Plan B blues

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.


Filed under Georgia Football

18 responses to “Plan B blues

  1. Mark

    So glad you mention this. The opposite should apply to being prepared if you are so successful in your game plan that team makes a QB change. I’m afraid we’ll been done in by one or two factors. The slow starts that lead to barely or not covering will hurt us in the rankings to the point we may not be impressive enough to overcome one loss. Or, that one blown assignment per game by LeCounte rears it’s head in a pivotal 2nd and you know what type scenario. I’m just trying to enjoy the ride but if we’re seeing this I hope that high dollar staff recognizes the concerns and are going to fix them.



  2. Senator said. “Why, exactly, especially since your run defense has played lights out football this season?”
    I totally agree. I also wonder why when we get those changes from other teams we wait all the way to the half to make these changes instead of the second or third series?


  3. There is more to the slow start narrative. Yes, in both games mentioned above UGA surrendered points before settling down. However, in the ND game it was really TWO drives in the first half and in the Tennessee game UGA didn’t give up another point after 14:57 in the 2nd quarter. If anything, you could say it was a slow quarter for Dawgs in that one.

    I do think there is something to be said for a team throwing the best scheme they have at us in the 1Q and we have to adjust accordingly. Once we figure it out… it’s lights out. One would wonder, how many schemes are left that will fool UGA for a few minutes. At some point will we have seen them all and get right down to business from the get go? I’m not sure. I do think we have a lot of handwringing for nothing sometimes.


  4. 79Dawg

    People thought Mark Richt was too religious, now they’re pissed Kirby and our coaching staff aren’t omniscient….

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Admiral Sackbar

    It’s been said many times on this blog it’s all about the Jimmy’s and Joe’s and the coach agrees. I wonder how much time he’s spending on recruiting during the actual season…


  6. Brian McKnight

    This was the story in the Rose Bowl against Oklahoma too it seems like.


  7. engrdawg

    So if you were coaching against Smart, would you hold all of your offensive changes until the second half? Intentionally or unintentionally that unfortunately worked for Bama. Twice.


    • 79Dawg

      What those two examples show is that we spent the majority of the week getting ready for MNC for Hurts, and the majority of the week of SECCG getting ready for Tua – and we did a really good job preparing for those two scenarios, which were the most likely to occur. What we undoubtedly did not have enough time for, in both situations, was also preparing for the (at the time) highly unlikely situation that Tua would play in the MNC or that Hurts would play in the SECCG. If we’d have spent a lot more time getting ready for Tua or Hurts in those situation, and gotten torched in the first two halves as a result, the coaches would no doubt be getting killed for spending time on unlikely scenarios…


  8. AJ

    I think its so obvious. If you come out and do what your offense does against our team…you will get beat. You better have a new offense ready for the first half and then a completely new look for the second half. Period.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Johnny Utah

    Giving up 10 points in the first half to Notre Dame is considered a slow start?

    Y’all fanatics are just that. People b!tch when we don’t finish strong, and when we start “slow.” Make up your mind already.

    There’s a reason why we play ALL 4 QUARTERS.


    • Cojones

      Many fans are so friggin’ possessed trying to identify nonoptimal facets of this team that they forget to enjoy the games while they last.

      Senator, you are feeding too much stats to people who can’t process them without trying to find out the latest tell that will ruin our team forever.

      Sheesh! We should crank back with a 20-ouncer and enjoy the game between spills made by the people next to us jumping up and down in excitement.

      Some fans here also need a cookie.


  10. 69Dawg

    Kirby has the mind set that we will wear you down and by the second half our depth will grind you into a fine powder. This works well with teams that lack the depth that we have but when we go up against an LSU, Auburn and especially Alabama that’s not going to happen. I left UF out because I don’t think they have the depth to hang with us for four quarters. The only problem is if we don’t stop a good football team from running up a score in the first half that we can’t overcome in the second half aka Texas and LSU. It will continue to bit us if we don’t get into a big game sooner. If they don’t trust Fromm to chose the pass over a stacked box then we are never going to beat Alabama by out manning them.


    • Cojones

      I’m glad we may be saving plays until we meet those teams instead of giving away all our O potential to God and ever’body. Aren’t you?


  11. WT

    Been thinking a lot about this talent disparity thing: I think Smart thinks/fears, deep down, that the only way he’s really going to win is if his players are simply better. That is, he doesn’t think or believe that he can take players of equal or lesser talent and win based on great coaching.

    Consider the example of him wanting to move Florida game from Jacksonville so that we can do more recruiting. My first thought when I hear his reasoning is always, “But wait, haven’t we been doing just fine on the recruiting wars with the game IN Jacksonville?” Is #2 or #3 rated class not good enough? If you’re consistently getting a top 5 class, you’d think that you could be relatively even talent wise and your ability to coach, counsel, scheme, etc. would provide the difference.

    I don’t think that’s his mindset. I think he believes he’s getting paid the millions to recruit. I’m not saying he’s wrong in that. It’s just a pattern. How many times have we said over the past 2-3 years that we play like we think we’re better than the other team? Usually we are. In the close games, what do you, where is your hope? Is it in coaching, or is it in hoping you’re never in the situation where you have equal or less talent?


  12. Macallanlover

    Agree totally, and said so earlier this week. We have sufficient resources to develop “what if” scenarios for each game and counter measures to add to our practice routine that week so they may be implemented before the 3rd Qtr. Starting with your best guess of what you will get is fine, but not tweaking it until after the halftime speech isn’t.

    Sure, it hasn’t been a problem to this point, but we haven’t faced the explosive offenses that can bury you in the first 30 minutes…yet. We did survive that exact situation in the Rose Bowl, but that required one of our best comebacks ever, by a very talented group of athletes on both sides of the ball, and Riley making a mistake of backing off what they were doing too early. I wouldn’t count on that as a way to reach our goals; there are some very explosive offenses out there in 2019, and we don’t have an R this year.


  13. JT

    Pretty much every team has a set of plays to begin a game that they feel will be successful. The defense then identifies the small adjustments made by the offense and adjusts, after that it can come down to who has better players and who can execute the best. Football it’s pretty simple, I don’t like Pruitt but I thought that was one of the smartest things he ever said, “football is not as complicated as people want to make it out to be”.