Making Georgia football great again

Kirby Smart wasn’t buying that “but we’re Georgia, damn it!” stuff when he was hired.

“When we got here I knew,” Smart said. “I coached against the University of Georgia. I recruited against the University of Georgia. I pretty much knew what was here.”

And then this critical sentence Kirby said that no one else would dare say in front of a podium over the last few years – and very few people would write or say out loud.

“I knew the level of expectation didn’t necessarily meet the quality of players that were here.”

Ouch.

Now there are two things to say in response to that, assuming, of course, that you take it at face value.  One, no surprise, roster management did in Mark Richt.  There was a dry stretch in recruiting, culminating in the disaster of 2013, that lasted until the 2015 class, from which the program is still recovering.  You don’t have to have coached or recruited against Georgia to realize that.

Two, despite that, it’s only fair to note that Mark Richt won 19 games in 2014 and 2015.  You can bitch, moan and qualify that all you want based on the level of opposition, the losses to Florida and whatever else tickles your fancy, but purely on a wins and losses basis, Richt did a good job coaching the talent he left himself.  (If you don’t believe that, go count the number of football teams that managed that many wins over that two-year period.)  Certainly, he got better results than Smart achieved last season.

I mention this not to support or attack either coach, but rather to analyze McGarity’s stated rationale for changing head coaches.  If Georgia football had plateaued, I would argue that it was because of the way Richt had gone about accumulating talent.  Smart has clearly upgraded the program in that department.

As Legge notes, though, even under Richt, that flaw had begun a correction course.

It must be pointed out that since Mark Richt’s final recruiting class, the 2015 class, things started to pick up. In that class a slew of very gifted players were signed and have been solid players ever since… Terry Godwin, Roquan Smith, Trent Thompson, Natrez Patrick, Jonathon Ledbetter.

Richt would have brought in a good 2016 class, too, had he lasted.  That’s water under the bridge at this point, but bringing all the talent in the world to Athens means little in the long run if you can’t coach ’em up.  The jury is still out on Smart as to that.  In that regard, history says that Georgia coaches tend to improve their teams’ won-loss records significantly in their second seasons.  Let’s hope that plays out again this year.  Otherwise, all McGarity’s done is trade one plateau for another.

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110 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

110 responses to “Making Georgia football great again

  1. 81Dog

    If Kirby doesn’t win an SEC title and make UGA a playoff contender very quickly, then he’s going to be a disappointment based on what Scrooge Mcgarity promised when he made the decision to hire Kirby (sic). If Kirby is on track to be that Coach Who Was Promised, UGA should win the east this year. Last year was the training wheels year; this year, we should see some improvement.

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  2. Excellent post as usual, Senator. As with everything about the previous guy, he waited too late to course correct. He had a QB and a generational RB talent who bailed him out in 2011-13. The LOS recruiting and the failure to manage numbers bit him in the rear end without a QB to hang his hat on (everyone myself included should have listened to you when Lambert won the job). He did get what he could out of that roster, and the reason he went to Washington after the Auburn game was to remind everyone what was coming. Fast forward to 2017. While the roster isn’t Alabama loaded (who’s is?), the last 3 classes have talent. It’s time for Kirby to coach them up. If he can, we’re in for a fun ride to the Promised Land. If not, the wilderness is where we’ll be like we were from 1989-2000.

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  3. UGA85

    I think the situation with the coaching staff also had a lot to do with letting CMR go. Bobo’s leaving clearly left CMR in a bind offensively, then the stuff with CJP being unhappy kind of looked like a total staff meltdown. How was CMR going to make all of that right again? It felt too much like starting over again, IMO, and a staff overhaul after 15 years likely would not have been a pretty sight.

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    • Excellent point, 85. Richt had become a CEO type of head coach (and by that, I don’t mean lazy like some have accused him of). Pruitt wasn’t going to be able to be retained, and Schottenheimer was a disaster (once again, we all should have listened to the whispers). To start over would be difficult if not impossible.

      In hindsight, Richt should have taken over the QB coaching and promoted Lilly to coordinator when Bobo left the nest. He admitted as much in his final press conference. Who knows if that would have made a difference because of the LOS roster issues?

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      • Otto

        Richt taking over duties from Schott would have gone a long way with me but just finishing out the year to me showed how burned out he was. My opinion which means about as much as anybodies.

        Yes a DC would be a must and if he landed Diaz which he did at Miami I would be happy. But… would even allow the OC to rock on for another year without firing or at minimum taking more responsibilities on himself? Past track record and absence of action during ’15 season says, he wouldn’t. It was looking like another 3 years to get the offense back on track.

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      • MGW

        There was a way for Richt to stay and be successful, but it didn’t happen and I don’t think there was any chance of it happening with McGarrity. McGarrity wasn’t doing what was necessary for the program to succeed until Pruitt, and even then he was only taking reactive half measures with the program. For exmple, Bobo’s finally coaching his ass off and we make no effort to keep him around? What the hell was that? Then apparently Smart talked some sense into him and now we’re pretty much going full steam ahead as far as giving the coach what he asks for. It wasn’t any guaranty, but Richt with full support could very well have been successful. The ass covering move was to can him and then do it with the next guy so here we are. We’ll never know, but for now, go Kirby go!

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  4. Macallanlover

    I have stayed firm in hoping KS enjoys success at UGA and can deliver on his hire to help us get titles but I have had it with his whining about the problems at UGA being with the players, his weak sauce effort to emulate Saban at press conferences, and his shutting down the information about the team/not letting coordinators talk with the press. This isn’t the damn Manhattan Project, it is CFB.

    Smart knew coming in that UGA had won 40 games in the prior four years; when he accepted the job he should have realized laying it off on talent said more about excuse making for his staff than on the field reality. Were there weak/soft areas? You bet. Guess what, every school not named Alabama has that to work through annually. He has done a great job with recruiting, now it is time for the staff to show they can coach, and that he has grown into the job. You aren’t a coordinator any longer, and this isn’t Kansas.

    I think we will look, and play, better this season. I am optimistic that we can, and should win the East because we have the best talent in our division…and it isn’t even close. My primary concerns about UGA achieving that success in 2017 isn’t the OL, it is the staff stepping up. Tired of the “it’s the players” not up to the task Coach, the buck stops with you this season. You saw all the film from last season’s struggle, and you had a chance to see yourself and your staff in action, so with time to have made changes this one is on you. We are pulling for you and everyone involved, time to deliver the mail. You have the fastest car on the track, take it to Atlanta.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      “My primary concerns about UGA achieving that success in 2017 isn’t the OL, it is the staff stepping up. ” Well said, Mac.

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    • Hank

      That reminds me of a story a seasoned manager told me 20+ years ago. A new, young manager was hired for a management position. When he got to his office he found three envelopes in his desk. They were numbered 1, 2, and 3. A note was with the envelopes that read, “when you get in trouble or things are not going well, open the envelope #1. The next time open #2, then the next time open #3.
      A few months went by and things started looking bleak. The new manager was desperate and found the envelopes. He saw the note and grabbed the envelope #1. He opened it and it said, “Blame it on being new.” He went to his boss and laid out a story of his being new and unfamiliar with the team and unclear expectations. The boss understood and things started to settle in.
      After a few more months, things started going downhill again. He was desperate and did not know what to do. He found the envelopes again and opened #2. It read, “Blame it on me.” (Meaning the previous manager.) The new manger went to his boss and laid out a story of how the previous manager left the department in chaos and he was trying to undo all of the mistakes he inherited. The boss let that slide and things started to settle in again.
      After another few months, things started steamrolling downhill. The new manager, now knowing what do, to went straight to the envelope #3. He tore it open and it read, “prepare 3 envelopes.”

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    • Greg

      Welcome to my world….good post, Macallanover

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    • Excellent comments and kudos to Mac, especially for the “every school has these problems to work through”. Hope it works out for the coach now at UGA.

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    • excellent post and kudos to Mac/

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  5. Excellent point, 85. Richt had become a CEO type of head coach (and by that, I don’t mean lazy like some have accused him of). Pruitt wasn’t going to be able to be retained, and Schottenheimer was a disaster (once again, we all should have listened to the whispers). To start over would be difficult if not impossible.

    In hindsight, Richt should have taken over the QB coaching and promoted Lilly to coordinator when Bobo left the nest. He admitted as much in his final press conference. Who knows if that would have made a difference because of the LOS roster issues?

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  6. Hal Welch

    I think you’ve couched it pretty well but I’d caution everyone to hold off declaring plateaus after one year, maybe two. Mark inherited a roster in similar shape his first year, some good players, some bad. David Green for instance went on to become the winningest quarterback in collegiate history- Mark didn’t recruit him. Likewise Mark had a pretty similar year 1 record as Kirby. Then took off. Hell we all thought after winning the SEC in his second year national titles were just around the corner. Back then Mark wasn’t competing against the monster that would eventually become Saban. Yea he was at LSU, but he wasn’t the coach that he is today.

    I do expect a huge season out of Kirby, and I’ll be very disappointed if we aren’t in Atlanta. But I won’t declare that a plateau just yet.

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    • Hal, maybe that’s fair, but the reality is that there’s no way Smart’s going to get the same 15-year period of judgment that Richt got, unless he achieves more than Richt did.

      If Kirby doesn’t improve significantly over Richt in the next 1-3 years, you may not want to call that a plateau, but I bet McGarity would.

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      • Kirby can get a 15-year run similar to Richt if it plays out the same way. Richt got 15 because his first 5 were so good. If Kirby has a similar first 5 I suspect he’ll get at least another 5, and since he’s such a great recruiter, he’ll always have talent to win 8-10 games a la Richt.

        If Kirby makes playing in ATL something that happens with any regularity he’ll be here a while.

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      • Hal Welch

        Oh God no, and I think he knows that too. I think 5 is tops if he hasn’t won something of significance. And yea it’s probably is more like 3 to 4 unless we’re like the ’12 team… lying 12 feet away from a national title.

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    • Bob

      Richt’s first year was “sort of like” Kirby’s. By number it is true. But Richt gave us the first win in Knoxville since Herschel. Richt stopped the bleeding against Tech. There were clearly learning curves but we had nothing remotely resembling the Nicholls and Ole Miss fiascos. And last year was the first time since Jim Donnan that we went less than 2-2 against our 4 biggest rivals. And do we even beat Auburn if Sean White is healthy? I have my doubts. Kirby needs a fair shake, but his first year was similar to Richt’s in numbers only.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Irwin R. Fletcher

        You should have stopped after ‘By number it is true.’ Frankly, when you start getting into hypothetical game outcomes to support your point, you’ve lost me.

        Richt also had 8 players drafted off of that 2001 team.

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        • Got Cowdog

          Pish-Posh Irwin aka “Prophet”. Everybody knows it’s the X’s and O’s. 8 players drafted, bah…..

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      • Hal Welch

        Tend to agree with Irwin here Bob… when you speak in absolutes like there being nothing remotely resembling fiascoes… we lost to Auburn who was also pretty bad that year (7-5) because we couldn’t manage the clock, we lost to Carolina in a weird game, we looked completely inept against an equally inept Boston College team. All with a team as Irwin says had 8 players drafted to Kirby’s 1. Auburn was definitely a fiasco. Was it Nichols? No. But go back and pull up the UAB game from ’03. It can happen to any team at any time.

        Football doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are so many moving parts and pieces that declaring anything absolute is nearly impossible.

        I’ve said it a-hundred times. We finished right about where I expected us to in year 1 with a shitty roster, new staff, and new QB. I expect marked improvement in year 2, and year 3 we should be a legitimate playoff contender. If we aren’t then there’d better be a pretty solid reason like injuries, suspensions or something like that which prevented us from having the season we expected.

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    • ToccoaDog

      Just looked it up. Not including Richt’s first year of recruiting, the class of 2001, there were 20 guys on the 2001 roster that spent time in the NFL. Of those 20, they played for an average of 10.3 years. You don’t stick around like that in the NotForLong league if you aren’t any good. Donnan left Richt loaded with talent.
      With that being said, it will be a couple of years before Richt’s players cycle out before an accurate comparison can be made.

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  7. 1984 Grad

    Kirby must prove he learned how to be a head coach and that total accountability for all aspects of the program including assistant coaches is his responsibility. While I suspect we are another cycle removed from competing for titles, I expect UGA to be prepared for each game, play physical and win some games this season in dominant fashion.

    CMR had 15 years to do what many of you who post on this site believe Kirby should have done last year, which is really laughable. You have now had 20 months to sharpen your pitchforks, here is to hoping Kirby proves all of you wrong this season!

    Go Dawgs!

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    • CMR had 15 years to do what many of you who post on this site believe Kirby should have done last year, which is really laughable.

      The reason you find that amusing is because Smart had never been a head coach before last season. The obvious pitfalls of OJT may not be a reflection on Smart. But they sure as hell are on McGarity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • McGarity’s hire of a lifelong assistant vs. a proven head coach has, understandably, been something you have critiqued often. I get it, but also, what if McGarity had hired the best dang coach in the land last year? In your opinion, what record would a Saban or Corch had produced from that UGA team? I think they would have gotten one or two more wins, but no way they would have set the world on fire with that roster. I didn’t see Smart make that many more obvious mistakes that we were used to seeing Richt make year in and year out, ie. clock management, odd special teams calls, late game head-scratching decisions. Is it a given that the experienced hire would not have made mistakes in a new program as well?

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        • Anything’s possible.

          Tell me, how do you think Tom Herman’s gonna do at Texas this season?

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          • Bad example. Texas hired the experienced head coach in Charlie Strong who tanked the program before they got to Herman. What is the guarantee that he will do better than Strong?

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            • He beat two top-five teams last season at Houston, for one thing.

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              • Charlie Strong beat 11-1 Florida in his last year at Louisville before departing to Texas. They thought they had a slam dunk.

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                • And people thought USC screwed up with the Pete Carroll hire. So what?

                  If you’re looking for a guarantee, of course there’s no such thing. But there are studies that have consistently shown that a school’s success rate with hiring a coach with previous head coaching experience is better than hiring one without.

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                  • There are studies? I didn’t realize. What peer reviewed periodicals can I find them in because otherwise there would be only statistics thrown up on sports websites, and we all know that there are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. Anyway, I wasn’t looking for a guarantee. Kinda my point.

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                    • Gosh, you’re right. Anyone would have finished 8-5 last season.

                      By that rationale, there’s no reason to expect Smart to improve ever, because, after all, there are no guarantees. Kinda my point.

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                  • Otto

                    Agreed, I find UF interesting. SOS and Urban had HC experience. Muschamp and Zook didn’t.

                    Agreed no hire is guaranteed. Schnellenberger sp? to Okalhoma. Carroll was expected to bomb and was their 3rd or 4th choice. Stallings short HC career prior to Bama wasn’t exactly great. Strong is another example. A successful hire in any profession isn’t just the job but interaction with job culture.

                    Smart maybe the greatest HC UGA has ever head, he maybe the next Goff. We don’t know.

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          • Southernlawyer11

            I bet Tom Herman goes 7-5 this year, maybe even 6-6….which would be an improvement over the 5-7 campaign of 2016.

            I don’t think either argument in this is wrong or right. Herman is not a world beater for smashing Louisvile on his way to a 9-4 (mehh?) record at Houston last year. They were good last year, but Louisville completely imploded on themselves if you watched that game. It’s like saying south carolina is great because……2012 Georgia.

            Good coach ? yes. Good potential to get swallowed in the politics of The Texas Way and leave everyone unfulfilled ?….yep.

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          • Hal Welch

            I think he’s going to have a winning season, ultimately be about 9-3 or 10-2 on most years. Tell me, if he does well how long do you think Tom Herman will be at Texas? Three years? Four? I’m on record as saying this was handled about right. No one was coming that was a known commodity that was any better. Herman would have been a guess, so would just about anyone else. Why even with HC experience would I say that? Becuase being the HC at Houston isn’t being the HC at a major power. One could make the argument that being the DC or OC at Texas, Bama, OSU, UGA et al is a better proving ground than winning at a lower level. Again it’s a debate worth having but we’re all just guessing at hypotheticals.

            I really do think this is where the Senator let’s all things anti-ADGM get into his head a little bit. I know he supports Kirby and hopes for the best, but ADGM could have hired Jesus and the Senator would tell us why GM effed up. I dom’t care for GM anymore than he does, but I don’t think Kirby was a bad hire.

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            • The issue for me isn’t that Kirby was a bad hire. It’s that the hiring process was a complete sham.

              Thanks for the armchair psychiatric analysis, though.

              Liked by 1 person

            • By the way, regarding Herman, if he’s a success at UT, where do you think he’s going from there? It’s the richest athletic department in the country and Texas has more talent than just about any state.

              And as for “One could make the argument that being the DC or OC at Texas, Bama, OSU, UGA et al is a better proving ground than winning at a lower level”, that would explain why everyone lined up to make Willie Martinez a head coach. Like it or not, running a program is different from running a defense. Also, you overlook that Herman was an OC at a major program before he arrived at UH.

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              • Hal Welch

                For a year lol… A whole year. Dude I’ve never bought the Texas hype. If they were so great they’d have more natties than anyone. Everything is bigger in Texas… Especially the hype.

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                • Not sure what you’re chuckling about. Herman was the UH head coach for two seasons and was Meyer’s OC for three.

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                  • Hal Welch

                    Ok, so let’s assume everything is absolute and football does occur in a vacuum. I’d then have to assume being Meyer’s OC is the same as being Saban’s DC for 11 years (or however long that was all totaled). But wait, Herman wasn’t Coorch’s OC long enough to even see a graduating class. Then as a HC he was 13-1 then 9-3, that’s regression… At OSU he had the 9th, 7th, and 46th best offenses in the country pretty good I suppose unless you rate the league he played in as having no defenses. Meanwhile Kirby’s defenses had an aggregate finish of 6.5 finishing 1st 4 times since he became DC. Again I personally don’t rate being the HC at Houston for a cup of coffee AND regressing as proof that he’d have been a better hire than Kirby. Time will tell which of us is right but we’re both way out here on hypotheticals and supposition at this point.

                    Now I do agree with you that the process from firing to hiring was a farce and one that ADGM bumbled with from the start. I would have simply said, “We found out through our sources that USCe was interested and perhaps even close to signing the man that we felt most passionately about hiring. We’ve wanted Kirby to come home for several years now having reached out to him when the DC position was open previously. It was time. We were not going to sit idly by and watch a Georgia guy go rebuild South Carolina.” Placating beyond that was just disingenuous at best and frankly insulting. The entire process, including firing Mark, was because Kirby was on the move and they didn’t want Carolina to get him. And by the way, that’s from a very credible knowledgeable source of mine.

                    I don’t think supporting Kirby is the same thing as supporting GM… and as bad as I’d like a change in that position I’m hoping Kirby failing isn’t the reason it happens.

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                    • No offense, but you’ve missed my entire point here.

                      I don’t know whether Georgia should have hired Tom Herman.

                      But I’m damned sure Georgia should have done its proper due diligence during the hiring process and interviewed him, based on his availability and credentials, along with Smart and probably a couple of other candidates, to make sure it was getting the best man for the job. (Of course, that assumes somebody in the administration is sharp enough to make a proper determination, which is a subject for another day.)

                      By the way, how did coordinators Smart and Herman do in their last head-to-head meeting? Perhaps this is a good answer to that.

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              • Hal Welch

                Money doesn’t solve everything… if money and recruits were the end all Texas would have more natties than anyone. But they don’t. And like UGA they went 30-some years without one. Your Willie Martinez comment above is likely the worst example you’ve ever written… he wasn’t a good coordinator. You can do better than that, I believe in you. People do line up for the good ones, McIlwain, Fisher, Muschamp, Smart, Stoops, Richt, Foster and dozens more. By the way, of the four active coaches with national championship rings, 2 of the four were hired as first time head coaches at the school they won the NC at in Fisher and Swinney. It’d be 3 of 5 of Stoops hadn’t retired. By the by and for what it’s worth, to support my argument that it’s more important being a OC/DC at a major program than being a HC at a mid-level program… all 3 in Swinney*, Stoops, and Fisher were major program coordinators. Meyer is the only coach to come from the mid-level up and succeed in the way we all hope Kirby does.

                *Swinney carries an obvious asterisk

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            • Napoleon BonerFart

              I think you’ve got it backwards. He’s not criticizing ADGM’s process because it resulted in hiring Smart. He’s criticizing hiring Smart because of ADGM’s process (or lack thereof).

              Liked by 1 person

        • Greg

          “Corch” would have had the same ole boring 10 wins.

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    • 81Dog

      we all hope Kirby succeeds. By the way, what “CMR had 15 years to do” included winning an SEC title in year 2, after UGA hadn’t won an SEC in nearly 20 years, right? Kirby didn’t inherit an Alabama roster, but he also didn’t inherit a Nicholls State roster. He’s had 2 stellar recruiting years, he has several talented upperclassmen. It’s time for him to start justifying all the stated beliefs that he’s The Man.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Bright Idea

    I think Kirby can coach but the deal will be if his staff can coach and how he manages them if they can’t. He can’t afford to be slow to judge and make decisions on staff. That was also a problem for Richt. Having more financial support for staff seems to be an asset now that Richt never enjoyed.

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  9. lakedawg

    Since you me since the old coach was mentioned, will be interesting to see how he does this year being in a similar position as is Dawgs. A fan base expecting a big bump in second year with somewhat similar teams except CMR does not have a QB who has been thru the wars for a year.g

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  10. 3rdandGrantham

    Outstanding thoughts — this might be my favorite entry in quite a while.Our recruiting and roster management — though improving — was not up to par. The numbers and overall class rankings highlight this. As for the win totals, I’m sorry, but a historically weak SEC east led to many 10 win season that still felt, well, less than satisfying. Take CMR’s last year for instance — we won 10 games yet were 0-3 against ranked teams, and beat exactly zero P5 teams with a winning record during the regular season. Yet, rival fans like SCU were astounded that we fired a coach who had a good chance (at the time) to win 10 games that season.

    Someone posted this the other day elsewhere, but UGA hasn’t been to a major bowl since way back in the ’07 season (Sugar bowl vs. Hawaii). Meanwhile, a ton (and I mean ton) of programs have been to at least 1 or more major bowls since then, including schools grossly inferior to us like Ole Miss. This, along with CMR’s absolutely horrid record against ranked teams in recent years, is why he was ultimately fired.

    With all that said, if Kirby struggles again this year, I’ll be firmly in the concern camp and will wonder if he ever will be able to get the job done. His recruiting and roster management thus far has been unreal, but as we all know that’s only half the battle.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      Here’s a c/p from SalvageDawg’s excellent post on The Junkyard regarding UGA major bowl drought:

      Here’s the thing, we haven’t played in a major bowl game since 2007. That’s bad and totally unacceptable at Georgia. Winning the SEC might be a bit overzealous this year but what I listed above is completely in reach and should be the goal for this team. I went back to look at all the teams who have played in major bowl games since our last appearance in the Sugar Bowl against Hawaii. Get ready to cringe.

      Virginia Tech-3 times
      Cincinnati-2 times
      Utah-1 time
      Boise State-2 times
      TCU-3 times
      Iowa-2 times
      Georgia Tech-2 times
      Auburn-3 times
      Arkansas-1 time
      Connecticut-1 time
      Wisconsin-4 times
      Oklahoma State-2 times
      West Virginia-1 time
      Northern Illinois-1 time
      Louisville-1 time
      Kansas State-1 time
      Michigan State-3 times
      UCF-1 time
      Baylor-2 times
      Ole Miss-2 times
      Arizona-1 time
      Mississippi State-1 time
      Houston-1 time
      Western Michigan-1 time
      Washington-1 time

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      • 92 grad

        I get your point but the real issue with New Years bowl games has to do with the media and committee. The loser of the championship game always gets screwed with the #3 bowl pick with the winner being advanced, and the runner up team getting the #2 pick because they don’t have the extra loss and usually have some kind of narrative that propels them past the championship game loser. It’s crap.

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          I got it — we were screwed in ’12, and I wholeheartedly agree with you and eethomas below. But that was just one year out of the last 10 in which you could make a legitimate argument that we were screwed. After all, its not like we’ve lost to Bama in 5 of the last 6 SECC games and got screwed afterwards; most years of late its been the likes of UF and freakin’ Mizzou who have repped the east while we were sitting at home. Even worse, we’ve only made two SECC appearances since way back in ’05 with Shockley and co., with again the SEC east being historically bad during most of these years.

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        • MGW

          It was only crap in 12. The east winner has gotten boat raced in the SEC championship the last four years and had no business in a major bowl. Could happen like 12 again, but 12 is the only year really worth complaining about so far.

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          • 3rdandGrantham

            Indeed. Again I just realized this morning that we’ve only been to 2 SECC games since way back in ’05. Given UF’s and especially UT’s struggles over the years, this is pathetic. Hell, since joining the SEC 5 years ago, Mizzou has been to more SECC games than we have. Utterly insane.

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            • Irwin R. Fletcher

              UF has been to 5, UGA has been to 2, Mizzou to 2, Carolina 1, Tennessee 1 in that same span. The number by itself stinks…but it isn’t like we are getting lapped by everyone and their brother.

              What bothers even more than just not having a good enough team to get to Atlanta some of those years…is the fact that are specifically two years, 2007 and 2014, we let inferior teams get to Atlanta because of inexplicable close losses to South Carolina teams that were not that good.

              Liked by 1 person

    • Frankly, we got screwed out of a major bowl game appearance in 2012 by the effect of losing the SECCG. On the flip side, Richt blew a chance for a NY6 game in 2014 with the pooch kick decision against tech.

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  11. PTC DAWG

    I’m glad Kirby is laying it out there..the players and coaches both need to hear it. Fans too for that matter…

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  12. heyberto

    This certainly underscores something I was saying at the time.. Mark Richt was right in the middle of a pivot in his recruiting. Not many coaches can set aside ego and truly analyze what they’d done wrong and course correct. I do give CMR a lot of credit for that. It wasn’t the first time he’d done it either. One of the reasons I was so critical of his firing was it didn’t make sense to me that the Administration fire him mid pivot… they should’ve done it before they upped his resources and compensation. Not to save money mind you, but if you don’t have the patience to see it through, then I think that was short-sighted on McGarity & Company’s part. In retrospect, we all know now what was really happening, and I agree it was probably time. Water under the bridge and all that. But it does underscore how wishy washy this administration is.

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  13. I’m well aware that Kirby might have a vested interest in telling people the talent level at UGA didn’t fit the fan expectations when he arrived, but that doesn’t mean it’s untrue. Now let’s see what Kirby can do with a much more talented roster than the day he was hired.

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  14. Otto

    Yes Richt would have hauled in another good class. Richt would get back to the 10 win mark assuming he fixed his last OC hire. I do not remember hearing evidence he was hiring a new OC and past track record showed he was slow to move with firing coaches (Martinez, Fabris). If Schott stays UGA’s record is likely the same trading a win and loss here or there. Yes Richt had errors early which likely cost UGA a title or an Auburn 2004 scenario. My decision on wanting a change at HC was not due to the 1st half of his time in Athens

    Richt was slow to correct problems, special teams, DC, roster management clock management. Smart may not successfully solve these problems but he is aware of them and actively working to fix them. Smart signed a JUCO replacement to fill a spot opened by a player leaving unexpectedly early. OL recruiting is a priority, which Garbin had another nice article on: https://uga.rivals.com/news/by-the-numbers-offensive-line-on-right-track

    Richt gave no reason to believe that he would regularly capitalize on up years to win the East. Mizzou making the SECCG twice shows that point. The East was there for the taking. I doubt Richt does much better in ’16 than Smart. Even if Richt wins a couple more games, I’ll take the possible longer term upside with Smart. I believe Richt was a burned out CEO, and much of the fan base was burned out on him. Hopefully both UGA and Richt will benefit from the change. A job isn’t a marriage and sometimes people need the change.

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    • Richt gave no reason to believe that he would regularly capitalize on up years to win the East. Mizzou making the SECCG twice shows that point. The East was there for the taking.

      You don’t the the rash of injuries on offense in 2013 had a major impact on the way that season played out?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Senator, for some with an ax to grind, those injuries didn’t matter.

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      • Otto

        I also believe roster management magnified the impact of those injuries, and I still question if S&C changes would have prevented some of the injuries. Richt put himself in a situation where he could not afford injuries. Richt had teams that were very capable of winning the east in ’14 and ’15 as well. 3 teams that could win the East without a trip to Atlanta. The losses that kept UGA out in ’14 were to teams that went 3-5 and 4-4 in the SEC. The case on wanting Richt replaced was not made for me over 1 year or 1 issue.

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        • I also believe roster management magnified the impact of those injuries…

          Right. A real program would have had another back as good and as experienced as Gurley and Marshall were when they went down. And fourth, fifth and sixth receivers as good as the ones who got hurt.

          Look, I get criticizing Richt’s roster management. That doesn’t change what happened in 2013. The best roster management in the world wouldn’t have made up for that.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Otto

            A back as good as as Gurley or Marshall shouldn’t be required to beat Vandy. Yes the injuries likely take UGA out of the SEC East race but not the depths the season it sunk.

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            • Did you take a good look at Murray’s surrounding cast for that game? Not just the running backs, but all the skill position guys?

              Hell, Smart couldn’t beat Vandy last season with Chubb and Michel.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Otto

                Maybe they should have signed 80 guys.

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              • Otto

                ..and maybe UGA should have signed a new HC with HC experience but we are locked into that decision now. Smart will come with a learning curve I didn’t want but I am willing to give him time to learn.

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                  • Otto

                    Thank you, I try to go off trends, and I don’t expect what the average Bammer expects but at the same time a decade of evidence across multiple areas is enough to make my decision. Which yes my decision means diddly but we enjoy discussing or we wouldn’t be here. Firing Richt and the replacement hire are 2 separate but yes linked questions.

                    We’ll see on Smart. I expect a 3 loss year and no I don’t think it is the end of the world. Year 3 is what I am really waiting to see.

                    I also believe Smart’s continued focus on Bama after accepting the job cost UGA. I do understand why he did it, and yes part of me admires him for not just ditching his kids at the prior job like countless other coaches. It is a tough situation for sure.

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      • PTC DAWG

        I’ll give that one year….but seriously, why are we discussing CMR again?

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    • Irwin R. Fletcher

      Uhhh…Mizzou was really good in 2013. Florida went 7-1 in the SEC in 2015. In general, the East has been down…but can we stop acting like other schools don’t have really good teams every once in a while?

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  15. 83Dawg

    Meanwhile, in Coral Gables, Miami is opening practice with about 74/75 players on scholarship.

    Some things apparently never change…

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    • Otto

      I’d love to see a link on this but I am not interested enough to spend the time digging for. It would certainly go to my point of continued problems that were not addressed or were addressed slowly.

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      • 83Dawg

        To be fair, they have a large incoming class next spring/fall, but, you know, we also heard that so many years at Georgia…

        He’s also run off a few players. Including Kaaya (gently), so I hope N’Kosi Perry works out for him, because he really needs to play him without Kaaya around.

        And back to the “some things never change”, they had a craptastic run in the middle of the season featuring poor QB play, questionable play calling, and a special teams screw-up (blocked extra point after what should have been the tying touchdown vs FSU late in the game).

        Still think he is a good man and a good coach and wish him well.

        On some level it is funny that he has run off both Quincy Carter and Brad Kaaya, who are pretty much opposites, personality-wise. And personal-life wise…

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  16. hooper

    History will be very kind to CMR as the years roll by. CKS is writing his history now, and 30 years from now some young fan taking the time to study the history of our program isn’t going to give one Buddy Stevens F word about lack of this, or lack of that when he took over. He will have either built onto the greatest run of winning in our history, or he will be the coach who let the program slide back to historical levels, or worse.
    At some point he will no longer be able to blame the poor talent that he has to coach for………………..Well talent fixes everything doesn’t it.

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    • Greg

      HA!….love the Buddy Stephens reference, watching the second season now (last night). Chauncey kinda disappoint me so far.

      Like

  17. Greg

    “Richt did a good job coaching the talent he left himself.  (If you don’t believe that, go count the number of football teams that managed that many wins over that two-year period.)  Certainly, he got better results than Smart achieved last season”…..excellent point.

    “I knew the level of expectation didn’t necessarily meet the quality of players that were here.”…..kind of dug himself a hole here, I just hope that he can prove that he can do better players that fit what he wants to do. I also remember him saying that he needed bigger, faster & stronger players. That he did not have the players he needs to compete. Statements like that alienates your players imo.

    “Richt would have brought in a good 2016 class, too, had he lasted”……yep, #3 at the time of his termination. I also think that the excitement of the new IPF helped.. :>)

    The closer we get to kickoff, the more excited I get…..more than a year ago. I really hope that Kirby can take us to where Richt couldn’t….

    All good points, good read…Thanks!

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  18. DawgFlan

    Richt, in my mind, is a great coach that became trapped in several dysfunctional relationships – AD, assistant coaches, players, media, fans, overall roster situation. There is enough blame to go around, starting with Richt himself. I admire Richt, and tend to empathize with how he got into the predicaments he found himself (loyalty vs. stubbornness, principles vs. mis-management, respect vs. insubordination, etc.), but whatever the perspective, there was no way we was going to be able to fix/pivot/correct it all at UGA. I think he may very well get it done at Miami, however, and wish him the best.

    But I’m a UGA grad and fan, so I am more interested in seeing how Kirby does here. The admin is all-in, he built his own coaching staff , and now has full roster that he mostly built and compares favorably to any SEC team not named Alabama. We’re not asking him to be Alabama or even beat Alabama this year, so I could do without his constant comparisons and complaints. We’re asking him to make something positive given the 2017 roster and schedule.

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  19. steve

    Meanwhile Stephen Garcia is still breaking off side mirrors, Rodney Garner is still fat and lazy and Booch is adding Wiggins to his list of ‘lifetime champions’….wouldn’t it be nice if we could ‘click-shift’ the column of 32 days and make them disappear? Appalachian State 1815 hrs. Nick’s first 68 yd TD run at 1823 hrs. And then you feel the spiritual transfusion as all the forgotten memories suddenly appear like a feral tomcat.

    Like

  20. Charles

    Sweet Jesus this post is so chock full of truth I ain’t even…

    You’ve expressed exactly what I’ve been trying to express for over a year, but haven’t been able to find the right contrast. Good stuff, Senator.

    Like

    • hooper

      I agree with Charles. If I could type/write well enough, or express myself better with the written word……..Yes, good stuff.

      Like

  21. 69Dawg

    When a lifetime defensive coordinator can’t get his defense to beat a team that is down and beaten with 10 yes 10 seconds to go. When he can’t beat the perinial door mat of the conference because his DEFENSE can’t stop them. Finally when he can’t figure out how to defense our biggest rival and yes GT is our biggest rival, just ask Jim Donnan. The we have problems. You have to be blind to not see that Kirby is still the DC of this team Tucker is like a Grad Asst. I am still of the opinion that Kirby will never be a threat to Saban’s undefeated streak against his former asst coaches.

    Kirby will make excuses. I think now we have him he should get his chance to get his players 4 – 5 years unless we keep losing to Vandy and GT. McGoofy is not going to fire Kirby because he knows he will be going with him. So it will take the whiskey barons to get things straight again.

    On the bright side Kirby will give the next HC a much better group of players and hopefully the next AD won’t be a UGA Grad but a real AD from a proven school not a life long asst AD who obviously was not responsible for any of UF’s winnings. Oh yea lets get a damn HC coach we don’t have to train.

    Like

  22. Squatchdawg

    New coaches should get 3-4 years before you judge their work and ability to do the job. That’s the way it’s always been and the way it should be here….because new coaches are having to start from scratch with new staffs, philosophies, game plans, etc. Richt winning c number of games over x number of years doesn’t change this. It would be the same if we hired Nick Saban or Elmo….they need time to get their recruits and system(s) in place.

    Many want to take out their anger (still) on McGarity firing Richt by somehow ignoring the typical curve for new coaches. It’s just stupid and annoying – and not fair to the coaches or players.

    Like

    • Do you understand that people who bang on McGarity are doing it not because of the decision to remove Richt but the absolute lack of a hiring process and then the cynical use of Kirby to get the open records law changed and to increase giving levels and prices?

      I also know Georgia went from 8-4 and some head scratching losses to SEC champions in a year. I don’t think an appearance in Atlanta is too much to expect in 2017.

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      • Otto

        Many are blaming McGarity for Richt’s failures.

        I don’t think McGarity is smart enough to use Smart to get the open records law changed. Honestly I don’t think Smart expected to get that but he mentioned the difference to someone that could make it happen.

        A trip to Atlanta is not unreasonable but expecting hot seat talk if he does reach it is unreasonable. I think UGA was further behind than people realize and Smart’s inexperience and Smart staying with Bama through the playoff essentially costs UGA a year on the much hyped 2nd year success.

        Like

        • “Many are blaming McGarity for Richt’s failures.”

          I think that’s partially the case. He came in 2010 and shot down requests to make financial commitments to the program … the IPF at the top of the list. Even up to 2014, the AD seemed to go out of his way to submarine Richt.

          “I don’t think McGarity is smart enough to use Smart to get the open records law changed.”

          Really? Why would Kirby go to the General Assembly and wade into the muck of Georgia politics in his first 90 days on the job without his bosses’ urging and/or blessing?

          “Smart staying with Bama through the playoff essentially costs UGA a year on the much hyped 2nd year success.”

          Kirby made that bed … now he has to lie in it. He doesn’t get a pass because of the decision to split his time between Athens and T-town.

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          • Otto

            I think it was an off the cuff comment that went further than ever intended or thought at all possible. I very much doubt McGarity had any cynical use of Kirby to get the open records law changed.

            He will get a pass as I highly doubt he has a Chizik style implosion. If he wins in year 3, he will be back for year 4. Yes, GT is a must win if he drops this year the hot seat talk is real, and 0-3 likely gets him canned. GT has had success against 1st year DCs, I expect the rebound after the loss to continue as it has twice before.

            Like

      • Squatch

        I think McGarity is incompetent. But turning that into “CKS better win the east or else” in his second year is just silly.

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        • This team should win the East. The talent as a whole is better than our rivals. The question is whether the coaches can get the most out of the talent on the field … it’s the same question people have been asking since 2014 (I still give the previous guy a pass for the injuries in 2013).

          Whether Kirby ends up on a hot seat in December is highly dependent on beating tech, beating some combination of Tennessee, Florida and Auburn, and having the team play for 60 minutes in any losses. 0 wins vs. the Big 4 would be disastrous for recruiting momentum and likely for the staff’s long-term prospects. YMMV.

          Like

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