How coachable is Stetson Bennett?

That may not be exactly “other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?” (Georgia did win, after all), but it’s uncomfortably close enough.

It’s not exactly accurate, either, in that he forgot about his fumble that, fortunately, a teammate fell on.  Which brings me to something Kirby Smart said about Bennett’s bye week.

He didn’t work hard enough, evidently.

With regard to the interceptions, both contained the common thread of having an open receiver that Bennett ignored or otherwise failed to notice — Jackson clearing over the middle on the first and White Milton coming out of the backfield on the second — both of which were easy to see on the television broadcast as the plays ran.  Beyond that, each was notable in terms of exposing Bennett’s questionable decision making.

The first, the ball batted at the line and caught by the defender, came as a result of Bennett rolling directly into the lineman’s path while locked into the receiver.  I’m tired of Bennett’s height being made the sole culprit of all these batted balls.  The reality is that his situational awareness is subpar.

That’s exactly right.  I watched Finley, LSU’s 6-5 quarterback, make the same mistake against Auburn.  Height wasn’t the issue; poor decision making was.  The thing is, Finley’s a true freshman figuring his way around.  Bennett doesn’t have that excuse.

The same could be said for the second pick, although some blame has to go Rosemy-Jacksaint’s way for giving up on the route and not occupying the defensive back.  But read Kirby’s explanation for the throw:

… Smart said Bennett really had just one “poor decision” when he didn’t check down instead of throwing a pass he tried to toss out of bounds but didn’t get it far enough.

The check down was in his line of sight as he tried to throw the ball away.  It was an easy throw to a wide open target.  In other words, the kind of thing we were assured Bennett worked hard on during the two weeks leading up to the game.

I get no pleasure from the criticism.  He’s a good kid.  He has his teammates’ support.  As Smart also noted, he made his share of good plays in the game, too.  (That throw to Washington was gorgeous.)

But it’s pretty obvious at this point that the coaches don’t trust him in the passing game.  He only had fourteen attempts yesterday.  That’s the smallest number from a Georgia offense since last year’s Kentucky game, which at least had the excuse of being played in a windy monsoon.  And Fromm didn’t turn the ball over.

Throwing an interception every seven attempts isn’t going to increase their confidence.  In fact, you start to wonder how long Smart can risk that, until you realize the coaches already know what they’ve got.  If there were a better option, we’d know about it.

When Bennett says, “we have to figure out what happened“, he’s sliding by the real issue.  The coaches know what happened.  What they have to figure out is whether he can be coached out of making the same mistakes over and over again.  And soon.

89 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

89 responses to “How coachable is Stetson Bennett?

  1. uga97

    lets not just call out Bennett. UK ran the ball with ease and moved down the field on us with ball control. now LeCounte is out in Jax. we are toast.

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  2. SBIV is what the recruiting services and his past say he is. He’s a backup who is a good guy to have in the locker room and only has a scholarship because Kirby had one to give when Bennett came back from JUCO. He came in and pulled our @$$3$ out of the fire in Fayetteville when Mathis couldn’t deal with the moment.

    Is he currently the best option we have on the roster? I guess so because those getting paid a lot of money to make those decisions have decided he is. That must mean 1) Daniels (#2 pocket passer behind Sunshine) truly isn’t physically ready to take live snaps, 2) Mathis doesn’t have the confidence to meet the moment, and 3) Beck isn’t a factor or Kirby doesn’t want a true freshman to take the job when a 5-star is on the way.

    The season comes down to Saturday in Jacksonville. Win and our ticket is pretty much punched for a 4th straight trip to Atlanta. Lose and it’s time to prepare for 2021. Regardless we better have a full QB competition starting in January.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    That throw to Washington was gorgeous if only because it was a throw to Washington. It ought to be easy enough to match him up from time to time on a linebacker and let him rumble. More, please.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    Is it nerves, lack of aptitude/instincts? Both?

    Like

  5. Ozam

    I’m not going to criticize Stetson. I have no doubt he is giving it his best and cares greatly. Unfortunately, our quarterback decided not to play 3 weeks before the season began.

    All that being said, if we were only going to pass the ball a dozen times, it seems like D’wan, despite his poor initial showing, is significantly more of a threat to a defense.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Yea if were back to power a read option is needed

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    • Russ

      Bennett runs well. His decision making is poor and doesn’t seem to be getting better.

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    • dawg100

      Nice point.

      Hard to believe that Dwan was the starter and struggled (along with everyone else that quarter on offense and defense!) and hasn’t seen another meaningful snap, while just turning the ball over to the 4th string QB with no conditions. Bennett has struggled now for 3 full quarters.

      Weird.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Well, the Handbags did it to UGa in 2014 (tossing the ball only 6 times)— why not turn the tables Saturday?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. TEXBaller

    Delusional:

    “I think everybody played great” Bennett told the SEC Network after running his record to 3-1 in four career starts. “I obviously made two poor throws, but other than that, I thought it was a really strong day”.

    I hate midget wrestling!

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

    I refuse to believe Daniels is worse. People talk about his true freshman season at USC running a pro-style offense as if he was terrible, but then refuse to provide context that says he got better as the season went on and finished the year well. Then those same people refuse to admit he looked fantastic in USC’s new Air Raid offense before he got hurt the following season.

    This is 100% on Kirby now. Daniels should’ve gotten the majority of the work during the last two weeks of practice and Daniels should’ve been the guy to play this game against Kentucky.

    Kirby is doing what he always does and playing not to lose. He took Monken’s offense away from Monken, and honestly, if I were Todd Monken, I’d be telling Kirby to go fuck himself as I walked out the door for the last time this morning.

    What OC is going to want to work for Kirby? What WRs and QBs sitting at home right now are going to want to play for him? They see what we see: A stubborn, play not to lose coach who scrapped a good offense after four games because he refuses to play his best QB option because he wants to play what he thinks is his “safe” QB option.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jgssgj

      But Stetson can’t be the safe option because his career TD/INT ratio is really, really bad: 23 TDs / 21 INTs. Holy crap, Kirby. You’re telling me Beck and Daniels are worse than that?

      Liked by 3 people

      • Either Daniels is really hurt or daniels isn’t good (no way) or Kirby has fallen in love with another Georgia good ole boy (my take)

        Liked by 4 people

        • jgssgj

          It wouldn’t surprise me if you were right about that, Chuck. How will Kirby choose between SBIV and Vandagriff? Which one goes on more huntin’ and fishin’ trips?

          Liked by 1 person

        • “Georgia good ole boy” … That’s why he started a guy coming off brain surgery from Michigan over the South Georgia good ole boy.

          Liked by 4 people

        • rigger92

          Nope. The $6 mil guy is accountable. Come on man, we are on the outside and just guessing. If you were paid millions of dollars, who would you play? That is what Kirby is doing. And, Monken knows this, and, he will be around next year.

          Like

    • spur21

      Man your Kirby hate is off the charts. Since Kirby ain’t going anywhere perhaps you should find another team to pull for.

      Every comment you make has essentially the same message – “Kirby Sucks”.

      Like

      • spur21

        My comment was directed to Corch.

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        • jdawg108

          The frustrating as piss thing is we’re so close. Except a few boneheaded decisions.

          If you have someone who’s an idiot who makes dumb decisions, that’s one thing. If you have someone who is consistently smart and then only on certain things has his blinders on, it SUCKS.

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      • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

        This isn’t hate. This is a dawning realization that we have a coach who refuses to change, refuses to adapt, refuses to accept the reality of modern football.

        Could he have a Coach O-like turnaround? Sure. Anything is possible.

        But at some point Spur, you have to take Kirby at his word when he tells you who he is.

        Liked by 2 people

    • junkyardawg41

      You might be right — I just can’t help thinking that 1, DRob made the All Freshman team his one year in the PAC-12 and that hasn’t translated to success in the SEC and 2, JT, while he may have improved at USC, transferred because he wasn’t going to beat out the incumbent.
      The real question is, Is JT Eason 2.0 or Fields 2.0? If it is Fields, then yes, why isn’t he in there. If it is Eason, I can understand why there is hesitation.

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  9. jgssgj

    “Regardless we better have a full QB competition starting in January.”

    Honest question: do you have confidence that the best guy will win the QB competition? Seems like what Kirby wants in a QB isn’t what the best QBs bring to the table. DJ U threw it 41 times vs. BC. That was a good thing for Clemson. Seems like every time a UGA QB throws it even 30 times, it’s bad news for the Dawgs. What does that say about the guys Kirby chooses to play QB?

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    • If that was meant for me, I think the answer to that question is yes.

      1) In 2016, Kirby went to Eason over Lambert 2 games in and lived with the highs and lows.
      2) In 2017, Kirby stuck with Eason and then stayed with Fromm. I think both decisions were the right ones.
      3) In 2018, Kirby stuck with Fromm when the pressure had to be there to give the keys to Fields. Fromm proved with his season stats that he made the right call.
      4) In 2019, there was no competition.
      5) In 2020, Kirby went and got arguably the best grad transfer on the market and was planning to ride with him. Kirby couldn’t help that same player ditched the team 2 weeks before the season.
      6) In 2021, this will be a Daniels vs. Vandagriff decision. Will Kirby trust the QB who has been in the system or will he take a kid who has played A Private ball and promote him to QB1?

      Liked by 9 people

      • jgssgj

        Hard to argue that Kirby’s choosing Fromm over Eason was a mistake.

        Based on Fields’ performance at OSU, I don’t think we can say Kirby’s choosing Fromm over Fields was best for UGA. Fields was a Heisman finalist last season and, barring disaster, will be again this season. If he enters the 2021 draft he’ll almost certainly be the first or second QB taken. Would Fields have thrived under Chaney? Probably not. But Fields is clearly better than Fromm. So I’d argue that Kirby chose poorly in 2018, though I understand why he chose as he did. The question is: why didn’t Fields get more meaningful snaps? He’s got a huge, accurate arm, yet every time he went on the field (except vs. UMass) he tucked and ran.

        Agree that Jake was the best choice in 2019, because he had no competition.

        I don’t blame Kirby for Newman’s abrupt departure from UGA. I do blame him for sticking with a QB whose career TDs-to-INTs ratio is 23 to 21. If Daniels isn’t healthy, play Beck and see what the former-near-5-star can do.

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        • I can’t look at the 2018 decision with the hindsight of the 2019 results. Everyone in 2018 knew Fields had better physical tools than Fromm. Hell, Jake knew it, too, and worked as hard as he could to hold Fields off. Fields decided (or was pushed by his father) that he had a better chance to play in 2019 elsewhere. I’m sure Kirby told him he would have a chance to compete for the job in 2019. He either didn’t trust Kirby was telling the truth or didn’t believe he could displace Jake as the starter.

          Liked by 2 people

          • jgssgj

            Good points, ee. The scuttlebutt during 2018, though–“program insider” SoFLDawg wrote this a number of times on the Dawgnation forum–was that Fields was doing at least as well as Fromm in practice but getting hardly any snaps during games (except vs. UMass). Justin and Pablo felt, according to SoFL, that the competition wasn’t a true competition; that Jake was going to win unless he started playing like SBIV.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Sorry, but I don’t take the word of people commenting on an AJC forum as an insider.

              You have to beat out the incumbent. Lawrence eventually beat out Bryant. Fromm took advantage of Eason’s injury and never let go once Eason was healthy. Tua eventually beat out Hurts (the rumor was he was transferring after the 2017 season and then the national championship game happened).

              Liked by 1 person

              • junkyardawg41

                To your point, Tua’s brother moved on from Bama to Maryland.

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              • jgssgj

                SoFL was a bona fide insider. He had a source in B-M or on Kirby’s staff–probably his support staff. He knew which recruits were silent commits, which recruits would commit on signing day, and what happened at practices closed to the media but open to big donors and players’ families. https://forum.dawgnation.com/profile/SoFL_Dawg
                Yes, you have to win the job but not all competitions are fair. I’m not suggesting that Kirby is consciously unfair. I’m suggesting that he doesn’t know how to manage the offensive side of the ball but insists on trying to do so, to the detriment of the team.

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                • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

                  Is that the guy from one of the message boards who died saving his son from drowning in Florida?

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                • jgssgj

                  God, I hope not. I missed that. SoFL has/had a newborn, so it’s possible.

                  Like

                • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

                  I remember reading something about a popular poster from Florida who was a Georgia grad who passed away from drowning after saving his son. It was incredibly sad. If this poster and he are the same, that could be why he, you know, “disappeared.”

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                • jgssgj

                  Man, that’s tragic. RIP.

                  Like

        • rigger92

          You are leaving out the OC. Fields, Fromm, and Eason left because of the OC and QB coaches. With Monken, this is no longer a debate.

          Liked by 1 person

      • jdawg108

        Do you really think Kirby would’ve benched Jalen for Tua halfway through a national championship game?

        I don’t. And I think that’s what makes Saban who he is. When the chips are down, he’s a mercenary.

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  10. NotMyCrossToBear

    I can’t believe the number of wide open receivers we have every game. I absolutely can’t believe we don’t throw to them. Something is very wrong.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Height and release point are a major factor for the flight of the ball and angle of the ball. However I agree height is not an issue on picking the throwing lane per say. If you can’t throw over guys you definitely have to pick your spot just right.

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  12. TripleB

    My concern beyond this year is recruiting and RETENTION. If the NCAA does institute a free one time transfer rule, will our receivers and QBs stay and will new ones sign? Kirby gets recruiting, so surely he should realize what a poor offensive philosophy that deemphasizes playmakers can do to prospects.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Well it’s clear to me that Kirby values team leadership over G*d-given abilities. It may just be that.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      As good an explanation as any. We Kirby is risk-adverse to the point of ridiculousness, but that can no longer be used as a reason for continuing to start Bennett, whose INT% is approaching ridiculous territory.

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      • Derek

        Thats what I thought when he ran that fake punt vs. bama.

        Risk averse.

        The fake fg with Rod at lsu?

        Risk averse.

        Btw: when your offensive coaching God is averaging under 10pts per game the last four outings do you consider that you might not know what the fuck you’re talking about?

        Stetson and Kirby scored 24 more points than Leach vs. bama ya know.

        200 yards total leach generated. Georgia had 414 yards vs. Bama.

        Liked by 3 people

        • jgssgj

          Could it be that Kirby just doesn’t know when to take risks and when not to? He seems to oscillate in an almost schizophrenic way between bizarre risk-taking behavior–the fake FG vs. LSU, the fake punt vs. Bama–and extreme conservatism–basically shutting down the passing game vs. UK, making the middle of the field a no-throw zone in 2019. This assumes that Kirby is micro-managing the offense or dictating how his OCs do their jobs.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

            I can’t imagine Todd Monken ran his offense yesterday.

            I also can’t imagine Todd Monken is sticking around for a year two after Kirby’s obvious meddling.

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          • Derek

            Should you put the ball in our best players hands?

            Is stetson a better player than Zeus, Cook or Milton?

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            • jgssgj

              Yes, but doesn’t that argue for SBIV standing on the sideline watching Daniels or Beck play QB? Why is the ball ever in SBIV’s hands? His TD to INT ratio is approaching 1:1.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Derek

                None of us have any idea why Daniels is 3rd on the depth chart. We just know he is.

                Guessing and assuming and whining aren’t facts.

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                • jgssgj

                  Right. I’m assuming that Daniels or Beck is a better option than SBIV because that’s a reasonable assumption. SBIV’s career TD-to-INT ratio is nearly 1:1. His ratio so far this year is 7:5. That’s an extremely low bar to clear. Maybe I’m wrong, and Daniels and Beck and Mathis are all worse than SBIV.

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                • Derek

                  Unless we’re at practice or film study we have no “reasonable assumptions” to make about the players at that position.

                  One reasonable assumption is that the coaches want to win and they get paid lots of money to make decisions toward that end.

                  Liked by 6 people

    • jdawg108

      I would agree. Kirby wasn’t an all world athlete, but smart and tenacious enough to become an all-SEC defender. Can he see beyond this though?

      Liked by 1 person

  14. 69Dawg

    TripleB is right. Let’s see1. No eligibility used this year; 2. No longer a one year wait period on transfers. How many QB’s do you think we will have to back up Stetson next year? Hell if we can keep Vandagriff it will be a miracle. Needless to say Monkin will be long gone at the end of the season. Wait I see it all now, Muschamp will be fired and Kirby can put the band back together. Bobo and Kirby is a match made in the Georgia Way heaven (purgatory) we live in. I’m too old for this wait until next year crap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      They keep selling us bullshit and we keep buying it.

      Cut off the money and see how fast Kirby leaves the offense alone.

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  15. Yet here we are watching more tip ball ints in a few games than you see in a full season.

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  16. morespinners

    If he thinks those 2 pass plays were it [and he was limited to 14], I would agree he is not very coachable…perhaps a slow learner…or stubborn.
    If his OC sits down with him, he is going to see more than those 2 plays.
    TG is going to school him up In JAX this weekend.
    Miracles do happen…just maybe Smart finds a passing game and a QB by then.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. jgssgj

    I do agree with Derek that it’s more reasonable to assume that Kirby and Co. are doing everything they can to win than that they aren’t playing the QB who gives them the best chance to win. If we don’t have a better QB than SBIV, that’s a massive QB recruiting/development failure. Is it reasonable to assume that Kirby, Mr. Master Recruiter, hasn’t failed to that extent?

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    • Derek

      He’s had some bad luck hasn’t he?

      Eason transferred.

      Fields transferred.

      Newman opted out.

      Mathis’ brain issue. Who know how much his development was hurt by that?

      Come spring we’ll have at least three pretty good choices for 2021 and beyond.

      They seem to be doing a pretty good job of controlling what they can control.

      I still say taking a kid from HS to a national championship game that we should have won because Tyler Simmons was onsides, is pretty good qb management.

      Only 2019 stands out as year where the starter performed really poorly and there was no real back up to go to.

      Getting Eason to stick with his commitment, getting fromm to flip from bama, getting fields to so sign up, bringing in Newman, Daniels, Beck, and Vandergriff in aint terrible.

      So far he’s had to start two guys straight out of hs and a walk on. Thats 3 of 5 seasons and we’ve been part of the playoff discussion in pretty much every week for the last 4 seasons.

      I think you’d have to be a stupid asshole and a little beyatch to whine and moan about where we are with the program.

      Liked by 7 people

      • jgssgj

        I wouldn’t put it in those terms, Derek, but I’m willing to admit that my displeasure with SBIV may be an overreaction. You’re certainly right to mention Kirby’s successes in managing the Dawgs’ QB situation.

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      • junkyardawg41

        I’m with you all the way until the last paragraph. I think fans have earned the right to whine and beyatch with regard to one James Coley and the continued suck factor he has placed upon us. From WR coach to QB Coach/OC, he sure as hell left us with a smiling bag of poo. That was a Kirby decision that he has to live with for the next 12-24 months.

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      • rigger92

        Yeah, I still think you’re an asshole, but everyone has one. Agree.

        Like

  18. I think it is a coaching problem. Our offense looked nothing like it did the first 4 weeks. It’s tough to get better and more experience when the offense keeps changing.

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    • What’s changed? The running game gets more traction every week and wide receivers continue to be open on a regular basis.

      Is it a coaching problem that Bennett’s been turnover-prone in the last two games? If so, what should they be doing that they haven’t done so far?

      Liked by 1 person