The quote, the funk

As Emerson fleshed it out ($$):

Kirby Smart is being criticized for a lot of things this week, but give him this, he sure has a pulse on his team. Minutes before kickoff last Saturday, Smart used his customary pregame interview with Chuck Dowdle to vent.

“We’ve got to get our ass ready to play. Our team’s not ready to play right now,” Smart said.

That wasn’t just normal pregame coachspeak and worry. Dowdle told me he’d never had a coach tell him that prior to kickoff. And then we know what happened.

Smart wasn’t the only one sensing something was amiss pre-game.

“Some people said they didn’t feel… They just felt Saturday was… They didn’t feel normal,” Swift said. “Some people felt weird during pre-game. I’m not sure what was going on but we just weren’t on the same page Saturday.”

Smart is getting some criticism for not doing anything to motivate his team despite his awareness of their mental state at kickoff, but I’m not sure exactly what he could have done then.  Now, once the game was underway and it became apparent that some things weren’t working and tactical changes might be in order is another thing, although sometimes you gotta hope your team wakes up in the heat of battle and gets things going.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, either.

Another red flag for Georgia: something felt off.

“It felt off because we didn’t come out as a fast-tempo team,” defensive lineman David Marshall said, who noticed the effects progressively. “We came out a little sluggish. It’s one of those games where we didn’t play hard in the first half and got out-physicaled.”

Smart’s reaction?  Double down on manball.

Offensively, those behind the line-of-scrimmage had trouble mustering rhythm. Georgia’s offense had its Plan A: pound the football and break an opponent’s will. Georgia tried it in repetitive fashion with power run plays on first-and-second down. Throughout regulation, the sequence occurred nine times and continued on into overtime. Even when the Bulldogs were down by one score, they opted for two consecutive up-the-middle runs by D’Andre Swift — one for five yards, the other for one.

Smart said “you try to rely on your strength” when it is the run game and offensive line.

I wouldn’t say “when in doubt, play to your strength” was the worst possible take there, but the predictability of the playcalling played into South Carolina’s defensive tactics perfectly.


Filed under Georgia Football

33 responses to “The quote, the funk

  1. Derek

    “They got a great football team,” Smart said. “We gotta get our ass ready to play. Our team is not ready to play right now. We gotta get our team ready to play. We have to get ready to execute. It is going to be a physical, tough game.

    I am always looking for guys hitting and attacking, being really physical. We addressed that. We told them. That is not the way we want to warm up. We want to go out and hit people.”

    Imagine how much worse it would have been if Boom were say Mike Leach and they’d played a candy-ass version of football. CKS would have been really worried then because facing manball represents the least of your worries, amirite?


  2. Well, if you get beat by a 2-3 unranked USC team, you deserve to have everyone second guess your coaching decisions, but this is all starting to sound a bit like a perfect storm. Unmotivated players, injuries, turnovers, star players making uncharacteristic mistakes (Jake, Rodrigo), lack of game planning-preparation (due to too much time spent on recruiting?), all coupled with an opponent who hates our guts and is coached by a guy who knows Kirby as well as anyone. Shit happens I guess. I just hope they all learn from this and ddin’t spend all week blaming each other, which could cause the season to nosedive.


    • Jeff Sanchez

      Christ, this sounds like Dantzler. Every loss since 2017 has been a “perfect storm”


      • How would you describe it better?


        • jt10mc (the other one)

          I think you nailed it. You could look at all our losses (except the Bama’ ones) and they really were a perfect storm for them…AU 17, LSU 18, Tejas in the SB (players missing or simply not caring), and now add SCar to that list…Kirby must figure this out…how to get them ready regardless…he does that we get over the hump.


  3. Greg

    Jim Donnan said it himself and I also thought it after/during the game…..that this game reminded him of the 5 interception game years ago (Quincey).

    That was the beginning of the end for Donnan. Don’t think it gets that bad for Smart, but it sure will be interesting to see how the team responds.


    • BMan

      I’m fairly certain that Jake wasn’t coked out of his mind like I felt Quincy Carter was.


      • Charlottedawg

        This is classic lazy armchair analysis. Lawrence Taylor was coked out of his mind and played pretty damn well. Maybe it’s the player not the powder, ever thought about that?!??!?! Huh?!?!!


        • BMan

          You are correct. I love lazily analyzing from the armchair. They won’t let me do it on TV. I’d rather not have any player coked up, but if I had to choose for a team I was pulling for, I’d prefer it be a linebacker rather than a QB.


          • Charlottedawg

            This was meant to be in jest, but after re-reading my post I can see how it could comes off as legitimately deranged. But yes, coke is bad.


      • Greg

        Yeah, yeah….yeah. so the rumor goes.

        But my question is, what was Donnan’s excuse for not pulling him??


  4. D as in Dawg

    This season will end as a better version of 2016 because talent and because we all know Kirby’s approach ain’t changing. Just got to hope 2020 is another 2017.

    We’ll beat UK by 20 and then onto the game that has shaped my life and attitude just a little less than my raising. Who knows what might happen. I’m not optimistic about this season, obviously, so I’m back to beating UF as my main hope for the Dawgs.


  5. I don’t know how coaches have such a hard time drilling this home: SC is at best our 5th biggest rival, we are their 2nd. That has to be repeated and repeated and repeated.

    They are ALWAYS going to be ready to play UGA.


  6. Bill Glennon

    I understand a malaise with a noon kickoff and kids being kids. But, whether through a scheme change, an emotional speech, benching players, throwing a fit or something, the head coach should be able to shake the team out of a funk during the game. Even Richt would gather the team and shake his finger on the sidelines.

    With the LSU, TX and SC games during the last year, Kirby has completely failed to defibrillate his squad when they flatline, even when he senses pregame they are not ready (TX and SC).

    Hopefully he can fix this in a way that dosen’t involve changing the jersey color.


    • Rocketdawg

      Sometimes there isn’t anything you can do. It’s like watching a car crash and not being able to stop it. If the kids aren’t mentally ready there isn’t a whole lot you can do to change that


  7. Macallanlover

    I hope no one believes it is Kirby, or the staff’s fault if the players took SC lightly on Saturday, or showed up without focus. Why do you think he was concerned before the game? This always gets placed on the coaches, it is always on the players. Having a bad plan can be on the coaches, but not sounding the alarm. Athletes can ignore coaches, think they are just alarmists, etc., but the coach can only warn them, cannot open up their skull and pour it in. They were housed away the night before, and they are college students perfectly capable of connecting the dots: SC played UNC close in a loss and UNS tied Clemson, the top rated team. How hard is that to understand that on a given day, they can compete with UGA. When the score stayed close, why didn’t you wake up?

    High quality athletes, that work year round to prepare for just a dozen+ chances to display their talents should NEVER take one of those limited days off. Many are auditioning for the future employers on those precious days, and doing so on film. They should not require a warning, but you can bet they got one. Don’t excuse them, lack of effort/focus is on the players 100%.


    • GruvenDawg

      I thought this years team leadership was going to be better than last years. I guess we’re about to see.


    • If the team took USC lightly, why did they never run a play in the Georgia red zone until the overtime? The problem was the plan, the failure to adjust and the execution on the offensive side of the ball (with the exception of one big play by the USC offense).

      The further I get away from this game, the more I’m convinced that Saturday was caused by a combination of coaching combined with poor execution.


  8. I’ve always felt that Smart has the pulse of the team, which makes Saturday even more inexcusable.


  9. Dawgflan


    Or, maybe, if the players were collectively off on Saturday it reflects back to the preceding week of practice and coaching? Where any new wrinkles put in by the coaches that gave the team something to focus on? Was a game plan installed that respected the strengths of the opposing team?

    I’m not saying I know either way. I am saying that I’ve had a bad feeling walking into a pitch that my team wasn’t locked in, and it had a lot more to do with how we prepared the week before than what we ate for breakfast that morning.


  10. BuffaloSpringfield

    In a side line locker note, Coach Muschamp stated that “All the Chickens that were from the state of Georgia will get a game ball.”
    No Motivation Needed


  11. Cojones

    Two things: I had that feeling that Smart spoke of before the game, started to post it and decided it would be an inexcusable Debbie (my apologies to all Debbies) Downer that had been with me since the evening before and that feeling was that everything was not right. Not being prescient, I don’t know where that came from. Second, have we forgotten what Saban railed about in order to get his player’s heads out of their ass? Rat poison.

    Since we were loading up on it here, rat poison is the common denominator for us as well as the team. Why wouldn’t we expect the players to read the same ream of stats put out by ESPN and every UGA blog in existence that we were reading and giggling to ourselves that no one could beat us this year and had Finebaum saying that we were capable of beating ‘Bama this year? Rat poison – it fucks the mind into believing that invincibility comes simply by stepping onto the field and puffing out the chest to emphasize the “Big G”. Rat poison – it’s everywhere you read and view videos of this team. What prevents them from reading it, digesting it and succumbing to it during a game that we were favored to win by 25? Once it’s in your head, it takes the reality that you have to work daily and play like champions to be one in order to mind-vomit the poison out.

    Hopefully, we should be done with that, are now digesting our humble pie and are ready to become the team that should play respect-scared for the rest of the year with one game exception to be played with all our might on Nov 2. And on that day we will play a former UGA D coach who already thinks he has our number.


  12. practicaldawg

    Chuck Dowdle also asked Kirby in a press conference last summer what it was like playing for Coach Dooley. I’m surprised no one is questioning the reporting credibility here.


  13. Rocketdawg

    So a couple of things: Saturday was a weird day all around. I felt like there was a malaise over everyone and everything that day. My son’s team got blown out by a team they have beaten every year since the 4th grade. We expected them to win the game easily and they got their butts handed to them. You could tell pregame that they weren’t ready to play. When we heard about what was going on in Athens it was almost a mirror image. It was a full moon this past weekend so I don’t know if that had anything to do with either team getting their asses handed to them.

    I recall SOD when he was Head Coach at UT saying something similar after a game against Missouri (?). He told the reporters after the game that he knew they were going to lose in warm ups because the team wasn’t ready to play. Sometimes its just not your day.


  14. jt10mc (the other one)

    A couple of comments…My CSO watches Georgia Football well because he knows I am a Georgia guy and plus his son’s both are D1 Soccer players…
    He watched and texted me stating…this just has a very weird feeling about it.

    BL – I don’t think we need to change the offense…and we won’t…change up how we do things? I think we needed that last game…many of the type plays people want to see we do have in our offense…we just didn’t run those plays…


  15. Malcolm X

    Pure speculation here, but listen to Kirby: “ I am always looking for guys hitting and attacking, being really physical. We addressed that. We told them. That is not the way we want to warm up. We want to go out and hit people.”
    You can wear people out in practice. You need the team to have fresh legs and brains for game day. Timing that is a skill. Kirby probably thinks that’s for pussies.


    • Cojones

      We had a BYE week the week before playing Tenn and then SC.

      Do you seriously think it wasn’t because we had a rested team of 44 multistars ready to take the field after Tenn tired them out right after a BYE week? That’s some kind of low bar there for S&C.

      Rochetdawg said it better than my efforts by using that fine word, “malaise”. That’s exactly the descriptive of my feelings toward the team and the game prep before the game. I put it down partially of the stilted reporting of the week’s practices leading up to that game, plus the disappearance of Levon during the week – it all just felt strange to the point that I asked about him here Fri before gameday. His name didn’t hit the Vegas injury list until Fri evening.There seemed to be a quietness about Smart all that practice week.

      Maybe all our bad stars crossed at once and the odds for negative shit happening during games has passed. Maybe the digestion of humble pie by fans and team will be acknowledged with Kentucky play. Btw, didn’t SC have key injuries before they played us, just as injuries are being reported in key positions at Ken this week ? We think it was a big hiccup of focus, but with the pregame words of our coach still ringing in my ears, I wonder if something else unreportable (like Walker’s disappearance) has happened and we will only find out in 2025’s sensational book on insider college football written by a former UGA kicker known for his bold black frames and who has now amassed the sports epic tome of the decade for completion of his doctorate, earned while an NFL kicker.


  16. Salty Dawg

    I’m sorry, I didn’t read anyone’s comments on this. I just can’t any more with that horrid game last Saturday. I’ve just now started to move on and sure hope we kick the shit out of KY. I need the palate cleanser. Big time.


    • practicaldawg

      I avoided comment threads until today. The negativity is bad enough when we win by 30 points. Losing sends the internet into a whole other level of hell.