“I think I’ve got to be just as much hands-on with everything.”

—  “Absolutely there’s a balance. And I think that balance really has been reached,” Smart said. “I feel comfortable with the amount of time I’m able to spend with each component (offense, defense and special teams). …

“We’ve got to do better in each one. We’ve got to perform better in each one. We’ve got to execute better. We’ve got to get the young players to play better. We’ve got to get less penalties. There’s so many areas we can improve on. That has nothing to do with the balance of time that I spend.”

I have absolutely no doubt of the sincerity of that comment from Georgia’s first year head coach.  He knows what he wants and he firmly believes he knows how to get there.  That conviction is the engine driving Georgia’s 2016 season, at least what’s left of it.

Which is what led me to this horribly cynical thought:  you know what Kirby’s remaining goal is for this year?  I’m not talking about the aspirational stuff, the making players better blah, blah, blah coachspeak.  I mean that which has taken the place of competing for things like winning the East.

It’s seeing Georgia reach bowl eligibility.  Not because he’s invested in the concept of making sure his team finishes with a winning record in his first season, unlike, say, Greg McGarity, who has to be pondering that possibility and the offseason defense to it he’d have to construct with an increasing sense of impending gloom, or worse, cynicism.  No,  that’s not Smart’s concern at this point.

The reason Kirby Smart cares about winning two more games is because he wants the extra month of bowl practice to build on for the next go ’round.  That’s all there is.  It’s the ultimate end justifies the means exercise for this mediocrity of a season.

Sure, we get the occasional oh, so close stuff.

“Every game has come down to the fourth quarter with the exception of Ole Miss,” Smart pointed out Tuesday. “Every one of those games easily could have gone either way. That’s SEC football. Welcome to the world we live in as coaches.”

Thanks for the invitation, Coach.  It’s good to know that narrow brushes with FCS cupcakes and losses to Vanderbilt are the new normal.  I’ll adjust my expectations accordingly.

In the meantime I look forward to paying to watch plenty of teaching moments.  That’s what you get when the Georgia Way meets the Process and has a baby.  But, man, that 2018 season will be spectacular.

60 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

60 responses to ““I think I’ve got to be just as much hands-on with everything.”

  1. 81Dog

    You know who can’t delegate stuff? People who are too smart for their own good, people who don’t have competent staff who can take the CEO’s vision and make it happen, and people who are incompetent. It’s too early to decide which, if any, of those things might apply here, but it isn’t too early to be concerned about the translation’s of the boss’s often stated vision to results on the field. I didn’t expect UGA to contend for the SEC title this year, but I didn’t expect the goat rodeo that I’ve seen most weeks, either. Is it the sign of a guy in over his head who won’t adapt to what he has, or the sign of a visionary who won’t settle for less than perfection in every aspect of the program? Beats me, but which ever it is, it is increasingly painful to watch.

    To be fair, let’s see how the home stretch turns out. Could we win out? Absolutely, and doing so, or coming close to that, would be a genuine sign of improvement. Could we drop all of them, or most of them? Possibly, and that would be a cause for concern.

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    • Is it the sign of a guy in over his head who won’t adapt to what he has, or the sign of a visionary who won’t settle for less than perfection in every aspect of the program?

      I don’t think Smart expects perfection. I just think he’s a guy who knows where he wants to go and is less concerned about the inevitable bumps along the way getting there than much of the fan base is.

      My only problem with that is that it sucks in the short term.

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      • If only there was someone out there who could have warned us…. but who knew? Who could possibly have known that these types of performances were real possibilities?

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      • He apparently has decided to waste all of his goodwill with the fan base by taking a team that could have competed for the East and breaking it down to start over. Ask Dan Henning how that worked out when he took over for Leeman Bennett. I assume the big boosters are bought in. That’s all that matters.

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        • Yeah, that’s where we disagree. I see nothing about this team that makes me think it would have won the East this year. Nothing.

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          • Well, had they knocked the ball down on the last play vs. UT they’d have been the favorites to do just that. You win that last play, beat vandy and UK split UF and Auburn and you’re in Atlanta. Ergo, winning the east was not entirely inconceivable. Moreover, if we weren’t in the middle of this culture change that I discouraged undertaking, I think we’d be sitting at 6-1 and with a hell of a chance to go to Atlanta in 2016.

            I hope that 2017 and 2018 and beyond is better than it would have been had we stayed the course but this team was capable of getting to Atlanta without the overhaul we got last December.

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            • dawgman3000

              I disagree with that Derek for the fact that we would have still more than likely have new o and d coordinators and no specs teams coordinator. I’ve just come to the conclusion that this team is what it is. We just have to give Kirby time to see whether he works out or not.

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              • Sanford222view

                I have to disagree in that I think we would have had the same O-coord which would have meant the offense would have been even worse than we have seen under the new staff. Pruitt likely would have been gone but maybe not. Special Teams coordinator? That area has been worse with the addition of that position.

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              • What d or o coordinator can’t beat Nichols and Vandy with our players? If you aren’t focused on changing things, those are easy wins.

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                • dawgman3000

                  Beating teams like Vandy & Nichols wasn’t the problem with the with the last staff, although they did lose to Vandy twice.

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          • I didn’t say “would.” I said “could.” We didn’t lose to Vandy and get a scare from Nicholls due to talent. It was coaching and preparation … nothing more. By the way, I consistently said 9-3 with the combination of the schedule, the talent and the upgrade in the staff. 7-5 or worse is where we’re headed. I can’t say I’m pleased.

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          • 81Dog

            have you not seen the rest of the East this year? Whoever wins the East gets the dubious honor of getting curbstomped by Alabama, but we aren’t talking about the NFC East in the heyday of the 70s, when Washington, Philadelphia and Dallas were all on top of their games. Nobody in his right mind would have suggested in August this team could win the SEC, or contend for a national title. But, there was plenty of reason to think it could contend for the East.

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            • To be considered the tallest midget, you still have to be taller than the other midgets. I just never expected it. I never got the visual of Georgia Southern’s DL bitchslapping our OL around last year out of my head. Then when I realized it was so bad that we were going to start a LT transfer from RI, it just solidified it for me.

              YMMV of course. Not disrespecting anyone’s opinion, I just didn’t see how we were going to avoid enough SEC losses to win the division.

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              • 81Dog

                Oh, no offense taken. This season has been enough to suck the joy out of Christmas. Those of you who haven’t had your enthusiasm dampened have my appreciation.

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            • PTC DAWG

              Bama usually drops a game, just not to the SECE.

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        • The big boosters will buy in… until they don’t.

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        • PTC DAWG

          I disagree about the East comment, I wanted us to compete, but I knew deep down when #72 won the Left Tackle job that it wasn’t in the cards…

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      • Granthams replacement

        Look at the 2 popular alternatives suggested on the blog GM hires Herman or keeps CMR. Herman lost to Navy and had a nail biter with Tulsa this week. CMR never fixed the special teams, 10/12 on the field, or clock management issues. At this point Kirby is still setting his expections for the staff and players. As more of his expectations are met he will loosen up.

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      • sniffer

        This is a new filter to view the season through…

        “Present be damned, we’re building something here!”

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      • I thought that when Trevor Lawrence called Chaney a genius means he can adjust his offense vs what the opponents is showing or giving. I was so disappointed on this point.

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  2. sniffer

    I’ve never been any good at adjusting expectations. So, I’ll just go on looking for a win each week and then telling you about my experience.

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  3. As I listened to the press conference, I thought the same thing about the 4th quarter. The Nicholls game should have been over at the half and the Vandy game should have been well in hand. You could make the case the USCe game was much tougher than it should have been.

    He needs to get out of the way of the offensive coaches and let them do their jobs. If they can’t, replace them when the time is right. We hired him to put an Alabama style defense on the field and to recruit like mad. I’m waiting for the Alabama defense that slowly chokes the life out of offenses.

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    • There’s no evidence that Chaney wants to throw first (when it’s available) and Smart is just holding him back. He prefers a point-of-attack physicality. This could actually be more on Chaney than Kirby.

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      • SAtownDawg

        have you read anything Kirby has said the last six months? the offense is what the head coach wants to run…the only time Chaney was doing what he wanted was the Tenn game, when he was actively relaying plays into Eason pre-snap, Oregon style

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  4. Spike

    Nichols Is in the SEC? Who knew..?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Billy Mumphrey

    I remember how I felt walking out of the Music City Bowl in 2001 thinking BM may have made a mistake by hiring Richt. Sure, hobnail boot was awesome, but that season had some serious let downs. Including an ugly loss to BC in Nashville. The next year the Dawgs won the conference. My point is not that the Dawgs will win the conference next year, only that fans tend to have a rather narrow view and it always seems darker than it actually is.

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  6. There must be a lot of ankle strains from so many jumping on and off the bus every week. Personally, I still like the long term possibilities.

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  7. Macallanlover

    If I were him, I would be running from some of the personnel decisions made. Who didn’t know after watching the Spring game when Hamm took out a pylon on a FG try, and Blankenship kicked an end over end 45 yard FG who the best alternative was? And the early games looked exactly the same, yet we stayed with “the decision”. Or that the smurf squad selected for the Hail Mary last week gave us the best chance to succeed? I am assuming we had tried this in practice. Or that the personnel chosen to run the final play of the Vandy game also gave us the best chance to make one yard? Forget the play call, where the hell was our best run blocking back? Or that defensive scheme/personnel package on the TN Hail Mary was the best available option (s)? Again, surely we had practiced for this.

    As a manager of many people I understand the delegate/trust them dilemma but when the success of the organization was on the line, and I had time to analyze our tactical plan in advance, I would get involved in helping us get to the right place. Kirby is saying he is involved with all phases of the team, and he should be to a degree, but he should intervene when something looks horribly wrong, and of those seemed obvious before, and during. Fans question why we use certain guys in specific situations, and frankly we don’t see all the practices, or know the injury status at the time, but we aren’t talking just why Godwin, Ridley, etc. didn’t get more targets early on, we are coming up short in critical situations in several games. I would say if he hasn’t played an active role, roll up your sleeves and get involved; if you are the one making that decision, get the hell away. I don’t know one fan that would have done the same in any of those three decisions, not one.

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  8. Kirby has all but plainly stated that we’re going to run the ball first, even when teams like Vandy and Nichols sell out to stop us. What’s unclear to me is why this is necessary.

    It’s been said that he wants to run his scheme only, and that once he has recruited players (in this instance, big offensive linemen) for his scheme, we’ll be more effective. Recruiting IS going well, particularly on the offensive line, but I don’t get why we have to shoot ourselves in the foot in the meantime with our play calling.

    I’d like Kirby’s process of recruiting well to work. If we don’t make a bowl this year, lose to Vandy again next year, and generally suck worse than UGA has in 20 years, and it’s hard to fathom he’ll see 2018.

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  9. Ever see the South Park about Christopher Reeves, where everytime the kids walked up they were like “Yeah, we’re not touching this one”?

    That’s me on this tread.

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  10. paul

    It seems to me that cynical or not bowl eligibility should be our focus at this point. Clearly we need the extra practice.

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  11. UGA85

    I think we play very well against Florida, either a very close game or a win. But the big picture is that CKS, in my opinion, is a long-term, big picture kind of guy. He knows we weren’t a championship team this year in anyone’s hands. So this is a teaching year, with the main emphasis on preparing and teaching UGA to be a team that wins in the trenches. That foundational and fundamental approach to football isn’t fancy or quick. It will take time and a few recruiting cycles to implement. But ultimately it’s the only way to not only compete and win the (pathetic) East, but actually compete in and win the SEC.

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  12. Dog in Fla

    “It’s seeing Georgia reach bowl eligibility….The reason Kirby Smart cares about winning two more games is because he wants the extra month of bowl practice to build on for the next go ’round. That’s all there is. It’s the ultimate end justifies the means exercise for this mediocrity of a season.”

    The delicate balance of Kentucky and UL Lafayfette being the only two things keeping the players from having an extra month of Junction Boys practice and Shreveport Camping World Independence Bowl swag

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  13. Buster

    SB, I think we’re looking at 2019, not 2018, but it should be progressional, probably not a sudden click from terrible to great. That raises the question of whether or not Eason stays for his senior year, but if even if he doesn’t, the current freshman class will be seniors and RS juniors; they and all the other juniors and underclassmen will have all only experienced the CKS regime. I’m not saying there won’t be improvements before then, but culture (the psycho- and socio-genic information by which people interpret experience and generate behaviour) takes time. It’s not just a matter of teaching new practices but writing new code – replacing the software of the mind – and it takes time to displace the old, bad code. In addition to culture, the physical dimension of transformation is getting the right bodies on board. Solid recruiting is an assumed but critical part of the process. We have to win enough over the next couple of years to a) keep good recruits interested; b) keep generous boosters invested; c) keep dawg fans coming. I understand that squeaking past Nicholls State and losing to Vbilt don’t get the job done. But at least we’re on the journey of forcing the Georgia Way to make way for the process.

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  14. rchris

    Look, we’ve played in 19 straight bowl games. Only FSU and VT have longer consecutive streaks. Maybe that’s not much to you but it’s a major “Bulldog point of pride” to me. People may say anybody can play in a bowl now it’s no big deal but if that’s so why is our streak longer than Ohio State’s, Clemson’s, Michigan’s, Notre Dame’s, Oklahoma’s, Nebraska’s, Texas’s, Auburn’s, Alabama’s, USC’s, Oregon’s, Miami’s, Florida’s, Tennessee’s, or LSU’s? That’s one thing that was built before Kirby got here and he damn sure better not mess it up.

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  15. Bob

    I suspect most would agree that Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Tech are our biggest rivals. Maybe some would put the Gamecocks ahead of the Vols, but not me. The last time we were worse than 2-2 against them was 2000. Right now, we are surely underdogs against Florida and Auburn and maybe even Tech, based on one common opponent. That could be very bad. But it also could be very good. Turn this thing around and pull off a couple of W’s that most don’t think possible/probable and we have our hob nail moment. But to flounder against them will merely raise the pressure.

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  16. Mike Cooley

    You’ve really become a whiny ass, Senator.

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