So much for hunting

What frustrated me most about the game as I sat there literally on the top row of Jordan-Hare Stadium was the passivity Georgia showed once Auburn got the lead.

Watch Aaron Davis on this play.

What was he doing there?  Spectators normally have to pay for a ticket.  You can tell Parrish was expecting help from the inside that never arrived.

Some mental mistakes showed up as stupid penalties, but there were plenty of moments when players simply didn’t look like their heads were in the game.

If you’re talking passive, though, I can’t say there was a player who did anything that could touch the gutlessness of Smart’s call at the end of the first half when Georgia got the ball back, trailing 16-7.

The play call was set up by the best late first half game management of the season.  Smart played into Malzahn’s natural conservatism, using his remaining time outs to force a punt from the Auburn 14-yard line with 22 seconds left in the half, a punt that Mecole Hardman promptly returned to the Auburn 26.  With 17 seconds left, even with no time outs, Georgia had two shots it could have taken into the end zone and still left enough time on the clock to attempt a field goal.

Instead, they opted to run Michel into the line, netted a whopping one yard, called for a spike to stop the clock and then sent the field goal team out.

Forget that Blankenship missed the attempt.  The message Smart sent to his team was that he was coaching scared.  He didn’t exactly back away from that either as the teams went to the locker room.

As he was coming off the field, CBS sideline reporter Allie LaForce caught up with Smart as asked him if he regretted not being more aggressive with his team down by nine points in hostile territory.

“We probably should have,” Smart replied. “We thought they’d be playing more of a soft defense so we thought we might hit a run in there, but at the end of the day we’re trying to get a field goal. We thought we could get a couple of yards for the kicker and didn’t.”

I tweeted this during the halftime break.

 

What, though, was Smart supposed to tell those kids in the locker room about being the hunters, not the hunted?  “Do as I say, not as I do”?

All in all, it was a reminder that this team and its head coach still have farther to go on their journey along the learning curve.

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84 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

84 responses to “So much for hunting

  1. Damn, “gutless”. Thats getting pretty close to dishonorable.

    Like

    • Bright Idea

      Besides Kirby being too tightfisted with the ball I feel that the defense is tired, sluggish. Just too much grabbing at air, whiffing and falling down, staying stuck on blocks all of a sudden. Even back to the Florida game they struggled to get the QB down. I saw some of it vs. USCe and then yesterday their legs seemed dead. Kirby said in the offseason that he overworked the team down the stretch last year and he learned from it. Did he?

      Like

  2. DawgPhan

    Dames about the end of the first half management. I thought we would need a solid 2 min drill. We were exciting that plan pretty well until the play calling.

    It was the best we had done until it wasn’t.

    Like

  3. TnDawg

    I like Fromm, he’s been pretty solid. He’s been amazing for a freshman.

    But, but, but….does he give Kirby an excuse to be conservative?

    It’s hard not to imagine that you let the ball fly a little more with Eason.

    Like

    • ViewsfromtheSouth

      I doubt it, honestly. The look was at the start of the year that Georgia would be conservative with Eason.

      Bottom line, the offensive coaches dropped the ball by not trying more to develop the pass game. If you’re too scared to do that, you’re not as good as you think.

      Like

      • Olddawg55

        I wondered if Smart might go to Easson’s strong arm…never saw it happen..thoght CKS might think it would show loss of confidence??? Not a problem next season…Easson will go find a new home and chance to solidity his NFL credentials. The Fields/Fromm competition will be centerpiece in Dawg ball. Hope Smart did learn something about headcoaching yesterday. He looked, as usual, in an absolute panic on the sidelines. Contrasted to Richt’s game against Notre Dame…just saying he has a lot to learn in the focus/panic area of coaching. Comment from up the road from Auburn: We were outcoached, out-played and out-muscled on all fronts…hopefully a learning experience.

        Like

        • junkyardawg41

          I think your assessment matches what I was thinking yesterday in the stands. Midway through the 3rd quarter and I thought, now is the time to make a change. I have been in more of the Fromm camp from the beginning of the season than an Eason guy. Having said that, I didn’t think Fromm would learn anything more from the game than he already had. Putting Eason in would give you a gunslinger’s chance — albeit a small one. The fact that Eason didn’t smell the field has me believing the book may be closed on Eason’s career at UGA.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Remember the Quincy

          Easy to be calm on the sidelines when your team is up by 34.

          Like

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      I was thinking that myself. Not that I would want to put a dent in Fromm’s ego, but game management (what he is really good at) isn’t a come from behind strategy. It seems reasonable to me that the threat of Eason’s arm might have opened up the run game some. I also realize that might be a lot to put on Eason at this time, but it’s also why I think he should have been in more games late where the outcome was not in doubt, and let him open it up a little like he might in practice. But I’m not getting paid the big bucks, so what do I know?

      Like

      • Paul

        If we didn’t put Eason in yesterday we literally never will. If he wasn’t already gone he is now.

        Like

        • gastr1

          Agreed. And I can’t say I’m that worked up about it with Fromm coming back and Fields coming in.

          Like

          • junkyardawg41

            Should have read further down before I posed above. I agree on all accounts.

            Like

          • Paul

            I think he’s way too talented to just toss aside so casually. We needed him last night and it won’t be the last time. That we didn’t use him was just one of many, many stunningly bad coaching decisions. We’ve seen a LOT of highly touted high school quarterbacks that never panned out. Like Brice Ramsey for instance.

            Like

  4. sniffer

    It’s simple, really. No one got off the bus. Why is the question. Meyer said he had no answers and looked for a let down in practices the week of PSU and didn’t see anything wrong. Neither did Kirby. It happens. If we had been beaten like this by ND or anybody but a rival, we bitch and move on. This being Auburn, it sucks a whole lot more. And if you live in Georgia, count your many blessings. I live in Alabama. Fuck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      My oldest daughter lives in Columbus and is thinking about calling in sick next week.

      Like

      • Got Cowdog

        Tell her to hold her head up. Auburn happens. Anybody gives her shit, she can find ten other assholes looking for a custodial slot. Y’all don’t mention it I won’t mention it. 😎
        Go Dawgs.

        Like

    • Brandon

      I think they are better than us. 6-7 times out of 10 on a neutral field they beat us I think. It’d be closer a lot of times without the penalties, turnovers, etc. but their front 7 is going to whip our offensive line almost every time and that will trickle down and effect QB play, and tire out our defense, etc. and give them the advantage. We could beat them but all possible routes to Georgia victory require us to take advantage of every opportunity and not shoot ourselves in the foot any, maybe get a break or two, all things obviously that did not happen yesterday.

      Like

      • gastr1

        I don’t think it’s that. I think we were playing pretty hard through the first half. There was dumbshittery, no doubt, but it was aggressive dumbshittery. I think Hardman’s fumble resulted in collective panic that Kirbs is going to have to figure out how to ensure doesn’t happen again.

        Liked by 1 person

    • junkyardawg41

      As do I… work tomorrow will suck (although to be fair, the people I work with recognize Gus and his rabbit foot and the fact we had beaten them pretty regularly of late)

      Like

  5. CKS gave a mea culpa at the post game presser. I get that a sack/int there is a disaster but it was worth the risk. If you believe post game CKS, he agrees.

    There’s a time to be aggressive and a time to be cautious. If you watched the 4th quarter of the MSU game you saw how wrong you can get those. CTG should have been backing off instead of repeating all out blitizes, while Mullen’s decision to punt to Bama from their 40 with 5 and a half to play on 4th and 3 was pretty gutless.

    As for the clip 35 was playing man so the receiver wasn’t his responsibility per se. However as long as that ball was in the air I don’t see how he couldn’t have peeled off and broken that up, or at least given a better effort.

    Punt interference
    Muffed punt
    Jumping the shield on a punt
    Hit out of bounds
    Dropped long pass
    Not blocking on the flea flicker
    Personal foul by Sony
    Sack fumble
    No forced turnovers by us
    Playing for the FG at half
    No call when wims gets thrown out of bounds with the ball in the air
    Missed FG at the end of the half
    Getting pushed around on both sides of the LOS
    Repeatedly not setting the edge on defense

    We’re lucky it wasn’t worse.

    The game was a clusterfuck of epic proportions. One could make the argument that it was as bad or worse than the 2012 game in Columbia. Howver, that did not impact our performance in the seccg later that year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dawgfan

      Exactly. Maybe getting our ass handed to us on both lines of scrimmage can’t be cleaned up but most of this can. Another thing, no more rat poison. Take care of Kentucky and Tech first and then let’s see what happens in Atlanta. Humility sucks today but redemption might be sweet on December 2.

      Like

    • Q

      Mullen punting there pissed me off

      Like

    • Scott

      Speaking of Sony and the personal foul: how assholish must the Auburn players have been all game? Elbows or hits to the balls in a pile, horrible shittalking, etc. Sony would be one of the last guys expect to take a swing at someone.

      Like

  6. Bulldog Joe

    I don’t get why neither Coach Smart nor Coach Tucker called time out when we were badly misaligned on Davis’ catch and run TD play. We all saw it and it even took Stidham a long time to audible it.

    Perhaps Coach Sinclair had them both by the toddler leash.

    Like

  7. Jared S.

    Another perfect, spot-on post.

    Like

  8. ugafidelis

    That would have been a perfect time for a play similar to this one.

    Like

  9. The other Doug

    After hearing Smart’s comment at the half I wondered if we were doing something to tip off run vs pass or maybe they were stealing play calls. I dunno. Just one of the many things that popped into my head as I watched the game.

    Like

    • The other Doug

      btw, I doubt I watch the replay, but it would be interesting to check out if we lined up in a formation that meant no pass to the corner of the endzone or if their DBs never respected the threat of a shot at the endzone.

      Like

      • Scott

        It’s pretty obvious. Don’t need to steal calls to know that if Chubb is in the game on first down 80% of the time it’s a run and not even a creative one.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Mayor

          Maybe it is that simple but I also thought Auburn had stolen our signals–and not just our offensive signals. The Auburn O seemed to always be in the right play for our D, too. Remember in the third quarter when the Dawgs DBs and LBs blitzed up the middle and Auburn pitched the ball outside to the short side of the field with a convoy of blockers? Scored a TD on that play. They knew we were coming up the middle. Several other plays like that, too.

          Like

          • junkyardawg41

            That is an interesting perspective that I hadn’t thought of. There were a couple of times we attempted to bring pressure and Auburn’s play call was perfect… I didn’t even see an audible on a couple. If it was stealing signs, I don’t feel as bad because we can overcome that in future games. If it was because our alignment or player personnel packages signaled what we would do based on trends and AU had called the right play before hand, that will be a lot harder to overcome during the season.

            Like

          • If they stole our signs or we were tipping plays, what in the world are we paying all these analysts/recruiting hangers on for?

            Like

        • The other Doug

          I agree that it could also be getting our tails whipped at the line of scrimmage, but on the last play of the half it was strange that they sniffed out the run so easily.

          Like

  10. atlasshrugged55

    Such are the limitations of a coach who can only coach from a position of control/power. A coach needs to be able to coach from behind & I don’t see that in our coach. He has a plan but the second things go awry he can’t adjust.

    He better have a monster recruiting class each & every year or else we’ll have more of these charlie foxtrot games.

    Like

    • Mayor

      We are Georgia. We hire coordinators with no previous HC experience and train them. That’s what we do. That’s how we roll. Look at CMR. He finally has learned how to be a game day coach and win close games–now that he’s at Miami. While at Georgia he choked away more games at the end than I can count. Kirby will learn by making mistakes–then when he knows how to really coach he’ll go back to Bama after Saban retires. Then we get to hire another coordinator and do it all over again. It’s the Georgia Way.

      Like

    • Q

      Good grief dude, we’ve come from behind a few times that I can remember. UNC, Mizzou, ND. I like where things are going.

      Like

  11. Greg

    Good perspective, I felt the same at the time. Between that and the onsides kick last week….it feels like the staff is sending the wrong message.

    Like

    • Mayor

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who thought that the onside kick on the first kick-off last week was stupid. Sometimes I just don’t understand what Kirby is thinking.

      Like

  12. Cosmic Dawg

    Perhaps the most inscrutable thing in CFB to me is bringing field goals to a touchdown fight. I couldn’t believe Mississippi State kicked that field goal last night at the end of the game, and I couldn’t believe we were basically looking for a FG at the end of the half in our game.

    Also, despite a ton of “Moneyball” statistical evidence suggesting teams should go for it on 4th down more often, the coaches cannot bring themselves to change. We had a 3rd and 3 in Auburn territory last night and should have run it twice in a row.

    Like

    • gastr1

      Taking that risk in view of many hundred thousand people (live and on tv) will do that to you, IMO.

      Like

    • sniffer

      Ha, they are fearful of failure and criticism. Funny thing is, there’s always plays that fail and are criticized! Show some guts. I’d rather bitch about a play that fails than a play that never was.

      Like

      • Minnesota Dawg

        Exactly so. Most football coaches are so afraid of the unconventional. So much so that those coaches that are willing, even occasionally, to ignore the “football book” (by foregoing the punt in the right situation….by passing for the first down with a lead late in the game, instead of running clock and punting, etc) are labeled “geniuses”.

        Like

    • Scott

      We did go for it on a few third and shorts where you’d think Chubb up the middle might be viable yet passed it short of the sticks or couldn’t handle the pressure.

      Like

  13. AusDawg85

    Oh for F**k’s sake. I’ll say it…

    FIRE KIRBY!!1!11!!1!

    First!

    Like

  14. ChiliDawg

    I thought the stubborn insistence on continuing to try and run up the gut on 2nd and long When we were getting nothing there as we were down three scores was inexcusable. Chaney called a masterful first drive and not one after that.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “Spectators normally have to pay for a ticket.” That’s some A+ snark. Also spot on.

    Like

  16. You’re being generous by calling it a learning curve. With respect to the end of the first half, there isn’t much to learn at all. If a coach who spent a decade under Nick Saban has to learn to be aggressive and try to score a TD in that situation, I don’t hold out much hope for his aptitude as a head coach. Unfortunately late first half clock mismanagement and overly conservative playcalling before halftime has been an issue all year (App St, MSU, Mizzou, etc.)

    As a Georgia fan you just have to hope that it was just a bad day all around for everyone. And frankly a long overdue bad day. Things have been going so well for so long, you knew the time to pay the piper was coming. And it just all happened at once. Thankfully it’s over now and Dawgs can get back to business and hope for a rematch on friendlier ground.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Q

      C’mon… Kirby spent years under Saban just like Saban spent years under Belichick. Yet it still took him 10 years to stop laying eggs at least once a year.

      Like

  17. Debby Balcer

    It was one game one horrible very bad game but to hear some of y’all we are horrible. We are 9-1. Support your coach and support your team. Shake it off and route for your DAWGS just as loud as you did before the loss. I saw someone online say they were as glad they did not pay the big bucks for the SEC championship tickets because that was 1 against 2. All the band wagons fans can get off now and all the real DAWG fans stay around and route for your team. Whatever you do don’t egg Fromme’s house.

    Like

  18. Bellamy looked really bad and I don’t toss that around often. Tired, hurt, I’m not sure, but Johnson, Stove and co regularly had him coming out of his shoes. Auburn if faster and stronger but damn we looked like a different team. Almost like we got burned out. I was never sold on our offense outside of our running backs but I didn’t see our defense and special teams shitting the bed, too.

    Like

    • ugafidelis

      I’m with you. Something was definitely off.

      Like

    • Minnesota Dawg

      Me either. Certainly thought we could lose…especially if we had some turnovers, bad bounces, etc. But much of what I saw from our defense yesterday was genuinely shocking….and I’m generally pessimistic anyway.

      Like

      • Scott

        Thompson is a future NFL player and Atkins isn’t bad either. Yet the line looked as soft as marshmallow cream yesterday.

        Like

        • Aubrey E Walker

          Those that can come back should becaus Auburn took their manhood. So by coming back for their senior year they may mature enough to play with the big boys. Just my thinking

          Like

    • Red Cup

      I agree with jaboo. I thought Bellamy had a terrible game like Davis. B was beat on the edge many times, and Davis, in addition to the pass play, looked very unaggresive on several plays he could have engaged the runner.,,,, uncharacteristic for both

      Like

  19. Macallanlover

    Does Kirby actually know we are allowed to score just before halftime? That is asked only partially as a joke. I have been screaming about this all year, we have yet to score late in any game whether at half time, or the end of the game. And we wouldn’t have tried the FG had Hardman not put us in scoring range. It is the weirdest thing I have ever seen, we are headed into our 11th game and our QB has yet to be allowed an opportunity to run a 2 minute drill. That is hard to do, but we had a few chances before and passed on all of them.

    Been predicting, it will occur at a critical time, say in the GT or SECCG, and we see the initial effort (I know they work on the one minute drill in practice). We were nine points behind when Hardman put us in a perfect position to go for a TD, or at least get the ball closer for the FG try…which we missed. Just makes no sense to me, and there was little chance we could have made a critical mistake in that situation. Sometimes you just have to make something happen, Auburn was getting the 2nd half kickoff and we needed some energy going into the locker room. Strange way of handling that.

    Like

    • This is a very fair point.

      We have had MANY games this year where we completely discarded opportunities at the end of the first half. It always felt like this would come back to haunt us. No idea if it would have made a difference in this game, but you never know. And it is wasteful to take your foot off the gas like that.

      Like

    • Sanford222view

      They coached scared there and were afraid of getting sacked. They sure didn’t hunt.

      Like

  20. WarD Eagle

    I still haven’t seen the game yet, but (assuming Aaron Davis is he near side safety) it appears he bit on the near side receiver’s screen route as he’s taught to do. The far side safety seems to have covered the inside (far side) reciever on his route. Kind of hard to tell from that video.

    Like

  21. Sanford222view

    I was screaming about how Davis played that ball. I even wondered if the fear of a targeting call kept him from blowing that receiver up. I thought he had plenty of time to either knock the ball away/intercept the pass or level the receiver. He just stood there and watched. I thought all he had to do was put his shoulder in the stomach of the receiver for that to be incomplete. It looked like he had an easy angle to go for his mid section and separate the receiver from the ball. I have no clue what was going through his head there.

    Like

  22. CB

    Blamed Parrish at first, but when they showed the replay I was shook. What was Davis doing? A half way decent break could have easily been an undercut interception.

    Like

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