“I’m telling you. It ain’t that way anymore.”

The master has advice for the grasshopper.

Alabama coach Nick Saban has finally relented, albeit reluctantly. He said college football has officially become an offensive game.

“It used to be that good defense beats good offense. Good defense doesn’t beat good offense anymore,” Saban told ESPN on Friday. “It’s just like last week. Georgia has as good a defense as we do an offense, and we scored 41 points on them [in a 41-24 Alabama win]. That’s not the way it used to be. It used to be if you had a good defense, other people weren’t going to score. You were always going to be in the game.

Considering the source… well, I mean, that’s the question now, innit?  Do these words carry any weight for Kirby Smart, coming from his mentor?  Or does Smart take a different lesson from that 17-point loss?

That’s what Graham Coffey pondered in this post.

Nick Saban built Alabama into a dynasty with Smart as his right-hand man by pulling in as much talent as possible. He took that talent and built strong defenses designed to stuff the run without bringing help from the secondary, and brought in corners and safeties who could cover wide-receivers in man coverage. On offense, he bulked up the line and made sure the Tide were immovable up front. He stuck stud running-backs behind those big lines, and played a ball-control style of football.

14.3, 12.6, 14.1, 7.7, 11.6, 15.1, 18.8, 13.9, 13.7 – That’s how many points the Alabama defense surrendered per a game from 2008 to 2015, Kirby Smart’s last year as the Crimson Tide defensive coordinator. At no point did the Tide rank lower than 5th in the nation in points surrendered per a game, and they won four national titles during that nine year span.

When you know your defense is going to shutdown the opposition’s offense you don’t have to take very many risks on offense, and Alabama didn’t. During that same span from 2008 to 2015 Alabama fielded plenty of very good offenses, but they never played offense at an elite level.

Sound familiar?  It should.  It’s been the blueprint in Athens since Smart’s arrival and up to a point, it’s served the Georgia program well.

Graham makes a good point reflecting on how the two teams in the 2015 Georgia-Alabama game looked versus the way they looked last Saturday.

There have been people comparing Smart to Mark Richt after Georgia lost to Alabama again last weekend. Anyone who is honestly considering the idea that Georgia’s program is in the same place now as it was then should simply go back and watch the 2015 Georgia vs Alabama game.

In that game Georgia fielded a team that looked like a bunch of high-schoolers next to the Tide. Alabama had superior athletes. Go back and watch the game from last Saturday and you will see two teams that look like equals in almost every way.

The difference last Saturday boiled down to one area.

When the two teams met on Saturday night one had a quarterback who was capable of reading the field quickly and wide-receivers with the ability to take the top off of a defense. One did not.

Mac Jones and his receivers versus Stetson Bennett IV and his receivers was the only lopsided matchup on the field, and it swung the game in the Tide’s favor in the second-half.

I think Kirby already knew what Saban was articulating after he was on the receiving end of the LSU offense in the SECCG.  That’s why he made the hard decision to replace a valuable recruiter in James Coley with Todd Monken.  And even in the eyes of a tyro like me, it’s obvious that the move is a success.

Smart’s problem in the short run is that he doesn’t have the personnel to keep up with the Joneses (pun intended).  Whether that’s because of Bennett’s skill set limitations, the pandemic-related limits on preparation for a new scheme this season, or, more likely, a combination of the two, he’s got to calibrate an approach from here that both gets Georgia back to the SECCG and gives the offense a legitimate chance to trade punches for a full sixty minutes.

That’s one helluva balancing act, if you ask me.  And it won’t be made any easier by Smart’s natural instinct to fall back on what he called “our brand of football“.  Ironically, I feel better about where things are headed in the longer term, assuming Monken sticks around, than I do about the next six weeks.  We shall see.

69 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

69 responses to ““I’m telling you. It ain’t that way anymore.”

  1. TEXBaller

    Bennett’s skill set limitations!

    Like

  2. Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

    Hey, I just talked about this on your previous post!

    Your Kirby quote right at the end is what scares me. It speaks to what I called on the other post as a calcification. Even though he hired Monken, he seems so outwardly resistant to change and evolution, and seems to prefer that everyone join him back in 2015 where he wants to live, instead of living in 2020 with everyone else.

    Kirby right now seems like the guy who peaked his senior year of high school. He’s Wooderson from Dazed and Confused (That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age).

    It scares the crap out of me. Saban tells it like it is and lives in the now. Every time Kirby speaks, he’s telling us he wants it to be the way it used to be. Coaching careers are ended because coaches don’t fully embrace reality and adapt to it. Hiring Monken seems like a great thing on the surface, but if Kirby really means what he says, that’s all it is: On the surface.

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    • Derek

      What scares the crap out of me?

      Mike Leach fan boys getting any say in Butts Mehre.

      The first time you’re right about something you can observe with your five senses only then will I consider considering your opinions drawn from mind reading.

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      • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

        To the big guy here, “mind reading” means taking Kirby at his word from the answers that come directly out of Kirby’s mouth.

        Also, if Derek the Oracle could enlighten us on where Wazzu finished in the national rankings on offense after Mike Leach’s first year, it would provide the kind of context he so often lacks in pretty much any and everything he say. They finished 108th. And that was with a Spring Practice. But let’s not let context get in the way of Derek’s reality. It often never does.

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        • Biggen

          No one worth listening to really believes that Leach will be more than a 7 or 8 win coach on average year in and year out. He has built his entire career on that average.

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          • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

            No one worth listening to would simply describe Mike Leach as a 7-8 win a year coach, and leave it at that. When you make a point, but leave out any context because you know it invalidates your point, then you have no point at all.

            Leach owns the best single season records at both Texas Tech and Washington State, two programs that were nothing for years before he got there, and in Texas Tech’s case, has been far worse since he left.

            Leach is a guy who actually does the thing the media praises MuLLLen for: Wins more with less. Every 2-4 years he’ll have a team that can contend for their division. At places like Lubbock, Pullman, and Starkville, that’s more than they’ve ever had.

            No one would claim his success is instant, because that is rarely true for any coach with any team. Nick Saban’s first Bama team lost to LaTech. Corch’s first Floriduh team was a mess until they beat poor Mark Richt. As I said above, Leach’s first year at Wazzu his offense ranked 108th. It takes time to rebuild a bad program. Only an idiot would expect him to come in and take a bad team and instantaneously make them great when no one has been recruited to his offense. But that’s always what his destractors point to, which would make them idiots.

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            • Biggen

              Blah blah blah. You are what your record says you are. That puts Leach in the middle of the pack slightly above average coach. If he makes it to the SEC Championship game I’ll reevaluate but I don’t need to prove myself. I’m looking at his record. It speaks for himself.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

                Then you’re not paying attention to any context at all. Life must be so dull in your grey world.

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                • Teacher Martin

                  He’s right you know. You are what your record says you are.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • gastr1

                  Really hilarious that the blog’s loudest advocate for facts and logic suddenly needs “context” because the facts say what they say about Leach.

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                • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

                  Uh… wut?

                  If you don’t pay attention to context, then there is no logic, and you can present facts or data entirely without context and have them be completely meaningless.

                  Context is everything when making a reasoned argument or presenting data.

                  Go home gastr1, you’re drunk.

                  Like

    • Tony BarnFart

      Yeah the guy who peaked in high school is making $7Large per year. Can’t we all be so lucky….

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      • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

        It’s not my fault you don’t understand that an analogy is to be taken figuratively and not literally.

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        • Tony BarnFart

          Perhaps because it’s bullshit that you mean that “figuratively.” You are literally talking about the way (manball philosophy) he engages in his chosen profession (coaching football) to say that he peaked. The football meathead figurative analogy literally works for everything BUT coaching football……unless I guess said football coach is a 5-5, 1A high school coach meathead.

          You may say his philosophy won’t get us over the last rung of the latter. Fine. But to say that he “peaked” is just stupid. That “figurative” analogy has always had a football connotation (and don’t bullshit me, thats exactly what you meant). But you fail because he is literally better than 99.9% of his profession.

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          • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

            Again, it’s not my fault you don’t understand a simple analogy.

            It wasn’t to say HE HAS peaked as a coach.

            It was to say this calcification, and reluctance change, is akin to someone who peaked in high school. They tend to live their lives in that Senior year forever. Never changing. Not their style of clothes, not the music they listen to.

            Much like how Kirby is calcified with manball. It’s what they won those early titles at Bama using, so by gum it’s what he’s gonna do here even if Saban has changed twice over.

            It’s amazing I have to explain this to an adult because their reading comprehension is so poor.

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            • Tony BarnFart

              I get your analogy after a lengthy interpretation (ahhh, like clothes and music, i see. /even though that’s not what the other 99% of the world thinks when hearing somebody “peaked” in high school). BTW, failing to understand a shitty analogy is not a failure of reading comprehension.

              Like

  3. Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

    Weird.

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  4. RangerRuss

    I have a lot I’d like to say about CKS and his vision for GEORGIA football. But I’ll be brief.
    Kirby is on the mutha.
    GO DAWGS!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • gurkhadawg

      The future is bright. Just leave Monken the fuck alone. I think Kirby knows this, he’s not stupid. He is like most people. He has his view of the world and that view has been proven outdated. That’s tough to admit. The changes he has made show he realizes there is a new reality, he just has to kick and scream a little bit before fully embracing it.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Got Cowdog

      Concur. Kirby ain’t stupid. I’ve been listening to (and participating in) all the QB issue wailing this week. Screw that. I can’t wait to see UGA’s defense get after the rest of the schedule. We’ll deal with Bama next time we see ’em.
      UGA ain’t playing and it’s too pretty to be inside. I’ll catch up with y’all later. Go Dawgs!

      Liked by 1 person

      • californiadawg

        Agree with you both. This narrative that Kirby is allergic to change is reductive and frankly tired. Kirby brought in a new OC and designed our offense around not another Fromm-esque game manager, but a dual-threat difference maker at QB, only for him to quit 2 weeks before the season started. We are now in scramble mode, and honestly it’s a testament to Monken/Kirby that we were even in that Bama game for a half. I challenge any coach, even Saban/Sarkisian, to mount a lead against us with their third string walk-on QB.

        Kirby isn’t afraid of change, we just have shitty luck in our QB room this year.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Down Island Way

      Couple of things here, little nicky had a trusted lieutenant leave to coach at a neighboring institution, knowing that he would never ever replace (like with like) said assistant, the bammer “d” just wasn’t going to be the same, little nicky chose to upscale with the “o” instead of the “d”…should the UGA “OC” get some traction in 1-2 years, crootin’ offensive minded student athletes will be less of an issue, given the prior “oc”s ability to recruit…

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  5. FlyingPeakDawg

    We can have a nice season with SBIV and lose to Bama in the SECCG. We can change QB’s that lifts our O over Bama or still lose, but which option positions us better for next season? COVID = throwaway season. Change the QB. Rotate Mathis and Daniels if necessary. Use the rest of this season as extended Spring practice to find the formula that can slay the beast next year. We’re not beating Bama, OSU AND Clemson with the current setup.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Ozam

    The good news is these are first world problems! Most teams dream to be in our position.

    We’ve had some mismanagement (Coley) on the offensive side of the ball and some unexpected events (Fields and Newman).

    Last year our offense was criminally bad given the talent, but there is nothing to suggest Kirby isn’t trying to improve matters.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. theotherdoug

    I agree that Smart knew exactly what was wrong after the LSU game and he set out to upgrade the offense. He’s got a legit OC and he recruited Newman who appeared to be the perfect guy to run the new offense. The problem is he’s got a QB that has a lot of heart but is very average. He might have to revert to more manball to win the East, and then reboot the QB position next year.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Teacher Martin

    UGA cannot beat Alabama. Plain and simple and there’s no prospect of it changing any time soon. We should be used to it by now.

    Like

  9. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    ye of little faith
    in kirby i trust

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The offense doesn’t have to be reinvented. You just need to be willing and able to use the entire field and all the weapons you recruit.

    I’ve already seen some of that from Georgia. I don’t expect it to be a seamless transition, though, especially with limitations at QB. Gotta get that sorted and keep recruiting and developing elite WRs but I already see less run, run, pass.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Also, I’m tried of Georgia football being synonymous with a game manager at QB. Game managers are for the triple option and teams just trying to stay in games, not programs expected to contend for titles.

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    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      Man, I wouldn’t ever describe a triple option QB as a game manager. They’re usually dynamic athletes. They don’t throw the ball much, but they’re definitely not game managers. A game manager is a guy like Trask, who dinks and dunks, keeps everything in front of him, and lets the athletes in the field get the YAC off of his short passes.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. uga97

    3 things.

    Agree Saban adapts, but he can’t claim he’s some visionary thought leading pioneer in bamas direction towards the downfield pass attack. He has always resisted change until the point where rules of the game forced his hand to give in. Regardless, good D can still remain, no one says a coach needs to abandon that completely- see Clemson & LSU.
    Bama scored 3 TDs after all 3 Bennett picks. How many bat downs were there total in the game 5/6? Bamas D is trash this year…imagine how that game/score changes if we just had a standard, 6 ft+ “game manager” who was a true 2nd or 3rd stringer who had repped vs our D last 2 years. Point being we likely didnt need an all world, elite QB to win that game. Which means we are not far from big time success. But somehow we keep doing stupid shit with QBs.
    Although Kirby is starting to adapt & work towards a new offensive identity, his being a QB mismanager still seems to be the norm. Had Fromm gone down last year we all knew we were toast. If he hasn’t shown he can get QBs retained/coached up/figured out/healthy/happy/under control after 5 years, how can anyone be confident he ever will? What is going on with him and QBs right now is mind boggling. This is the day & age where QBs actually ARE growing on trees everywhere, and they are more college ready AND easier to pull in transfer them than ever before. But we chose a guy with a bum knee and a mediocre ACC guy (who didnt have any success vs a top 30 Defense in 17 games) as our top two choices. So, we walked into camp with 5 QBs and came out with Mathis chosen as our season starter, then we quickly pivoted to our 4th string former walkon. That says it all about the evaluation, dysfunational & decision making going on that got us here.

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  13. benco04

    “… he’s got to calibrate an approach from here that both gets Georgia back to the SECCG and gives the offense a legitimate chance to trade punches for a full sixty minutes.”

    Uh, yeah. What you said. It’s one thing to “out physical” your division opponents year after year with superior recruiting and line of scrimmage domination. It’s totally another to beat the elites with that mentality. Clemson perhaps figured this out the earliest of all the big time programs.

    I keep telling people and it seems I’m barking up a tree…the biggest game Kirby ever won, his defense allowed 48 points and 531 yards. 2019-2020 Georgia IS NOT 2017 Georgia, no matter how badly people want to lump them in as the same style.

    Like

  14. J.R. Clark

    There are way too many Georgia fans on this site, including the proprietor, who are still drunk on the 2017 season.

    Like

  15. RangerRuss

    Maybe the rain has ‘some of the boys’ feeling gloomy or they didn’t watch the first half of last week’s game. Whatever the reason I can’t understand that pessimistic attitude. The Dawgs can beat those Gumps and it’s gonna happen soon.
    Where I’m from verbally espousing that defeatist gibberish would get you butt stroked in the mouth and sent to loser land with the other sniveling wretches.
    You know who I’m talking to.
    GO DAWGS!!

    Like

  16. MGW

    One of three NFL QB’s was supposed to be starting this year, and for a weird bunch of reasons, none of them is here. And we’re two men behind the “next man up” after any of those three. That’s 100% of the problem.

    Bennett is a hell of a player, but he’s not one of those three guys. And he’s not as good as we hoped the other two back up plans ahead of him would be.

    If we had any of those three on the roster right now, or if either of the other two were at least serviceable, we’d be doing just fine on offense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      Jake Fromm leaving was a terrible decision for him and this team. And I 100% blame Kirby because I don’t think there’s any way Fromm leaves if he knows offensive charges are coming.

      Fromm set all kinds of state records running a similar spread offense in high school. He would’ve had a major bounce-back season, gotten right back up into the second-first round talks again, and we would’ve beaten Bama.

      Kirby just probably never saw Fromm leaving after a bad year, so Kirby kept the changes news under wraps even though Monken coming here was probably in the works around Sugar Bowl time given that Kitchens was fired on 29 Dec.

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      • MGW

        Fromm would have lit the world on fire in this O. Had the skills and the ideal mental makeup for this short offseason.

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      • Teacher Martin

        I wish Fromm would have stayed, but let’s be honest he got run off from stupid UGA fans. He was treated awful.

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        • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

          If this is actually true, then Jake Fromm was never the guy I thought he was. If he was so mentally soft that he couldn’t take a bunch of ignorant fools online and or in the stands giving him the old right there Fred as Bill Burr would say, then he’s never, ever going to last long in the NFL.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. Jack Klompus

    Some of what I read into this is that Saban can’t rebuild the defense to the level he had when Kirby was there so he’s going all in on the O with a good D.

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    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      Or, Saban saw his and Kirby’s defense get carved up by Deshaun Watson and accurately read the tea leaves for the future while Kirby threw a temper tantrum like a child because he didn’t like the way the wind was blowing.

      Your mileage may vary.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. It wasn’t only the offense that faltered in the second half. Comapre their bull pash rush to ours. Compare their best cover corner to ours. In addition with the exception of Waddle there is very little if any difference in the receivers. It mostly came bown to execution on both sides of the ball not ability.

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  19. CB

    Comparing Richt to Smart is valid if you look at their first 5-7 years. 2015 doesn’t really factor in. Main difference being that Smart is winning recruiting national titles. Replace Florida with Bama as the team that we can’t beat and it’s nearly a mirror image. Sure Kirby got us to the playoff and won a game, but Richt would have had us in the playoff if one existed back then.

    As for Bennett’s limitations new schemes and whatnot. Coming off a bye LSU just blasted SC at home with a 3 star true freshman QB on Saturday. So… we should have options.

    Like