The state of the program, a play in three charts

If you want the tl;dr version of Seth Emerson’s Georgia preview ($$) — not that I’m recommending you skip his well-written analysis (in fact, I almost took his intro as the source for an Envy and Jealousy post) — it’s in these three pics from his piece:

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georgia

Shorter Seth Emerson charts:  this Georgia team is frickin’ loaded.

There’s only one little thing.

No, this is not a make-or-break year for Georgia. But already the whispers have begun about Smart not winning it all despite all this great recruiting. And it’s been pointed out by plenty that Smart and Richt’s first three years were almost identical. If this year falls short of a championship, or even the playoff, the chirping will get louder.

That may be unfair. Smart has done a fantastic job so far. The state of the program is strong.

There’s only one thing missing.

Alabama has been both Kirby Smart’s blessing and curse.  It’s time for Georgia to get over the hump.

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57 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

57 responses to “The state of the program, a play in three charts

  1. Greg

    loaded…yes, but not on the DL. Biggest difference between Georgia and the Clemson’s & Bama’s (’18). That has been our achilles heel, good news is…..it looks like we are recruiting great in that area this year, just hope Fromm comes back for his last year to enjoy it. I believe he will.

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    • W Cobb Dawg

      “loaded…yes, but not on the DL.”

      Ya know, I was lamenting that if the Dawgs had signed DL Derrick Brown from Lanier HS in our own backyard, we probably would’ve gotten over that hump. That and some decent officiating….

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  2. Bright Idea

    At some point we have to have find out if Kirby’s young staff of recruiters can coach. I don’t mean avoiding dumb fake kicks and play calling, I mean the little fundamental things like pass rush, pursuit angles and filling the off tackle gap, etc. Roquan was a vacuum cleaner but without him the defense looked ordinary too often last year.

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  3. Muttley

    If we sweep the East and thump all of our rivals this year but don’t win it all, because the Saban or Swinney machine gets in our way, or bad luck or a bad call or injuries or Herbstreit or whatever, and start bitching about that, we deserve to immediately lose our coach and our incoming class and have about twenty years like Clemson did starting in about 1990.

    Kirby’s already won one anyway, in my opinion, if the 2018 championship game had been called straight.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Chris Bradford

      Thank you. This championship or bust Bama-esque entitlement infecting large factions of our fanbase is maddening. The trajectory of our program is strong, regardless of what happens in 2019.

      Liked by 5 people

      • stoopnagle

        It’s the new culture. The only thing that counts is the national title (for so many folks). You see it online/social media and it’s the last thing our rivals have to hold over our head, so many Georgia fans get riled up about it.

        The bottom line is our window is just now opening.

        Liked by 1 person

        • When I get into it with gators, they always throw out NCs.

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          • stoopnagle

            Of course they do. What would you do in their place? It’s literally all they have now; the reality is that the last two years is more indicative of where the Jacksonville Game is going than the results from 2008. Gator Fan has resorted to Tech Fan’s “we have a national title since your last one” rhetoric because he knows what’s coming. What’s funny is Tech Fan acts like 1990 was a decade ago and Gator Fan is out here acting like a decade was one year ago.

            #FTMF

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  4. Gurkha Dawg

    I think the question is not relevant. Kirby already has answered it. Does anyone think that Saban out coached Kirby in any significant way the past 2 years? Anyone who watched the games knows that’s bullshit. Hell, Clemson borrowed our playbook to beat Bama. I still think people underrate Fromm. Our passing game will be unreal this year. We will score at will from anywhere on the field. Only 3 teams will be able to compete with us : Bama, Clemson and possibly Ohio State. Honestly, I think those 3 have only a punchers chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Got Cowdog

      Ghurka’s into the Kool-Aid early this morning! 🙂
      Hell, I’m excited too. It would be wonderful if one of these tall receivers has decent hands. With the O-line depth and experience and Deandre? Give Fromm a weapon over the top and the offense will be scary good. Come on defense….

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    • Hobnail_Boot

      Michigan finally beats ohio this season.

      Like

  5. Cojones

    Somehow, Kirby is different to us Richtophiles. Since he is a vaunted Dawg player, a great alum, and a Georgia boy to begin with, our mindset has gelled towards him more positively as our leader out of the swamp and into the hinterland. Those who disliked Richt will stay with him longer because he has proven enough to garner their loyalty, but also the Richtophiles are not interested to cut off their nose to spite their face with this coach.

    Kirby has racked up a berm of good favor such that forgiveness may rule the day in the event of a loss. It worked that way last year and we no longer have a coach who took some of that blame with him to Tenn, but that means that our gaze will shift to the new coaches and overall game planners. It is no coincidence that Fromme is being given more reign on play-calling. That’s a small wall of protection to Kirby’s image that allows for seasonal corrections without whining or blame from the fans.

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  6. St. Johns Dawg

    I don’t think it’s a NC-or-Bust year … But make no mistake, Kirby has to beat Nick. He’ll never earn elite coach status unless he beats the man. Bammer fans still point out UGA luckily dodging the Tide in 1980’s regular season schedule (even if Bama tied Miss State that year).

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    • stoopnagle

      That’s adorable. It’s like they fail to recognize that Bear played who he wanted to play and he rarely wanted to play Georgia.

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  7. Pedro

    Talent wins, and more talent wins championships. Key difference between Kirby and Richt is talent. Imagine if we had the injuries to starting offensive lineman that we had last season under Richt, that wouldve been a 3 or 4 loss regular season. Kirby in my opinion has earned a pass for the foreseeable future on recruiting alone, even without an optimal 2019 season.

    That being said I think this team has all of the pieces to meet high expectations. All American caliber QB, RB, OL, LBs, Safeties, and DL (Davis). High ceiling but young potential at WR, DB (really potential AA speed and size), and new DL. Old DL is filled with solid seniors who have the ability to produce. I am not saying 19 is the year, but I am less concerned about positions and depth than I can recall.

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  8. Russ

    As Fromm (and his health go) so goes our season. Stay healthy there and the season looks great. Same for next season assuming he returns and the Beck and Mathis can work to take over.

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  9. Debby Balcer

    If we don’t win and people call for his head they are stupid. I think we will win but if we don’t Coach Smart still has my support.

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    • SCBoston

      Agreed.

      These “Richt and Smart first three years were similar” comparisons are lazy and inaccurate. Those comparisons artificially inflate the pressure on this year.

      They’re mostly based on overall W-L. Yet, 2002 featured a 6 pt win at SC, 2 pt win at Bama, 5 pt win vs UT, and a 3 pt win at AU, to say nothing of the losses. In 2017, Smart’s “comparison year” a 1 pt win at ND and then a whole bunch of stompin (with the exception of AU).

      Richt’s teams – even in the great years (memories of which I still appreciate) – were not getting results similar to those of Smart’s first years.

      Nattys take some combination of crootin, coachin, and luck. These Smart teams are wayyyyyy less reliant on #3.

      If UGA doesn’t win it all in the next 4 years, but keeps fielding teams and results like the last two years, the level of chirping shouldn’t change much at all.

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      • 79Dawg

        You lost me at “losses” in 2002…

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        • SCBoston

          You’re right, “loss.” Excuse the typo.

          … Do you think their first three years were really that similar now?

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        • Athens Townie

          If you got lost at that minor typo and totally missed the strength of the overall arguments SCBoston laid out, then, well, you’re lost.

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          • 79Dawg

            It’s not a minor typo – it is typical of the Richt-revisionism so many who hate him have… Another familiar trope is downplaying Richt’s close wins as “lucky”, while Kirby’s are evidence of “good coaching”…
            The fact of the matter is that what they print in the paper on Sunday morning is what matters, and all your “feelings” about how good things are going aren’t worth much. In fact, the people who had the same “feelings” about Kirby now had the same “feelings” about Richt at this point 15 years ago!

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            • Biggus Rickus

              Outside of Notre Dame, who was nearly an elite team in 2017, Smart’s closest win was by 14 the last two years. That alone hints that your “trope” is a straw man.

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              • Biggus Rickus

                I meant to say “regular season win”.

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                • SCBoston

                  I can only speak for myself and say that I do not have the same feelings now as I did after CMR’s first three years. Which isn’t to hate on CMR or downplay his excellent accomplishments. I was at the 2002 SECCG, seeing grown men cry since they hadn’t seen an SEC title in so long.

                  I get that Sunday papers are what matters. But the data and my eyes are saying the same thing — that CKS’ first three years are an even bigger cause for optimism than CMR’s first three years.

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  10. ChiliDawg

    I just disagree with the entire premise that Kirby is being held to the same standard as Richt.

    I didn’t want Richt gone because he didn’t win a national championship. I wanted Richt gone because he couldn’t even win the SEC East in years when the competition was putrid.

    Kirby has us sitting as the unquestioned dominant force in the East, and in the conversation for the playoff every year. That’s all I ever wanted. Yes, I want to win a NC but the notion that if Kirby doesn’t win one this year (when Alabama exists) then he’ll be as big a failure as Richt is just preposterous in my mind, and I think writers have done more to advance the idea that Georgia fans are “NC or bust” then the actual fans have.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. ChiliDawg

    BTW hopefully those of you with subs read that whole article by Seth – and followed it up with a cigarette.

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    • stoopnagle

      It’s solid stuff. Seth is the main reason I got it, but most of the CFB and soccer stuff is well worth it for me.

      I don’t do comments often, but what’s with the Buckeye guy throwing the shade? WTF does he care?

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      • ChiliDawg

        Yeah I saw that – honestly not sure. I think he and many other Buckeyes feel attacked that Georgia is getting more pre-season attention than they are.

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  12. This trope about how identical Richt and Kirby are in 3 seasons is so shallow and it’s not even close. The level Kirby is recruiting at is a foundational shift in what he is building. Someone posted on this over at 24/7 awhile back and basically showcases the disparity in what Kirby is putting on the field vs Richt. Over a longer period of time…..its not even close. The problem Kirby has is that he’s up against 2 teams doing the same thing one is his former employer who has a longer headstart.

    https://247sports.com/college/georgia/Board/19/Contents/Debunking-Richt-recruited-just-as-well-at-Georgia-120353448/

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    • You are comparing apples and oranges.

      Nobody is claiming Richt’s recruiting was on par with what Kirby is doing now. The comparison is with on the field results and to date those aren’t that different.

      The logical thing to expect is that we’ll see some serious separation between the two in a few more years because of the upgrade at recruiting.

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      • Gurkha Dawg

        I agree. But a difference is while Richt was beating “good” teams in close games Smart is crushing them. LSU was certainly unfortunate but it really didn’t have any affect on our season except to motivate us.

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        • But a difference is while Richt was beating “good” teams in close games Smart is crushing them.

          I appreciate that (although let’s not forget Richt crushed Saban 45-16 in ’04), but in the big picture, how much does that matter? It doesn’t change how many SECCGs the two coached in their first three seasons, does it?

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          • Gurkha Dawg

            It doesn’t change anything. A win is a win and a loss is a loss. But it sure does make me feel good about the next couple of years. Which is what you are saying in your last paragraph in your 1:41 post.

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            • 79Dawg

              Pretty much everyone, June 2004: Richt’s performance over the past 3 years “sure does make me feel good about the next couple of years.”
              Feeling good and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee at the grocery store…

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        • stoopnagle

          Richt turned the Tennessee, Auburn, and Tech rivalries to our favor.

          Kirby appears to be continuing that while finally starting the counter-revolution in Jacksonville.

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          • Gurkha Dawg

            Agree, I’m not a Richt hater by any means.

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          • MGW

            Gotta give Richt credit for starting the turnaround in Jax. He was part of the tail end of the frustrations but he did get that 3 game streak under Murray. Lost the next two which should have been W’s, but that streak was huge. That was the end of the mental block, even if the 2014 loss was a surprise. Of course you can pick how far back you want to look and the record gets worse but he did end on a 3-2 run.

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      • MGW

        Agreed. ON FIELD success is on par. If Richt coached in the playoff era, his first three years, as far as results, would be very similar to Kirby’s. However, Smart’s “game plan” feels more sustainable. Richt seemed to coach in such a way that there were peaks and valleys (although the peak never quiiiite was high enough, regardless of how painfully close he came). Smart’s recruiting makes it feel more like we are staying at the top until we inevitably win the big one, rather than having to hope we capitalize on the one year every few years that the pieces finally fall into place.

        However, there was no “Bama” in the conference when Richt started out. Sure Saban was here, but Saban’s LSU was a totally different animal than Saban’s Bama. Lot of people forget that when making the comparison between Richt and Smart. Smart has done it in spite of the absolute juggernaut hanging out over there in the West.

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        • SCBoston

          I agree with Gurkha and MGW. The first three years of CMR were great and they turned the trajectory of the program upwards. A natty seemed possible for the first time in a while. That’s nothing to take for granted, and one of the reasons why CMR deserves respect.

          The first three years of CKS have been qualitatively different. You can see it in the product on the field, even if the W-L are similar. If S&P+ went back that far, I bet we’d see it in the numbers. Now, a natty doesn’t just seem possible, it seems likely.

          If it doesn’t happen in the next 4 years, my bet is that we’ll be saying “Man, we just couldn’t ever catch a break when we needed it.” Not “Man, we’re witnessing CMR Years 4-8 all over again.” I could be wrong.

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          • Biggus Rickus

            Georgia ranked 5th and 4th in 2002 and 2003, respectively when they went back and applied the formula. The ranking fell to 9th and 8th in 2004 and 2005. The only other Richt team to finish in the top 5 of S&p+ was the 2014 team when they finished 3rd. Smart’s 2017 and 2018 teams finished 4th and 2nd. There has been an extremely slight qualitative difference so far, sparked largely by the offense funnily enough. Georgia’s 2002 and 2003 defenses were better than either of Smart’s last two (5th and 2nd compared to 12th and 8th). However, Smart’s offenses have ranked 7th and 3rd compared to 20th and 34th for Richt.

            The main difference is that Georgia is probably going to rank in the top 5 for at least one more year, and assuming they have an answer at QB when Fromm leaves, they’re unlikely to fall out of it anytime soon.

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