In case you were wondering about one other thing in the defensive depth chart…
Spoken like a man who hasn’t followed the Georgia football program for years.
Six months ago, if you had told me I would be posting this news this week, I would have called you a crazy optimist. Yet he we are:
If Chubb gets 20 carries Saturday night, I have a hard time seeing how Georgia loses. Call me a crazy optimist.
UPDATE: You want irony? How about this for irony?
The drama now revolves around the tailbacks behind Chubb. Fellow junior Sony Michel remains a game-time decision with his arm injury. Freshman Elijah Holyfield is day-to-day with an ankle he sprained over a week ago.
“He’s still gimpy on the ankle, but we’re gonna get all we can out of him,” Smart said.
Yep. Nick Chubb is now the rock that Georgia’s running backs are resting on.
Behold the ambiguous wonder that is Georgia’s depth chart going into its opener:
That is amusing. By my count, that’s nine “OR”s for the starters on offense — including all three of the quarterbacks — and four for the defense. Makes you wonder if Kirby wants to play the opener without numbers on the jerseys and veils on the players’ helmets.
Seriously, I suppose I get some of this. The offensive line, for example, is a series of dominoes based on whether Catalina is ready to start at left tackle. The tie at wide receiver is probably their way of showing who plays in three-wide sets. And I understand what they’re trying to do at Mike and Will linebacker. But the coaches sure don’t want to tip their hands before Saturday on a lot of spots. How much of that is motivational, how much is bet hedging and how much is smoke being blown North Carolina’s way I’ll leave to you to allocate.
Of greater interest to me is that despite all the talk we were hearing about how many members of the 2016 class were cracking the two-deep, the depth charts aren’t showing it. There are only two true freshman, Eason and Ridley, among the offensive players and four on the defensive side, with three of those being on the d-line, where they really have little choice.
Given Smart’s comments previously, I’m not sure if that says more about the upperclassmen buying into the new coaching staff’s approach better than we thought, or this year’s signing class turning out to be not as precocious as we hoped.
Then again, if there’s one thing to be said about the charts, it’s that they’re not exactly etched in stone.
UPDATE: Damn it, I hate when coaches come up with better headers than I do.
If you’re interested in an outsider’s look at what Kirby Smart brings to the table, check out this Roll Bama Roll post, entitled “How dangerous is new Georgia Bulldogs football coach Kirby Smart?”. Sure, it’s a little condescending, but if anyone’s entitled to that kind of attitude, it’s Alabama’s fan base.
Overall, other than the casual dismissals of Chaney’s and Pittman’s backgrounds and the characterization of the recent outcome of the series with Auburn as a toss up, it’s a fair cop. Hard to argue with much of this:
Experiencing The Process® is one thing. Imitating it is another. Jimbo Fisher took Florida State to the top of the mountain with his version. Jim McElwain has shown great promise in his short career as a head coach. But heed the warnings that are Will Muschamp and Derek Dooley.
Implementing The Process® is a delicate process. The first step is having that presence of a totalitarian leader. Saban is not a big man but he can bring a grown man to tears. He takes control of every aspect of his program. He is a calculated man and everything he does and everything he says, has a purpose towards helping his team succeed. Can Smart inspire his team to play an FCS cupcake the way Saban does? Can he get his team to buy in every day, every rep, every study hall, every second of every day for the span of each player’s college career at Georgia?
We shall see.
… I’d say Bill Connelly is trolling us.
Your East division favorites: Tennessee and Georgia. S&P+ has been kind of a funny tool for messing with Vol fans’ psyches. They get affirmation with the top-10 ranking … and massive anxiety from basically being division co-favorites. And on the flipside, I get to mess with the heads of Georgia fans (And yes, obviously a lot will depend on Georgia’s QB situation. Like, everything will depend on that.)
Well, hell. Maybe he is.
… lies this quote:
“They’re bringing in Coach Chaney, and he’s an offensive guru,” outside linebacker Chuks Amaechi said. “Bringing in somebody like Coach Pittman who’s coaching up these O-lineman — it’s kind of hard to beat them in one-on-ones now because Coach Pittman is teaching them techniques that I’ve never seen before. It used to be easier to beat them off the edge, but now it’s getting hard.” [Emphasis added.]
Continuing with the perspective point from the previous post, this Marc Weiszer piece is a nice summary of where most of the fan base resides from an expectation standpoint going into Kirby Smart’s maiden voyage.
There’s the hapless athletic director, setting a standard for Smart that none of his other hires to date have yet to meet.
When he was introduced as Georgia’s coach, athletic director Greg McGarity made mention of Smart “developing championship football teams.”
He expanded on that last week: “Knowing where we want our program to eventually be, he knows what it looks like. He’s been there. He’s experienced it at every level of the game. He’s grown up in a football environment since his dad coached high school football. He’s a student of the game. He embraces the philosophy I want to learn from others. He’s got a deep, deep pool of friends in the profession and he just wants to continuously learn, which are all positive things for me. I saw those things in Kirby as an assistant and he also knows a lot about the campus and the fabric of the University of Georgia.”
Where McGarity wants the program to be, he said, is being in the race for the national title in the College Football Playoff or contending for the top-tier bowls “on an annual basis.”
There’s the former player, ready for a change.
Bryan Evans redshirted that season in 2005. The defensive back from Jacksonville was being recruited to LSU by Smart before he left the Tigers for Georgia and helped land the Jacksonville product for the Bulldogs.
“I think it’s probably one of the best pickups that we could see,” Evans said of Smart’s hire as head coach. “The reason I see that is I just feel his intensity will be what Georgia needs. Coach Richt was a great coach but later on in his career, I felt that we were not as hungry or competitive in the big games that we were early in his career. Change is good. “
There’s the former head coach, urging patience… not that most want to hear that.
Ray Goff, who was fired as Georgia’s coach in 1995 after going 46-34-1 in seven seasons, knows there’s little honeymoon time these days for coaches.
“People have got to be a little patient,” he said. “It’s still a difficult thing to go from being a defensive coordinator and assistant coach to be being the head football coach. There’s just so many things going on that you’re responsible for.”
Tell McGarity that, Coach.
There’s the good friend, with a little perspective as a peer.
“I think we all know this business is a bottom-line business that people want results,” said Bobo, Colorado State head coach. “Sometimes they want those results extremely fast. I think Kirby is going to be focused on how he can make Georgia the best possible program every single day. He’s committed to the process. He believes in the process and if he can get his players and his alumni base to believe in the process, then I think he’ll have a chance for that trajectory, that course you want that everybody wants Georgia to take. Hopefully the ball will bounce right and it will go that way for him.”
Then there’s Smart himself, right in the middle.
“I don’t think it matters where you come in, you’re expected to win,” Smart said. “They expect the culture change. It doesn’t matter if you come in after a guy who won or a guy who got let go because he didn’t win enough. Mark Richt was certainly a successful coach here. He had a track record of winning games. That’s up to the eye of the beholder whether it was enough or not. Obviously the fact that I’m here is an opportunity created. It’s just hard to say personally what is good enough, what isn’t good enough, what’s going to be good enough? I think the job I’m charged with is to the do the best job I can every day to make this program as good it can be and that’s what I plan to do.”
… So how will Smart define success this season?
“To get the most out of this group of young men that we can possibly get,” he said. “I don’t put numbers on that. I don’t put value on that. … I want them to overachieve. I want them to be the best they can be. That’s what I’m charged with. That’s my job and that’s what we’ve got to do. What that is? I don’t know what that is. That’s relative to who we play and a lot of other things.”
Smart has told the team to focus on getting better each day, not on thinking about winning the division or an SEC championship right now.
“The pressure to win began in December,” Smart said. “That pressure never goes. I promise you I’ll put more pressure on myself to win than any fan will or any part of the Dawg Nation will. That never leaves, but that’s not the focus. You focus on that, you get lost in the shuffle.”
Good luck with that, Kirby. Seriously.