You know, I found myself giddy watching JT Daniels blow up Mississippi State’s pass defense, but evidently the more discerning Georgia fan had a darker take on that than did I ($$).
Is there really a strong case to be made that the JT Daniels of 14 days prior to the Miss St game was actually an inferior option to Bennett and Mathis? Bennett showed us who he was in the second half against Alabama, and the play-calling during the Kentucky game seemed to confirm that the coaches recognized it, too. We already saw who Mathis was at Arkansas and they both reaffirmed that (against Florida). I understand Bennett got injured, but even if Daniels didn’t start it’s mind-blowing to me that he didn’t sniff the field against Florida when the QB play was so abysmal.
That’s actually fairly mild, compared to some of the vitriol tossed Smart’s way here, there and elsewhere on social media. One thing that we all have in common is that none of us have watched a lick of practice, which means that none of us know how Daniels’ health has progressed from the stage when even his dad admitted he wasn’t able to play the position.
Yet, that hasn’t stopped quite a few from questioning Smart’s decision making in this regard. Admittedly, Kirby hasn’t helped himself with the defensive posture he took in the presser after the game. Still, if “Kirby fucked up the quarterback position” is the hill you’re prepared to die on, it seems to me there are a few questions you should be able to take on and answer:
- “Bennett showed us who he was” — does that mean he didn’t show us who he was against Auburn, or in the first half against Alabama when the Dawgs held a lead at halftime, or when Georgia took a 14-0 lead on Florida in the first quarter?
- When, exactly, would you have given Daniels the bulk of the first team reps in practice? (Seth notes that occurred after the Florida game.)
- And the biggest question: if both Smart and Monken knew Daniels was the best choice to start weeks ago, why would they not have made the move then? As Seth puts it, “It’s difficult to believe that Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken wouldn’t play the best guy. There’s no agenda here other than winning.” Remember, Monken famously told Bennett in preseason practice that he wasn’t going to be the man. How do you go from that to committing to him hell or high water?
Occam’s razor suggests that Daniels wasn’t ready — or, the coaches weren’t convinced he was ready, if you prefer — both physically and mentally until there was a two-week period after the Florida game to get him enough reps to be functional. I don’t get the angst some of you have about that.
I’m not posting this with the intent of changing anyone’s mind. But after the emails I’ve gotten from some of you urging me to take up your banner on this, I thought it was worthwhile to share my thoughts. Kirby Smart isn’t perfect, but he isn’t that blind. I was around for the Willie Martinez era. I know what foolishly sticking to players in the face of reality looks like. This isn’t that.