Groo hits on one big reason walking out of Sanford Stadium Saturday was such a downer.
Kirby Smart’s first game at Sanford Stadium turned out to be a lot like Mark Richt’s last. In Novemeber the Dawgs needed a second-half turnover to come from behind and force overtime against Georgia Southern. On Saturday the Dawgs again faced a second-half deficit, and a timely turnover provided the margin of victory as Georgia almost choked on the cupcake Nicholls.
Each time the reaction leaving the stadium had a lot more to do with relief and bewilderment than the thrill of victory. In fact, with the lone exception of a win over a cratering Kentucky team, there haven’t been many occasions to hold heads high after a home game since the South Carolina blowout nearly one year ago. Whether it was Saturday’s horror show or the 9-6 win over Missouri or that overtime survivial against Georgia Southern, “What the hell did we just see?” has been the predominant postgame tailgate topic of conversation in Athens.
And those were the games Georgia won. There has been only one home loss during this stretch – the miserable loss to Alabama where tens of thousands rose and left as one body during the third quarter of a game where it was quite clear what the hell we were seeing. Since that day the program has stumbled on, winning far more than they’ve lost but sucking the life and joy out of the experience.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who got the “this type of game is why we fired the coach” texts after the game. They were exactly right. As much as the players can be faulted for the lack of execution and the mental mistakes that kept Nicholls in the game, it was also a reminder to Smart and the staff that they were brought in to be better. Yes, there is trust in Smart’s way of running the program, but old habits can die hard.
That’s assuming they die at all. And, yeah, that’s a cheap, emotional reaction on my part. When I read sad stuff like this, though, it’s one that’s a little hard to avoid.
For what it’s worth, Eason and Lambert were bracketed on the official depth chart UGA released Monday. Last week, Lambert was listed as the starter, though Eason actually started in the game. Odds seem good that both will play again this week.
“I don’t think it’s a distraction,” senior center Brandon Kublanow said. “We had it last year, so it’s nothing new to us. I know both of them are great quarterbacks. Whoever’s in is going to make great plays. So it can’t really be a distraction for us.”
I used to throw some of that definition of insanity shade in Richt’s direction. Don’t make me use it on you, too, Kirby.