If you’re looking for an uncomfortable comparison between Georgia and Kentucky this week, how about matching this…
Of the 26 offensive and defensive players listed by Georgia as potential starters against Florida, seven were seniors. Eleven were freshmen or sophomores.
… with this.
Kentucky, which can win the SEC East with an upset of Georgia this week, relies most on upperclassmen in the SEC at 2.7 percent and 3.1 percent of production in rushing and receiving comprised of freshmen, respectively.
If that doesn’t make you squirm a little, well… you’re not Kirby Smart.
“I was sitting in a meeting (Friday) night, and I’m sitting there thinking Mel (Tucker, defensive coordinator) is going to call out three guys as what we call signal-callers. We go over notes of the game and make them present them to the team. Jordan Davis stands up and goes over short-yardage goal line. Brenton Cox stands up and goes over the pass-rush plan. Tyson Campbell stands up and goes over the tricks and gimmicks. And I’m about to have a heart attack back there with these three guys. You’re used to your older guys being able to do those, and those (were) three true freshmen.”
I’ve said this before, but Stoops has built this Kentucky team the way Dan Mullen used to operate at Mississippi State, by gradually building up a competitive top-22 through judicious use of redshirts and player development to put a team on the field that would break through every few years to be nationally ranked and taken seriously.
It tended to be a great formula by MSU standards… until they played Alabama. Let’s hope Kirby’s internalized the lesson there, because there is a certain element of men playing boys that’s a little concerning for a Georgia fan.