— Head coach Kirby Smart, when belaboring the lack of big plays that could have changed momentum, mentioned Carter and cornerback Malkom Parrish.
“At the end of the day, the thing snowballed and we didn’t have anybody step up and make a play,” Smart said. “Lorenzo Carter, go make a play. Go make a tackle for a loss right there. Go make a play there on the perimeter there, Malkom, and it possibly changes the game. But we didn’t do that.”
I’ve noticed in the comments that some of you disapprove of the way Smart goes about calling out some of his players’ performances publicly, as he did after the Ole Miss game. Honestly, I can’t get that worked up about it.
For one thing, Smart hasn’t used it as an excuse to hide behind the staff’s shortcomings.
Kirby Smart will be challenged for the first time as Georgia head coach to keep his team together and not split apart after a loss that had the Bulldogs tumbling 13 spots Sunday in the AP poll.
“We’re going to have to have guys step up and demand that players do it right and that every player buys in and practices right without ever pointing a finger,” he said. “The one thing I won’t stand for is somebody to point a finger at somebody else. ‘It was this guy’s fault, that guy’s fault.’ It all falls on all of us. It starts right here with me.”
You can argue that one man’s accountability is another’s unnecessary public calling out, and I will concede the point. But the other reason I don’t find fault here is that if you listen to the entirety of that first quote, Smart’s coupled his criticism with support for those same players.
“Because I’ve seen them do it,” Smart said when asked why he has confident his UGA can turn the page and respond against Tennessee. “I’ve seen Jayson Stanley make that catch. I’ve seen Isaiah McKenzie make that catch. I’ve seen Malkom Parrish make those plays. He made one against a 6’5″ guy against North Carolina. I’ve seen them do it. We’ve just got to do it when we need to do it. We didn’t do it today. Like I said, it’s not all on them. We’ve got to do a better job as coaches to help them… “
When he’s right, he’s right. I only hope the tough love starts paying dividends soon.