Kirby Smart has a road map he’s following, so get in the back seat and shaddup.

I didn’t really want to limit my comment about Smart’s work last night to a bullet point in an Observations post, because I think he deserves some bigger picture consideration from me.  (Although maybe I should have mentioned that epic ass-chewing he gave LeCounte that had the ref looking his way as Sinclair pulled him back to the sideline.)

First off, I’ve mentioned before that roster management has been the biggest plus of Smart’s head coaching career and it certainly paid off last night, not just in the way that the overall talent level is clearly on a rapid rise, but also with the contributions he got from some of the transfers like Reed and Nizialek, who have clearly come in and filled areas of need.  That’s good work on Smart’s part.  Something that was a major weakness for the program during the first half of this decade is being turned into the kind of strength that a program with Georgia’s resources should consistently enjoy.

Second, I saw a lot of buying in on the field in the opener.  It was particularly apparent on the defensive side of the ball, where the starters looked comfortable in Tucker’s scheme and played fast.  But it was also there in smaller ways.  There was less emotional showboating after plays than I’ve been accustomed to seeing over the years.  And when things appeared to get a little chippy on ASU’s part, the Dawgs kept their emotions under control.  (If I’m not mistaken, Georgia didn’t get called for a single personal foul last night.)

Third, and perhaps more promising of all, there was a certain confidence in the gameplan that seemed just like what you’d expect from a coach in his second year who has a stronger grasp of his personnel and staff.  This quote is an example of that:

To Georgia coach Kirby Smart, the Bulldogs did exactly what they should have done defensively in a 31-10 win over visiting Appalachian State Saturday.

“Appalachian State’s (offensive line) was overmatched. We had bigger players than they did up front. That’s not the best thing they do,” Smart said. “We’ll play a lot better offensive lines than that one, but I give App State credit. They’ve got a great quarterback, a great system and they’ve got a really good defensive unit but our defense should dominate those guys.”

That’s the kind of thing you say when you’ve scouted the other guys, know what you have on your side for the game and are thoroughly prepared for the meeting.  Georgia was going to be conservative on offense and in the return game because Smart knew he had enough on defense and in the kicking game to handle any threat ASU could throw at Georgia.  (If you want to know where Smart’s trying to head, just check out what ‘Bama did to FSU, despite no offense and a poor game from Hurts.)

Add to that he had his team in the right mindset — there would be no overlooking an inferior opponent — and that’s how you wind up coaching a game that was more dominant than the final score indicated.

The man’s passed his first test of 2017 with flying colors.  Notre Dame presents a very different challenge, especially if Georgia goes to South Bend starting a true freshman quarterback, but I don’t think Smart’s going to be overmatched.  It’s starting to get interesting around here.



Filed under Georgia Football

31 responses to “Kirby Smart has a road map he’s following, so get in the back seat and shaddup.

  1. Derek

    Remember way back when we could win no matter who took the snaps? That’s where we’re headed. Away from qb or bust and toward winning based on everybody else’s performance. Where the qb is just another position. If he’s really good, great. If he’s average, that’s ok too. Just own the trenches and play physically dominating football until the other team cracks under the pressure, just like FSU did last night.


    • Greg

      Hutson Mason sure looked good to these eyes, broke all kind of records (scoring). Pretty sure this ‘D will not be giving up 30 plus per game.


      • Derek

        There’s a big difference between “because of” and “in spite of.”


        • Greg

          There is a reason the QB is most important position on the field…he is the straw that stirs the drink. Some considered Mason average or below….but we won “because of” him being able to read D’s, check down, change plays and to get the ball to his playmakers. ….”He looked good to these eyes”


    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Exactly…the process has begun, and its cool, or at least it was against Appy State.


    • uglydawg

      There was a stat given during one of the games yesterday..watched so much I can’t say which one….but the comment was made that Buck Belie went 2 for 12 in the 1980 championship game against Notre Dame. If we’re getting to the place where we just need a competent game manager at QB I’m happy. “First, do no harm”.


      • Greg

        I hear ya, just win….BTW, Belue was 0 – 11 and completed only one pass. That pass was for 7 yards to Amp Arnold, good enough to run the clock out & win our first MNC…..and of course, everybody remembers that pass to Lindsey, rather be lucky than good.

        The job of a QB, is to get the ball to his playmakers…to lead, to win. We’ve had some good ones.


        • Biggus Rickus

          Belue was generally a good passer by Dooley’s antiquated offensive standards, especially his final year. Check out the numbers for the QBs who played before and after him in Dooley’s I-formation era.


  2. Ray Ray

    Hmmm. Is this the evil senator? Good stuff

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Greg

    Good points…thinks the ‘O stayed vanilla for the most part.


  4. DawgFlan

    It’s one game, but as mentioned in another thread there are definite grounds for optimism.


  5. budro

    Last line of this post gave me chills the way Cooper’s saying “I AM the FBI” did on last week’s Twin Peaks.


  6. Glcdawg

    Dang it, now I need another shower!


  7. Scorpio Jones, III

    I wisht I hadn’t a done it, but I watched some of Notre Dame and whoever state. Its gonna be interesting…I hope.


  8. You Kirbyphile!

    Seriously, Kirby did a great job last night. Let’s see now if we can put together back-to-back performances.


  9. ASEF

    A team with elite pass rushers will present a huge challenge to this offense, but that’s not really on the schedule until October 28. I am not saying Georgia walks into that game undefeated, but that prospect has gone from a complete question mark to a real possibility. But we will have to see how a true freshman handles South Bend under the bright lights and how successful Butch has been at refocusing his talent and coaching staff.

    Defense had a play-by-play domination mindset last night. Much easier to do against the App States of the world, but that’s a sea change in the ceiling of this program.


  10. Ellis

    I get it was App State but we were dominating in a way we have not been against teams we “should beat” in the past 5 years. I like the direction we are headed. Most noticeable improvement I saw last night was tackling.


  11. Russ

    In general, I agree with you Senator. However, I still think the defense is over thinking a bit out there. There were a few times where we almost got caught trying to substitute when App State didn’t. The players are more comfortable, though, and maybe that substitution bit goes away as the season progresses.

    Chaney did a nice job mixing up the offense for Fromm, though I think Fromm helped out by hitting his first few passes. If Eason hadn’t airmailed his first few attempts, maybe the offense would have opened up a bit for him as well. Kirby seemed to indicate that with his comments, but he’s never going to give you the full answer. That’s just the coach in him.


  12. 1smartdude

    Saw some things that give me hope, but I’m not drinking that big of a gulp of coolaid. It was served up after the North Carolina game last year. This was App State. We were much better at every position. There’s an SEC schedule to navigate with either a QB who didn’t look very good when he was in there or a freshman. Both of those things make me worry.


    • Timphd

      My sentiments exactly. I was feeling great after UNC last year. We all know that was a mirage. Hope against hope that is not the case this year but worry about a true freshman, no matter how talented, and facing teams with decent defensive lines. Oline did not show well in my opinion. Both QB’s had too many hurries and took hits and Chubb, Michel had to make their own holes until the defense wore down. Don’t expect ND, UT, UF or others to wear down like that.


  13. Hal Welch

    C’mon in… The waters fine…