If you’ll permit a bit of snark here, it seems a little strange to pay a head coach $7 million a year to not have a fully prepared game plan.
Over the past two games, a pair of Georgia defenses have emerged from the locker room.
The defense that comes out for the first half has struggled at times, giving up 10 points to Notre Dame (albeit with the help of a muffed punt) and being gashed through the air by a Tennessee team starting a true freshman quarterback.
After halftime, however, a different unit emerges. It’s a defense that is nearly impenetrable, surrendering a grand total of 24 yards and three first downs in its last two third quarters played.
So what contributes to this defensive dichotomy? Head coach Kirby Smart partly attributed it to his players just settling down into the flow of the game.
However, there is a more schematic element to it as well.
“In the history of the really good defenses I’ve been with, you go into a game expecting one thing, and the other team has worked really hard to try to counteract that and get off tendencies to do different things,” Smart said. “You see different stuff because they’re trying to generate plays against you, and that’s been the case for us.”
Take the most recent game against the Volunteers for example. Smart and defensive coordinator Dan Lanning likely didn’t expect freshman quarterback Brian Maurer to come out slinging the ball all over the yard.
Why, exactly, especially since your run defense has played lights out football this season?
Honestly, I think Kirby’s a little guilty of the same mindset his players have sometimes — the feeling that the talent disparity Georgia usually has in its favor is enough to get through. And usually, that’s right. Until it isn’t.