For all you glass half-empty Dawgs…

Jake Rowe’s written something to remind you about the half-full side.

The new decade got off to an incredibly crazy start and it’s something that carried over from the end of 2019. When the Bulldogs arrived in New Orleans to take on Baylor in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, they did so without several players who had played key roles throughout the season. For one reason or another (early entries into the 2020 NFL Draft, academic trouble, injuries, and undisclosed issues) more than 10 players who had been heavy contributors or starters in 2019 were present.

When toe met leather in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the unofficial count of scholarship players not participating in the game was 18 and that’s not counting D’Andre Swift, who played just a handful of snaps in UGA’s 26-14 win. Somehow, some way, Kirby Smart and company found a way to win that game and since, one key player has transferred, three more have left school early for the NFL draft, four defenders have announced that they’ll be returning, and the Bulldogs have added a pair of graduate transfers.

Yeah, that’s a lot. But what should we make of it all?

… The attrition came fast, furious, and in weird ways but isn’t this why Smart is so relentless as a recruiter? Isn’t it why he seems to always have an eye on the transfer portal? Had the Bulldogs gotten a couple of offensive linemen to stay, things would look much brighter in Athens but it isn’t like they’re turning to walk ons to replace All Americans. Every team in America likes to talk about the “next-man” up mentality and UGA put that on display in the Sugar Bowl against a talented, well-coached Baylor team. Now it has roughly 40 practices to get it all figured out before it takes on Virginia on Labor Day in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It’s work, work, and more work between now and then.

If there’s one thing Smart’s truly accomplished at, it’s grinding.  Maybe we ought to keep an open mind about 2020 until we see what comes of those forty practices.  I know this much: there are very few teams in America that wouldn’t trade places with what he’s got to work with.

25 Comments

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25 responses to “For all you glass half-empty Dawgs…

  1. There’s talent stacked in Athens like no Georgia roster I’ve ever seen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. RangerRuss

    WOOF!

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  3. Scuba

    After the SEC championship game I was afraid we had Les Miles 2.0 at HC. I was wrong Kirby is on the mother.

    I am very much looking forward to Gday and seeing an actual deep threat passing game followed by much QBR ramblings over the summer.

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  4. Mark

    Good mourning, this comment will touch on the guarded optimism of Rowe’s post and also what Herby said. Like you, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as Herby says but I’ve been thinking that if I were an LSU fan I’d have come out of the hangover yesterday and had my head spinning with all the events that took place in three days. Definitely a glass half empty if there can be such a thing two days after winning it all.

    Being a Dawg fan, I guess I’d sure like to know how it feels one way or the other. I am quite sure our recent NFL products would represent UGA much better and I’m stunned as seemingly bright as Burrow admitted that. As for Rowe’s take, you’ve always said Kirby’s on the Mutha, and that’s been true. Crazy but here on January 17 we may be in better shape than Coach O’s program going forward.

    I’m packing the car and off to Disney and then their cruise to the Bahamas. Y’all hold it down and I’ll keep checking for the daily updates. Thanks for all you do as my lead source of Bulldog information.

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    • Have a blast. If you meet a cast member on Main Street with University of Georgia on her nametag starting with J, tell her “Go Dawgs” for me! If this is your first cruise with the Mouse, you’re in for a treat.

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  5. Rocketdawg

    I had a Turd friend of mine try to tell me they were the “team to beat” in the East next year. I not so gently reminded him that Disco Dan was winless against Kirby and that they still had 3rd and Grantham as their DC. Not to mention if anything the talent gap is bigger now than it was last year. We all know how poorly Grantham recruits and Disco Dan ain’t exactly been tearing it up the last few years.

    With Shaffer medically cleared and Cleveland enrolled for Spring Semester we will have 3 players with significant starting experience on the Oline. Salyer has played quite a bit as well so he isn’t exactly a “new” starter either. Right now RT is the only position I’m not sure about. Either way the line will be as good as in the past couple of years. I think 2020 is going to be a good year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Macallanlover

      Must have missed that about Big Ben, I thought it was still up in the air. That definitely puts some more juice in my glass, More talent in a position of need. Drink up!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Russ

        Yeah, when is the draft declaration deadline? Isn’t it coming up still? I certainly hope Big Ben comes back as he can provide a lot of stability/leadership to the line. Yes, we have others just as talented (if not moreso) but I like Cleveland’s experience along the line. That counts for a lot in my book.

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  6. Bulldog Joe

    Georgia’s 2020 roster can be competitive with anyone.

    Looking forward to some healthy competition at QB and receiver this season, hopefully with a green light to improvise when necessary.

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  7. Mick Jagger

    Hey Mark, could ya swing by Rochelle, Ga and pick me up before that Bahamas trip? I’ll buy my own booze.

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  8. DawgPhan

    Hard to argue that he had the offense grinding at practice based on how they looked.

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  9. ASEF

    Kirby’s program is the beast of the East. And the Baylor game proves it has the roster to overwhelm almost every other team out there.

    So at this point it’s just finding the right schemes to win the games against the 3 or 4 other programs out there that can put the same kind of talent on the field.

    The post yesterday on Burrow talked about building their offense around the skill sets of each player. That’s how you maximize each guy and build something greater than the sum of its parts.

    Cook had no viable role in the offense last year. It’s Kirby’s job to make sure the offensive coordinator figures out ways to help these huge talents shine. If he doesn’t the offense will continually be a position group short. The “if but for the offensive line” posts for next season are already half-written.

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  10. Brandon M

    For some Dawg fans, the glass will be half empty even when it is overflowing… Life is short, try to enjoy it.

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  11. Bill Glennon

    It was at a similar point around the year 4, where Richt started getting passed. You could almost hear Richt exhale after 2005. Van Gorder left. Greene, Shockely and Pollack graduated. Richt started doing mission trips in the offseason to Central America. Meyer and Saban asserted themselves in the East and West and Richt could never get it back. Kirby seems determined not to allow that to happen.

    Now, if Kirby can just get more of these East programs churning thru coaches and destabilizing themselves, like Saban did in the west, we can press the advantage.

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  12. CEPH

    You can talk all you want about LSU’s exodus for next year and their cupboard may need restocking but, remember on thing they just won a National Championship. Our cupboard has been running over since Kirby has been here but ” no national championship” Which one would you prefer?

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  13. Mark

    Thanks guys…yes, eethomas it’s our first Disney Cruise. Our girls are 10 and 12 so it’ll be fun. We’ll spend two days in the park where I’ll wear all Dawg apparel so J might find me. I’m starting with that new Peach State Pride WLOCP shirt just to rub it in.

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    • You can likely find J if you go in the late afternoon/evening to the fire house or the Mickey and Tinkerbell greeting line at the Town Hall.

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      • Mark

        Thanks eethomas…I’ll be in Magic Kingdom tomorrow night. I’ve got three younger nieces so chances are I’ll be in that area.

        Bout to hit the road. Since I was a child I’ve cherished visits to The Sunshine State the year after we beat em.

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  14. Tony Barnfart

    My UT brother-in-law has been making snarky comments even after the Sugar Bowl “bad week for Kirby, huh”……”Georgia fans getting a little uneasy with Kirby?”

    I told him, the only teams who keep everything in tact are the ones who go 8-5 and are happy about it. Enjoy that sweet spot of good enough not to be fired but not good enough that anybody else wants a piece of what you got.

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