Trying to make sense of a nonsensical game

Yeah, I was the guy who posted this yesterday:  “This is a meeting between a top ten P5 squad and a bad FCS team.  It won’t be close.”

Guess what?  I still stand by what I wrote.  Tip your cap to Nicholls, but yesterday never should have been close.  (I’m sure those of you who were amused by my observation all went out and laid money on the underdog before the game, right?)

The tricky part today is trying to get a handle on why Georgia came uncomfortably close to a result that would have replaced Appalachian State-Michigan as the most embarrassing college football loss in quite some time without going full metal knee-jerk.  That being said, I do think there are some conclusions that can be drawn from what we saw yesterday, conclusions that don’t necessarily doom this team to a disappointing 2016, but certainly bear close watching as the season progresses.

First of all, though, can we dispense with the notion that Nicholls exposed Georgia’s talent shortcomings?  The Dawgs came out of the gate and scored in the game’s first two minutes.  Later in the game, they took the lead back and scored a second touchdown in the space of less than two minutes.  (They then proceeded in both situations to relax, but more on that in a bit.)

The game stats are lopsided, for the most part:  Georgia outgained Nicholls by almost 140 yards, held the Colonels’ starting quarterback to less than a 50% completion rate, had significant advantages in yards per rush and in yards per pass attempt.  The Dawgs had three of the four longest runs of the game, as well as the three longest pass receptions.  Isaiah McKenzie took advantage of a poor punt to generate a 55-yard return.

You get the idea.  And yet the end result was a 26-24 squeaker.  Why?  My gut has two theories.

  1. Poor mental preparation.  Kirby bemoaned the movement in the polls as a factor in his team’s mindset.  Unlike him, I don’t see practices, so I have no idea how much of an effect that really had.  But as I mentioned before, it was pretty obvious after the first offensive and defensive series — Georgia scored easily and Nicholls’ quarterback made a bad throw that was intercepted — that Smart’s players didn’t take their opponent seriously.  Even more amazingly, after Georgia scrambled to snatch back a lead it had embarrassingly let slip away in the third quarter, whatever intensity the players had managed to summon dissipated for good.  Everyone, including the players, ought to realize that giving your best effort for, oh, say, about ten minutes out of a full sixty is a great way to keep an FCS opponent hanging around.
  2. Poor game planning.  Man, the grumbling I’ve seen about shitty offensive linemen and receivers who can’t get separation!  Maybe some of the people complaining the loudest should ask themselves how much can be expected out of linemen expected to block ten and even eleven players in the box (if you watch the replay, check out the alignment of the defense on the play when Chubb got stuffed just before Eason’s interception).  Chaney wouldn’t throw out of that three tight end, one receiver set that he made heavy use of and rarely threw on first down.  In other words, Nicholls saw what North Carolina tried to do against Georgia’s offense, sold out even harder and essentially was never made to pay a price for that.  As far as receiver separation goes, maybe some of you can explain to me how a quarterback with the tenth-best yards per attempt average in the country can manage that without his receivers getting open.  The question I have about the receivers is how they’re being deployed.  McKenzie and Godwin are among the conference leaders in yards per catch, yet Godwin’s play is limited because he’s apparently not as robust a blocker as the coaches prefer.  Color me puzzled by that.

The good news is that neither of those problems are insurmountable.  Immature heads can be pulled out of asses and game plans can be changed.  The bad news, if you want to call it that, is that there’s another factor in play, at least for the short run.

That factor is Kirby Smart’s mindset.

Some of you may recall in the wake of Richt’s dismissal that my preference was for Georgia to replace him with someone who had D-1 head coaching experience.  McGarity’s preference ran in another direction and Georgia hired Kirby Smart.  While there’s much about Kirby’s resume to respect and I can appreciate the energy he’s brought to Athens with regard to recruiting, it’s still a fact that coaching under Nick Saban isn’t the same thing as having experience running your own program.  We recognize that for all of Jacob Eason’s talent, there’s still going to be a learning curve before he can be expected to be a competent SEC quarterback.  Is it unreasonable to expect Kirby Smart to have any less of a learning curve to master?

I saw that comment yesterday, and my immediate visceral response to it was much the same as the one I had to Mark Richt’s “in the arena” line, a lame attempt to deflect attention away from the real problem.  But upon further reflection, I think that’s unfair to Smart.  If there’s one overriding sense I have of his basic coaching philosophy after two games (insert sample size warning here), it’s that he’s sincerely committed to an impose-your-will approach.  Amass talent and use it to beat your opponent into submission.  It worked during his time at Alabama and it intends to make it work at his Georgia gig.  It’s not about whether that’s bad or good, it’s simply that it’s a change.  It’s also unreasonable to expect that to happen overnight.

All well and good.  A coach has gotta do what a coach has gotta do, I suppose.  But while I’m tossing clichés around, it’s worth saying that a coach has gotta know his limitations, too.  Quite frankly, what concerns me in the short run is that Smart doesn’t have enough experience yet to recognize what those limitations are.

I saw that reflected in several ways yesterday, particularly in the most astonishing decision of the game, the two-point play when Georgia retook the lead in the second half. It wasn’t just the decision to go for two that surprised me then; letting Eason run the quarterback draw in that situation was just as remarkable.  In the wake of it failing, the whole thing struck me as Smart wanting a measuring stick to see how tough his offense and his quarterback could be.  It also stuck me as the kind of thing a coach who can’t conceive of his team losing the game does.

Had Nicholls gotten the ball back after their last score and won the game on a last-second field goal, it would have been the mother of all payback moments.  Lucky for Smart it didn’t come to that.

Even if you accept that situation as a learning moment, that doesn’t mean Smart doesn’t have a definite idea of how he wants to run this program.  The offensive play calling was, to paraphrase a favorite Lexicon expression, Beyond Conservative.  Whatever you think of Jim Chaney, he’s a little more creative than what we witnessed yesterday.  The game plan we got was the game plan Smart wanted Missouri and Ole Miss to see, which was essentially nothing.  Chaney operates in the universe Smart has him inhabit.

I’m not worried about Chaney, though.  He’s been an assistant on many staffs; he knows how the game is played.  What I am a little concerned about today is the wunderkind.

Jacob Eason didn’t play perfectly yesterday, but he didn’t play badly, either.  With two games under his belt, he leads the SEC in passer rating and yards per pass attempt.  Yet he found himself yanked after a late interception and saw his coaches put the fate of the game in the hands of Greyson Lambert.  Again, I’m not there on the sideline or in practice, so I have no idea how this was presented, but it strikes me as something with the potential to affect Eason’s confidence.  Nobody should reasonably expect a true freshman quarterback to play with the mindset that he’s just one screw up away from returning to the bench.  Hopefully, that’s not the lesson being imparted to Eason.

So that’s where we are this morning.  I don’t even want to hint at saying this means Smart’s going to be a disappointment.  He deserves every opportunity, especially at this ridiculously early point in his career, to see his vision for Georgia football turned into a reality.  I’m not judging Kirby Smart on dodging what would have been a disastrous loss for a newly minted head coach.

I’m also cognizant of what a determined, yet inexperienced, head coach likely means for the rest of 2016.  There will be more ups and downs.  What Smart deserves to be judged by is whether he’s got what it takes to make that vision of his turn into something better for Georgia football over the long haul.  For that, it’s simply too early to tell.


Filed under Georgia Football

130 responses to “Trying to make sense of a nonsensical game

  1. HVL Dawg

    He might just be remembered for his “battleship” comment.

  2. charlottedawg

    Whatever Kirby enabler

    If Mark Richt were still here he’d have the courtesy of waiting until at least the mizzou or ole miss before having the team show up completely unprepared.

    Fire Kirby smart! !!!!

  3. Timphd

    As for your point on the two point conversion, in his comments after the game Kirby made it clear the QB draw was NOT the call. He declined to say what the call was but he was adamant Eason was not designed to run on that play.

    I think the ease of the first score was the worst thing that happened yesterday. It seemed the youngsters felt the game was over, especially after the interception. That is a lack of maturity on the players part, but the coaches are ultimately responsible for “mindset” on the field.

    There seemed to be other factors to me that go to the coaches mindset too. I suspect they expected a cake walk game too and had big plans to get the entire roster in the game. Once it became clear they were in a fight, they had trouble getting out of that mindset, just like the players. They rotated backs in and out in a fashion that seemed designed to get players in the game for reps, without regard for momentum and flow of the game. I understand the desire to get Sony some reps, but he would be in for one play and then come back out. Don’t know how they expected to get any rhythm or flow with those changes. And the game plan, they didn’t want to show any wrinkles to Mizzou or Ole Miss but should have opened up the playbook a bit once it was clear that 10 in the box was Nicholl’s plan. Vanilla wasn’t enough on a day Nicholls was playing with passion and fight.

    All in all it was an abomination of a game that was painful to sit through. God help us if the O line doesn’t play with more fire next week.

  4. Whichever coach decided – where we needed to convert badly on third and 2 with Lambert in the game – to throw it needs to be shown the door immediately.

    I don’t mind a lot of the the “impose your will” shit, but if you’re going to do it, do it. Don’t get fucking cute with the game on the line and a qb in the game whose biggest skill is lining up the running game.

  5. Otto

    First off I still think Smart was not McGarity’s 1st choice but the choice of those who actually pays the bills.

    I do agree we saw a limited playbook, but motivation was the greatest issues. Is that Smart’s fault, is the time in a state of flux in buying into Smart’s toughness? I don’t know but time will tell.

    • Mayor

      Otto, I think you are correct about who decided on hiring Smart. Worse, CMR got fired because those guys on the AB were all enamored with hiring someone who was a Dawg and it appeared that Smart was about to be hired by the Chickens if Georgia didn’t act preemptively. Not a very professional was to make a decision IMHO. I always thought (and said so at the time) that the AB blew the hire. Georgia should have been hiring and experienced HC who was at the top of the HC rankings, not a guy who requires on the job training. College football has seen time and time again that hiring a coordinator with experience at the knee of “The Great Man” is not the same as hiring “The Great Man” himself. Witness SOD at UT and Muschamp at FU, but there are many examples. Like it or not, we have Kirby Smart and he may still turn out to be a great HC for Georgia. I certainly hope so. But the whole hiring/firing business was done in the usual incompetent manner by B-M and if things turn out well it will be a lucky accident not because it was done in a professional manner.

    • And ADGM had no clue either what he likes to do.

  6. sniffer

    I have a bald spot on either side of my head from all the scratching yesterday. Couldn’t make sense of much after the opening drive. So, instead of hyper criticism, I’ll stick with my projected finish of 8-4 and believe (BELIEVE!) Kirby learned something yesterday and will get better (at all things coaching).

  7. Turd Ferguson

    I’m still very far from screaming “Fire Chaney!” … but could someone who knows more about this please explain to me what he has done so far to prove that he’s the “offensive genius” that so many people keep saying he is? It may not be the most talented offense in college football, but it’s head and shoulders above Nicholls at every single position. And their defensive gameplan was very clear from the start, and really didn’t waver once from beginning to end. And you still only put up 20 points?

    • HottCheese

      I’m convince that Chaney’s gameplan was a Fabris style challenge to his OL. Nichols strength was their DL and UGA was determined to run it up the gut in spite of this. I’m with the Senator in that I don’t think the thought of losing the game ever crossed anyone’s mind. This game was about, as Smart stated, imposing UGAs will and breaking the other teams spirit in the process. Now the coaches have tape of how our OL can handle situations where they need to run the ball even though the opposition is geared up to stop the run.

    • Normaltown Mike

      I think we have limitations at QB and WR and OL….so Schotty or Chaney are basically coaching the same squad and there is a lot to be desired in this squad.

      If they put 11 in the box and we still can’t put the ball in the air…we’re gonna have problems all year.

      • Turd Ferguson

        I don’t disagree with anyone you say here, but even despite our limitations, some of this has to fall on Chaney as OC, right? If they put 11 in the box, shouldn’t one of your first moves be to try to get a TE or two free behind their LBs? And it’s not like we’ve got an absolute embarrassment of riches at the TE position or anything. One of my biggest complaints about Schotty last year was that he didn’t utilize the TEs nearly enough, and that was before we added Woerner and Nauta.

        Or how about a few WR screens? Or get Sony out on the edge for a jailbreak or something. I mean, damn, there are all kinds of ways to punish a defense for committing so strongly to blocking the run, and you don’t have to be an “offensive genius” to figure them out. Aside from the reverse to McKenzie — which was already becoming predictable as the game went on — there was very little creativity, very little willingness to adapt, etc.

        I like Pittman, and if Chaney and Pittman were some sort of package deal, then maybe Chaney will be worth it. But so far, I don’t see it.

        • Normaltown Mike

          that’s all true…let’s hope he was holding back?

          As an aside, there was a 3 and short early in the game and Eason tried to go to the TE…but he was covered and the ball was knocked away. The part that had me confused was that the route wasn’t even on the 1st down yard marker and was completely covered. I’m not smart enough to know if this was by design or not but it certainly didn’t conjure up pictures of Einstein for me.

          • Dawgy1

            If the game plan was “Vanilla”, it seems to me that after a10-7 halftime or trailing in the 3rd quarter, the game plan should maybe add a little chocolate syrup?

        • Otto

          Getting back to effort, there were passes designed for other WRs to block for the WR getting the ball, and the WRs did not seem to be putting the effort out to continue their down field blocking at times. It may just be me being critical in a close game (that shouldn’t be close) but if I am correct I hope the coaches point this out and is on them all week.

    • Ricky McDurden

      To be fair to Chaney, we were a Nick Chubb fumble and two easy drops by Chigbu inside the 5 from scoring 21 more points yesterday. We were also a McKenzie muffed punt from Nichols having 7 less on the board.

      This is all to say that while the concerns for not deviating from the gameplan do make me a bit uneasy, players still have to play. If those 4 things I mentioned above don’t happen, it’s a pretty ho hum day and we’re probably talking about how good it was to see Holyfield and Hardman get some reps

      • lakedawg

        Agree with comments, however we were an overgrown sideline pass and a dropped screen pass by Nicholls from them having 14 more points also.

      • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

        ^This, times 100^

        I would add that those 4 things shouldn’t happen, ever, much less in a game like that. So that’s a concern. It was like we were playing down to the level of our competition, a la CMR. I was hoping we were going to turn that page. If there is a silver lining, maybe it will make the team want to prove they aren’t that bad next week.

        As far as removing Eason, my thought was that he was physically getting worn out. It was HOT, he’d played the whole game, and even a kid who’s lived here his whole life might have been losing his sharpness, and some one who has lived his whole life in Lake Stevens, Washington might easily be a little gassed. I know he’s been here a while, and has practiced and scrimmaged (where he’s sharing reps, btw), but playing a whole game is just different. I was not on the sideline listening to the coaches, but that was my thought.

    • Chaney was the “safe” hire. Helped in getting Pittman to leave Arky. Kirby knew Pittman was and is the key to his success.

      Nichols loaded the box and they never really paid the price for doing so. Amazed me that there was no alternate game plan for that.

      Guess what Mizzou is going to do next week? We will see how adaptable the OC really is over the next few games.

  8. I think this was purposeful. Had we lost it would still be “part of the process.” I think in many ways he’s unconcerned about the scoreboard. I’m not saying he’s trying to lose, I’m saying that he’s not going to change the plan for style points or even a victory. Winning we’ll be part of the process or losing will, but process uber alles. From Kirby’s perspective if they lose its recruiting ammo: we need players. If they barely win, he can tell the guys all week how bad they played.

    Some may recall my repeated cautions about this since the hiring. You all probably accepted that observation to the same degree I suggested we couldn’t beat Alabama last October with a stiff at qb. By that I mean, not at all.

    We’ll see if they are as conservative the next three weeks. I hope we save this for the dregs of the world but who knows? After all did y’all see Saban’s comments after WKU? There is a method to the madness there. Cupcakes aren’t for eating anymore fellas. They’re lessons along the way.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      “I’m saying that he’s not going to change the plan for…even a victory”

      This points to the worst kind of hubris. I appreciate “the process” for developing practice habits rather than trying to win. However, each game is different, and changing strategy and experimentation must be part of the process, not a violation of it.

      • Welp, it ain’t.

        Look at some of Alabama’s inexplicable results. Do you think GSU was good enough to rush for over 300 yards vs. Bama? Do you think giving up 600+ vs. Clemson was as good as they could do? Do you think that John Chavis who stymied Johnny football twice is better than CKS or CNS at defense b/c he ran around and threw over them twice?

        I don’t. But those results tell a story about how these guys approach program building. They have a singular way of approaching football games no matter who they are playing. There will be no backing off of it to accommodate a good opponent. The only adjustment may be to double down on it vs. inferior opponents. The opponent doesn’t matter if you play the way you’re coached. That is the essence of the process.

        My issue with it is that it requires recruiting top 3 classes every year. You have to have an 85 man deep roster that is exceptional. Five OL that are beastly and 9 guys who can bench a truck and run one down on your DL.

        The only question for me was how much “imprinting” would be done in year one. We’ll see over the next three weeks.

      • Teams continue to load the box and we don’t adapt it will be a very long season

      • ugadawgguy

        Yep. And if our perception of Kirby’s apparent intransigence is accurate, we’re heading for some lean years as a result.

    • ugadawgguy

      I’m afraid you’re right.

    • Chopdawg

      If losing is a part of The Process, dont we need a new Process?

    • I get the Process is about creating a culture. We don’t need to become Bama East to develop a consistent winning culture. A loss on Saturday would have been disastrous for Kirby. I hope he woke up this morning knowing that he barely escaped from what would have been the worst loss in program history, and he needs to “attack the day” like a man who got a 2nd chance.

  9. @gatriguy

    Senator–props. Most rational, fair, level-headed reaction I’ve read so far. Kirby is in a very tough spot–God help him when he loses a game. The fanbase that we thought was so unite after G Day and last week turns out to be as divided as ever.

    I still am onboard with Kirby and will be for a while. I don’t think you judge a coach until year 3 or 4, no matter what type of talent he inherits.

    It’s going to be a year much like last year–I’ll be amazed if we blow anyone out.

    On to the next one, just keep grinding I suppose. Beat Mizzou.

  10. Scorpio Jones, III

    Welcome to the world of coaching changes. This is not an easy thing to do, you know? If he manages to fend off the experts, in a couple of years Kirby will have a pretty good team. In the meantime, the Chattanooga Symphony is a better option if you demand perfection.

    • Dawgfan Will


    • Got Cowdog?

      Skorp, Senator, this is all my fault. I watched the UT App State game all the way through, giggling at my SEC Brothers in Orange as they suffered. I was not wearing my foil helmet and Scorp’s Karmic bitches was listening in.
      I promise not to forget my hat next time.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Cowdog…you gotta learn to giggle at the misfortune of other teams only in yer head…the Bitchez hear comments, but they can’t…and probably don’t want to know, what you think.

  11. SouthGaDawg

    I’m likely in the minority in my feelings on the game. I really think that was a good eye opener for this team. The way UGA played yesterday should better prepare them for Mizzou and Ole Miss on the horizon. Look at Bama yesterday – They won pretty convincingly and Saban still exploded into orbit. Smart didn’t pull a Saban yesterday, but I’m sure that practice this week will be VERY focused because of the near debacle yesterday. Also, remember this is Smart’s first year as a HC. There were noticeable game management issues that are inevitable for a new HC. I feel confident that he’s going to slowly get the ship turned. This looked to be like Bama’s Louisiana Monroe game of a few years ago – the good thing is that we won this one – Bama lost.

  12. I still lay much of yesterday’s blame on the O-line. Yeah, they stacked the box, but we still should have run them over for 3 yards and a cloud of dust without too much effort. Instead they stuffed us. Lots of work to do.

    • Daniel Simpson Day

      That’s kind of what I walked out with too – that, and no second level blocking. Hard to develop any down field threat when the DL was in the backfield immediately and when they tried to laterally stretch the field, the receivers (including the TE’s at times) didn’t or couldn’t hold a block. Chubb had 10 negative yards – that should be the stat of the game.

  13. AthensHomerDawg

    Game over! That was some real pretty shit!

  14. Bad turnovers in bad places at bad times. Very very predictable playcalling, hopefully mostly intentionally predictable. Sure, OL didn’t look great but I blame part of that on playcalling. Again, though, we looked much better against a better opponent last week so I’d say the truth lies somewhere in the middle. We aren’t Alabama good but we also don’t have these huge talent gaps people are now claiming.

    Lambert shouldn’t see the field unless Eason gets hurt. I’d rather lose with the guys can makes the passes we’re gonna need than with the “safe” choice. Even on the big 3rd down conversion Lambert through a weak pass off his back foot. Sure he had pressure but Chubb picked it up. He just doesn’t play with command or confidence and never has.

    We’re screwed if/when a game comes down to a FG. Hamm pulls every kick and most are low.

    • reipar

      Gee I wonder if having to pick the ball up off the ground after the low snap and then try to get rid of it as quickly as possible since he is throwing a sideline timing route had anything to do with his foot work?

      • Does that excuse apply to his entire UGA career?

        • reipar

          No. You referenced one play and I replied to that one play. Feel free to make a blanket statement apply to every play though. That is always a great way to make your point.

          Are you actually arguing you would rather lose with Eason than win with Lambert?

  15. Erk's Forehead

    On a somewhat related topic, did anyone watch Mizzou’s game last night? Looks like they have finally discovered a (pretty damn good) pass game. Much improvement between Weeks 1 and 2.

    Hope we can find the “Georgia identity” Kirby kept talking about yesterday in the days between Weeks 2 and 3.

  16. Excellent post, Senator. I didn’t understand the 2 point conversion call at all. I stated that yesterday and was rewarded with an “in the arena” response from a former player turned blogger.

    • reipar

      He was chasing the point way too early. Would have thought of all the people on the planet that could have told Kirby this is a bad idea would be his OC with first hand experience on how this plays out😉

    • Mike Cooley

      Oh jeez. Are you talking about Blake Dukes? The only thing that guy has is, “I played at Georgia and you dont know what you are talking about because you didn’t.” I don’t know how much traffic his pitiful blog receives but I can’t imagine it’s much. I would rather be treated to a season of the broadcast team we had last week plus Andre Ware than read one more of Dukes’ blog posts.

  17. chemdawg

    Exactly, he couldn’t conceive of his team losing. This staff treated the game like a glorified scrimmage. Sending the receiver “blocking” message, getting Ham a long field goal attempt, putting the wild dawg on film, practicing a 2pt play to get it on film, holding back the offensive checks to “ease” Eason into the starting role, rotating the backs to “save” Chubb. Gotta win the game first. Definitely feel like the lesson will be learned, but it was almost the worst day in Dawg history.

  18. Cojones

    I disagree on several points, but one is of Bluto’s omission. That would be the fact that Nicholls worked all summer and an extra week into the season to perfect their plays and any comparison to last year’s team is simplistic and idiotic. They were good in most aspects of their game; they learned how to stop our rush from our first game. They outplayed us at many mano y mano matchups that they had obviously practiced for and where no one wants to give them credit for fear it will sound like an excuse.

    They dropped TD passes and we dropped TD passes; they got intercepted and so did we; we made TD passes and so did they, except Nicholl’s passes were right on target and in full stride (Eason was behind in several passes that had crossing patterns). Nicholls deserves credit for almost pulling off the David vs Goliath upset of all time CFB. They worked for it and perfected their plays in order to overcome our greater athletic advantage; their drives were ones of beauty and confidence and ended in scores.

    This game should not come as a surprise because it was predicted the day before, from the 1st half to the end of the 3rd qtr and only was overly optimistic of the 4th qtr seal Chubbing. What most UGA fans can’t seem to come to admit is that a small college (approx. 5200 students) can take on a P5 program and expect to win. Yes, we are better athletically, but we allowed them to play their game of the decade using us as their foil. Nicholls should be praised and be congratulated for helping us through the season’s schedule.

    Btw, the remarks about our game planning not meant to give away any O or D plans and plays to Mizzou and OM is spot on. The coaches’ plans never changing was one reason it was close, but I never saw panic in the staff. Time to affix Mizzou in our minds and thank the stars for our schedule ramping us up to better and better teams. There will be a different UGA team playing every week, folks, and a game plan suited to our athletic ability will be prepared to match and win every game.

  19. Red Cup

    I think Smart should worry.less about establishing an identity and just try to score and win. Must we run up the middle every time we deploy 3 tight ends and 2 backs? I sure hope there are other plays we can call. Until we have an OL of 330 lb 4 and 5 stars we better try something else.

  20. Cosmic Dawg

    “Smart “When you turn a battleship, you have to turn it real slow.”

    Can I just say what a total BS, responsibility ducking, not-owning-it comment this is? So weak. WEAK.

    Nobody’s asked him to beat Alabama yet. This quote pisses me off more than the game.

    What great task was asked of him yesterday? Take 3, 4, and 5 star players who won 10 games last year, work with them for 9 months, and beat comfortably a team most of us had probably never even heard of until they appeared on Georgia’s schedule.

    This “battleship” was flawed but functional when CKS took over. We’re not talking about Kentucky or South Carolina, here. He basically blamed Richt for not having this team ready to play yesterday – much, much worse than CMR’s “in the arena” comment.

    I guess it was CMR’s battleship that beat North Carolina, right – not CKS’ brilliant “process”?

    • @gatriguy

      I think he’s talking about overall program culture and how you practice and prepare regardless of opponent–something that a lot of people have questioned for years. I don’t think it’s worth getting too worked up over. He has a feel for how he wants the team to look and behave at all times–that does in fact take time.

      With the exception of the pool day thing, Kirby has done a good job of not taking any shots at Richt at all.

    • Don in Mar-a-Lago

      “This ‘battleship’ was flawed but functional”

      Refit it with bigger barrels and put helmets – gold helmets – on them. .

    • The Truth

      I really hate weighing in on comments like this because we’ve got to get past the CMR v. CKS crap, but you hit the nail on the head — UNC last week can’t be “Kirby’s” win, and Nicholls this week be “Richt’s” near-disaster. Own both, or own neither.

      • I think they are mutually exclusive. If you handed Saban the keys to Ohio State or any other program winning right now there would be hiccups. The process isn’t about winning in year one. We knew, or damn well should have known, from observation that this was the case. The vast majority of coaches plan like mad week to week to maximize their chances on Saturday. The process is about creating an identity and filling the cupboard. Then you just do what you do every week: impose your will and dictate the LOS.

        I knew that and commented on it many times here. I’ve been hoping that we could modify it a bit to account for the fact that it’s not like the cupboard is bare. We’ll just have to see how they handle things. Yesterday had the process all over it. Struggling to win last week when we dominated the LOS had the process all over it too.

        It isn’t about being cute and it isn’t about style points. Playing championship level football 15 weeks a year isn’t just about play calling.

        • Got Cowdog?

          Where is our Derek and what have you done with him, you reasonable bastard?

        • Your Mother

          If Kirby’s version of “the process” requires no in-game strategy and needs 9 months to prepare to barely beat a team like Nichols, I don’t want it in Athens. Nobody’s talking about style points. I’m talking about a coach who’s throwing shade on the last guy as an excuse for not having his P5 team ready to play.

          • ugadawgguy

            I couldn’t have put it better.

          • I just don’t read it that way. He got the job for a reason right? He’s describing the process of correcting that reason. You want these guys to play tough you put them through adversity. You don’t beat this team 82-0 so that they all think they’ve arrived.

            • We didn’t need to beat Nicholls 82-0 with our starters. We did need to beat them comfortably, so we can start building that depth everyone (including Kirby) over the last couple of days has bitched and moaned about. That’s the thing that has stuck in my craw over the last couple of days. We needed this game to start putting together the building blocks for the future. We wasted that opportunity because the team from Kirby down to the walk-ons decided to mail it in and see what happens.

        • Cosmic Dawg

          Whoops! That was left over from trying to be funny a couple days ago. But this post from yours truly, Cosmic Dawg, of course.

  21. The Truth

    I’m starting to think the Godwin thing is Kirby cutting off his nose to spite his face — not an admirable trait. That first long completion was Godwin’s athleticism as much as anything Eason did. We clearly saw — did we ever– that you have to take the good with the bad with Ike McKenzie, same goes for Godwin. We need someone on the field who can make plays even if his blocking needs to improve.

    • DawgFlan

      Cutting off his nose to spite his face is what I get a sense of as well. Not just with respect to Godwin, but across the board. As much as I tired of hearing it with the past regime, what happened to taking what the defense gives you? 11 in the box? F it we’re running it anyway. Their best playmakers are up the middle and our weakness is OL? F it run up the gut. Our OL struggles at pass protect? F it we’re going to use slow developing play action on 3rd down when they already know we have to throw it. Our personnel may be best suited to spreading out the D, simplifying the game for our great freshman QB, and using his arm in early downs to set up the run? F it “We must impose our will.” And it’s not Chaney, in my opinion, at least not completely. My impression is the “we must impose our will” mantra has been set by Smart, and Chaney is coloring within those lines.

      I agree that the coaches went into this game expecting that vanilla and talent would be enough, but I sincerely hope that Smart and staff show more flexibility THIS year in their approach to deploying the talent we have THIS year. Use what we have to take advantage of mismatches and take what the other team gives us. If not, I envision a coach sucking his thumb while in the fetal position crying himself to sleep repeating “we must impose our will, we must impose our will, we must impose our will…” when the luck runs out and we start piling up losses. It has a very Muschampian vibe, I’m afraid…

      Hey, I’d rather be lucky than good as much as the next guy, but that’s more or less what has gotten us to 2-0. I’d like us to win by focusing on what we can do best instead of quixotically chasing after ideals that bring us back to the point above about noses and faces.

  22. DawgPhan

    So many “A good season is…” comments got blown up yesterday.

    Smart clearly didnt have this team ready to play yesterday and that happening in game 2 of his tenure seems like a pretty bad indicator. Not something that can’t be turned around, but probably can’t apply the battleship analogy to turn that one around.

  23. Scott

    It appeared to me that Eason was perhaps talking more than listening on the sideline with Chaney. I hope that he listens and takes feedback during the battle constructively.

  24. hassan

    From the X’s & O’s, I thought the biggest let down was the OL play. They couldn’t create holes and the running game suffered (until late in the game when they were moving the chains at will until the 95 yd int). There were a couple of dropped passes and a couple of coaching decisions I think we would like to have back, but if we had a better ability to move the ball on the ground, then those would seem much more minor than people are making them out to be now. As for the rest, it is what we expected: a young QB learning to play at this level, a receiving corps that needs to start to gel, and a secondary that has to grow up in this def scheme.

    Biggest thing to me was that half the team didn’t show up to play and take care of business. Especially after the first score…they kind of said “we got this” and started to sleepwalk and get sloppy. This might be a blessing. Guess what guys, you are not a #9 team. You have to out there and earn it every game. I think the coaches preached that this week, but it didn’t sink in. Maybe now it will.

    I am sure that practice will be very uncomfortable for a lot of players this week. The best we can hope for is that they can learn from this and be better. Next week will tell. Missy State surely looked like a different team than the week before. Hopefully we can too.

  25. shane#1

    Sober Shane here. Kirby had never coached against a triple option offense, at least to my knowledge, and it showed. Spread Os with running QBs has always given the ‘Bama D trouble, so I am not surprised that they moved the ball. I was caught off guard by the closeness of the game. Without a few critical mistakes the game isn’t that close. I will say the coaching staff gave the players little help. Let’s hope the team learned a valuable lesson and won’t relax in a future game like they did in this one. FWIW, I would not want to have to tackle Chubb next week.

  26. TMC DAWG

    Hopefully we got our bad game out of the way this year. The next 3 games will say whether the ship is turning or not. Wonder who the starter will be?

  27. Debby Balcer

    We played brilliantly at times and awful not much in the middle. I think Kirby did play to win by bringing in Lambert at the end to hold onto the victory. Eason is a project. He never took a snap in a game before he came here. It is a steep learning curve to be an SEC quarterback. Eason and Lambert seem to respect each other. We need to shake it off and start practicing for Mizzou. I am confident we will show up next week focused. The ship did not need turned around just more power added to it. SC needs turned around.

  28. Bright Idea

    Our trouble is we don’t have the ability as fans to flush games like this and it makes us dread the rest of the season just like we were euphoric coming out of the Dome last week. The process took a day off yesterday and there’s nothing any off us can do about it. Plus there are lots of holes. Any team counting on grad transfers at key positions the last 2 seasons like we are has to be lacking.

  29. 69Dawg

    I think one question was answered yesterday. We are going to play Alabama football because that’s all Kirby knows. So sit back and enjoy seeing how Alabama would look without the talent.

    • DawgFlan

      Much more succinct statement of my own perception to date.

    • The Truth

      So sit back and enjoy seeing how Alabama would look without the talent…ed offensive line. That is the most significant difference between us and Bama, and if you believe anything ESPN writes, Saban ain’t too happy with HIS OL right now. Front seven on D is also where Bama makes hay and we aren’t quite there yet. But if you asked me to take one unit from Bama but you have to keep everything else you have it would most certainly be OL. We ARE NOT an untalented team.

    • ugadawgguy

      Exactly. This is EXACTLY what Kirby Smart brings to the table.

      The next few years are going to be very difficult for Georgia.

  30. 1smartdude

    I think there is blame in every single area, including coaching. Even the best play makers had issues. The muffed punt and even Chubb put the ball on the ground. Outside the opening drive, it looked pathetic. This was as close as you can come to shitting the bed, without having to change the sheets. This was NICHOLLS for Christ’s sake. A 50 point underdog! I had hopes we’d seen the end of underachieving but I might have seen it taken to a whole new level…..

  31. Spike

    My two cents? I saw the tight ends wide open a couple of times and the QB’s didn’t even look their way. Wasn’t Blazevich wide open early on in the end zone?

  32. Positive Munson (formerly Skeptic Dawg)

    First, I will begin with the end…An ugly win is better than an ugly loss any Saturday. I do not expect this team to go undefeated, nor do many on this blog. However, I was excited to see progress from game 1 to game 2 and that just did not happen. I feel certain that this team will improve. Now the question is how much improvement do I expect?

    This is spot on Senator, “Quite frankly, what concerns me in the short run is that Smart doesn’t have enough experience yet to recognize what those limitations are.” As a fan I am willing to take the lumps that inevitably come with a first year HC. Kirby will learn, just as his players will learn over the course of the season. One can only hope that those lessons do not cost us a ballgame.

    The coaches should have ample film and examples to teach with this week prior to leaving for Mizzou! Let’s hope for a better game in Columbia, Mizzou. Time to Hunker Down Dawgs!

    Positive Munson (formerly Skeptic Dawg)
    Still search for the perfect handle…

  33. reality check here

    Kirby Smart was very intense and animated in the North Carolina game. Yesterday he appeared to be the least intense person Georgia had.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Meh…it was a practise game— the 1s against the 2 and 3s. Going through a check list of things we needed work on. As usual the 1s were bored and took it lightly while the 2s and 3s were pumped. They got their reps ….Kirby got film. Preparation for the Zoo continues tomorrow. We win by 14. Opinions may differ.

      • Cojones

        Mizzou appears to have a passing game now. And our team could expect them to stand there and get run over by another SEC team? I don’t think so any more than I thought Nicholls would stand there and not try to beat us.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          “You may be right…I may be crazy.”
          Cojones I expect to win by 14.
          Wrr we sleep walking or was the staff using it as a tool to judge and teach. IDK.
          Ask me again next Sunday.🙂

  34. Russ

    If we start playing musical OCs, we’ll be heading into Boom territory.

  35. LOL, at least we won not unlike last season’s FU game.

  36. waitandseedawg

    We don’t know if smart is going to be the next great head coach or another Ray Goff. However the lack of effort shown by the team on saturday is very very disturbing. It was a lot more than conservative play calling. We had guys on the field who had no interest in playing this game and plenty of blame goes to this staff.

  37. Jane, you ignorant slut (aka W Cobb Dawg)

    I had the 2 small grandkids yesterday and still haven’t seen the game. But the stats weren’t all that bad – except for the 3 turnovers.
    * The stats say Eason was getting the ball 10+ yards downfield to the WRs – the intermediate and long passing game we’ve sorely needed. Lambert had 2 yards passing, which came as no surprise.
    * We averaged slightly over 4 yards per run, which isn’t so hot. But I assumed that was against 8+ in the box.
    * Only 3 penalties for 34 yards. Again, not bad.
    * Our punting average looked pretty darn good.

    Seems to me we desperately need Eason to keep improving on the intermediate and long passing game, if for no other reason than to keep defenses honest.

  38. Hopefully not 2012 Derek

    My biggest complaint isn’t the fact that after 2 games, we have the same exact scenario we would have had under CMR, so we’ve see no discernible coaching improvement in this young season. No. That’s not my complaint. My complaint is for the Larry Munson wannabe that sat in Section 123, row 24, seat 9. The guy was a blithering idiot that did not shut up the entire game. I would have bought him 1000 $5.00 Chick-fil-A sandwiches if he would have stuffed his mouth for the duration of the game. From calling or guessing every play to explaining each play to everyone within vomiting distance, the guy was the ultimate stereotypical douche. If any of you have the displeasure of sitting near him, duct tape his mouth shut for the sanity of your fellow fans. God help me.

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