Kirby Smart and the vision thing

So, Dean Legge is getting virtual nods and back pats over his “Critics Are Missing Kirby Smart’s Vision” post yesterday.  It’s basically a more optimistic version of where the program appears to be after Smart’s first four games than my post on the same subject from last weekend.

Legge is putting all his eggs in the faith basket based on Smart’s proven recruiting prowess and his experience as an Alabama assistant.  And he may well turn out to be right based on that.  It’s too early to tell.  But this passage lines up nicely with one of the points I made:

I’m watching the games – obviously – but what I’m watching closer is where Kirby is trying to take UGA. The results of this program (Ole Miss should never beat UGA 45-14 in any sport let alone football), are important in the moment for sure, but Kirby has a vision for where UGA should be now, where it should be in the future and what it will take to get there. For the record: No one ever said this was going to be pretty. More than anything else that matters… and this is important… Kirby is willing to do something about it.

This is the sort of thing that has been sorely lacking not just in the football program or athletic department at Georgia, but the academic institution itself. Even with the new medical school, the University of Georgia is still trying to figure out if it should compete at a national level as a major research institution or just churn out the top in-state students who will go out and make this state a better place.

Vision has been missing there, quite frankly, too. Kirby doesn’t have that problem. His situation, obviously, is much simpler.

Still, vision has been missing in the athletic department and football for some time now…

I can’t argue with a single word there.  There’s a problem, though:  Kirby may have a vision, but, other than “win more games than Mark Richt”, none of the people he answers to have one.  That only works out in the long run if Smart is able to bring his vision to fruition before the AD, the school president and — perhaps most importantly — the big boosters lose patience with his approach.  I have no idea as I type this how long a time frame that is, but I feel certain it’s a good deal shorter than the one Mark Richt was allotted.

Some of it will have to do with how ugly things get in the short run.  And the results from the first quarter of the season certainly qualify as ugly, as even Legge admits.  If Kirby sticks to his guns, something I expect, and the wins come slowly as he adjusts the program, what’s the patience level from Butts-Mehre going to be like?

To make matters worse, while lists like this don’t mean shit right now, if they become the general perception of things after the season, you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think McGarity will get some serious grumbling thrown his way over it.  No, that doesn’t mean that Smart gets canned after one season.  It just means that his leadership will be questioned more by people who, as I said before, don’t have a clue.  You tell me if that’s any way to run a railroad.


Filed under Georgia Football

146 responses to “Kirby Smart and the vision thing

  1. What’s new? It’s a bottom line business. You can be an idiot like Les and keep your job if you’re winning. You can be the best football coach ever and if you aren’t winning you’re out. Belichick’s stint at Cleveland is an example. This dynamic doesn’t concern me because it’s everywhere, not just UGA. If saban were to win 9 one year, he’d feel it at Alabama. The people that judge the quality of a football coach: fans, boosters, media-types and administrators don’t have a clue. All they can tell you is the record or the score.

    What does concern me are the perceptions of recruits. You recruit well when you are perceived as on the way to the top or because you are at the top. Programs that have plateaued don’t recruit as well.

    We fired a guy that won 10 the last two years. What will recruits think (or be told) if there is backslide in 2016? What if CMR has a big year at UM at the same time? How can we not be concerned about what an 8 win season means come February? And if signing day suffers how do we finish the process?

    We can be the most disciplined, physically-minded, fundamentally sound team in the world, but without talent you’re getting beat in this league. This is what I worry about if we continue to struggle to do basic things like RTDB.

    • It’ll take more than a year for recruits to sour on Smart and Georgia.

      • DawgPhan

        I think that you are right, but I also think that the margins are extremely thin when it comes to recruiting for Smart. He is basically trying to go from being a .300 hitter to a .350 hitter.

        One or 2 recruits per cycle that he needs to pick up.

        They guy has a tough job ahead of him.

        • It’s more nuanced than just needing 2 more recruits a cycling. It’s signing complete classes, making sure you’re backfilling well in advance, not letting the numbers get to 68 scholarship players ever, ever again.

          Roster management is the #1 biggest reason IMO that the program hasn’t been able to get to a higher level.

        • Chi-town Dawg

          I agree with you Derek, but one area I’m not worried about with Kirby is his ability to recruit extremely well. It would take a lot longer than Kirby’s coaching runway for recruits to sour on him and UGA. After all, he can sell them guaranteed playing time the next year or two.

          • I’d feel a lot better if Trevor Lawrence committed for 2018 and our 2017 class started to fill up.

          • Got Cowdog

            Thinking it through as an example, we have depth and talent issues at receiver. If I’m a talented receiver coming out of high school, who would I want to play for? Clemson with Deshaun, OM with Chad Kelly, Alabama because they’re Alabama, or UGA with Hutson Mason or GL? I’m playing with the team that will most likely help me shine at my position, ergo anyone on that list but UGA.
            My point is, decisions made by the previous staff affected the team’s future for several years. What we are seeing this year was going to happen no matter who the coach was or is and it isn’t going to be fixed overnight.

  2. TXBaller

    Do you really think the “leadership” expected results overnight? And more importantly,that Kirby did not pre-warn of rough seas prior to calming the waters? And Richt #1 after blowout wins v FAMU, Fla Intl & ApSt don’t really mean shit. He’s about to get into the meat of his schedule and WE ALL know what that means….

    • Are you kidding me?

      Maybe you haven’t heard all the “we’re Georgia” crap I’ve heard for years, folks pretending that the program is better than the top-15 place it’s occupied historically, Kirby’s warnings notwithstanding.

      If you think Richt underperformed and Smart is Saban 2.0, yeah, you’re expecting Georgia not to miss a beat in claiming its rightful place in the college football universe. And don’t forget McGarity has to sell this program to people who think like that.

    • Jared S.

      Richt arguably has a better QB and better overall defense at Miami than we have this year. I expect him to do quite well, even in the meat of his schedule.

      • TXBaller

        Of course you do…..

      • Will (The Other One)

        Said “meat” being far easier to chew than what UGA’s gone through as well. Dawgs have played one home game so far, and are away from Sanford more than they’re playing at home for 2/3rds of the season. (Though I will say, based on small sample size, they’ve played far better away from home so far.)

  3. cjwerner

    Big time football games are won in the trenches. I’m watching us recruit maulers on both lines right now. A top 3 class in 17 and 18 we will have the pieces in place to compete at the highest level. This year will be tough. 17 will be better and 18 we will be in Atlanta competing for the league title.

  4. I trust Kirby’s recruiting prowess and his vision in that area. He has been extremely successful in his first 9 months in that area.

    I don’t trust his offensive strategy and especially his offensive staff. Watching this offense is about as exciting as watching paint dry, and I may be insulting paint by saying that.

    I didn’t expect to compete for a championship this year even after UNC, so I can say I’m willing to wait patiently.

    • Daniel Simpson Day

      I think we should wait to judge the offense until we have a functioning OL and a non-freshmen QB. The other way to look at it is to postulate what Shotty could have managed with the same tools (minus Catalina and Herrien). Patience brother…I’m seeing a lot of freshmen in the OL rotation next year, so…

      • I thought from day 1 that Chaney was the big (literally and figuratively) question mark on the staff. He hasn’t done anything special since he had Brees at Purdue. I’m convinced Kirby wanted Pittman to coach the offensive line, and to get Pittman, he had to hire Chaney.

        Everyone thinks Bama now just lines up with power and knocks you off the ball. Yes, they can do that when they want to, but Junior has turned that offense into a multiple pro-style offense that can play with finesse when they want to as well. I just don’t see Chaney as this great offensive mind.

        • I’m just not going to come to conclusions on Chaney just yet. So far not thrilled with what I see, but I’m going to give him some time.

          • Everyone realized very quickly what a disaster Schottenheimer was. I’m very worried that we have something similar with Chaney. The guy couldn’t come up with a scheme to score 40+ on an FCS opponent. Given our history with FCS schools, that should have alarm bells going off everywhere.

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Maybe you and all of us are a little gun shy because of what we perceived as the offense problems last year.

              I don’t think we have enough of a sample size to make any rational(?) judgements about much of anything yet.

              I am not saying you are necessarily wrong, but that you could be wrong…or right, for that matter.

              I would feel better if Kirby, at his initial press conference had said something like….”Glad to be here, gonna have to change a lot of things, may take a couple years, so be patient, and we will win as many as we can in the meantime.”

              But some folks would have been unhappy with that.

              In the meantime…what the hell do you do about a hat?????? Really, do you throw out all the old ones and start over? or do you pick what you got and go with em? What the hell do you do??

              • Red Cup

                Definitely get a new hat. And a new shirt. I got both yesterday.

                • Scorpio Jones, III

                  So you are dumping all your old hats…all those 10-win season hats? All those great win hats? For something shiny and new?

                  I have been thinking about it.

                  I got a black fedora hat that is, today, 3-1, it didn’t do a great job against Ole Miss, but I am sticking with it, in a couple years it might be a great hat…too good to sit on a shelf and gather dust.

                  I’m stickin.

            • I’m worried too, but I already feel he is worlds better than Schotty. I rewatched that Missouri game and feel ok. His line was getting punked, but he got creative to get Sony and IMac and Godwin the ball. One Chubb got hurt last year, it was as if Schotty had absolutely no clue what to do.

              Granted, Lamber didn’t help

              • Missouri game … I agree with you. Chaney adapted some.

                Ole Miss? I saw zero creativity that was almost like, “Oh, ****, now what do we do?”.

                I’m not sold and haven’t been sold on him since day 1.

              • Will (The Other One)

                Yeah, I still find him far preferable/more creative than Schotty…but the lack of outside running post-UNC remains headscratching to me, and the “formation giving away run pass” has me nervous too. They did try to get out of that a bit in Ole Miss, but…yeah, nothing really worked on either side of the ball there.

                • The one thing that has me a little more optimistic is that it looked to me that in 2nd half of Ole Miss, they ditched man blocking and went back to a zone scheme. I think maybe they’re done bearing their head against the wall on that one.

        • Daniel Simpson Day

          Don;t know how the Pittman – Chaney hire shook out – but it seems that with them amount of time the defense is spending in the backfield, Pittman’s unit is the first problem in trying to get a play up and going. Despite the calls for more creativity, we’ve seen a lot of formations and I think they’re really trying to find something that works (hoping they don’t Tripp Rochester to tackle) but you can’t run a sweep every time. Maybe Chaney doesn’t get it done, maybe Kirby changes his philosophy on offensive style – IDK. You’re exactly right about Kiffen though and it’s interesting to see Saban evolving in his offense. Here’s hoping Kirby can do the same.

          • No doubt. The offensive line hasn’t played well. Some of that is talent … it sounds like some of that is scheme and change. If you can’t block an FCS defensive line (even if one guy was featured on a Netflix series) consistently, the problem is deeper than talent alone.

            I don’t doubt they’re trying to find something that works given the team’s talent constraints and experience. I just don’t think the guy’s track record qualifies him as this offensive genius.

            The problem now is that you can’t go to the 4th different scheme in 4 years unless Bobo gets run out of Fort Collins and came to work with his buddy.

    • No One Knows You're a Dawg

      Yes, but in the here and now, certainly we should be running the ball straight up the middle less, right? Because that plays into our biggest weaknesses, when what Chaney and Smart should be doing is trying to scheme around them.

      In a larger sense, maybe they’re trying to make a point to the team (“this is how we play”) and recruits (“see how much we need you?”) and are therefore wiling to sacrifice winning games today for a possibly better future in 2 or 3 years.

      But the thing is, I bought season tickets for this season, not 2019, and I think it’s reasonable to expect the coaching staff to use its best efforts to win immediately, this Saturday. And not to deliberately employ a sub-optimal strategy to try and prove something in the hopes of future success.

  5. The other Doug

    I get Kirby’s vision, but if he’s not careful he will get labeled as Muschamp 2.0 on the recruiting trail.

    • That’s a little bit of a concern for me too, but I also look at it like this: but all accounts recruits and HS coaches love Kirby and enjoy being around him.

      Muschamp seems to be universally regarded as an asshole by basically everyone that comes in contact with him.

      • The other Doug

        Smart is a great recruiter that’s for sure, but his job would be a hell of a lot easier if he shows some flashes of what is to come.

        • Got Cowdog

          Eason threw the ball 55 times. Wonder what that looks like to a receiving recruit.
          Or an OT.

          • The other Doug

            I would guess that recruits like that we fed the rock to Chubb against UNC, and aired it out against Mizzou. The flip side is I bet a lot weren’t impressed with our blocking of Nichols or the ass kicking we received from Ole Miss.

      • CaliDawg

        Muschamp’s players generally love him.

      • Daniel Simpson Day

        Actually, interpersonally, people that work with him really think highly of him. Trust me, I get to hear about it all the damn time.

  6. sUGArdaddy

    Kirby’s window is certainly not 15 years, but it’s not 2 either. I suspect anyone who is ‘sure’ this isn’t going to work out has never really led anything. After 2007, I was pretty confident that Bama had made a huge mistake with Saban. The next recruiting class (2008) had Julio, Ingram, Mark Barron, Terrence Cody, Marcell Dareus, Dont’a Hightower, Barrett Jones, & Courtney Upshaw. Good gracious what a ridiculous bunch.

    I would align Kirby’s situation much closer to Dabo’s. Bowden had built a good, but not great program at Clemson. Dabo took over in 2008. In his first full season they won the division. In year 3 (2011) they won the conference. In 2012 & ’13 they won 11, beating LSU and Ohio St. in Bowls. They won 10 in Watson’s freshman year and played for the big one in ’15.

    I think Kirby inherited a better situation than Dabo, but I also think he plays in a much tougher league. This is a process, for lack of a better term. I’m always amazed at how people (not you, Senator) are so ready to judge. Can we let them play the dadgum games and assess where we’re at? Can we let him have more than 2 months to recruit a class. Lord, I get the instant gratification society, but it’s a little ridiculous.

    Chris Petersen can flat coach, but it has taken him a few years to get that program at UDub turned around, and now they’re looking pretty strong.

    • Agree re: Peterson. Absolute stud. West Coast guy that is in the perfect place. Gonna beat Stanford tomorrow night.

      • dawgman3000

        I heard that David Shaw can coach a little bit as well

        • Yep, and that’s why I thought the AD should have parked a couple of Brinks trucks in front of his house in Palo Alto …

          • Atticus

            And Tom Herman

          • sUGArdaddy

            Eh…I don’t think Shaw works in the SEC. Not all the guys can handle the media and fan scrutiny. Their stadium was half empty for that Friday night kickoff to the season vs. Kansas State. I really like Shaw. I think he’s a lifer there unless he goes to the NFL.

            • I would have made him say no. Their stadium was half empty because people in the Bay Area care a little more about Stanford football than people in the Triangle care about Duke football.

              He would have done fine in the SEC if he wanted a job. He recruits the southeast (Davis Mills this year, Demetris Robertson wanted to go to Stanford, Bryce Love from NC last year are a couple of examples). He wins big at Stanford for goodness sake … the guy can flat out coach.

              IMHO, the reason he doesn’t leave Palo Alto even for an NFL job is that he’s a Stanford alum.

              • Bob

                We weren’t ever going to go after Herman or Shaw. That ship sailed the moment Spurrier quit and Carolina got told no by Herman. We moved quickly because we couldn’t handle having Kirby in Columbia. Simple as that. I don’t think LSU will be using our “search firm” either. 😉

                • I get it … I’ve made myself go back and read the Senator’s post from Sunday multiple times now.😉

                • Daniel Simpson Day

                  This big question that i have is; would Kirby really have gone to USCe? I think of Gus turning Vandy down because it wasn’t a good career starter (or whatever) – but would Kirby actually want to start his head coaching career in a delusional town with a total dumpster fire of a team? Seems like he could be an also-ran if he didn’t hit it big.

          • dawgman3000

            I totally agree. I was hoping that he and Mark Dantnio were on the top of the short list. Now we know that the AD probably never had a short list.

          • Shaw is a west coast guy that played at Stanford. It’s home plus the Bay Area is incredible.
            His next job is the 49ers or Raiders. He wasn’t/isn’t leaving for a college job.

            • I said that further down, but I would have made it darn difficult for him to say no. I don’t think he’s going to leave for an NFL job. I’ve definitely been wrong before and will be again.;)

        • Peterson had a decent night.

    • Good points. I remember thinking Saban wasn’t all that great, then I chatted with my uncle, a huge huge Tide fan. I still remember that padded chair he sat in as he told me with confidence and gusto that Saban was recruiting his ass off. I just passed it off as homerism.

  7. That’s what I’ve been trying to say. CKS knows where he wants to take this thing, and it’s going to take time to get the right people on board, to get rid of the old deck rot, and rewire this thing for the success that should be UGA’s by default. Call it 2020 vision – by then we’ll have an absolutely clear read on if Project CKS has been a success. We all need to have some patience because the process will be painful. What I love is that he’s not only taking us up, he’s taking us back to in-your-face, smash-mouth football. He knows where he’s going, and it’s a beautiful thing.

    Of course, there are those who would argue that apart from Dooley’s once in a century three-year Herschel-zone (and I’d count the ’83 team as RHI (residual hershel impact), Richt actually over-performed against our historic norms. But even if that’s true, at least CKS is taking us back to our junkyard roots. It’s time to get all that finesse crap out of here.

    • Of course, there are those who would argue that apart from Dooley’s once in a century three-year Herschel-zone (and I’d count the ’83 team as RHI (residual hershel impact), Richt actually over-performed against our historic norms.

      Those people are correct. Richt stopped living up to the same standard (for myriad reasons) that he set for himself early in his tenure and that cost him his job, but on the whole – he absolutely outperformed the historical arc of Georgia as a program. I don’t understand how that’s debatable.

  8. Atticus

    His point about recruiting and 93K Day were what tells me Kirby DOES have a vision. Recruiting is LIGHT years better in just a year and putting 100,000 people in Sanford was just the first step. Lots of problems in the short run no doubt and I am not fully sold on Tucker and Chaney yet. But they need time.

    • The other Doug

      If UGA keeps looking this bad and has a meh season, do you think Kirby could get 93k for next year’s spring game?

      • I’m not going to the spring game again because the management of parking and the crowd was a catastrophe. That said, having 93k+ there was pretty damn cool.

      • Atticus

        No that will likely never happen again. Its not the point. The point is, it did. Nobody else has done that. The recruiting classes (every position and depth and OL especially) is far superior to what it was under Mark Richt. That is fact just ask any of the recruiting services. The support staff is much larger than what it was under Richt so it allows to get to so many more players so much earlier and to do so much more research on each kid so we don’t sign kids that end up getting asked to leave or being suspended as frequently as under Richt.

        • DawgPhan

          It’s the revisionist history that annoys me.

          Smart has now pulled in multiple recruiting classes that were light years better than anything CMR ever did.

          It’s alright to say that CMR did really well at recruiting but we needed to be a little better.

          You dont have to act like CMR never had a top 25 class.

          • DP, have you bought your U gear yet?


          • Atticus

            He was a good recruiter but lazy as hell the last few years. No way around it, just ask the recruiting experts at Scout, 247 and RIvals. Not even close how much more this staff focuses on every position (Richt was pathetic when it came to the OL recruiting) and on depth. Richt had 69 players on scholarship in 2012 that is a joke. That will NEVER happen with this staff. And yes multiple classes as in signed one, and has a huge one coming in that is already 90% done. Richt had good classes but had significant holes and 2013 was a disaster. Kirby could lose a bunch of games the next few years and it won’t matter and he will get fired. But it won’t be because of talent And we lost 2012 because of talent, we had zero depth on defense and couldn’t get one stop. Alabama rotated a tone of players on defense and it kept them fresh. THAT was the difference.

            • Greg

              LOL!!,,,lazy??? You do know that the dawgs were ranked #3 nationally before he was fired….right?

              • Bob

                Don’t confuse folks with the facts. Seems to me we were routinely highly ranked on offense until last year mid-season and the Chubb injury. We haven’t had a great offensive line in a decade…no one really argues that. But despite that, Bobo and Richt managed to have prolific offenses. For the most part, the offense wasn’t the problem with Richt’s teams.

              • Atticus

                Dude you have no clue. Look at this roster. The previous 3 years classes were not close to where they should’ve been and the roster shows it. Show me all the NFL players? What lineman are going to be in the NFL, which DBs? Which WRs, tell me where all the junior and seniors are? Getting Eason was big just like Stafford, Murray and AJ and Knowshon. What did it get us, nothing. Because he didn’t manage the roster. Class rankings mean less when you aren’t signing players at every postion. I can load up five 5 star RBs and it will jack up the class rankings. Irrelevant. Its needs to be highly ranked and deep and every year.

        • Chi-town Dawg

          While I agree that Kirby is a great recruiter, it was my impression that he has only signed 1 recruiting class thus far and while he did flip 2-3 players in that class, most of the class consisted of hanging onto CMR’s existing commitments (which isn’t always easy with a HC change). In terms of kids being “asked to leave or suspended”, let’s wait a few years and not get too carried away with that statement.

          • Atticus

            Correct. One class. And yes he got 3-4 players RIcht had no chance of getting. Our OL is in shambles because RIcht didn’t focus near enough attention on it the last several years. Just ask any recruiting service–they are the 3rd party that validates this– and they will tell you this staff is much more aggressive and comprehensive and it showed in last years class and the one already committed and the one coming in 2018.

            • DawgPhan

              and took a #3 class and turned into a #7 class (up to #5 I think after post signing day additions)

              • Atticus

                Its really remarkable considering a new staff came in. That rarely ever happens that you preserve a class. The next 2 classes will be huge a deep. OL is the key.

              • Well that’s fair, because we all no that no big time difference making recruits ever committed to Richt early, drive up the class ranking, and then flipped the week before signing day. Absolutely 0 guarantees Richt would have held that class together, especially since he was going to have to sell a new OC and DC.

  9. ASEF

    The one thing Saban had at Alabama from Day 1 and that Smart will never have is 100% GM control of the team and the departmental environment that surrounds the team. At Alabama, the Athletic Department is an extension of the football team. At Georgia, it’s the other way around.

    It works for Alabama for 2 reasons: (1) the university as a whole is cool with that, and (2) Saban’s approach is much more CEO than “just let me coach football.” They are a perfect fit for each other, and both sides have benefitted enormously from it.

    If Smart’s program hits the afterburners at some point next year, is McGarity going to sit back and watch the team fly? Or is he going to pull a Foley and start seeding the media with McGarity: Smartest Man in College Sports exposes?

    That’s the most significant impediment to Georgia sports right now. McGarity wants Georgia teams to be successful, but only in the larger service of his own public image. He’s not an obvious media hound, but the patterns of behavior are pretty clear at this point.

    • At Alabama, the Athletic Department everybody up to and including the Governor’s mansion is an extension of the football team.

      Fixed that for you.

    • Jp

      Smartest thing I’ve heard. remember bama went through their walk in the wilderness also hiring only bama guys or whatever . Anybody that even tries to tailgate in Athens is harassed by some dip stick. It ain’t like it was in the 80s . It may be politically incorrect to say this but so what, Bama doesent want their other teams to be good because it detracts from the only sport that matters or anyone cares about. When we stop winning in golf and gymnastics and stop trying to act like Virginia , then we may win an Sec title.


        If we were off this week I would for sure be at Mark Richt field at Vince Dooley stadium sitting just under the Ray Goff press box!! No doubt! GATA JYD

  10. W Cobb Dawg

    I hope the people who read some of the sensationalized ‘we’re fucked’ stories or comments aren’t gun owners. Why do I say that? Because 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides! Before shooting self or jumping out the nearest window, an optimist would note we’re 3 and 1, with two of the toughest games on the schedule behind us. A win at HOME this week would put us in the driver’s seat for the division title.

    • DawgPhan

      A great week of practice and the team looking good this weekend would certainly help things.

      But there are a lot of holes in the ground that started with “just need one good hand”.

    • Jp

      Call vegas and you can get UGA plus 4 and pay off your mortgage. Not saying we will not get going in a couple years but are you watching with your own eyes. Even if we get this one ( and we won’t ) we ain’t beating Florida and Auburn is no gimme or even Carolina on the road. Our best player is 18 years old and that ain’t gonna work because he can’t catch his own passes . Gonna take time.

      Tell it to the 3,000 shot in Chicago this year .

  11. paul

    I’m glad we have a coach with vision. I think he gets at least three years to show some significant progress in that area. I don’t think Kirby has to actually get there in three but I do think he has to show some visible improvement. I’m glad we’re starting Eason and I’m fully aware that doing so puts in in a position to lose some games that perhaps we shouldn’t. I’m perfectly okay with that. However, we still have to show up, be prepared, know what we’re doing and hustle on every play. Those things have been completely missing against Ole Miss and Nichols State. They were absent for large stretches of the Missouri game. That’s what has me concerned. I’ve seen people screaming that the sky is falling and the whole Kirby experiment is going horribly wrong. I think they’re mostly the delusional types who thought we were going to compete for an SEC championship this year. I don’t think it’s wrong though to be concerned when the team doesn’t show up, isn’t prepared, doesn’t know what they’re doing and doesn’t hustle on every play. That’s not a vision thing. Those things speak to the staff’s ability to coach on a day to day basis.

  12. Dave

    I love how so many people follow “I understand it will take time,” or, “I know he’s got a vision,” or whatever with, “But…”

    Everybody I know has got a big but.

    WGAS if we go 8-4 or 7-5? (Sure, I really hope those losses aren’t Georgia Tech or Auburn or UF.) The point of a change was that we didn’t want to linger on with topping out at the Capital One Bowl and bottoming out at the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

    This program wasn’t in a place to where you just insert a “better” coach, and he’ll take what you have right now and turn it into an SECC caliber team.

    As far as Kirby can tell, and believe it or not, as straightforward as he’s sounded, I feel like he’s been understating what he feels, this program was inherently flawed and in many ways, broken.

    This is not the year for masking flaws to eek out an extra win or make the Ole Miss game a 41-24 loss instead of a blowout. This is the year for laying the groundwork for how you intend to build the program.

    Omelette….Eggs…you “Get The Picture.”

    • If wins & losses don’t matter this year, then let’s turn off the scoreboard in Sanford, run ads the entire game and keep the score on the field. If we go 7-5 with multiple losses like this past Saturday, I can pretty much guarantee that we lose to all of the Big 3 plus UTK.

      No one thought this team was going to be an SECC caliber team entering the season. That doesn’t mean fewer than 8 regular season wins should be an acceptable result given the talent, tradition, and past performance.

      • Dave

        Of course they matter, but instituting a different way of going about things matters more. If they didn’t then WTF would we have fired a guy who won 10 games a year? You know how many teams had more wins than Georgia since 2010? About 10. All else being equal, that’s basically where we rank in the pantheon of college football – a top 10 school. But, we decided that wasn’t good enough.

        So, sure I want us to win. I’m hoping like mad that we upset Tennessee and go on to a great year. All I’m saying is that the result of this season cannot be judged this season. This season will ultimately be judged by how we do next year and the year after, and the year after that…

        • Dave, you said “WGAS if we go 8-4 or 7-5?”. What is an acceptable record that we would indicate the results are meeting expectations? You can win while you turn the battleship, and I would suggest the record will indicate how much the battleship has turned during the season.

  13. We can blame it on not having his players but we have plenty enough talent that we shouldn’t get blown out by Ole Miss like that. We shouldn’t be having so many dumb penalties that kill any chance to get momentum. Yea, it’s only 4 games but I haven’t seen any of what is expect from a Saban protege coached team. I have to see improvement in this team as the year goes on.

    There is no excuse for getting blown out like we did this past Saturday and there is no excuse for not getting better with all these mistakes and not being competitive.

    • DawgPhan

      I keep thinking of it like we hire Smart to finish the basement of a pretty nice house and he showed up on day one and started gutting the master bedroom.

      Yeah we might end up with a better house, but we have to live in a construction site for the next 2 years and pray that nothing goes wrong.

    • We have the players but they are either freshmen or clustered in one position group (i.e. RB, LB, DT, TE). You can have the best talent but if your offensive line is absolute garbage your offense will suffer greatly. As per the defense, no pass rush equals no pass defense.

      • Daniel Simpson Day


      • Cojones

        What happened to our great “now 2-deep” O-line that we were told we had by the O coordinator and Pittman? Seems that we just have more fodder to add to the cannon that only roars because there is no cannonball inside.

        Now we hear from some here who still blame CMR for the O-line – yeah, the one that provided holes for runners for so many years and that attracted other runners to come here. Sorry boys, I don’t buy your excuses for Kirby that went missing for Mark. The excuse-making is so hot and heavy that remembering the past with one present-day Chubb run makes us feel better.

        The horseshit here only gets heavier and deeper. It is well intentioned by good people, but it remains horseshit.

        • “What happened to our great “now 2-deep” O-line that we were told we had by the O coordinator and Pittman?” – I’m sure the more honest and straightforward answer of “They suck” would have done wonders for getting the team to buy in. Protip: Coaches speak like politicians. Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do (namely scramble to get a grad transfer from Rhode Island to play LT and moving a DT on the team to guard)
          “Now we hear from some here who still blame CMR for the O-line” Dude, who recruited these players for the past 3-4 years?
          ” the one that provided holes for runners for so many years and that attracted other runners to come here.” You know this is college ball, right? players leave. Kolton Houston and John Theus left. That’s 2/5 of the line from last year.

  14. Macallanlover

    If Kirby can get us to Atlanta five times in 15 years, win 2-3 Conference titles (which will get us in at least two post-season playoffs), have us ending in the Top 10 at season’s end several times, he will have achieved very highly and I will be happy. He is an excellent recruiter so talent will be there to achieve those goals, if he doesn’t he won’t make 15 years in Athens. Beyond that, I really don’t know what everyone expects because that is overachieving. This isn’t the Big Whatever, no one not named Alabama has ever dominated this conference, and even they had their downturns in the last 20 years. Expecting more means unhappy fans and continuous grumbling, that isn’t fun for anyone.

  15. “(Ole Miss should never beat UGA 45-14 in any sport let alone football)”
    Uh, what? This was an Ole Miss team that beat Alabama two out of the last three years and the previous week was beating Alabama by 21 and eventually scored 43 points on them playing against a Georgia program whose last win against a top ten team was in 2014. An Ole Miss team with a returning ALL SEC senior quarterback playing at home against a Georgia team with a brand new coaching staff and a TRUE freshman quarterback. A Georgia team that had to get a graduate transfer from RHODE ISLAND to play LT in the SEC. But yeah sure Ole Miss should never beat UGA 45-14 even under those conditions.

  16. CB

    Another fluff piece by Legge with a lot of intangible “facts.”

  17. I think the 12 Noon matchup between the bugs and the U should be a must watch for UGA fans.

  18. DawgByte

    There’s a lesson here for anyone who wants to learn it!
    Georgia fans and bloggers have a tendency to ignore our team weaknesses. They believe that through the magic of fairy dust and a perception “We are Georgia, therefore we are!”, and all we have to do as show up and our superior talent will win the day. The reality versus perception gap here is significant. There was a reason why most analysts picked Georgia to finish 3rd in the East during SEC media week. 2016 is clearly a rebuilding year for this program, but nobody wants to admit or hear it. Wake-up, because it’s reality.
    Finally, on to the vision thingy. Kirby has clearly articulated his vision more than a dozen times, so it shouldn’t be a mystery. He wants our players to be bigger, stronger, faster and upgrade the depth level across the board… 5 stars backing up 5 stars. He’s going to leverage the methodology he learned under Saban to build a program around great recruiting, hands-on coaching, improved marketing, upgraded facilities and more fan involvement (ex. 93K Day). IMO that’s the right strategy!

    • Brandon

      And the best way to implement that strategy… is to IMPLEMENT THE DAMN THING! and now… not next year or the year after when “we have the right personnel” to do it. This way the guys returning next year will be more comfortable and tougher and know what to expect, which will lead the next incoming class to follow in their footsteps… and so on and so on. Catering to the players from an old regime is not how you build long term success. This is why most new head coaches and most new staffs struggle initially. It’s not like its uncommon or unique to Kirby and UGA. I swear it seems such a high percentage of our fanbase lives in Rainbow Land. Calm down and trust the process. GO DAWGS!

      • When do you stop trusting the process and expecting results? I’m not talking about championships. No one I’ve spent time with expected a championship in year 1 (frankly, McElwain got damn lucky last year), but no one expected that we would look absolutely terrible in 2 or 3 of the 4 games we’ve played this year.

        Most reasonable people said, “Let’s see the team perform. When they lose, we want to see a team that loses competitively. Let’s see a team that doesn’t play down to overmatched competition.” Guess what we’ve seen both of those already.

        • paul

          This is the problem so far. It’s too soon to expect ‘the process’ to completely overhaul the culture. But it’s not too soon to expect competitive play from a team that looks prepared and is confident in what they are doing.

          • Prepared and confident … that’s exactly what I expected to see this year. I haven’t seen that other than the 1st week of the season. I’ve seen overconfident (Nicholls), unprepared and not confident (Ole Miss), and not confident (Missouri).

            Hopefully, the team that played in the Dome will show back up on Saturday between the hedges.

            • Prepared and confident teams and a coaching staff with attention to detail was what we were told we were getting when making a change and bringing in Kirby. Unfortunately, those haven’t really been showing in the early parts of his tenure and that’s completely fair to criticize Kirby one while acknowledging that his overall vision is sound.

              • Brandon

                I agree… to a certain degree. I think we will get that once his system has been in place for a few years and he has his players in here who have had multiple years in that system. Our so-called “leaders” or upper-classmen this year are having to change most all of the habits and processes and preparation routines that they’ve had their entire careers. This doesn’t happen overnight or even in a matter of months in most cases. We’ve been playing a lot of youngsters and on the road pretty much all year. I think that’s more where the lack of consistency and attention to detail during the games has stemmed from. I do expect this team and its performance to mature and get better as the season goes on. Starting with this Saturday at home, finally.

      • DawgByte

        He has IMPLEMENTED the vision! The 2016 class is half of the first step, as most of those guys were recruited by Mark Richt. You can overcome recruiting debacles like 2013/2014 over night. It’s going to take at least two more years to right this ship. Oh and FWIW, don’t expect our OL to become NFL caliber next year either, because when Pittman took over the cupboard was completely bare!

        • DawgPhan

          I like that it keeps expanding. 2013 class has issues…now the 2014 class has issues. Can’t fix that overnight (2013 was 3 years ago.)

    • paul

      Great recruiting? Check. Hands on coaching? The jury is still out. Improved marketing? Let’s hope so but I haven’t seen it yet. Upgraded facilities? They’re remodeling one bathroom a year at Sanford. In a facility that sits dormant nine months out of twelve. Yeah, I know, the IPC. We can thank Jeremy Pruitt for that. More fan involvement? So far Kirby has seriously limited the fans access to both players and coaches. Press gets far less than before as well. But I’ll take great recruiting.

      • DawgByte

        What? You haven’t seen improved marketing??? Are you kidding me!? How about 93K Day!!!??? That was all marketing. We have a new Graphics department cranking out images of HS players almost on a daily basis. They’ve dramatically increased the number of billboards with key targets on it as well.
        You need to re-evaluate your expectations, because they’re entirely unrealistic!!!

  19. Austen

    We need more speed and size at WR, more size at OL, and more size coverage skills at DB. It might be hard to get impact players that can make a difference in those spots in just one year, but in any case, Smart is addressing these issues at OL and DB already, and maybe he is at WR. It’s possible this team could perform a bit better under the Richt and Pruitt schemes, but I’m willing to see some growing pains as Smart tries to impose his own identity on the program. To me, the team seem to be in good position on many plays, but the players are not making plays. Hence drops at WR, DBs that are near receivers but don’t react to the ball, and an OL that just isn’t pushing guys around. Maybe that is coaching that causes lack of performance, but that’s not the perspective I currently have.

  20. Slaw Dawg

    I’ve no interest in re-litigating last year’s hiring process, but I note that the top 3 rated coaches on that CBS Sports list all had prior head coaching experience. I really hope Kirby works out. But if not, hopefully the next search will focus on a proven winner in the HC spot.

  21. Ben

    I think the consensus around these parts (this blog) has been that if Kirby Smart wins in Athens, it will be in spite of the institutional support that he’s gotten and not because of it.

    If Richt goes down to Miami and wins big, will that be even more of an indictment on McGarity, or will the boosters who shouted for Richt to be oustered just forget their part in all of it anyway?

    • Richt looked miserable and utterly exhausted at time the past 3 years. I mean, truly awful. I think it is fair to say he needed a change if scenery too. 15 years is long enough. It was simply time for a change for both sides.

      • Chi-town Dawg

        Agree completely gatriguy. anyone who’s been stuck in a miserable job working for someone they know who wants them out and doesn’t have their back recognizes that feeling and it was the look that Mark Richt had the past 2-3 years more times than not. A change was good all the way around.

      • If I worked in an environment like the one created the last 2 1/2 years (since Marshall’s injury in 2013), I would be miserable, too. As I said yesterday, it doesn’t look like Mark and Kathryn have looked back. Maybe we should stop looking back, too.🙂

  22. Jared S.

    All Kirby has to do is improve consistently over 3-5 years.

    To that end he knows making decisions for short-term gain is a bad idea. Because if he “cheats” in order to win 10 games this year, he knows there’s little chance he can keep it up as the years roll on.

    Instead, he knows he has to build a strong foundation. Because his goal isn’t to squeak out 10-win seasons on a regular basis, but to build a strong, fast, ugly, mean, talented team that can lock down 11-12 (and the occasional 13-14) wins on a regular basis.

    I believe him when he says he’s building something. And that means 8-4 or 7-5 is likely this season. But that won’t matter, as long as he improves year after year.

    Having said that, he probably has no more than three years to put us in the SECCG.

  23. rchris

    I can argue with Legge’s “wins or losses be damned this season.” Kirby will do fine recruiting in 2017, but for 2018 and beyond he’s gonna have to have something on the field this year and next to show the recruits he’s not just “all talk”, or else recruiting will suffer.

  24. Mike Cooley

    Four games in and we are talking hot seat talk. Why is our fan base so irrational? Freaking Tennessee believed in Sgt. Carter from day one even though they had no reason to do so. They continued to in the face of mediocrity. And somehow, some way, he recruited well. And right now, although I don’t believe they are world beaters, they are undefeated. Kirby coaches four games and we are having existential state of the program conversations. Our fan base is freaking crazy. Our rivals are right about that.

  25. Been in Alaska for a few weeks. came back and read the post and the blog. Some things do not change.