Dawgnation may have roundly condemned Kirby Smart’s ill-fated decision to try a fake punt late in last year’s SECCG, but his team has his back on it.
“We’d been practicing that play for two years; it was designed for Alabama’s punt safe,” former UGA long snapper Nick Moore said. “Nobody had ever seen that formation, we hadn’t remotely lined up in positions like that, ever.
“Our coaches are smart people, they do countless hours of film watching and game prep,” Moore continued. “Once we decided we were going to run the fake, and Justin ran on the field, we were just hoping they wouldn’t realize who was eligible (receivers) vs. who wasn’t eligible.”
… It was the same tone from Jayson Stanley, another departing senior with the license to say whatever he truly felt about the failed play.
“We could have made that play, we had a lot of preparation, but it didn’t go as planned,” Stanley said. “I was split out, my job was to run a slant, but by the time I looked over, the Alabama defense was in the backfield.
“We’d gone through that play (with Fields) in our special teams practice every day. We worked on it.”
If the call was good, that leaves only one explanation for why the play flopped.
“Thought it was there, and it was there today,” Smart said. “We were going to snap the ball quick. We took too long to snap the ball. They didn’t have a guy covered. We had a guy wide open. We took so long to snap it, that they recognized it and got the guy covered late… [Emphasis added.]
“Justin did the best he could — there’s a lot of responsibility for a young guy,” Moore said. “I went back and watched it 1,000 times, Alabama played it perfectly.
“We know Kirby is a competitor, like all of us, he’s not going to shy away from the moment.”