The Year of Living Offensively

Kirby Smart sounds like a man who’s a bit adrift these days ($$).

And Smart admitted on Tuesday that he’s not sure whether it’s time to de-emphasize havoc rate in favor of a bend-but-don’t-break approach.

“I’m torn between being the aggressor and you’re going to give up the explosive (plays), and fighting for negatives, and the whole havoc rate,” Smart said, then adding the other side of the dilemma: “The guys with havoc rate are going to give up explosives. So you’re trying to find a balance.”

The irony here, as Emerson suggests, is that Smart’s offseason soul searching this go ’round may be on the side of the ball where he’s been the expert.

But more worrisome for Georgia is there is talent on defense. They’re not trotting walk-ons out there, and they’re still struggling. This offseason is going to be critical for Smart, defensive coordinator Dan Lanning and the staff to make needed adjustments. They’ve seen that talent alone won’t do it for a defense.

That’s all why in a perverse way it may have helped Georgia to be knocked down a peg this year, rather than lose again in the SEC championship and be lulled into thinking it’s closer than it is.

I’m not sure that’s the exact lesson Smart took from the SECCG — he did take steps to re-work the offense, after all — but I do expect next spring practice (assuming there is one) is going to be quite interesting.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

22 responses to “The Year of Living Offensively

  1. Russ

    I think Kirby gets it. He sees what we do. He made a bunch of moves to fix the offense this season but got stymied by circumstance. Still, I like where the offense is heading.

    And yes, this was the perfect year to figure out his defense may have issues. He certainly has the talent there, so I’d expect that to shore up quickly. We still have a very good defense. It’s just that a great defense won’t stop a very good offense in today’s game. That’s why it was so critical he fix the offense (and his offensive philosophy).

    Liked by 5 people

  2. DawgFlan

    He’s torn because havoc helps recruiting, and he doesn’t want to continue losing D-linemen to Clemson and other places where they can rack up sack numbers. He still needs the guys that command double teams or can get to the qb without blitzing a 5th defender. Otherwise he seems perfectly content to take a conservative approach to defense.

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    • James A Mercer Jr

      I just get the feeling that Smart is overthinking his entire game. I don’t think he has the necessary confidence in his coordinators and feels compelled to jump in at any time. Yes, it’s his team but he has to take heed of his own actions rather than think about revamping the team.

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  3. Greg

    Stick with the one he did last year, I believe it was better than 129 others.

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  4. Granthams Replacement

    This is similar to the 2008 bama defense that UF beat in the SEC championship. Meyer had 5 guys that could get open and Kirby didn’t have 5 guys that could cover. Emphasis will be on covering receivers in man at ever position except DL.

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    • akascuba

      Agree with all of that regarding Bama’s defense. If they don’t get a couple of stops they are in lots of trouble.

      Bama has something FU won’t. A running game that if you don’t respect it will take over the game keeping Trask on the bench. Bama can beat you two ways FU has a single path to scoring.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Russ

        Florida won’t come close to stopping Bama. Bama scores 60+ on them. On the other hand, Bama will get a few stops and that will be the difference. Bama wins by 3 scores.

        Liked by 2 people

      • californiadawg

        I hope you’re right. The last thing we need is Sideshow Dan being the first SEC coach to dethrone King Saban. It’ll make the Gator fanbase (and the anti-Kirby fringe of our own) even more insufferable.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. akascuba

    For a rare occasion Kirby is being honest with the media. He attempted to fix the offense proving he knows that to win championships you will be required to win shoot outs. Defensively you’ll have to be able to as needed create havoc or bend but not break. That’s not easy just another requirement to win at the highest level.

    The big surprise for him and us is his defense struggling so much. Defensive injuries knocked Bama out of the playoffs last year for the first time. Injuries are playing a large part in our failures now. The great news and Kirby’s biggest success is the talent is there on both sides of the ball to win at the championship level going forward.

    Next year Trask, Lawerence ,Justin Fields and more are off to the NFL. The PT Daniels is getting now should really payoff opening the season playing Clemson. We get that win and stay healthy then it’s reasonable to expect a playoff spot and a maybe finally that NC. If Kirby ever gets the first NC it won’t be his last.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. godawgs1701

    I didn’t love everything I’ve seen out of the defense this year, but I’m honestly not that concerned about them. The Miss State game was fluky because they’re so different from what we see the rest of the year and as far as the other games, with more offense every game except Alabama is a comfortable win. Give me JT Daniels and an attacking offense and 2020’s level of defense and I feel great about next year. If you give me JT Daniels and an attacking offense with 2019’s defense and I’m making reservations for wherever the playoffs are being hosted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    Maybe the defense is suffering from over-dependence on it the last 2 years, and the strain is showing. That and injuries. I bet a coupla good offensive showings will put a little zip back in them. As for next year? Kirby may have to trade in shut down for slow down defense, no matter how many stars the guys have.

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  8. 123 Fake St

    Where has Nolan Smith been?

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  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Last year we threw back-shoulder passes on offense all year. It seemingly took an epiphany to realize the sideline acts as an extra defender, and that strategy actually works against us.

    Now, even though we have bigger, stronger, faster, more experienced athletes all over our D than all opponents not named bama, we give opponents a huge cushion. Then we wonder out loud why our huge cushion gives up 5 to 8 yard gains play after play!?

    Does anyone think saban lays in bed all night worrying about this kind of shit? He has superior talent. He coaches the basics. His team gets after the opponents. He gets the ball to his top players, and out-talents/out-disciplines the opponent. It’s football, not rocket science.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    well said scuba

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  11. practicaldawg

    I’m probably in a minority, but I’m giving all UGA coaches a pass this year. I mean when you look around the country and see how most programs are in tatters at this point in the year, it’s not a stretch to believe the inconsistency in conditioning, practice, and even the games themselves haven’t taken a toll on player motivation and attention. There is nothing at all normal about this season, especially stretch we’re in right now. I wouldn’t extrapolate too much.

    Liked by 3 people

    • spur21

      I think our defense is suffering because our offense gave them little if any hope.

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    • sirjackshea1980

      Exactly. NOTHING is normal about this season. That the punditarians here are baying at the moon ad infinitum about what Kirby thinks is indicative. Give thanks for what we got, pray for the relative normal to return for next year. And, for God’s sake leave the extrapolation for the folks who actually know something.

      Liked by 2 people

    • SoCalDawg

      It’s a good point. I’ve been guilty of hand wringing over the coaching philosophy this year and subsequent questionable rhetoric (i.e. don’t tell me its raining). It’s a weird year and they do deserve credit for seemingly managing the pandemic on our team better than any in the SEC and possibly the country.

      Liked by 1 person