His job is to win as much as he can, as soon as he can. This isn’t someone coming in to rebuild a train wreck. He’s a competitor. He isn’t coming in to win 3 years from now, he’s coming in to win NOW. I don’t expect a NC, or an SEC title this year, but I expect (and I feel like HE expects) to do what he can do to win THIS year. I like that he apparently isn’t afraid to brush aside conventional wisdom (Don’t start a freshman QB!!) and go with the rookie if he thinks that gives us the best chance of winning game 1.

    • The Dawg

      Right, play the player that gives you the best chance to win. I am not saying they would have won, but Dabo and Clem really messed up not keeping Watson in against us after that gorgeous TD pass. He was both the future and the present that day.

      • Macallanlover

        No disputing the play to win every game theme on this thread but I don’t think that game was going Clemson’s way, it was a pretty strong W for UGA. While that was a beauty of a pass, had our LB turned when he should have, it was a simple break up or INT. Dangerous throw that went Watson’s way. I would say the chances he would have made a key freshman error are greater than him leading them to victory in Sanford that night. And that is not saying Watson isn’t a very solid QB college QB, he is, but he wasn’t that developed in Game 1 on the road.

        • 1smartdude

          I’ll also add, It’s much easier for duel threat Watson type QB to find success early, he always has his legs. The pro style guy has to be ready

  3. 92 grad

    i agree that the physicality and energy will be the difference right away, but I don’t see losing the team. That notion may arise if we are 0-3 though….

    I also agree that I’m feeling a Georgia team dominating the first game, earlier this morning I had thoughts of the Hawaii sugar bowl and I’m feeling that kind of game. One reason is that this may be the first time in 10 years that the Georgia coaching staff is ALL on the same page and equally motivated, not just Kirby.

  4. Noonan

    Every good coach constantly instructs his team to focus 100% on the next game. It would be hard to do if the team knew you gave the QB job to a kid who wasnt ready. It would also be counterproductive for the kid’s development.

  5. Starbreaker

    I have not seen a single thing from Kirby so far that would lead me to believe he will give anything less than 100% to win game 1 and every game after. He knows all eyes are on him and I guarantee you that he’s thinking of all the people who claim he “just ran Saban’s defense for him” and how he wants to make it known that he’s arrived and prove the naysayers wrong. That’s not to say there won’t be some hiccups and errors, but make no mistake he is playing to win. Also, regarding morale…I recall Kirby making a big deal during the spring about the QB owning the huddle, so if Eason gets the starting nod it means the team is all in on the kid. I would be pretty surprised if he does start (although he will definitely play), but if he does it tells me he’s really shown the staff a lot for them to have that confidence in him. I’m just really ready for the game to get here!!!

  6. charlottedawg

    As a dyed in the wool pessimist i can totally see us blowing the doors off of an overrated unc.especially if we have a decent running game. Then again I also could see us all high on ourselves after one game and promptly pulling a Georgia by face planting against sec competition after an energizing out of conference win. I also predict that win or lose people will extrapolate way too much out of the UNC game since it’s Kirby and eason’s first game. If we win, we’re awesome Kirby is Saban come to Athens. If we lose we’re terrible. Kirby ‘s an idiot. Can’t handle spread offenses/ being a head coach. Any moron could have seen you should / shouldn’t have started/ played Eason. Blah blah blah

    • 81Dog

      I only dread one game at a time.😉

      KS might as well play the guy who gives him the best shot at winning now. He’s certainly going to get second guessed by a portion of our fan base if we lose, no matter who he starts. It’s a little early in his tenure for him to be worried about getting second guessed by the slightly smaller portion of the fan base who will have issues if we don’t win by a sufficient margin. Just win, baby.

  7. 92.9’s weak take yesterday was that UGA was ranked above UNC because of name only and that they would take just about every UNC starter over UGA’s. That pretty much means the recruiting rankings were way wrong the last few years (too lazy to look that up however).

    I’m not saying this will be a blowout just because we show up with higher rated kids. Just saying that I’m not as worried about our ability to match up. We play solid, fundamental football and we should be good.

    • pantslesspatdye

      I’ve read your blog; your talents are best deployed on pursuits not involving listening to 92.9. I’m not sweating the game either. Well, no more than any other Georgia game.

      Separately, I think Eason will be starting.

      • Thanks…I guess I’m a sucker for talk radio. Not all, but some.

        I’ll be surprised if Eason starts…I’m still leaning toward Lambert with a smidgen of Eason mixed in.

    • PTC DAWG

      92.9 is unlistenable to me.

  8. Kirby wants this game very bad being his debut. National spotlight is on, and I am sure they know who will take the first snap under center. Eason is my guess and mistakes will be made but they will be judged on how those mistakes are overcome.

  9. Russ

    We are going to play aggressive defense and solid (boring) offense. Which means Lambert starts along side Chubb and we grind out a 2 TD win. It could get ugly late if the Tarholes get tired and Chubb/Michel/Holyfield are still romping.

  10. JCDAWG83

    I think Kirby plays to win THIS YEAR, he can’t sacrifice a season and earn any confidence from the team or fan base. I’m sure he will start the qb he thinks gives him the best chance to win against UNC. That said, if that qb is Eason, a true freshman who had never taken a snap under center before coming to Athens, we might win the UNC game but we will most likely lose 4 or more other regular season games.

  11. To a large portion of the fan base, Kirby wasn’t brought in to win 7 or 8 games this year to build toward 2017. He was brought in to build on the last 15 years and make Georgia elite. I would suggest a loss to Baby Blue doesn’t move the Georgia program in that direction. He needs to win this first game, and I imagine he’s going to pull out every stop to make it happen. When this game got announced, the UNC people already had it as a loss and likely a curb-stomping loss.

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    When did this asinine meme about sacrificing this season get started? It’s the kind of stupid shit the laziest of the lazy media trots out.

    I for one am looking forward to seeing a team with a lot of talent, and an experienced coaching staff that doesn’t shirk on details. We have arguably the best RB tandem in cfb, maybe the best return man, maybe the best defensive backfield, 7 returning starters on O, etc., etc. The schedule is very favorable. And for those worried about depth, we’re about as close as I’ve ever seen to having NO players out with injuries. Anyone suggesting we’re looking to the future rather than concentrating on this season should have their head examined.

    • Scroll through the comments in response to any posts about the quarterbacks, and you’ll see somebody expressing it.

    • I agree, WCD. This team has the talent to win now and doesn’t need to take a step back to take two forward. Any coach who starts the season playing for next year would need to have his head examined because I wouldn’t want to put in those kind of hours to get poor results. For example, no way could I be a manager for the Braves with the knowledge that the franchise is building for a future I’m likely not to survive long enough to see.

    • stoopnagle

      paging Barett Salee

  13. Right now we are undefeated and I expect Kirby to keep it that way. If a fan is not optimistic just before the season starts, they are missing out on one of the great joys of being a fan. I’m thinking 15-0 and a NC. If we get anything less, well that’s the way the ol ball game goes and I’ll be back at this time next year feeling the same.

  14. Bulldog Joe

    This is a good “cut it loose” game for the freshmen with minimum downside risk.

    Get them experience and confidence against P5 competition. Freshmen mistakes in a non-conference game doesn’t kill the season.

  15. The other Doug

    There are a lot of good points on here, but one thing is missing. The SEC East isn’t very good this year and it’s ripe for the taking. Smart knows this and knows how much winning the East and getting the inflated ranking that comes with it means to recruiting. We can be this year’s Florida except we don’t finish with a stout FSU team. 10+ wins is there if he gets this team to play hard.

    He wants to get it all rolling by beating the snot out of UNC on national TV.

  16. 69Dawg

    Look how well the professionals do playing for the future. The future is now damn it. Just WIN baby.

  17. stoopnagle


    If Kirby wants to play for the future, then just sit Nick Chubb for the season and don’t cost the young man any $ for carries.

    Y’all, does anyone really believe that Kirby took this job so that he could just piss away his one year with arguably the best running back in college football? Me neither.

  18. anon

    Start the kid all 14 games. We will only have him 3 years.