As you’re well aware, I am loathe to make any major pronouncements about where the program is headed under Smart based on what we’ve seen so far this season.
However, I can’t deny what I saw last night was what Smart saw, too.
“It was a great job by Mel Tucker and the defensive staff,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “Those guys work really hard. … Those players believed they were going to stop them. They believed every time they went back out on the field they were going to stop them. And they did. I’m really proud of that and those players, who have bought in.”
Really, outside of Auburn’s one scoring drive, the defense played well in the first half. But things really seemed to kick up a notch after Maurice Smith scored Georgia’s only touchdown of the game.
Davin Bellamy’s very much right about one thing: I don’t care who was banged up on that Auburn offense; you don’t shut a team out on first downs for an entire half without playing lights out football. I watched confident players who knew their roles in the scheme and I watched confident coaches deploy their personnel to maximum effect, particularly on blitzes.
In short, last night made me feel the exact opposite of this. It’s a nice place to be. I should say, though, I felt was there once before, after Georgia’s defense played a great game against Mississippi State in 2011. Two seasons later, that turned out to be a false dawn.
So I think I’ll leave things for now by thinking that last night was a terrific effort by all from which to build. If it leads to great things, I’ll look back at that pick-six as the start of something big. In the meantime, I’ll savor last night on its own merits.
Way to play, guys.