“This was, for all intents and purposes, a voluntary rebuild.”

Bill Connelly’s Georgia preview, despite an occasional foray into cheekiness (“I’m not going to lie:  I’ve enjoyed needling Georgia fans over the last year and a half.”) reads like it was written by somebody who’s checked out the comments section here once or twice.

Perceptions are an incredible thing. If Georgia were your typical rebuild job — say, a South Carolina situation, in which the product fell off late in a great coach’s tenure, then fell some more — then it would be easy to say Kirby Smart’s efforts are pretty encouraging.

Despite a reset of sorts on both sides of the ball, Smart’s first team won eight games, beat rival Auburn, and won a bowl game, then inked a spectacular recruiting class, the third-best in the country.

This wasn’t a South Carolina situation, though. This was, for all intents and purposes, a voluntary rebuild.

Smart inherited one of the stablest programs in the country, one that fielded one iffy team in 2015 after four straight excellent ones … and had still won 10 games with that iffy team. Georgia declared that it wants all the recruits and all the rivalry wins; Mark Richt’s 10 wins per year weren’t enough.

Richt was more successful than Vince Dooley, and he was regarded to be one of the best men in football. He had bounced back from downturns before in his 15 years as Georgia head coach. A couple of lean classes had created a two-deep less plump than he was used to, but odds were good he’d get past it. But instead of renovating the mansion, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity tore it down to build a new one.

Glad to see I’m not the only one who noticed.

I’m not going to spoil the rest of what he posted and you should read it in its entirety, but there’s one stat he unearthed that is definitely worth a share.

The recipe was pretty easy. When Chubb averaged at least 6 yards per carry in a game, Georgia scored at least 28 points.

At the risk of dredging back up something I posted a few days ago, 28 points would have beaten Vanderbilt and Florida (!) and sent the Tech game to overtime.  Sure would have made for a dramatically different 2016, no?

I believe Bill’s touched on this season’s Job One for Jim Chaney and the offensive line.

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123 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

123 responses to ““This was, for all intents and purposes, a voluntary rebuild.”

  1. paul

    Good work from Bill. How depressing is it to see this sentence? “But if 2017 Georgia looks like a more experienced version of 2016 Georgia, and Eason doesn’t develop that much, and Chubb never finds fifth gear, then 6-6 or 7-5 are on the table.” And I don’t get why our win probability at Notre Dame is only 41%. Is Notre Dame even supposed to have a decent team this year?

    Like

    • Advanced stats love the Irish this year. Here’s why:

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      • DawgPhan

        best 4-8 team in the country.

        and we did get dusted by a 5-7 team last year. Not really sure why UGA fans think the trip to South Bend is going to be a cake walk.

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        • Got Cowdog

          We ain’t getting any love, that’s for sure. That being said, I can’t help but think (hope) that there is a method to the madness, that the Dawgs will show up and play like they mean it. Hungry. Angry. Bad in a you see me coming you better run, Homey, sort of way.

          That’s what I want to see. The season can’t get here fast enough, August sucks.

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          • PTC DAWG

            That’s why I’m going to spend a week at the beach, after school has started back all over the metro ATL…good times….

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        • PTC DAWG

          I don’t think that at all, our road schedule is a BEAR…

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          • This seems lost on a lot of people, even in the media. I’ve read countless pieces citing UGAs smooth schedule, yet that includes ND, Tenn, AUB and UF all away from home. Those are damn hard games. If UGA goes 2-2 in that stretch I’d be somewhat surprised.

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            • 81Dog

              ND was 4-8 last year. Spin that however Bill likes, we won twice as many games against a tougher schedule and have a ton of returning starters. If we are worth a damn, that should be a win. Tennessee? New QB, lost a number of starters, weren’t all that good last year and we let them slip away. We have a ton of returning starters and an experienced QB who stepped up pretty well against them last year as a true freshman. If we are worth a damn, that should be a win. Auburn? We’re on an historic run of wins against them. Cam ain’t suiting up over there, and Trigga Trey is in THEIR backfield. They are breaking in a new QB, too. We have a ton of returning starters from a better team than they were last year, and an experienced QB who beat them last year as a true freshman. If we are worth a damn, that should be a win.

              Florida? I have no explanation for how we played the last two years against them, so I will just say they are breaking in a new QB (though they beat us two in a row with some scrub), they lost several players, and we haven’t. If we are worth a damn, we should be able to beat them, too.

              I’m tired already of the “but but but Kirby needs more time.” He needs more time to build a team that can beat Alabama and win a NC, but if he’s a difference maker, we should be able to win the east THIS year.

              Liked by 1 person

        • paul

          I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be a cakewalk. Notre Dame won’t roll over. When you take a lot of freshmen linemen to a place like South Bend there’s bound to be some awe/intimidation that needs to be overcome. I just think our chances ought to be a little better than 41%. Maybe it’s just my preseason optimism finally starting to rear its ugly head.

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          • Uglydawg

            Kids today aren’t especially awed by ND. It’s just another place to them. They grew up being awed by other things.
            I agree, ND will not roll over.
            The biggest game of this season is actually Mississippi State. They are almost always a sound and determined opponent. Can’t figure out why everyone is overlooking this early SEC game. I’d rather win it than the ND game (I’ll certainly love it if we win them both)..but it counts for something very important that ND doesn’t. Getting to Atlanta. Lose that one and we’re getting a very early look at that eight ball.

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      • MGW

        We could have a very good team, win a close one against ND, and that would be completely Dawggraded.

        Frankly I really don’t see anyone on the schedule until maybe UF or Auburn, if they’re ranked very high by the time we play them, who wouldn’t be dawggraded until the SEC championship. ND had a bad record last year, and the “SEC East is terrible” thing is here to stay until an East team wins in Atlanta, or we totally dominate the cross division games (ain’t happening this year).

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      • Justin Perez

        I’m sure y’all have been on top of this but not seeing the good teams that ND lost to last year:

        L by 3 to 5-7 Texas
        L by 8 to 3-9 Michigan St.
        L by 3 AT HOME to 4-8 Duke
        L by 7 to 7-6 NC State
        L by 7 to 10-3 Stanford
        L by 3 to 10-4 VT
        L by 1 to 9-5 Navy

        By my count you could only call three of those teams “good” and two of the three “good” teams beat ND in South Bend. Arguably the best team they faced last year was USC and they got stomped by 18 and only then because of a late score.

        Even their blowout wins came against absolute cannon fodder in Nevada, Syracuse, and Army. They beat Miami but just by three. All four wins came at home. ND went winless on the road………..

        This is not to stay we should just assume that we are going to win in South Bend, but Bill’s tweet is fairly misleading.

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  2. doofusdawg

    That’s a bunch of stats. Think it comes down to installing a new offense that was hamstung and predictable to defend. On defense it was all assignment based with not enough aggression… hopefully another indication of installing a new system. Year two and if Cheney can’t figure out how to score four touchdowns every game and if the defense is stuck in that read and react mode then it will be another long season.

    Kirby ‘s offseason comments and his desire and energy would indicate that things have changed. He knows what’s at stake.

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  3. Otto

    The better than Dooley statement always annoys. UGA and the SEC as a whole has more resource and access to talent. Dooley is not the comparison. UGA historically has been the 3rd winningest program in the SEC. Does it have the 3rd or 4th most championships sine the SEC split?

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    • Saban changes everything. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Otto

        Saban or no Saban UGA has been giving up ground to comparable programs since the SEC division split. Richt’s first half of his tenure did gain some ground back. Saban has not stopped UGA from winning the East.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Stoopnagle

        Spurrier changed everything, too.

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        • Otto

          Agreed I have read quotes that Bear Bryant said Florida had the access to talent to win but they didn’t have the staff/AD to be the giant the program had the natural resources to be.

          Florida as a state has changed greatly over the years and Florida’s success on the field has grown with it.

          UGA could and should as well. UGA has funding, history, the state is 4th in producing talent by most measurements and has always recruited Florida well. However, UGA has squandered it which does not begin or end with the HC hired. We can and have debated on here, where that would need to change.

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      • Macallanlover

        I think people who think Dooley was our best coach did not live through the Dooley years. The 1980-1985 years not close to being representative. That was a lot of painful football, even in a day when no school was flashy on offense we were boring with a capital B. We were solid on STs and usually had a defensive stud to make a big play. The 2015 Mizzou was pretty much like every game we played for years. I think it is why tailgates were the biggest reason folks attended games.

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    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      I agree. The times were so different it’s really hard to compare the two. Without a doubt, Mark was successful early on, and we as fans were excited. But then like an open can of coke that sat out overnight things went flat.

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  4. “but odds were good he’d get past it.”

    Oh?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Granthams replacement

    Kirby inherited a culture of soft players, poor recruiting on the line of scrimmage, and a transition at QB. Kirby and his staff made plenty of mistakes but over the last 7 months he has addressed most of the gaps – kicking game (kickers, returners,and coaching), real OL talent, WR and DB size, and weeding out players that did not buy in to the staff. I believe the product on the field will be improved and will continue to improve in 2018.

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  6. I found pretty much everything about the Connelly piece fair. Georgia has a lot of unknowns, so you can go one of three ways. Bet the majority of the unknowns turn out well, and UGA is 9-3 or 10-2. Bet they turn out poorly and you get 6-6 (or worse). Or bet it’s relatively even (OL is meh, Chubb is better, Eason is good but still raw, etc.) and you get 7-5/8-4. Connelly seems to be taking the last option (the safest bet, to be honest).

    If you told me Eason would progress slowly and the OL would, too, I’d buy that. If you told me the OL took 2 steps forward and Eason did, too, I’d buy that as well. The spectrum of what UGA could be this year is so varied. There’s simply so much we won’t/can’t know until we see them play.

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    • 6-6 or 7-5 = return of the hot seat meme
      10-2 = trending in the right direction

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      • paul

        eethomasswfnc I think 6-6 will get Kirby a lot more than just a hot seat. It won’t be pretty.

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        • Otto

          I doubt 6-6 gets Kirby more than the hot seat. B-M has never been known to move quickly especially on a big expense such as a contract buyout.

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          • paul

            I agree. I don’t think it gets him fired. But it does get the natives extremely upset. There would be more than just heat. Fran Tarkenton might start talking to the press again. Not to mention all the writers currently posting stories about the second year bump (almost everybody) will start writing about the second year dumpster fire. I don’t think they’ll be egging the quarterback’s house this time around.

            Liked by 1 person

      • 81Dog

        that sounds fair to me. 10-2 is a sign of improvement, even though it’s about what we had pre-Kirby most years, record wise. The former would be much more of a sign that we aimed for Saban 2.0 and snagged Zook 2.0.

        That said, I want Kirby to succeed, and I think Kirby expects to succeed. I’m not saying he can’t do it, I just don’t think he’s proved he can do it yet. And, I hope he doesn’t prove he cant do it, which kind of feels like what 6-6 would indicate.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. one that fielded one iffy team in 2015 after four straight excellent ones

    2013 and 2014 were not excellent seasons. 2015 had 10 wins and didn’t beat a single ranked team… and almost lost to Georgia Southern. That’s a hell of a long way from being one play away from a national title appearance in 2012. The trajectory of the program was clearly down over that three-year stretch, culminating in football that was practically unwatchable in 2015, and there would have been complete uncertainty about the staff going forward. To cap it off, instead of firing Schottenheimer before the Florida game, he gives a backup QB his first start in the WLOCP which ranks up there with some of the more baffling coaching decisions anyone at UGA has ever made. Richt was going to have to replace both coordinators and probably a significant portion of his staff as well. That’s not a voluntary rebuild. That’s replacing bad hires and bad apples. The only difference between Richt hiring new coordinators and Kirby hiring new coordinators was that Richt had already proven that he wasn’t good at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D.N. Nation

      2014 had some serious duds, but when that team was on, it was ON. Blowout wins over good teams (Clemson, Mizzou, Arkansas, Auburn, Louisville) are hard to ignore. After that season, Connelly’s wrap-up for ’14 UGA was that they had about four terrible quarters all season, and unfortunately for them, clustered them in the same two games.

      But. That’s the aggregate. Close-up, you see an astonishing sleepwalk against Florida, and an all-time brain fart against Trek that took the team out of a NY6 appearance. 2014 is the Richt Era in a nutshell the more I think about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We Will Get Fooled Again

        2014 wasn’t a great season because of the inexplicable losses, but that WAS an excellent team. They had the best point differential in the SEC — yes, even better than Bama — and showed an extra gear in thrashing some really good opponents.

        I view that season as the one of the two or three biggest missed opportunities in Richt’s tenure. Not getting to at least the SEC title game with that team was inexcusable. All we had to do was beat either South Carolina or Florida, both of whom were vastly inferior to us.

        Liked by 1 person

      • siskey

        I agree. That was a woulda coulda shoulda season and team.

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    • (This)(1000)

      I’m not a Connelly disciple, and am generalizing, but it seems like The punditry class loved calling UGA, including CMR, a bunch of underachievers. I seem to recall a slew of CMR does less with more articles. Every year. It was more than a meme, it was accepted fact. I was working in Palm Springs on the day of the 2015 UA game, and some dude commented on my Georgia shirt, “Is Richt finally gonna win a big game today?”

      Sorry to ramble, but I have a point, however weak.

      I go to church with a dude that works for Fox Sports national HQ in Los Angeles. Many a Sunday, he would rib me about CMR being an underachiever. But when CMR got fired, my buddy and the punditry class acted like we were out of our bulldog loving minds to expect more out of the program.

      This is obviously not aimed at the senator, and I am too lazy to back up my rant with links. But I don’t feel like I’m making shit up, either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s been pretty much Dan Wolken’s entire career when discussing Georgia. He loved nothing more than to shit on Richt at any opportunity like Richt stole his kitten or something. As soon as Richt was fired – he was the head cheerleader on the “Georgia fans are dumb” bandwagon. While I don’t disagree with the assertion that we’re pretty much dumb as shit to replace the winningest coach in school history without a legitimate coaching search; you can’t really have your cake and eat it, too.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Uglydawg

        Very telling. I think Connelly is jerking us off.

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        • D.N. Nation

          Connelly’s consistent. He always liked Richt, never thought he needed to go, was flummoxed when we did it. He thought 2012 UGA was a championship-level team that got unlucky, that 2014 UGA was nearly as good, and even thought the endless “final score 14-10” of 2015 was a better product than we all thought.

          Wolken is different. He’s decidedly in the HA HA RICHT CAN’T WIN THE BIG ONE/WHYDJA FIRE RICHT HUH? camp. (Now with added “Richt will win a natty at Miami.”)

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    • Rocketdawg

      Are you on drugs??

      2013 was a damn good team until the injuries started to pile up. That team would have won the East hands down had it not been for our RB’s and WR’s looking like a MASH unit.

      2014 was also a very solid team. Mason gets a lot of shit for not having a cannon for an arm but the kid knew where to go with the football. That team averaged over 40 points a game. The WLOCP was a disaster defensively and the coaching brain fart at the end lost the Texh game. Win that game and the 2014 team is likely in the Sugar Bowl.

      2015 sucked. Would Richt have turned it around? Who knows. We’ll never find out.

      If Kirby trots out another 8-4/7-5 team he better buy some asbestos underwear to protect his ass from the molten hot seat he will be sitting on.

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      • Southernlawyer11

        Yep on 2013, two top 10 wins in the month of September. For me, the biggest let down of that season was the Clemson loss…..the later injuries were what they were. That offensive synergy between Bobo, Murray and the receivers is what I crave today.

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  8. Biggus Rickus

    I’m not sure who’s talking themselves into being happy with an 8-win season. Acceptance and happiness are not the same thing. As for the prediction, the offense is indeed a giant question mark. The defense, however, is about as assured of dramatic improvement as a unit can be in this situation. At least we’ll know pretty early, as there’s nobody markedly better than Notre Dame on the schedule (probably).

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    • Got Cowdog

      To hammer the point home, best 4-8 team out there last year AND media darlings.

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      • Biggus Rickus

        I think they were better than their record indicates, though they still have some major flaws. More to the point, I don’t think anyone on Georgia’s schedule stands to be a legitimate top 10 team.

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        • Macallanlover

          Yes, they are good enough to win a close, low scoring game at home with their backs against the wall. But we are the better team, just not overwhelming so, unless all our offensive questions are answered positively at that early point in the season. This game is looked at to be a one possession game, no slam dunk for either. My guess is either would win if they can get 21+ points, and FG success could be the decisive factor. Also right that we are unlikely to face a team ranked in the Top 10 before the SECCG.

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  9. Will Trane

    For me the most notable fact posted in the article was about the 2017 schedule…lot of very good rush defenses. Last was a subpar run-game blocking for the Dawgs. They did not have it. One of the worst the Dawgs have fielded in years. Great effort and high spirits but it was a patch work. The key on the line for me is the center. Hopefully Pittman can work this position up as the season goes on, but it could be the reason the 2nd year record resembles the first. Young and inexperienced. Coach Pittman will earn his keep this year.
    Level of play and consistency has to be better.
    The offensive line will be the key. When you look at Tennessee they bring back a lot of experience on their line.
    How the O line looks on the road, even if a loss, against ND will be telling to a point.
    Personally, I am laying of the scoreboard first one fourth of season. More interested in how they look and progress.

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  10. UGA85

    I guess it’s time to again look backward as the season begins, right? I completely disagree with many of the opinions of the writer, especially his assertion that Richt was more successful than Dooley. To dogmatically look at Richt’s many great qualities without seeing the downward trend of UGA football over the past 10 years is, IMO, not being objective. A staff that was at each other’s throats (literally), an absence of championships, and continued futility vs. UF add up to a loss of hope. Enough people in power gave up on the hope that Richt could overcome, reverse the trend, beat UF, produce championships, etc. I agree that Richt is a great man. But I disagree with these useless attempts to nostalgically look back, then proclaim doomsday warnings about the future of UGA football. Let’s be optimistic and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely disagree with many of the opinions of the writer, especially his assertion that Richt was more successful than Dooley. To dogmatically look at Richt’s many great qualities without seeing the downward trend of UGA football over the past 10 years is, IMO, not being objective.

      Vince Dooley’s post-Walker career says, “hold my beer”.

      Liked by 2 people

      • UGA85

        Vince retired, what, six or seven years after winning 3 SEC titles in a row and a national championship, and he did have a pretty good first year without Herschel. Richt’s 10 year drought, together with the obvious, and overlooked, staff disarray, seem more significant to me.

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        • So much for that whole downward trend thing.

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          • UGA85

            ???? Sorry, but I missed that one entirely

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            • UGA football fell off more precipitously in Dooley’s last five seasons than in Richt’s last five seasons.

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              • UGA85

                But I guess my point was that CMR went 10 seasons with no championships, vs. Dooley’s, what, 7, before he retired? And Dooley, of course, also had just had an incredible run. So, as downward trends go, Richt’s, to me, was longer

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                • Dooley had an incredible player. You think Dooley would have won another SEC championship if he hadn’t quit after the ’88 season?

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                  • UGA85

                    Richt had Stafford, Green, Moreno, and many more on the same team. 2008 was one of the most talented college teams ever, IMO. Dooley probably voluntarily stepped down at the right time. But Richt would never have talent again like he had in 2008, plus he faced total staff turnover. I don’t think Dooley or Richt had a snowball’s chance of another championship at UGA.

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                    • You’re raising a new argument here. All I was doing was pointing out that your downward trend argument doesn’t hold water.

                      In his last five seasons, Richt played for two SEC titles and was in the hunt until the last week of the season for a third chance. After the ’83 season, Dooley wasn’t close to another conference title. Not to mention that there wasn’t a program towering over the SEC in the late eighties the way ‘Bama has for the last five years.

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      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Blutarsky, I think it was more ‘what time is it’ than ‘hold my beer’.

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    • I’m optimistic about the future. It doesn’t mean I’m also not realistic about the downside risk of hiring a career assistant with little to no process. At this point, we’re as close to wandering in the wilderness for the next 5-10 years as we are to entering the Promised Land from the AD of competing for championships consistently.

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  11. Greg

    Got a chuckle out of this, especially the last sentence:

    “They were unhappy with winning more than almost any team in the country (the “almost” has been an issue for SEC programs), and most fully supported a fresh start. Now they’re talking themselves into being happy with an eight-win Smart debut.”

    All I have is hope

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  12. Jack Klompus

    Richt would have been on his 3rd Offensive staff in 3 years, likely would have had to find a new DC and would have had an AD and Boosters that didn’t support him. I don’t think that was a recipe for a resurgence.

    The 28 pts beats FL/Vandy and ties Tech- We put up 3 on FL the only teams we put up 28 or more on were UT, Southern, ULM and Vandy(!). We put up 9 on MO and 23 on Ga Southern and 13 on Tech.

    To think that we were automatically going to be putting up 28 and winning the three games above is nonsense.

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  13. CB

    On Nick Chubb’s ypc – Michel was the better back last season (both in ypc, and just generally doing runningback things) It makes me wonder how his production correlated to points? That was one of my biggest gripes about 2016, I feel like it was pretty obvious that Chubb was not his former self and Michel was more productive. I don’t understand the coaching staff’s dead set intention to ride Chubb in the run game no matter how well Michel played. Then again, I also don’t understand why we barely ran the ball at all against Florida or why we gave it to the smallest guy on the team against Vandy on 4th and 1.

    2016, the season of the ?

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    • Biggus Rickus

      They probably didn’t run the ball against Florida because they couldn’t block them, as demonstrated by nobody averaging more than 2.2 yards per carry. They did try to no avail in the first half.

      The call against Vandy was idiotic, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Damn … from a number of commenters today, you would think we’ll be lucky to win 7 games this year … and think we should celebrate in front of the Arch if we happen to win 7 against our murderers’ row schedule.

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    • Got Cowdog

      Yeah, but…….

      We could win them all ……..

      If we are good enough to beat MSU, UT, AU, and last but not least UF, then we should take care of business with the rest. I’d say the chances of that happening are as good as winning seven. That’s what’s driving us all crazy, and we will know soon enough. August sucks, and I can’t go to the beach.

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      • PharmDawg

        Any UGA football coach has GOT to consistently win 4 games each season: UT, FU, Auburn, and NATS. It got Ray Goff, it got Jim Donnan, and ultimately, it got Mark Richt. It will get Kirby too if he does not correct the trend.

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        • Otto

          15 years at Smart or Richt’s salary isn’t a bad way to be gotten.

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        • Got Cowdog

          You are correct, PD. I’m playing Disney Dawg and my gut feel is “times they are a changin'” but CKS loses those four this season? He’ll get another year, but that seat ought to be pretty warm.

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          • Otto

            If one of those 4 is NATS, it will be very very warm. I can see UGA dropping 4 while going .500 against UT, UF, Aub, and NATS.

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            • Got Cowdog

              I hope not. UT and UF are due for it and tech is now a known quantity. Auburn may be sneaky good this year. MSU is a trap, but at least they are in the west.

              I hope I never have to see Butch falling to his knees in tears of joy like a man just delivered from the gallows again. Especially at our expense. I hate orange.

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              • Otto

                My picks are losses to MSU, UF, and Aub. MSU mostly because it is early. Mullen was starting to get production from his QB. UGA has talent but young talent can better Jekyll and Hyde. Auburn has 2 options at QB that can start and win. Last year they had 1 and he was injured. I expect UF to actually have 1 starting QB for an entire year. I think their offense picks up and the D doesn’t regress as much as many hope. However, UF’s Richt style offseason attrition may change that.

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        • 69Dawg

          Only UF got Richt he had winning records against the other 3. Everybody got Ray and UT and GT got Jim.

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    • CB

      I would be legitimately surprised if more than 2 of our opponents end up in the top 25 after the bowls are played.

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  15. Uglydawg

    Connelly , a magnificent Monday morning QB, admits right up front that he’s enjoyed needling us. He’s still enjoying it. He cites all of CMR’s accomplishments, and ignores the problems that were beginning to bubble up from mud…
    If things had gone different..If CMR had stayed…I’m convinced Connelly would be needling us about the stagnation and how we should have gotten coach (fill in the blank) while he was available.
    If UGA wins the NC, Connelly will find a way to needle us.

    I’m no fan of McG. But everything he does isn’t inept or twisted. Just a lot of it.

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    • dawgman3000

      Totally agree. As bad as McGarity is at his job, a good portion of Mark Richt’s afflictions at UGA were brought about by Mark Richt himself.

      Like

  16. 69Dawg

    Trevor Matich of ESPN has been to every Power 5 school for this season and yesterday on College Football Live he was asked about ND. He said they had one of the best OL’s in college football. He was not so high on their defense. They were the best 4-8 team in college football. While we really won’t know anything about our team until the ND game, I am not going to pick us to win. The home field advantage at ND is not just the crowd. USCw has always accused them of letting the grass get 6 inches high to slow down faster opponents. If we have SEC officials we get no advantage because SEC officials hate us. If we get ACC officials then we get the same crap we enjoy against Tech. After ND we will know if we are going to have another 8-5 year or not. I’m picking UF to win the East and get curb stomped again in Atlanta. Our team just chokes in Jacksonville, it really is a mystery.

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    • Got Cowdog

      I feel your pain, 69. If I were close enough I would give you a hug, buddy. And maybe some of Mrs. Cowdog’s Zoloft.

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  17. MGW

    I don’t think we win the SEC championship unless we play someone other than Bama, but I do think we set a new standard for the East and get Butch Jones fired, and McElwain put on a scorching hot seat, at least. Especially if any one of SC, Vandy, or UK show themselves to be on par with UF and UT.

    There are questions, but the only real glaring one is at OL which can only improve, and any improvement whatsoever there will help WR, RB, and QB tremendously. The talent gap between UGA and the rest of the East is huge now with the 2013 class rolling off and the 2017 class coming in.

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    • MGW

      For reference, UGA’s past for class nation/SEC rankings per 247Composit:

      17: 3/2
      16: 6/4
      15: 6/4
      14: 8/6

      versus Florida’s:

      17: 10/5
      16: 12/6
      15: 21/10
      14: 9/7

      As in the next most talented team’s best class was worse than Georgia’s worst class of the last 4 years. I just don’t see how we hang back with the East pack for even one more year. Bout to blow some doors off, in my most humble opinion.

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  18. Hobnail_Boot

    The “voluntary rebuild” was CMR’s self-imposed befuddling roster management.

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  19. 79DawgatWork

    No way Bill read the comments here, he says we had four excellent teams followed by a mediocre team that still won 10 games – those are fighting words around here!

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    • cough yeah I definitely didn’t know what I was doing leaving that floating out there like that… 🙂

      I’ve made my thoughts pretty clear about Richt. The 2012 team was incredible, and the 2013 and 2014 teams were unlucky from a bounces and injuries standpoint. They were fantastic, and I think they were the only team besides Bama to be in the S&P+ top 15 every year from 2011-14. The Schottenheimer hire was a bomb (and he probably gets away with it if Chubb doesn’t get hurt), but his last defense was his second best of the last 10 years.

      The program was in good shape. It might not have been in the shape you wished it was, but it was in good shape, and the odds were strong that they’d have rebounded from 2015. They were half of an awesome team that year, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Otto

        I keep hearing the program was in good shape but what would your expectations be with Schottenheimer in 2016? How long do you think he would be in Athens and what sort of success?

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        • It’s obviously all speculation, but based on what Richt did when he went to Miami, he might have either replaced Schottenheimer or at least taken over play-calling. No telling how that would have worked out. But with a frosh QB, the O probably struggles in ’16 regardless unless Chubb goes crazy. (And since he didn’t in Actual ’16, he probably doesn’t in Alternate ’16 either.) I doubt UGA falls into the 60s in S&P+, though.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Otto

            Agreed it is speculation and thank you for taking time to reply. I do disagree with some of your speculation mostly how Richt handles Schottenheimer and the fallout from it which of course is my speculation.

            However, I do agree UGA does not fall as much in various stats in ’16 if Richt stays. I do think UGA ends up about same on the overall record trading some Ws and Ls.

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            • Based on how the 2015 season ended, it was pretty obvious Schottenheimer was only OC in name. Richt had taken playcalling away from him. I believe there’s zero chance Schottenheimer would want to return for 2016 with that kind of leash even if Richt were willing to bring him back. We’d have been replacing two coordinators no matter the head coach in 2016, and as many have pointed out, Richt had proven he had issues with making good coordinator hires in the past.

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              • Otto

                What are you basing that on as I disagree?

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                • All pure speculation, but an educated guess. I just don’t believe Richt is as stupid as some commenters around here seem to believe he is. I suspect he realized how bad the situation was (obviously far too late) and was just trying to grind out the last few games with a ball control offense to maximize what talent he had on hand and no good option at QB. I believe there is a zero percent chance Brian Schottenheimer is the OC in 2016 if Richt is still HC and won’t be convinced otherwise.

                  I’m still looking forward to the book that will be written about that 2015 season to appreciate what Rocker meant when he said “mutiny.”

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                  • I would love to read a book that starts with the week leading up to the Bama game through the middle of December … maybe that means I like train wrecks. Don’t hate me for that. 😉

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                    • I feel ya, ee. I’m reading the Game of Thrones books even though I already have seen the shows only because I like to revisit all the madness in extreme detail.

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                  • Otto

                    I believe Schottenheimer was being influenced by Richt but had not taken play calling away. Richt was not happy with CTG but he was not fired. I’d love to know what happened there too, if he was “encouraged” to look for other opportunities.

                    I give next to zero chance Richt takes play calling back as he was rejuvenated by the Miami job. He seemed burned out by just about all accounts

                    I think it is at best 50/50 that Schott returns. If he doesn’t Richt is looking at replacing a DC and OC. The DC seemed like he had been burning bridges.

                    If UGA fired Schott and Pruitt, the remaining big $$$ contract is Richt which does make sense for the ever money tight B-M and UGA as a whole.

                    A book would be an interesting read but that would put UGA at a Franklin Tubberville level of disfunction.

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      • It might not have been in the shape you wished it was, but it was in good shape,…

        Bill – that’s a good point and it’s a pretty significant key distinction that a lot of our less level headed fans seem to miss. We’re certainly not the only program with fans that does this, but we tend to overestimate the importance / prestige of the program compared to what it’s actually historically accomplished. A lot of our fans just think we should be ‘Bama and are pre-destined for sustained greatness if we’d just get out of our own way…when in reality – nothing in our history suggests we’re even close to that or have really ever been close to that. Outside of 1980-1983, Georgia’s been an above average, sometimes really good program for the bulk of its history with some dips as well. Nothing wrong with that, but a lot of our fans don’t want to accept it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Audit, you’re a mediocrity-loving, non-cold-blooded-sausage-making, Richt-o-phile who secretly wants Kirby Smart to lose every game until his sorry @$$ is run out of Athens on a rail so the Preacher Man can be brought back to Athens to put us back to our 3rd in the East place. Why don’t you go be a fan of Miami or comment on the U’s blogs?

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      • 79DawgatWork

        No, I completely agree. People were shitting on the ’07 team in a post a few days ago, but as someone who actually goes to games, that – along with the ’11-’14 teams – were the best of times to enjoy and be entertained by games. ’15 was pretty rough, but being in Auburn and on North Avenue and gutting those out felt great! To me at least, it was easy to see that Richt could get things turned around in ’16 after canning Shotty (which btw he had already agreed to do before the Tech game), but we’ll never know…

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      • D.N. Nation

        You could say that 2014 UGA was “unlucky” to make a NY6 bowl or win the SEC East, but that requires assuming just some higher power didn’t have the team ready to play in the UF game or decided to squib kick against Tech.

        Richt probably has the greatest difference in “results on a whole” and “investigate individual decisions” of a coach I’ve ever seen. (Maybe other than Andy Reid.)

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  20. Got Cowdog

    Who says anyone was or was trying to get happy with CKS and an 8 win season? I’d say about half of us were giving him a pass, and there were a few bright spots, but happy? I think not.

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  21. aladawg

    You know, I’m sure that all most of the anti-Richt people care about is SEC titles AND national titles. I so tire of the running down of one of the 2 best head coaches in Georgia history. Add the fact that he was a class individual, who cared about the kids well after their exit from UGA,(See Paul Oliver fund, etc.), represented the university not only as our head coach but as a class human being that cared about more than JUST winning ( though he won many games.) and he treated Georgia fans with respect and dignity and you have the most complete description of what a coach and representative of the University should be. We support UGA no matter who that coach is, but Kirby’s crass, arrogant treatment of fans, his failure to adjust to the talent present and his blessing of misdeeds by his players will never seal him as a complete great coach for me no matter the record. I hope we win 10 this year and I believe we should and if we don’t we have nothing but an inexperienced hire who will have his ass along with a Goofy AD squarely on a bonfire.. For those who only care about wins , win now baby or head West to “Toothaloosa” where you can find your Nirvana.

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    • What about Bob

      While I don’t think Kirby Smart is a bad person, his personality and no-nonsense mentality doesn’t endear him to the fan base as a whole and certainly not the media. In that respect, because he doesn’t play the politician like former head coach Mark Richt, he isn’t going to get the same grace period that CMR did.

      Personally, I don’t feel a coach has to play the baby kissing, ego rubbing role for me to like him or not like him. What he has to do is represent UGA well and win games.

      And I don’t think you have to worry about Kirby Smart being a complete Nick Saban clone. While he maybe a disciple of Saban, he isn’t going out of us way to take in players that behave badly so to speak. He did release highly touted D’Ante Demery from his LOI after he was charged and arrested for simple battery on G-Day weekend. Not so sure that happens at Bama and with Nick Saban.

      Either way, I think it is still too soon to make any long-term assumptions on what kind of coach Kirby is going to be, though.

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  22. Russell Miler

    “We support UGA no matter who that coach is, but Kirby’s crass, arrogant treatment of fans, his failure to adjust to the talent present and his blessing of misdeeds by his players will never seal him as a complete great coach for me no matter the record.”

    I liked Mark Richt. I thought he was a good coach and just a likeable, nice guy. But you should stop blaming Kirby Smart for Mark Richt being fired. No. Kirby is not Richt, but that doesn’t mean he is a bad coach or person. I do not find Coach Smart crass or disrespectful to fans nor to my knowledge has he at any time “blessed the misdeeds of his players.”

    Coach Smart is a family man, cares about his players and the University of Georgia, and makes time to do charity work in the community. Not unlike Mark Richt. He just isn’t a politician like Richt and isn’t going to sugar coat stuff. I realize that rubs some people the wrong way.

    As far as whether or not Kirby is a good coach, it is too soon to tell. Hell, even the great Nick Saban went 7-4 at LSU in 2000 after he had been a CFB head coach at Toledo and Michigan State six years. He went 6-6 at Alabama in 2007 after he had been a head coach for 13 years. Got to give the man a chance to see what he can do.

    And just because I want Georgia to win an SEC Championship and a National Championship doesn’t mean I or other fans like me want to win at all cost. If you have a problem with that, you can follow Richt to Miami.

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    • aladawg

      Where in the world do you get that I believe Kirby is the reason why Richt was fired. You don’t get that from me. I was OK with a change, but like the Senator, hiring an unproven inexperienced head coach was a step down. He may develop into a great coach on the field and record wise, but for me that is not enough. I live in Alabama and watch Satan and all his followers. Signing known woman beaters and blessing non-suspension of the Monroe, LA thugs is not a way to represent a university in my opinion. My comments on Richt were based on his whole record not the first 5 years, not the last 5. He will historically go down as one of our best coaches ever and continuing to abuse him accomplishes nothing. As far as Kirby goes versus a proven head coach he better show me something soon since he doesn’t seem to care about interacting with the “common” fans(ex. meeting only with high end donors, not taking live questions on his show and offering 45 minutes of contact with the fans after a practice) and treating the press and public in a very crass, smart alecky manner. He’s acting like Donnan and so far his record and losses to the key opponents (1-3 vs. Tech, UT, FL and Allbarn) is similar………………and where did that end? Now it’s 1 year, but with the Senior talent and new talent and an iffy SEC East he needs to win and win very soon………

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      • Macallanlover

        Nice comment. Kirby does need to work on his media and personal interaction skills, but I also don’t feel he is a bad guy either. And I also hope he wins 10+ this year, but will be concerned if he doesn’t. I don’t think he gets fired this year regardless of what our record is, but I think it spins the program into a TN-like slump. I feel this team gets it done this season and builds some momentum and confidence we currently lack.

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        • aladawg

          I agree with you. I guess it’s those leaders who came back that makes me really feel like we will get to the Championship game and by that time who knows. People will have matured , Freshmen will be like sophs, injuries may or may not happen and there you go. I will be sorely disappointed if we don’t make the SECCG.

          On the Kirby personality, even though McGoofy doesn’t care, at some point the regular fans and empty seats will affect other things like recruiting and money. Kirby needs to be aware of that and act now before he loses the middle of the road fans.

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  23. Southernlawyer11

    Just win baby win. That’s my philosophy pretty much. Do everything you can to win as long as it’s not against the rules or ethically indefensible.

    If we win big, nobody is going to be harping about character-this-character-that like you see in these comments. Its subterfuge people use to convince themselves that they need or want more as a Georgia fan. Frankly, I’ve never gotten the “molder of young men” BS I always hear from people (“Coach X: the molder of young men.”). I care about the lives of my family, friends and colleagues…the people I see everyday. These are 18-22 yrs olds college kids that I watch play a game. While I wish them all the best, I don’t need a Saint for a football coach any more than I need a Saint leading UGA’s mathematics department. As long as he’s not enabling deranged thug-criminals, I’m cool if he just teaches them the game of football really really really well.

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