As Chip Towers argues for yet another program template for Georgia to follow…
So Clemson and Swinney have provided the formula for Georgia. And the Bulldogs’ fan base would be well-advised to take note of the timeline. The Tigers went just 19-15 those first three years. But they won 10 or more every year since, including 28-2 these last two, when the roster brimmed with upperclassmen.
I honestly don’t think it should take Georgia as long to get to a similar place, not with the way Smart is recruiting. Make what you will about recruiting rankings — the Dogs are currently No. 3 nationally — but it is a game of odds and the more highly-rated acquisitions one makes, the better the chance they’ll be able to help you.
… I can’t help but come back to something that crossed my mind as I watched the national championship game unfold, namely how the paths of Clemson and Georgia have diverged so dramatically in just two seasons after this game.
Did Clemson grow that much more talented than Georgia from 2014 to 2016? Or was there something else that came into play?
As ever, it’s about development and chemistry, two areas on which Swinney and the Tigers get very high marks. We don’t know that yet about Smart and his staff, but we do know it’s a point of heavy emphasis. He certainly knows what great players look like and where to get them. Coaching them up is what we’ll have to wait and see on.
About that “we do know it’s a point of heavy emphasis” thing — exactly how do we know that? I mean, yes, there are areas where we saw signs of player development, like the defensive front seven, for example. But if you watched Georgia’s offensive line or special teams play, it’s a stretch to say that was a team-wide phenomenon.
Bottom line, player development is what’s separated Alabama from Georgia for almost a decade now and helps to explain why Clemson pulled down that national title that’s eluded Georgia for 36 years now. Can Kirby Smart close that gap? The jury is out.