How the Process has played out

Chip Towers has a point to make in this piece:

What led to our recent discussion about the O-line was this question: “What would you say is the biggest difference in Georgia now than when Kirby Smart first showed up.”

And that absolutely is the biggest difference, in my opinion.

I mean, this is not a revelation or something. To his credit, it was a stated goal of Smart’s not long after he arrived at UGA. Upon examining his team up close in the first couple of spring practices in 2016, Smart flat out called it. He said the Bulldogs have to get bigger on the lines of scrimmage, the offensive line in particular.

Smart basically issued an all-points bulletin that day, saying he was looking for guys 6-foot-5 and taller and that shorter linemen need not apply.

The transformation has been incredible to behold. It’s not just that the Bulldogs went out and did what Smart wanted on the recruiting front. It’s that everybody else in the SEC and the whole of FBS wants those big, tall linemen. Yet Georgia continues to win them over and sign them.

It’s not an unreasonable argument to make, not at all.

But it’s probably not the one I’d make.

For me, the biggest change is simple.  Somehow, Kirby has managed to get all the oars in the boat we know as the Georgia football program rowing in the same direction.  Considering this is where they were less than four years ago, that is nothing short of miraculous in my humble opinion.  Does Kirby deserve all the credit for that?  Considering he’s the only new variable in the equation, what do you think?

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33 Comments

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33 responses to “How the Process has played out

  1. Kirby deserves the credit. He got people to open their checkbooks for the CJPMIPF and the West End Zone. He has changed the focus on the line of scrimmage and recruiting overall. He has put together a staff of coaches that can recruit. He has instilled a culture of toughness and a “team first” edge that had been lacking in the program. He has demanded excellence from everyone in the program. He has the fan base excited about where the program is heading (with our home schedule to see renewals where they were ain’t McGarity’s doing although he’ll try to take credit).

    So, yes, he has gotten everyone rowing in the same direction (feels a lot like 2003).

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  2. aladawg

    While things look extremely good, 2 years is not nearly enough time for me to assess how good Kirby is. He’s right where another new coach was 2 years into his stint. I think it’s going to be really good, but the train is still in the early part of the trip. Hope it keeps heading this well.

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    • Jack Burton

      Who? We hadn’t played for a national championship since Vince

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      • We wouldn’t have played for the national championship this year except for playoff expansion. Under the old system, it would have been Clemson & Oklahoma just like in 2002 it was Miami & Ohio State.

        The 2017 and 2002 seasons were eerily similar. The team wins a bunch of games to build up the ranking to lose a game late (Florida ’02/Auburn ’17) just to see the teams roll through the end of the schedule to win the SEC and end the regular season ranked #3.

        The difference was 4 vs. 2.

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        • Sanford222view

          I don’t think you can automatically say that. The BCS very likely would have had a 12-1 SEC Champion that redeemed its only loss ranked in the Top 2. Clemson lost to unranked Syracuse and Georgia’s loss was to a Top 10 ranked team. Oklahoma’s loss was also to an unranked team.

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          • I’m just going off the rankings as they existed at the time. I understand the BCS would have likely had us at #2. My point is that both teams were at #3 in the way the rankings were compiled.

            It doesn’t change the fact that playoff expansion allowed the Dawgs to have a chance to compete for the national title.

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    • willypmd

      In my lifetime I have only seen recruiting at this level a handful of times. Saban at Alabama and Pete Carrol at USC and possibly Urban Meyer at UF and the early 200’s Miami/FSU.

      Richt’s entire recruiting career condensed into one class might not be on par with what Kirby did last year alone.

      Richt never made it to the National Championship, never dominated a season by 30+ points per game, and never put an absolute wall around the East like Kirby has.

      2002 was vaguely similar, but certainly not identical to 2017. Richt followed up a 10th ranked class (5th in the SEC) in 2001 with the 9th ranked class in 2002.

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      • willypmd

        The better correlate is probably Bama 2008

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      • Mayor

        “Richt never made it to the national championship…” In fairness he had at least 2 teams, maybe more, that could/should have won a nattie: (1) In the 2012 SECCG the Dawgs ended the game just short of scoring a winning TD which would have led to a likely win over an over-rated ND in the BCSNCG; (2) In 2007 at the end of the season the Dawgs were the best team—period. Sure the team was flawed and lost 2 games but so did the champion LSU; (3) The 2002 Georgia was the best team in the nation but was left out of the big game because of the loss to Florida. Most years a 12-1 SEC champ gets into the BCSNCG. We were just unlucky.

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  3. Spur 21

    I think it’s going to be fun watching the “Road Graders” do their thing.

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  4. Greg

    Hard to say just one thing…but if I had to, JAKE FROMM. Without him, we would not have made the playoffs.

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  5. Bright Idea

    Perhaps ADGMc and B-M wanted the head coach to be in total control the whole time as long as it wasn’t Richt. Kirby’s energy level and philosophy of roster building makes me believe we aren’t about to wake up from a wet dream. I’m not as confident of a repeat 17 as many folks are, however, but neither do I think we will return to going through the motions. Teams will have to beat us.

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    • The AD isn’t that bright. If you wanted to replace that with Jere Morehead, you may be on to something.

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    • doofusdawg

      Total control is the key. Kirby has the vision and is driven. UGA football is no longer just another college sport that constantly demands more money and attention from the bureaucracy of the athletic department and board.

      Stand, sit or get out of the way.

      Whether or not Greg and the board are content with less involvement… time will tell. And Kirby is definitely benefiting from years of UGA athletics throwing themselves on the sword at the alter of the ncaa. That good will eventually wain as well.

      The money rolling into the coffers as a result of winning will hopefully benefit other sports as well. Time to make UGA tennis great again!

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  6. South FL Dawg

    If you think Kirby is the one dictating financial spending then sure. But I don’t think that.

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    • Charles

      Dictating? No. Driving? Absolutely.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      I think he is. Kirby had McGarity over a barrel after 2015 and he knew it. McGarity’s plan A was probably simply switching coaches, yet continuing to lag behind the rest of the conference in spending. Kirby wasn’t going to have it. If UGA wouldn’t give him the support he required, USC would.

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  7. Looking at the comments on that old post got me wondering where Will Trane has been hiding. I hope he stays around.

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  8. Go dawg

    Looked at that picture of Pittman w all those O linemen. Makes me wonder what type of team we can be if we can replicate that same talent level in the defensive side of the ball?

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  9. Go Dawgs!

    Kirby did what it took to bring in Sam Pittman and he’s doing what it takes to keep Sam Pittman happy. He deserves credit for that.

    Everything else? Sam Pittman. I hope that he’s happy in Athens for a very long time.

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    • Anonymous

      Kirby didn’t “do what it took” to get Sam Pittman to Athens. Kirby hired Jim Chaney to be OC. Jim Chaney is the one that recommended hiring Pittman.

      Pittman has no desire to be an OC, and Georgia offers everything he wants in a job. The trick to keeping him here until he retires is to make sure his wife Jamie loves living in Athens and doesn’t want to move.

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      • “The trick to keeping him here until he retires is to make sure his wife Jamie loves living in Athens and doesn’t want to move.”

        It seems based on everything that’s exactly what’s happening. He has implied that he doesn’t want to move again … I’m sure Kirby will oblige.

        I’ve given Chaney a lot of grief over the last couple of years, but the hiring of Pittman was sufficient for me to say Chaney was a good hire.

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  10. Former Fan

    I think if you fire a guy that wins 10+ games a year, then you better make sure the new guy you hire has EVERYTHING he needs to succeed, including your money and backing and cooperation, etc. You can bet your bottom dollar CKS won’t have to pay his coaches out of his pocket. Any manager would be stupid to not change his management style for the better if he knew the next coaching change would probably mean the manager lost his job too.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      The commitment to the reserve fund goes beyond McGarity. ADs all over the country have proven that they’ll spend like drunken sailors if allowed to. McGarity’s frugality is a symptom, not a cause.

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  11. AusDawg85

    Did the booze barons turn on the money tap for Kirby or because of Kirby? But either way, Kirby knows what to do with that money better than most in CFB and for that we are grateful.

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  12. Jack Burton

    Yes

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  13. Kirby has an uncanny ability to maximize an advantage at any given moment. The UGASports podcast (with Donnan, who is hilarious) was talking about how we’re going to time the completion and unveiling of the new West Endzone recruiting digs precisely with the end of an upcoming dead period and the arrival of some big name 2019 guys to campus.

    Kirby has an uncanny ability to maximize advantages, whether it’s through deployment of additional financial resources in the traditional sense or, in this case, a completely cost neutral tactical maneuver that required sophisticated organizational deployment (oars rowing in the same direction) to have that come together in such a timely fashion. I say “cost neutral” in the sense that the project was already happening and paid for, but a lazier coach might not press on the timing so perfectly.

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  14. W Cobb Dawg

    No question Kirby deserves ALL the credit. He makes sure everyone on the staff has what they need to succeed and has demanded results. I firmly believe that anyone on Kirby’s staff could leave and it wouldn’t register more than a minor blip on the success meter.

    The idea that somebody like Greg Mediocrity might deserve a portion of the credit is laughable. The glorified beancounter has been coasting on the job since he hit town.

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  15. UGA '97

    Correct by Chip on field, but that doesnt happen without first making the changes off the field. Those were clearly the biggest and most impactful. Kirby sold it and delivered.

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  16. bigncdawg

    As an old DAWG that grew up in Athens during the Butt’s years I caution on
    on the up coming season. Many of last years stars were recruited under Richt. Also, last years team had very few serious injuries. I love what Smart is doing butt I would reserve final judgment for a couple more years.

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  17. better bag men. No one has mentioned this. Smart learned from the best school in the country on that item.

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