An underappreciated aspect of the season

Why didn’t Kirby go for two near the end of regulation?  Because his team wore Oklahoma’s ass out.

It is easy to say Smart was right in hindsight. But here is why the percentages made him right in the moment, as well: At that point, nearly four hours into the grueling game, long after the sun had set behind the San Gabriel Mountains beyond Oklahoma’s end zone, it was clear which team would have the advantage going forward.

“We started switching up things, and I think we wore those guys down,” said Georgia safety J.R. Reed, a redshirt sophomore, referring to adjustments the Bulldogs made after halftime.

“Honestly I think their team got more tired during the end of the game than we did, and that’s why we were able to finish it out,” he added.

That is why Smart played for overtime: At that point in the game, it was clear he had the better team.

Oklahoma Coach Lincoln Riley acknowledged his team’s drop-off in the second half, blaming himself for throwing the ball too much before halftime and exhausting his offensive line (although in that period the Sooners actually rushed two times more than they passed).

“I probably hung our guys out there a little bit too much, especially against a talented front,” he said.

At times this season, it seems like Scott Sinclair has gotten more attention for holding Smart back on the sideline than he has for the solid job the strength and conditioning staff has done.  Georgia is a noticeably more physical team on both sides of the ball than it’s been in years past and Sinclair deserves his share of the kudos for that happening.


UPDATE:  Strength and conditioning Dawg porn.



Filed under Georgia Football

31 responses to “An underappreciated aspect of the season

  1. Russ

    I think this is what gives us a good shot against Bama. They are beat up and we’re pretty healthy and deep.


  2. Jared S.

    Yeah. Kudos to Sinclair. Seems like a humble guy too, to be content to be known as the “get back coach.”


  3. Mayor

    The decision to play for overtime rather than go for two was obviously correct but also it demonstrates Kirby’s maturity as a HC. He knew his team had the advantage at that point.


  4. Yurdle

    What Kirby did was clearly right in the flow of the game, but, selfishly, wouldn’t you have liked to see at least one running play? Or at least see OK get into the prevent to stop a running play? Our most explosive play was outside zone, which is really saying something.


  5. heyberto

    This is the first I’ve heard of the wearing down of Oklahoma in any post game analysis, and it was something I saw in the 3rd quarter when we finally got some significant traction against their O-line, and we were getting to the QB. That was when I thought we had a chance to turn the game around. I’m surprised that if I could see that, why isn’t it being talked about more by these experts? lol.


    • Uglydawg

      Because it doesn’t fit their narrative,,,which is that Georgia’s win was a fluke and UCF and Ohio St. should be ranked 3 and 4 in the final standings. They still haven’t acknowledged what everyone could see..Georgia wore them out in the second half. Watch the effort the corner back did to get off of Fromms block on Sony’s winning touchdown.


      • Kdawg

        That dude was toast. He had nothing left in the tank. Fromm took him back about 7 yards and he couldn’t get off the block. He was also a Freshman getting blocked by Wims most of the game. I loved how they had Crumpton and Simmons in with fresh legs to block on the play. I think the play before was purely to set up the winning play.


        • And Swift and Holyfield too. Another positive from this year has been the coaching staff’s commitment to playing a bunch of guys and faith that playing an inexperienced player even at crucial time of the game will not cost us. I guess that is a Saban philosophy that CKS brought with him to Athens, but playing a fresh and talented player trumps experience and wears the other team down physically.

          I noticed that we didn’t run Swift a lot in the Rose Bowl, I wonder if he will factor in the game plan more on Monday or we have rotated backs and limited #27 & #1 carries this year with an eye toward each getting like 25 carries in the NCG.


      • gastr1

        What I don’t get is how the analysts I’ve heard can’t acknowledge the effectiveness of the adjustments Georgia made on defense– which had an IMMEDIATE impact after halftime. All this bs about the squib kick! How about going to four down linemen to stop the run and blitzing more to pressure and contain Mayfield? And going man instead of zone in coverage? And then outscoring their offense 37-10 in the second half and holding them to 153 yards in a half + 2 OT periods?

        Their playcalling was stupid at the end because their other stuff wasn’t working, IMO.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kdawg

          This! I keep hearing about how OU playcalling lost the game. What I saw is a tired team that got figured out and had to adjust on the fly because what they were doing wasn’t working anymore. It’s fine by me, it’s kind of the narrative we’ve faced all season. We won the SEC because KJ was hurt, we weren’t that good just the East was down, Fromm is nothing more than a game manager which he clearly proved wrong on Monday. I’m looking forward to hearing the excuses next Tuesday about Alabama was too banged up.


          • It’s funny .. I posted this tweet from Pollack earlier today:

            He is the only analyst that I have seen to make that point – basically it took us about quarter and half to catch up to the OU’s team speed versus what our scout team was able simulate.

            As far as Fromm goes, the play he made where he avoided the sack, took off running but kept his eyes downfield and made the throw on the run to Michel for a 1st down was terrific and as big a play as any on that final drive. He is better than a game manager, he is a legit NFL talent and I think an advantage for us on Monday.


  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    I can’t see Kirby seriously considering going for 2 at that point. I grok that the main point in the article is about conditioning, but it feels contrived to use going for 2 as the context.


    • 79DawgatWork

      Agree, because if you don’t make it there, the game basically becomes can you get an onside kick, which is not a position you want to be in.
      I think a lot of us felt like there were a couple of fourth and shorts earlier in the game where we perhaps should have gone for it and tried to overpower them, but punted. Perhaps making them drive the field 70 or 80 yards in those situations, in the end, is what wore them out, even though at the time, as they were going up big (particularly in first half), it looked like a big mistake not to go for it and try to keep up!


      • Uglydawg

        I plead guilty to wanting to go for it on fourh and short a few times. But in retrospect, their offense was tired in OT and that, plus Dawgs depth and conditioning on defense, make the punts (and early FG attempt) look pretty good.


  7. Uglydawg

    I wanted him to go for two. Sooner or later it just comes down to one last play anyway (my argument)
    What seems like such a simple decision really isn’t, though.
    But if it were fourth and goal on the one in overtime and you were down three, would you go for it? It’s the same thing. If you sense the other team is might go for three and prolong their opportunity to make a mistake.
    Either way, I think we win, but we only know one thing for certain, Kirby made the right decision. Glory!
    BTW..Herbie called “holding ” , he actually said, “a couple of holds” on Oklahoma in overtime. I was amazed. But it’s another indication that OK was gassed. But those ACC refs didn’t help us, did they?


  8. David H.

    I think kicking the extra point was the right decision, in part because of the amount of time still left on the clock. Obviously if you go for two and miss, you’re in a lot of trouble, needing to recover an onside kick and then drive for a FG.

    But even if you make it and go up 46-45, then Oklahoma still has 55 seconds and all three timeouts to drive for a FG, and importantly, they would have 4 downs to use on each set of downs. With the score tied, Oklahoma still had a chance to drive for a FG, but they only had 3 downs to use on each set of downs, because Oklahoma would punt on 4th down in a tied game.

    If we had pulled to 45-44 with, say, three seconds to go in regulation, then going for two would have been a reasonable option. But I still think we were the better-conditioned team at that point, so I would have still played for OT.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I find this a little perplexing. The hurry-up, fast-pace offense got tuckered out? I thought this was supposed to be the other way around, like last year’s playoff final. Or Auburn circa 2010 and 2013 when the defense was so bad it would let opposing offenses wear themselves out.


    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Might be a meme.


    • Saltwater Dawg

      It seemed much more obvious that their defense was tuckered out.

      The most questionable thing about the OK offense in the second half was the near abandonment of the hurry up. My guess is that we came out and stuffed the first two drives, and CLR felt he needed to slow the pace to adjust to the UGA defensive changes. However, it is the offense that controls whether substitutions are going to be made between plays, so perhaps CLR had to start subbing in OL players because they were gassed.


      • Maybe so, but I still find this to be an incredible comment,
        “Oklahoma Coach Lincoln Riley acknowledged his team’s drop-off in the second half, blaming himself for throwing the ball too much before halftime and exhausting his offensive line (although in that period the Sooners actually rushed two times more than they passed).”
        Sounds like he took his foot off of the gas due to his gassed OL.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. DawgFlan

    I didn’t want us to go for two, but I did question why we didn’t run 1-2 more plays at the very end of regulation instead of taking a knee for overtime. Avoiding the disaster play is the obvious answer, but I thought it was much more likely we bust a long TD run and go home.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. W Cobb Dawg

    Depth, as usual, made a huge difference. Backup Walker was arguably our most effective OLB in the game. Clark at DL had a huge game and continues to make dramatic improvement. I’d add others like DL Rochester and DE Marshall to the backups who played some outstanding ball.


  12. TMC DAWG

    I agree about Walker and Clark on defense. These 2 guys play like there hair is on fire! So glad they will be back next year.


  13. Hardcoredawg 93

    Love the S&C update. Far cry from Joe TII and his 1970’s/Izzy Mendlebaum style approach.