“He makes the best calls.”

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.”


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

27 responses to ““He makes the best calls.”

  1. gastr1

    Yup. Then he transfers.

    I wish him the best, but I can’t say I’m gong to lament his departure.


  2. MDDawg

    The one replay I found on youtube doesn’t show how much time we took to line up and snap the ball or at what point Bama shifted their defense. Did Kirby & Co. have enough time to recognize the play was busted and call a timeout?

    And the answers quoted above may be 100% true, but I’d bet the vast majority of Dawg fans are tired of hearing “It was a good play call, we just didn’t execute” or any variation of that.


  3. Even if the fake was there before Bama adjusted, we should have called timeout. When they saw Fields lined up, the surprise was gone. At least when Richt pulled something similar, he had his normal protector in the game (Arthur Lynch). It was the wrong call exaggerated by a failure on the sideline to recognize the fake wasn’t going to work.


  4. Greg

    I thought it was a fake as soon as Fields trotted on the field. If I knew it, you can bet Bama knew it also. The play was dead from the start, shoulda called a timeout when they adjusted. Unfair for Fields (blame) and unfair for the players. Kirby & staff should just own it….learn from it and move on.


  5. ugafidelis

    “We should have just punted and made em drive the length of the field!” Look, I get it, but it was only dumb because it didn’t work.
    Although the probabilities are different, the same number of things can go wrong on a real punt vs a fake punt. Could have been a high or bobbled snap. Could have been a shank. Camarda had already shanked one. He had the shot, so he took it. Bobby Bowden is forever famous for the puntrooskie which had the same probability for success. Difference is it worked.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      I agree. It seemed to me that losing was inevitable unless we pulled off a huge play to take the win. Our offense simply wasn’t gonna pull it out. Chaney & the offense shot their load and had retreated into a turtle shell of safe, uninspired play calls that weren’t going to get us a score. We had no choice other than for the STs or D to take a big chance.


  6. towniedawg

    No, you don’t call a timeout there, timeouts were too valuable at that point…. you take a delay of game.


    • Uglydawg

      THIS…and I think it’s what was supposed to happen but the ball got snapped anyway. There is an aspect to this whole thing that hasn’t been revealed and may never..but Kirby will use this somewhere. Imagine when he trots a QB out there in punt formation in the future.
      Another thought…if the team had practiced this “for years” as reported (I doubt it was years)…then the chances were very high that Saban had heard about it. Almost certain. You can’t keep something like that a secret for very long. Otherwise, why didn’t Saban call a time-out when you know they saw Fields out there? (Possibly Saban didn’t have a TO left? I can’t remember) But his team adjusted without the time-out because they had practiced for it. They knew Georgia had that play and were prepared. Had Fields called for the early snap (before they adjusted) the play probably would have worked.


  7. spur21

    Honestly I never think about the “fake punt” unless someone brings it back up. It is in my rear view mirror. I look forward to a new season not backward to something that can’t be changed.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Even someone like myself knows that you can ‘kill’ a play like that. High School Football Teams put in trick plays with a ‘kill’ built in if it isn’t there. It appears that Fields blew the play. He didn’t snap the ball quickly enough and when it was no longer there – he didn’t kill the play.

    Smart didn’t throw him under the bus then and he’s not doing it now. If the QB pulls this off, Georgia likely wins this game. Simple as that.

    Personally, I want him to stay aggressive and hope they amp up the aggressiveness on the offensive side of the ball this year.

    I had no issue with the call whatsoever.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. ASEF

    It was poorly designed if it (a) required a quick snap and (b) had no plan B built into the play design if Bama covered the eligible. Something like a QB punt or a delay.

    Which makes it a bad play call. Of all the things I like about Kirby and worry about Kirby, his inability to just own this and move on is disconcerting. PJ-esque.


  10. Comin' Down The Track

    Soooo… you’re saying we need a buttah long snappah? (looking for bonus points for coachspeak mashup)


  11. Go Dawgs!

    Justin Fields made a bad decision. I don’t love the call by Kirby, but the call was made. It’s on a quarterback to be able to read a defense and execute the play or get the team out of it. If he doesn’t have the ability to audible into the punt when he sees that Alabama is obviously ready for whatever is coming, then he needs to either call timeout or take the delay. It’s a very poor decision on the part of the quarterback there.

    I personally think that Fields is going to be a stellar player, and I hate that it won’t be with Georgia. But it’s plays like that one where you can see that his ability to read defenses wasn’t yet fully developed where it makes sense that he wasn’t on the field more this year. I hate that it offended him so much, but the coaching staff was trying to win ball games.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Macallanlover

      +1 The call was a solid one, just should not have used Fields to implement it, he was just too conspicuous of a player in that role. The the worst happened, Fields choked the play with bad timing and/or not getting us out of it with a TO or delay. Smart obviously thought he would, and didn’t call the timeout. Kirby is taking a lot of heat for it, and some is on him, but the bigger problem was with Fields not making the decision(s). I understand the fake FG uproar, but not this one. It is was the right call, at the right time, and they had prepared for it. The players know.


  12. f

    Should have put Rodrigo in rather than Fields. His speed to the outside is legendary.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There’s only two conclusions I can come up with (1) Kirby is doing the right thing in shouldering the blame when Fields didn’t get the snap off or kill the play and (2) maybe there was a fog of the everyday grind with Fields being just-one-of-the-boys that they were numb to the fact that his presence would likely cause a 5 alarm fire—in which case Fields should have been better equipped with the knowledge of what to do in a “kill the play” scenario. Near mid-field late in the game, the choice was to take a delay of game.


  14. The Dawg abides

    The key fact in all this is what Moore said about the play being designed to be run against punt safe. Bama’s punt safe specifically. Yes everyone in the building knew something was coming with Fields as the upback. But that was also part of the design to guarantee they stayed in punt safe. As stated, the formation was designed to confuse a base defense as to which receivers were eligible or not. And according to the players and coaches it worked- there was an uncovered eligible receiver.
    I totally buy the reason it failed was because the snap didn’t come immediately and they had time to get the guy covered. Then Fields failed to kill the play and take the delay. Then his inexperience showed even more when he got the snap and panicked. He should at least have thrown it up for grabs downfield. I have no problem with the call ( hell, it’s almost guaranteed that if the play had went for a td or a huge gain the refs would have called an illegal formation, holding, ineligible receiver, or some other made up bullshit). I have a bigger problem with the offense totally going into its usual shell after the FG miss.


    • Jim

      “hell, it’s almost guaranteed that if the play had went for a td or a huge gain the refs would have called an illegal formation, holding, ineligible receiver, or some other made up bullshit”

      Never thought of it like that but your exactly right