Hope, but verify.

So, I see checking in this morning, that someone in the comments has lobbed an accusation my way that I “salivate every time you can find a negative article” about Kirby Smart.  There’s also something about taking glee in 2016’s 8-5 record.

I don’t want to post a rebuttal here, something I could have done in a direct response in the comments, but rather would like to use that as a starting point to a larger discussion about what’s the realistic take on where the program and the head coach stand after Smart’s initial season.

From my selfish standpoint, I don’t think there’s any other way to describe the 2016 season than to call it disappointing.  I say that mindful of the obvious shortcomings the program was burdened with going into the year, such as a rookie head coach, a flawed offensive line and a true freshman starting quarterback.  For me, the biggest frustration was the lack of progress I saw over the final quarter of the regular season.

Combine that with a certain attitude — call it arrogance, call it cocksureness, call it whatever you like — that seemed to have been imported from Smart’s run at Alabama, but was out of place for a new regime that had yet to prove anything and never was justified by the results on the field last season, and it’s hard to swallow a nothing but blue skies ahead, sunny approach to blogging about the program on mere faith.

That isn’t close to saying Smart’s already proven himself to be an abject failure, though.  He’s no dummy and he learned from the best in Nick Saban.  He’s an excellent and tireless recruiter, which is something you have to be if you want your program to join the ranks of the college football elite.  Also, while he drove me to the depths of despair with the way he managed certain games last year, there’s also the positive way he directed the team to wins against North Carolina and Auburn that I take into account in evaluating his first year.

The talent base is clearly on the rise, as a result of the flushing of the disaster of 2013’s signing class and the solid to excellent classes Smart signed in 2016 and 2017.  I’m also a believer in learning curve improvements in a staff’s second season (hell, if it worked for Todd Grantham, it’ll work for Kirby Smart).  The 2017 schedule works in Georgia’s favor, too.

All of that adds up to a sense of optimism on my part about Smart’s chances this season to be coaching once again on the sidelines of the SECCG.  Honesty compels me to admit, though, that my optimism is a bit shaky, because Smart’s resume is thin and because (let’s face it) we’re Georgia.  That’s not to say we’re not due, but given recent history, I’m gonna need a little real world reinforcement before I happily jump off the cliff.

If that’s salivating, can somebody pass me a towel so I can wipe the drool off my chin?

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111 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

111 responses to “Hope, but verify.

  1. NoAxeToGrind

    A fair assessment.

    Like

  2. The other Doug

    I’m in a similar place in regards to Kirby. I love the recruiting, but I din’t see a lot of things to get me excited about his coaching talent. Add in the “throw away season” crap, and my patience is running thin.

    Last season looked a lot like Muschamp 2.0

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same here. I’m amused by all the people that act like they shouldn’t have any doubts based on last year. Last year created the doubts, this year will either affirm those doubts or tell us they were unfounded.

      I like to consider myself a rational person (admittedly cynical at times), but I have no clue how a rational person could have zero doubt about his ability as a head coach after 2016 without some level of willful ignorance. My only conclusion is that there were a lot of people so willing to move on from the last guy that they were predetermined to be so tribalistic about the new guy that they will defend him past the point of any reasonable defense and will get incredibly butt-hurt at anybody that dares fairly criticize the guy.

      All that said – I’m hoping like hell the guy succeeds, but, like the Senator, I expected to see a team that got better over the course of the season and this Georgia team regressed. That’s a bad look regardless of how you want to slice it.

      Like

      • It’s not that they are not rational… It’s just having blinders on. People hate being wrong (insert Trump joke here) and will cling to a sinking ship rather than admit it was a mistake. Kirby’s NOT yet at a point where his ship is sinking luckily (IMO) We hope he continues to grow as a coach, because there were definitely some red flags for me last season. Running into a brick wall of DLinemen over and over again was particularly infuriating, especially when we went back to that tactic after Eason played pretty well when allowed to operate from the shotgun in the UT game.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    I do think some of Smart’s problems last year were self inflicted, chief among them an apparent decision to play Alabama football with players recruited for a different style of offense. Throw in all the changes in coaching staff and that it takes a while for new coaches to get to know the players, what they’re capable of, and what motivates them, and only an extreme optimist like me would expect a championship season. I admit to getting my hopes way up after the UNC win. This year I have no clue what to expect. Talent wise, we can play with anybody but that was pretty much true last year as well. I’m not as optimistic as I was last year but I’m hopeful.

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  4. I agree about everything you wrote. Inconsistent performance and great potential wrapped in an unwarranted arrogance have me hoping for better days ahead but worried about the future.

    I feel like Andy Dufresne:

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  5. CJ

    I have two concerns heading into this season-OL and QB play. If we can get any consistency from those I believe we will win the East. Nick and Sony along with the seniors on defense deserve to go out on top.

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    • The wide receiver group needs to step up too.

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      • georgiajeepn

        Special teams need to step it up also.

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      • dawgman3000

        I’m not as concerned about the WR’ s after their G-day performance. The talent is there. The question is, can they perform in the fall when the games count?

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      • Cojones

        TEs should have been a big weapon last year and not having them utilized as a big weapon was unthinkable. Now, with the plans clearly showing half-backs running patterns and by the reports players give us concerning their practices, we will have WRs and running backs catching passes so how much time is left for the TEs to perform that task in a game? Chaney was supposed to live and die by the TE, but there wasn’t enough utilization of them last year to suppose that he will put them into the flow more this year. That’s where I was most disappointed last year, and by the looks we have received this year, we are wasting great talent.

        Blazevich and Nauta make for an elite twosome in receiving and blocking for each other. WRs can block for each other as well, plus, if Eason and a few WRs click like a machine, we could have an unbeatable O in my eyes. But I felt the same way last year after reading the coaching qualifications. What is there to change last year’s resultant? is the big question.

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  6. Bright Idea

    I agree with most of your points but for me personally there are two things I’ll be looking for besides wins of course. 1) Kirby appears driven to compete and win. Can he remain that way in the UGA “culture?” 2) Kirby is clearly a micromanager who doesn’t appear to trust the players during games. Once the game starts will he let them play or continue to be a raving lunatic on the sideline as if they never practiced?

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  7. Dawgxian

    As I see it, our o-line and receivers have to improve YoY due to experience and recruiting. We should not have lost to ATM, Vanderbilt, or Tech last year. I see them getting worse or staying the same so we probably win those this year. We probably should not have beaten the Barn last year. So, I’m not optimistic this year about that. That gets us to 10 wins. We replace one Miss school with another. Is it realistic to expect wins over it and Fl? That’s just me trying to use my brain to look at 20-7 instead of my emotions

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    • 86BONE

      Speaking of improving, it looks like the Diamond Dawgs are coming around nicely. Winning back to back series against top ranked opponents shows how a team can come together and strengthen during a season. I agree with the Senator in that the football team did NOT show significant on field improvements last year.
      Side note….just found out that Kirby does not report directly to McGoof…he has to report to Carla Williams….what kind of BS is that!!

      Like

  8. Normaltown Mike

    If we wet the bed in games all but won as often as we did last year, McGarity’s gonna need to wear paper sack around town

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    • Just Chuck (The Other One)

      I’m told his father no longer shows up for coffee with the guys in the morning. Hasn’t in some time.

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      • Cojones

        That would put him intro his 80s – would he be ill? There are mornings that I don’t feel like showing up for coffee either, but it doesn’t have anything to do with my son’s job. Shit, I don’t even feel like walking most mornings. No one told us old farts that everyday living could become a struggle through no fault of our of bad social habits. Drankin’ seems to have kept my liver and kidneys wholeheartedly in the game.

        Need to get back to the old fart’s coffee clatch of yesteryear when the girls were showing up in the mall parking lot and hitching a ride across town. It just makes one feel younger to see an 80 year-old plus guy with a walker and a half-empty gross of condoms taped to the top bar.

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      • Chickamona

        Or perhaps that’s because McGarity’s dad, Stu, passed away in 2013. Those “guys” must have been some friends . . . http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/onlineathens/obituary.aspx?n=stuart-mcgarity&pid=168340631&

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  9. I don’t see how anyone could call 2016 anything but a disappointment. I give Eason a total pass for last year, too, but that doesn’t mean the team as a whole wasn’t disappointing.

    I’m probably less down on the program than most fans seem to be at the moment, but that would change with a down year in 2017. There’s simply no reason aside from a crazy rash of injuries for UGA not win at least 9 games in 2017, and depending on how things shake out 9-3 could be a disappointment.

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  10. Dave

    2016 being a disappointment is dependent on how you define “disappointment.”

    If you say it was a disappointment because you think Georgia should never, ever lose to certain teams, or almost lose to certain teams, then it was.

    If you define disappointment as not meeting the expectations you had going into the season, then I submit you had unrealistic expectations. If Georgia turned in a 10-3 season with all the upheaval and inexperience (won’t get into the talent argument here) from both player and coaching personnel, that to me would have exceeded expectations.

    I’m disappointed that Georgia was in the spot they were in going into last year, but not disappointed in how the season went, because I kind of expected some struggles.

    Aside from that, there are few attitudes that don’t wear thin for coaches when things don’t go well on the field. Everybody loves Les Miles’ Crazy Uncle routine when he’s winning the SEC. Not so much when he’s turning in crappy seasons. Folks seemed to like Mark Richt’s refreshingly calm, aw shucks approach when the Dawgs won 2 SECC’s in his first 5 years; not so much when he kept turning in fruitless 9.3 win seasons.

    So, yeah, Kirby’s smugness seems unwarranted given his lack of on the field success at Georgia to this point, but WGAS? You’ll love him if we win big in the coming years. He’ll be gone regardless of his attitude if he doesn’t within the next 2 or 3 years.

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    • If you define disappointment as not meeting the expectations you had going into the season, then I submit you had unrealistic expectations.

      I expected to see a team that was better at the end of the regular season than it was at the beginning. Georgia wasn’t.

      If that’s unrealistic, when would you say it’s okay to expect improvement?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave

        I don’t think it’s unrealistic, but it’s far from a normal thing when, again, you’re dealing with all the inexperience. In my opinion, the improvement takes the off-season to kick in often times (not all the time). I believe that, when caught in the middle of a season, you’re spending so much time preparing for the next opponent, dealing w/ injuries, and finding line-ups that work when certain positions don’t pan out that it’s often difficult to fix specific things in terms of performance.

        This is not to suggest that no teams ever improve during the season, but that’s not always the measure of a good coach, and especially not of a rookie coach.

        Season 2, barring an inordinate number of significant injuries, is the tell-tale for me. I do expect massive improvements across the board this year. Lose to Vandy and Tech, and go to the wire w/ some crap FCS school, and I’ll have my doubts for sure.

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        • Otto

          I do not seem the team as regressing the beat ULL much more comfortably than Nichols, it was a closer WLOCP than the prior 2 years, and Smart couldn’t defend the triple option at Bama having to out score Ga. Southern.

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          • Dave

            That’s all true, and in the bowl game, Georgia was able to put the game away by essentially running it down TCU’s throats.

            There was some slight improvement, but I do agree that it was nothing to write home about. Definitely didn’t see any regression.

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            • Bill Connelly’s 2016 percentile performances for Georgia:

              North Carolina: 77%
              .
              .
              .
              Auburn: 65%
              ULL: 49%
              Georgia Tech: 39%

              It’s your business if you want to set a low bar for Kirby, but I have a hard time seeing anything but a slide there, not to mention based on what I witnessed on the field.

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              • Dave

                Selective statistics… but that’s ok. I can also look at the percentile performances and make the truthful statement that 3 of the top 5 percentile performances for Georgia occurred in the final 5 games, and the single highest was in the final game of the season against TCU.

                That’s not my issue. My issue was that Georgia was very up and down, not just game-to-game, but series to series. This reeks of inexperience on all levels more than anything else.

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                • Dave

                  3 of the top 4 Percentile Performances

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                • Well, I was discussing regular season games, since that was specifically the measure I had for Smart’s progress before the start of last season.

                  And if your best defense of the way the last three games of the regular season went down is “hey, at least they were better than they were against Nicholls”, I think you’re making my point about setting a low bar.

                  I’m not knocking your opinion here. I just disagree with your characterization of mine as unrealistic.

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                  • Dave

                    Fair enough, although I initially stated I didn’t think they were unrealistic. I just think that it’s not necessarily an indictment of coach or program if those improvements do not happen during year 1.

                    I might be splitting hairs, but to me, unrealistic means it’s way too much to ask to the point of being silly. I don’t think your expectations were unrealistic. My point is that a lack of pronounced improvement during the season does not mean much to me, again, given the situation Georgia was in from the jump.

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                  • Otto

                    The season other than GT went about as expected, schizophrenic. I don’t see regression, I also don’t see amazing improvement. It was his 1st year. He is learning on the job and the team is unlearning complacency.

                    I don’t know if Smart can beat the odds to be a successful coach but I didn’t think he did a terrible job in his first. I can see him being fired in 2 years but I can see a SECCG trip as well. If he can’t get the program to the level it should be, he will be easier to fire than his predecessor.

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                    • I don’t know a Dawg fan in his/her right mind who expected the Nicholls or Ole Miss results. Up and down is one thing; a near death experience against FCS fodder and a record blow out by an SEC team is quite another.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Otto

                      Ole Miss beat Bama in back to back years. I fully expected the Ole Miss game. How can you expect Smart to shut down Ole Miss in his 1st year in a program that wasn’t built around his scheme when he didn’t at a machine that was?

                      Nichols I think was a learning experience for everyone that was closer than expected. The game started out with passing the ball down the field in what could have been a blowout but he wanted the team to grind it out on the ground. He won’t be fire over a narrow win and it didn’t hurt recruiting . At the end of his time in Athens, fired or retired, Nichols will not be a topic of conversation

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                    • You expected 45-0 in the third quarter?

                      Man, you should have gone to Vegas and made some serious bank on that.

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                    • Otto

                      Expect no shocked no

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                    • Otto

                      Ole Miss had proved they were on par with Bama until the depth needed to finish a season set in. It reminded me of the last time UGA play Bama.

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                    • fastcarsslowwomen

                      In year one, sometimes the much less talented team surprises, remember La Monroe in 2007? At least Kirby didn’t lose to Nichols like Saban did to La Monroe. That was inexcusable.

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                    • Otto

                      Inexcusable but would you take a loss to Nichols if leads to a National Title later? I would and don’t take that has me saying Smart will get UGA there as I have posted above he will be beating the odds not to be fired from UGA. I hope he does beat the odds and think it is possible.

                      Like

                  • Otto

                    I also commend the Senator for raising the bar and asking for more from B-M.

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            • fastcarsslowwomen

              I think the fpi game score averages were for Kirby 53 1st 4 games and 70 for the last 4 games. Massive improvement.
              To give context, Saban in 2007 started out with an average score of 70 in first 4 games and av score of 40 in his last 4, showed lots of issues correcting things during the season.
              http://www.espn.com/college-football/team/fpi/_/id/333/year/2007

              context people. Kirby showed the ability to correct during the season.

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    • Definition: blowing a double digit lead at home to tech in the fourth quarter and losing COFH

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      • Otto

        Reminds me of the ’08 melt down. Some would depict me as setting a low bar for Smart I would say they were over estimating the state of the program and culture he walked into.

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    • rchris

      Look. Georgia’s 8-5 record from last year has hurt recruiting, therefore Kirby’s results from last year are inadequate. That’s about as objective a way to put it as possible. Hopefully he’ll rebound next year. What standard does he need to meet? Whatever the top recruits say he should meet. Ask K. J. Henry.

      Like

  11. Got Cowdog

    Lots of bridge jumpers in the comments for the previous post, lots of the same old, same old Kirby vs Richt. Richt or Tom Herman(?) would have won 10, blah blah blah. Kirby is a stupidhead and will never be a winner, blah blah blah.
    There are a few reasonable souls here, and I include myself as one, in that one season is too soon to pass judgement on a coaching staff. Yes, there were many issues last year. I had the impression that there were a lot of “Deer in the headlight” moments for the staff and players alike.
    I am hopeful that and I think we will see marked improvement this season. we may not win ’em all, but I think we will see a much more cohesive product on the field, which should result in better focus and performance. Improved QB play should be a given, if the OLine isn’t a liability we should be fine.
    Of course, we could see the same dumpster fire drill we saw last year and go 6-6. Won’t know till we play ’em. Either way, I’m not gonna lose any sleep over it.

    Like

    • dawgman3000

      You the man Cowdog, well said.

      Like

    • Cojones

      You are “hopeful” and you “think” as accolades for next season, “blah blah blah”. That is no different from what others have said and hope, but not reason enough to discard the failed show of field acumen by the coaches. That is no different from what the Senator is trying to say while calling attention to lack of results with great players that we expected last year. He uses the word “disappointing” to describe what many say was a fiasco considering the coaches proficiency credentials (which they used to get a good recruiting class for 2017) and what was to be expected from players we know that are better than field results demonstrated last year. Now, we are discussing next year and, barring injury, are back to “hopeful” again.

      Many think it’s too early to criticize the recruiting for 2018, but given the results from last year’s recruiting and subsequent coaching leading to the play on the field being used against us, I don’t think it’s too early at all to note the lack of enthusiasm from recruiting quarters this year. And to discuss what should be done about it. “Silent” commits are not there as they were last year and we see that silent commits don’t always carry through. My point with this criticism is to ask the questions: If something’s wrong at this point, how do they fix it? What can we do to help?

      It all goes back to last year’s results and begs the question – Is the hole getting deeper?.

      Like

  12. Go Dawgs!

    The apparent accusation that the Senator isn’t on board with Kirby and rooting for him to succeed doesn’t hold water. It’s not the case. And it’s also not the case that the Senator is a Mark Richt apologist and is somehow rooting for the program to fail to prove that firing Richt was folly.

    I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the tone of the writing here has shifted noticeably in tone towards the negative, however. One tires of the constant posting about the athletic director’s bumbling and incompetence. I think some of the angst about McGarity has bled over to angst over the football team.

    I don’t think GTP even existed in the offseason between 2001 and 2002, but I wonder if the Senator’s feelings were quite as morose regarding Georgia’s chances heading into Richt’s second year. After all, a rookie head coach’s mismanagement of games in the previous season had cost UGA a win over Auburn and also perhaps a win over South Carolina. There were reasons for hope, including a dramatic come-from-behind win over Tennessee (and oh, how close was Kirby to the same) and a convincing victory over Tech. But there was also a sour taste left by a loss to Boston College in the bowl game. We were all optimistic about what we saw from our rookie quarterback, though, despite the fact we were also excited about his backup. There were far fewer talent gaps left behind from Jim Donnan’s tenure in that 2001 team, and the 2002 roster was much more loaded with talent. But we were certainly more willing to wait and see on Richt. I get that we’ve had many more tastes of success which have made the disappointments that much more jarring since 2001. But it’d be neat to come here every now and then and read something positive about the team’s chances in 2017. Maybe a blog post that paints a favorable schedule this year as cause for hope rather than “boy, Kirby Smart’s seat is going to be red hot if he screws this up”?

    Like

    • I don’t think GTP even existed in the offseason between 2001 and 2002, but I wonder if the Senator’s feelings were quite as morose regarding Georgia’s chances heading into Richt’s second year….

      Nope, because I saw a football team buy into its new head coach in Knoxville.

      The closest thing I’ve seen to a buy in with Smart so far was the decision of the four juniors to come back next season instead of heading to the NFL early.

      Also, you’ve got the bleedover from McGarity to Smart completely backwards. My angst isn’t about McGarity being a subpar AD translating into a subpar head coach; it’s that I worry Kirby has to shoulder the athletic department’s burdens as a whole. Saving McGarity’s ass is a helluva thing to rest on his shoulders; unfair to Smart, IMO.

      BTW, as far as something positive goes, what, this wasn’t good enough for you? Or this? Or this?

      Like

    • 79DawgatWork

      The difference, of course, is that Mark Richt wasn’t sold to us as the Messiah, nor did he come in, run the place down, take a dump on everything, and then make excuses at the end of the season…
      Richt knew not to go looking for fights, but Kirby and Greg and Jere just can’t seem to help themselves from keeping their mouths shut and unnecessarily provoking people…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Aladawg

    I see nothing but a realistic assessment of last year. There is every reason to be optimistic with the talent base and the schedule. With ANY kind of learning progress by the coaching staff this team will be in the SECCG and anything less will be an indictment of the coaching staff. Well said Senator.

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  14. PTCDAWG

    Everyone posts questionable comments, I would like to think I would never question your loyalty…or the “want” for UGA to win.

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  15. Paul

    It seems to me that your most biting commentary isn’t about Smart so much as it is about McGarity, the Athletic Department in general and certain high dollar contributors specifically. I believe all those folks worked hard for that criticism and they earned it. As far as the past season, disappointment is probably the nicest word one could use. I’d even say calling it a disappointment might be described as a charitable assessment. But that’s me. However, we’re Georgia fans. Hope springs eternal. Once we’re out of the summer doldrums our pessimism will dissipate. Every practice update will serve to stir our excitement. By the time we kick the ball off in September delirium will have set in. Until the first face plant. Then we’ll be right back here where we started and looking forward to next year. It’s just that the lather, rinse, repeat cycle seems to have taken more than it’s usual toll this past year. I have no doubt we’ll get over it. Okay, snarkiness aside, I think the real problem is that under Richt we thought we had finally gotten beyond simply being a team that was occasionally great when we had superior talent on the field. We thought we were making the transition to a consistent top ten team that regularly had a shot at the top five. We never quite got there. We seemed tantalizingly close, but not quite. So we dumped Richt because we really believed we could still be that team. And we might still be. But our first year under Smart was a much larger regression than most of us forecast. Was it fair to have such high expectations? Probably not. But the reality is, now he’s on a very short leash with a lot of fans. McGarity has unfortunately made things worse for Kirby, not better. Fan frustration has been compounded by the incompetent manner in which the Athletic Department has handled itself across the board. Season ticket holders have been treated like the proverbial red headed step child for quite some time. TV Money has been flooding in but the fan experience has significantly deteriorated. And so we sit here with a growing sense of discontent. Frame all of this within the larger context of college football struggling with all its might not to be the game we love and it’s easy to feel disenfranchised.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Al Floyd

    This just proves that you border on being an idiot as you consistently come across as nothing everything about everything. Just like the talking Yankees on sports talk radio.

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    • Dawgflan

      Yup, an alum that voluntarily blogs out of passion for his team and shares his opinions (on a site you have to purposely seek out and pay nothing for) is EXACTLY like a blowhard radio host without any vested interest in a team getting paid to generate controversy. You really have the Senator pegged.

      And if your sarcasm detector isn’t working, let me save you the trouble of any possible misunderstanding: You’re not at risk of bordering anything, your idiot credentials have been firmly established.

      Like

    • Are you sure you shouldn’t be posting under the name Al Ford because this comment is about as idiotic as the calls Ford made over his career as an SEC referee.

      Like

  17. wedflatrock

    Your Blog at its best gave us links and passed along good information and you made us laugh with your turn of a phrase.

    If 2017 is 2016 all over again I will be with you but I’m still a Kirby fan for now

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    • The Senator isn’t a Kirby apologist or a Kirby hater. He’s like most of us in the middle. Show us that you know what you’re doing consistently, and we’ll support you. Put up a stinker like last year and find out what a hot seat feels like.

      Like

  18. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    Expectations last year were mixed across the board. No one expected 12 wins, nor 6 wins. That said, with a new coach, I likewise had hopes that the team would “buy in” and demonstrate that through improvements as the season went along. I wanted fewer special teams miscues. I wanted more cohesion and instinctive understanding by the defense by end of the year. I wanted the game to slow down a little bit for Eason by the end of the year. I wanted to see a coaching staff understand their players and put game plans together that actually maximized their ability to win.

    I didn’t really see that. But it was year 1 and CKS was imposing his will on the team. Richt did the same to the team in ’01, difference being the hobnail boot and he beat Tech ending the streak. The Auburn coaching blunder looked a fluke compared to the season. There was apparent reason for optimism going into the ’02 season.

    This off-season, it just feels that everything is still unknown about this team. If Kirby is the coach that every single one of us want, the Dawgs will be playing in Atlanta in December. Our schedule is never easy, but the ’17 season is not going to be murderer’s row. There is a significant amount of talent on the team that is at least in the 2nd season on campus. Probably as much talent as anyone not named Alabama can claim. Aside from coaching, there isn’t a reason we don’t win the SEC East.

    So, my thoughts come down to the fact that I think the right coach, with the right staff, coaching these players would win the east. I don’t think that should be understood to be negative towards CKS or positive towards fCMR. I just think it is.

    As to program building, I think the biggest issue for CKS is he’s our best recruiter, and probably by a country mile. As head coach, he is allowed dramatically fewer opportunities to build relationships with players than he was as an assistant. I do not see his equivalent on the recruiter ranks on the staff, which is a major concern for me. I attribute last year’s recruiting success to his relationships as an assistant at Bama and lots of playing time. I hope his assistants prove me wrong. Bryan McClendon was that guy for UGA. Pruitt was that guy for UGA. I don’t know who we have that is at that level.

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    • Geez, you can criticize Pittman’s on-field results, but I don’t see how you can question his recruiting. He flat out killed it with this last class.

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      • dawgman3000

        That’s what irks me. Nothing wrong with fair criticism or being disappointed in the way the season played out. My problem is that some on here have absolutely nothing positive to say when it comes to this current staff.

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        • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

          this comment probably gets lost, but I don’t have much good to say about the defense because what I watched last year came awfully close to watching a grantham defense, with a chinese fire drill on the field, and coaches frantically coaching right up to the snap of the ball.

          i’d been spoiled by watching pruitt get the play in and watching the defense get set, and attack the ball. My hope is in year 2, we see more calm and cool under pressure

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      • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

        I stand corrected. Pittman is like a silent assassin in my mind when I think of the coaching staff and recruiting. Complete brain fart. And frankly, I don’t question his on-field coaching acumen because his track record is of such consistent success. The OL class this year will be inferior to last year and that won’t be his fault.

        I think Coley is probably our 3rd best recruiter and my perception is that the quality drops pretty quickly after that. I hope that I am proven wrong.

        Like

  19. Your site is perfect the way it is, imo.

    If you were a Sunshine Dawg, I wouldn’t read the site. I read to get angry when we do something wrong and happy when we do something right.

    Keep posting so-called “negative” articles….no sense in pretending they dont exist

    Like

  20. AusDawg85

    Another way to ask this question…as any of you travel this summer outside of SEC territory, what’s your reply if asked by any of the great unwashed “How will your Georgia Dawgs look this year?” You can start with a ton of optimism about Eason, Chubb and Sony returning, the full D returning and the schedule…but are you really ready to call us the SEC East champs? The fact that doubt > hope right now says a lot about what we saw last season.

    Like

  21. fastcarsslowwomen

    There are some substantial reasons to like Georgia in 2017:
    1- the schedule, there are only 4 games to worry about (Notre Dame, Tn, UF, and Auburn). If Kirby goes 50/50 there, he finishes 10-2.
    2- sure losses. I only see one. Auburn. I like Gus and his AD and what they have put together this year, this one could be a blowout loss. I got Auburn going 12-0
    beating Clemson, LSU and Alabama. I expect their offense to be top 20, defense to be top 15, and special teams top 25.
    3- it’s not like Kirby got blownout in his losses (except for Ole Miss). He was 35 seconds from 10-3. 5 points from 11-2. It was very, very close to a stunning debut.
    4- Kirby beat some excellent coaches in his first season: The Fedora/Chizit combo at North Carolina & Gus at Auburn both led teams to the BCS Championship game,
    Gary Patterson is a legendary coach.
    5- Recruiting class- Fromm killed in the Spring game looks like a ringer even with a 2nd string set of olineman and wr’s going against a 2nd string defense. Kid had poise,
    read defenses quickly, never threw to the wrong guy, only sacked once, accurate, threw some bombs, from all accounts, there is no dropout when he goes with the 1’s..
    Should Eason stay at the same level, Fromm can step in, so that’s been fixed. The oline recruits should come in and make immediate impact. Wr’s put up 600 yards in the Spring game.
    6- situational coaching–led to losses vs G Tech, Tn, and Vandy. Those situations have now been identified, and exposed, and should be remedied with repetition.
    7- This is a throwaway year for UF: Michigan, Tn, LSU, Texas A & M, Georgia, Fl State for openers. Then they get @Ky, @Mizzou, and @SC. They have no offense. It’s going to be ugly.
    8- Tn has a difficult schedule: G Tech, UF, Georgia, Alabama, LSU plus @Ky and @Mizzou.
    9- Coaching continuity: offense and special teams can’t get worse. you hope coaches learn from mistakes, and there’s a lot of film there. A year with the terminology should help. And Kirby will adding in more complex red zone packages on defense this off season now that they have the basics down.
    10- Defense- should be as good as anyone. I don’t see a weakness and you have depth everywhere.
    11- Chubb & Sony return. This is an incredible opportunity for Kirby. He has to get much better at finding ways to get the ball in their hands with space. Look for Sony to light it up as a receiver opening up holes for Chubb.
    12- Tight ends- holy cow, stellar. get them the damn ball in space with catchable balls. nuff said.
    13- Momentum- won the Bowl game and brought in one of the highest rated classes ever at Georgia.
    14- Injuries- Kirby’s staff seemed to have fixed this issue which plagued Richt’s tenure.
    15- Kirby’s dna is Nick Saban at Bama, and Saban went 12-0 in year 2 at Bama, so Kirby believes he can make a big jump in year 2. Kirby followed the year one template to a T: close losses, very similar win/loss record, stellar recruiting class, don’t overlook this one, it’s big.

    Like

  22. Bulldawgy

    I don’t comment very often, but thought I’d put in my two cents – which is all it is worth. The blog has trended, in my opinion, toward the negative. Not getting into specifics – it’s more of a vibe.

    Like

    • It’s the material I have to work with. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Minnesota Dawg

        Shoot-the-Messenger syndrome, IMO.

        Like

      • dawgtired

        Chuckle. Nice. I’m seriously hoping you get a chance to show no biased this coming season with opportunities to brag on Kirby’s coaching improvements.

        Like

      • Rocketdawg

        I think you are spot on Senator.

        The difference between 2017 and 2002 is that prior to CMR’s arrival we were crappy to mediocre so there wasn’t the level of expectation that there is now. Prior to Mark Richt we had never been to the SECCG. After 5 trips in 10 years we all got a little spoiled. In 2001 that team got better as the season wore on and you could see the team buying in before/during/after the Hobnail Boot game. Auburn that year was a brain fart loss but as a whole I felt very optimistic for 2002 (not SEC Champs optimistic though).

        2016 to me seemed to be the opposite as far as building confidence going forward. Kirby hasn’t done himself any favors with his attitude toward the fan base or reporters. I also didn’t see a team that got better as the season progressed. In fact it was the opposite, I felt like the UNC game was the best one of the year (Auburn felt more fluky to me).

        We’ll see how 2017 plays out but anything less than a trip to Atlanta and Kirby’s seat is going to be white hot going into 2018.

        Like

    • The Truth

      Job could have started a blog at three different times — when he had it all, when the Devil took it all away, or when God gave him back more than he had to start with — and it would have been a very different blog at every point.

      Timing is everything.

      Like

    • The Dawg abides

      Agree about the vibe, but I think it’s just the overall mindset of Dawgnation these days. There’s always going to be the sunshine and rainbows crowd, see fluff like Bulldawg Illustrated for that, and there’s always going to be a small crowd of ultra-negatives. But it seems to me the majority of people are becoming more and more disheartened by the overall athletic program, especially as they come to realize what the Georgia Way really means. It’s kind of like the moment you realize your kid is never going to be a brain surgeon or a pro athlete. A lone, tiny sliver of hope is that more than ever before, that true Georgia Way is is being exposed and I sense a rising tide against it. You get the real pulse of the fan base at GTP. Like I said, if you want fluff that props up McGarity and fellates the Geargia Way, then Bulldawg Illustrated is the place.

      Like

      • fastcarsslowwomen

        Overall negative vibe in Dawgnation? Where, what UGA blogs other than this one are largely pessimistic on Georgia? This blog for some reason as many have mentioned is really down on Georgia as the lone ranger, guess he’s trying to sell advertising clicks, and this blog is the only one I know of that focuses on blaming the admin instead of the coaches and players which is pointless as that’s not something Kirby or players can change or control? If Georgia struggles, it’s on Kirby Smart, period. The admin has given him all the resources he has asked for and t’s solely up to Kirby Smart to turn the program around, there are no scapegaots.

        Like

  23. You seem pretty balanced. What I take glee in is all the people that went on about “fire” and other stupidity having it come home to roost on them. The sad part is that it seems the decision makers in the UGAAA had the same stupid thoughts. I’ve said it a million times…Kirby is likely the only person involved in the program who has a clue about being a championship program. My concern is will people give him time and will they stay the hell out of his way?

    Right or wrong, yes, I got some small amount of enjoyment out of seeing this come home to roost. Not like there was much else to enjoy. And, yes, Kirby unfairly took much of the brunt because of the obnoxious portion of our fan base.

    The truth is that the majority of the obnoxious and loudest part of the fan base who sold Richt up the river became that way because of Richt and his success. I was in Sanford in the 90s to have that perspective. The entitlement in the Georgia fan base is palpable.

    Like

  24. I mean…we’re already discussing the hot seat. Smh

    Like

  25. This became a true bandwagon and then the bandwagon took over.

    Like

  26. 3rdandGrantham

    All I know is this: by the UT game and especially the UF game, we will know with roughly 98% certainty whether Smart will be a long term success…or if we should start debating who will be the new UGA HC in ’19 (ADGM and co. will give Smart 3 years unless a total implosion occurs.)

    From what I’ve heard, we are all going to be quite happy with UGA football this year…but like the rest of you I’m also taking a wait and see approach as well.

    Like

  27. bigshot

    I have my doubts because we are Georgia. Smart doesn’t have anything to do with it. I’ve been disappointed too many times.

    Like

  28. TMC DAWG

    All I know is with the schedule and the returning talent, if they are not in Atlanta next year the end of this regime will come sooner than later.

    Like

  29. I don’t get too caught up in last year simply because it appeared to me that the coaches were more interested in creating a different mentality than ensuring that we’d win the games. Nicholls and Vandy fit into that category. I also think that they made Eason’s job harder as the season went on which is one reason why the offense never really progressed.

    This year those excuses and rationales are gone. Every week they are going to have to have a plan in place to win that week’s game, especially on offense. Otherwise the recruiting will dry up and then end will be a matter of time. If CKS is really trying to replicate what they had in Tuscaloosa, they will be trying to do whatever it takes to score lots of points and win the LOS in the 4th quarter.

    As I said last year, my aspiration for CKS is showing up in Jax with this attitude:

    Its what has been missing since Vince hung it up. After that we recruited a little, played bad football and had atrocious luck. Then we had a good offense, hung the program on QC and it took too long to play any defense. Then we stepped up the recruiting, played some D for awhile and then got too soft to regularly beat Meyer and Saban. We were pretty at times but rarely mean and intimidating. Odell, TD and Pollock were the exception, not the norm.

    I’m hoping that the next step is to be that team that shows up and punches people in the mouth and fights like a bunch of wild ass dogs for 4 quarters. That’s what beat UF in 1985 and Auburn and 1986 and South Carolina in 1980 and Clemson etc…, etc…. We weren’t always that good and it wasn’t always pretty but you know damn well nobody wanted to see those teams coming. We need that identity back and hope that we’ve done enough to build a foundation toward it and that we’ll see it in the opener. Grab a lesser opponent by the neck and don’t ever give them an ounce of hope.

    4-8 notwithstanding, that game in the second week is a big fucking deal. You win it and you’re relevant at least until Jax. You give them the beat down they need and we’re back in business.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re correct. I haven’t seen the junkyard dawg in quite a while.

      Like

    • ugafidelis

      Derek, I believe you are correct and I agree wholeheartedly with you. I’ve opined that last year was CKS showing his team that they can get bet by any given team on any given day. Granted it was ugly to watch, but how many times on this page have we read something akin to ‘they thought they can go out there and win because they’ve got the G on their jerseys?’ It’s part of a culture shock. Sometimes you’ve got to show your unit that they’re not really as good as they think they are, you run off the bad apples, the true leaders rise to the top and then you rebuild them to a stronger, more cohesive unit.

      Senator, you mentioned above about the buy-in in 2001; For me, the five returning Seniors shows me an insane amount of buy in and tells me that there is something good going on that we on the outside are not privy to.

      I want to erase the lions share of 2016 from my memory, but I for one believe that we are on the right track.

      Like

    • Got Cowdog

      By Gawd Derek, we finally agree on something. Well said. I see that team show up and I will consider it improved, no matter what the record is.
      GATA and don’t let up. I especially like the the thought of being the team no one wants to see coming.

      Like

  30. southernlawyer11

    I’m just ready to see UGA be more creative with the talent they have. I’m tired of a 1 or 2 “deficiencies” perpetually being enough to drag down the other 6 units that are cream of the crop. This is a 10 year gripe, not a Kirby gripe…….I’m tired of our championship capable units being “ships passing in the night.” It’s time for a UGA coach to step up and win with what they have….which for many less paid coaches (assistant and head, is PLENTY ENOUGH)…if you have a weakness, don’t take 7 weeks to figure out a way to scheme around it. That’s why you are paid obscene amounts of money.

    Like

  31. fastcarsslowwomen

    If I was Kirby, I’d play the last 5 minutes of the Vandy , G Tech and Tn game until the players want to throw up. The Bama players said losing all those close game sin 2007 was the turning point for their run, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. I’d make those players so sick of losing close games they’re ready to throw up.

    Like

  32. The Dawg abides

    On another note, but this seems as good a thread as any to ask. Anybody got any scuttle on what’s up with the tennis coaches?

    Like

    • Cojones

      Singular coach was last I heard. Has that changed? And if you haven’t noticed, there’s an overdue and overtime pissing game going on here and we don’t have time for that shit. 🙂

      Like

      • Got Cowdog

        For real dude. Tennis? Just damn.
        What you gonna do ,Cojones, if Kirby turns out to be a winner?

        Like

        • Cojones

          Boy, do you read me incorrectly. Find the references to Kirby that I have made and reread for comprehension. I blame B-M and that’s where our focus should be in the blame game. I even blame them for creating the situation that we are experiencing in recruiting this year plus I blame them for creating the superman aura around Kirby that has created undue pressure for him to win big in his first year and if you had your thinking cap on at the time, you would have seen it. The blame that I lay on the AD is one of following orders of the B-M crowd and the BD of Regents to get rid of Richt. I blame them for the crudeness and the antipathy they demonstrated when they did it with little regard to the rest of the fan base (polled for Richt at 80% positive before he was summarily dismissed).

          What will I do if Kirby wins? First, I hold no malice towards Kirby and am only disappointed in last season; not ragging on to get him fired, which would be another mistake. I will be swinging my pennant wildly while cheering Kirby, his assistants, their families and their families’ dogs, including the family bulldog (Pittman’s?) that isn’t on the field. I prepared to do that last season and will again this season.

          Like

      • The Dawg abides

        Two assistant coaches suspended in the past two days by the administration. One each from the men’s and women’s team. And ‘just damn’ back at you cowdog. I personally wouldn’t care if we didn’t even have a tennis, golf, gymnastics, or especially an equestrian team. But that’s just me. But I do think it’s kind of a big deal when two coaches, whatever the sport, get suspended by the athletic administration right in the middle of an NCAA tournament.

        Like

        • Got Cowdog?

          I was being sarcastic dude. Relax. I’m sure there is some fire under that smoke, I feel sure it will turn up in a later post. It is the offseason, after all.😎

          Like

  33. Debby Balcer

    For the first time since Bobo left as OC I am nervous about our season. When he left I felt that took away the momentum that Coach Richt had been building. Last year I was eager to see if Kirby was as advertised and UNC made it seem like he was then the rest of the season happened. The year the players seem ready I just hope Kirby is. I don’t feel the senator has been negative he posts what us going on. I find it funny the same people who are sensitive about Kiurbt can’t wait to trash Richt. I want them both to be successful.

    Like

  34. Doggoned

    This is still the best Georgia blog around, and one of the only ones where semi-intelligent opinions are routinely bandied about. It’s still the only one I check daily. It may not be as much fun as it used to be, but maybe that’s what happens when the athletic department is importing “the process” straight out of Tuscaloosa. Not a lot of fun going on there that I can see.

    Like

  35. mg4life0331

    Im just gonna do the norm here and call you a richtophile and not read your post. Am I doing it right?

    Like

  36. fastcarsslowwomen

    I’ll give something you won’t hear anywhere else. Kirby’s defensive improvement vs ranked teams. To me that’s what separates good from great.
    Jeremy Pruitt, supposedly a great coach, finished No 56 vs ranked teams in scoring in 2015 at Georgia.
    Kirby Smart took the same players and rose from 56…..50….45…..40….35…30….25…20….15….10…..7…..5……to finish #4.
    He held Auburn to 7 points. Better than Clemson, Oklahoma, LSU, and Alabama.
    Knock him all you want, but the dude can coach some defense.

    If he can get a top 25 offense, look out.
    And with the size of this oline (they are massive)
    the quality of tight ends
    rb’s (best in the conference),
    the way godwin, simmons and holliman made plays at wr in the spring game

    My last concern on offense is we gotta get better at Qb. To be honest, no signs just yet Eason has improved, but sure hope something clicks for Eason this summer so he can keep his starting job and play well throughout 2017–would be a dream to redshirt Fromm–we’ll know as soon as Sept 23 whether the red shirt comes off–or not–would be ideal to have solid qb play for the Tn–UF games–Oct 14 would be another great time for Fromm to take over-if Eason keeps playing this way, I feel like Kirby will have the guts to burn the redshirt before the UF game or maybe he makes a bold move Sept 23 before the Tn game.

    Food for thought:
    If Tn loses to UF on Sept 16, I feel Smart stays with Eason until Oct 14
    If Tn beats UF on Sept 16, and Eason is not getting better, then Kirby might be forced to make the move on Sept 23 before the Tn game.

    That’s how I see it, and I off, if so where?

    just….. might…… happen.

    Like

    • Aladawg

      If Fromm is our QB at any time THIS YEAR except injury to Eason and mop up duty, we will get a new AD AND COACH at year’s end.

      Like

      • fastcarsslowwomen

        That’s strong. Why do you feel so strongly, you think Fromm is that bad or do you mean other reasons? Fromm impressed vets like USA Today who wrote a glowing review of him after the Spring game. Don’t get me wrong, Eason starts the season because the dream is Eason magically turns into superman in the next 12 practices and you redshirt Fromm to create some distance. I’m telling you though, what happens if Tn beats UF on Sept 16, and Eason struggles in a loss to Notre Dame? It’s gonna be crazy man.

        Like

    • Kirby’s defensive improvement vs ranked teams. To me that’s what separates good from great.
      Jeremy Pruitt, supposedly a great coach, finished No 56 vs ranked teams in scoring in 2015 at Georgia.
      Kirby Smart took the same players and rose from 56…..50….45…..40….35…30….25…20….15….10…..7…..5……to finish #4.

      That’s better trolling, there.

      Georgia faced two whole ranked teams last season. That’s a ridiculously small sample size.

      Oh, and how did the “supposedly great” Pruitt do? Alabama played six ranked teams in 2016… and finished first.

      Fair warning: you’re out of chances at this point. One more asshole comment and you’re gone.

      Like

  37. Got Cowdog?

    You better start channeling your Inner Munson, fella. Don’t be jinxing or spiking the kool-aid. 😉
    That “massive” offensive line you speak of shows up and plays, the QB play likely will be a sight to behold.

    Like

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