There are a lot of things to point at in analyzing this frustrating 2016 season, but Seth Emerson breaks down one big one.
“Traditionally that’s the team that has 25 seniors, they got a pretty good football team because they’ve been in the program for a long time,” Smart said. “And when we have team meetings in here, I think we got 11 guys across the front row that are seniors.”
And as small as the group may be, they also didn’t exactly come together in traditional fashion.
There are three graduate transfers, two of whom will only be at Georgia one season: Nickel back Maurice Smith and left tackle Tyler Catalina. The other one, backup quarterback Greyson Lambert, transferred in last year.
There’s also one junior college transfer: backup linebacker Chuks Amaechi.
Right tackle Greg Pyke is the team’s only fifth-year senior.
The rest are six fourth-year seniors, survivors of the notorious 2013 class, which had 33 signees. (Eight players from that class redshirted and have one more left.
That’s out of 33 signees in 2013, by the way. Eight players redshirted and have one more year left. Five others had moved on to the pros or graduated prior to this year. The rest transferred or were dismissed from the team.
(And one member of the 2013 class will be playing for the other team on Saturday: J.J. Green, who transferred to Georgia Tech after his sophomore season.)
Eleven seniors, four of whom weren’t originally signed by Georgia. That’s it.
Blame the Florida game all you want for Mark Richt’s dismissal, but for me the root cause of him no longer being in Athens was his approach to roster management over the last five or six years of his term. The infamous 2013 class was a mad scramble to catch up the numbers and it blew up in his face. He wound up paying the ultimate price for that. Kirby Smart’s paying another price for it this season. Let’s just hope the check’s been settled by the time 2017 rolls around.