I can hear the siren sounds of Greg McGarity already: nowhere to go but up, Dawgnation! Renew those season tickets today!
Category Archives: Georgia Football
Kirby Smart mentioned during this week’s SEC coaches’ teleconference that his freshman quarterback’s got a lengthy to-do list in the two weeks before the Cocktail Party, but also went on to offer some praise.
He also snapped a streak of five-straight games with an interception against the Commodores. That could be a product of Eason’s growth when it comes to knowing what he is looking at pre and post snap, which can be quite difficult for a young quarterback in the SEC.
“He’s really gotten better where he’s more proficient at telling you what the coverage was after the play because these teams don’t just line up and make it easy for you,” Smart said. “They make it as complicated as they can. Most of them do a good job of confusing young quarterbacks.
That’s good, because Eason will need to summon every bit of proficiency he’s got when he faces Florida’s pass defense.
The Gators are the SEC’s top passing defense, allowing just 132.8 yards per game. The unit has allowed only four touchdowns compared to an SEC-leading 10 interceptions on the season.
0.4? Double yikes.
Give Kirby Smart credit for one thing: if there was an area of performance worthy of individual players being called out publicly, it was special teams in the Vanderbilt game, but Smart didn’t go there.
“A lot of those things affected the outcome of that game. To say that it’s doom and gloom and everything’s bad over three or four situations that happened, that’s not what I’m going to do as a coach. I’m going to coach what we got to improve on and focus on that.”
Then again, maybe he felt like there simply wasn’t enough time to go through and list everyone’s names.
I don’t know about you, but I find this report showing that Georgia has had more confirmed cases of CTE reported than any other program in the country but one disturbing. I don’t mean that in the sense that there’s something specifically bad going on in Athens that’s the cause for that, but, rather, simply this:
“This information is being released to raise awareness that CTE is not just an issue for professional football players,” said Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “The data should not be interpreted to say that players from these schools are at greater risk than other college players. Instead, the data shows the widespread reach of this disease, and the commitment by the alumni and their families of these schools to support CTE research by participating in brain donation.”
Courson is one of the best in the biz at what he does. Whatever sins you might want to lob in Mark Richt’s direction, not caring about his players’ health wasn’t one of them. Yet here we are. That’s both a little sad and a little scary.
If one of your criticisms of Mark Richt was that Georgia needed a head coach more animated on the sideline during games, then Kirby Smart’s your guy.
Besides giving me a sad pang, this reminiscence of Uncle Verne’s…
Lundquist points at two 2013 games in Auburn as most memorable during his career. The Kick Six, when Chris Davis returned a missed Adam Griffith field goal as time expired to give Auburn the win, tops them all.
“It’s No. 1 in college football,” Lundquist said, noting highlights of that clip would be shown to the lunch crowd on Monday. “I’ve been lucky to be at a lot of places where significant things broke out. That one, for any kind of football, is the greatest finish I’ve ever seen.”
What happened two weeks prior is second in line. Nick Marshall’s “Prayer at Jordan-Hare” was caught by Ricardo Louis for a 73-yard touchdown late in Auburn’s win over Georgia on a fourth-and-18.
“(That one is) right behind (Kick Six),” Lundquist said. “My favorite story behind that is we went off the air with (color analyst) Gary (Danielson) saying, ‘That’s the greatest finish we’ve seen in a college football game and we’ll never see anything like again.’ Well, two weeks later …”
… also caused me to pause and reflect about something. When’s the last time Verne Lundquist saw Georgia win a game? (I think it’s the 2013 Cocktail Party.)
Geez, now I’m depressed. How ’bout give him a good memory on the way out the door, Dawgs?
By the way, this is classic:
Next season, Brad Nessler will join Danielson in the booth, replacing Lundquist as he watches from home.
“I’m going to have back surgery,” Lundquist said. “Isn’t that a great substitute? I’ve got to have back surgery in September. It’s six months rehab. I’ll be sitting in my living room in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, watching Brad and Gary and saying, ‘Why’d you say that?'”
I am a cynic about many things. I’m sure that comes as not much of a surprise to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. No doubt the course of this 2016 season is bringing out the snark in me, especially when I listen to folks try to defend two of the most disappointing games I’ve sat through in Sanford Stadium (and remember, Kirby’s only coached four home games!) as somehow being in context with the history of the Georgia program.
But I’m not that cynical, as this putrid Jeff Schultz column reminds me. All it takes is a little condescension to bring me back to being clear-eyed about Georgia’s future with Smart.
It’s fair to have concerns about the Bulldogs in general and Smart in particular. But seven games into Smart’s first season is a little early for grand proclamations. His 4-3 start — while alarming given the Vandy game, the blowout at Ole Miss and the debacle against a bought-and-paid-for FCS opponent, Nicholls State — isn’t that dissimilar to the seven-game records of the previous seven six Georgia head coaches. Consider: Wally Butts 3-4; Johnny Griffith 3-4, Vince Dooley 4-2-1, Ray Goff 4-3, Jim Donnan 3-4, Mark Richt 5-2.
There is criticism. There is noise. There is a consensus in the dark corners of the social-media underworld that the house is on fire and that Smart is overmatched in his position.
Okay, a lot of condescension. But I digress. There is a vast difference between being frustrated over a few early season debacles, not that I’m excusing those, and believing that the experiment is ready to be deemed a total failure. It’s not fair to Smart (not that he’s likely to care much at this point, to be honest), who’s operating under a longer time frame than those of Schultz’ ilk credit Georgia’s fans with having. At least I hope it’s just those of Schultz’ ilk.
I know that some of you are absolutely going to despise this quote because of its source, but if you can take the trouble to separate the message from the messenger, it says a lot about what Smart believes he’s doing.
On the idea of “middle management,” sometimes your job is just to make things work. And sometimes your task is to make incremental improvements. It’s like steering an ocean liner and making a 2 degree turn so that 10 years from now we’re suddenly in a very different place. You can’t turn 50 degrees all at once because that’s not how societies – especially democracies – work. As long as we’re turning in the right direction and we’re making progress, government is working like its supposed to.
I have to start with the supposition that there was a legitimate reason to replace Mark Richt, and, honestly, been there, done that. Further, as a Georgia fan, even if I question the process that brought Kirby Smart home — and, boy, do I — I sincerely hope and am invested in the belief that his vision will ultimately be vindicated. There have been longstanding flaws in the program that need fixing, and that fixing won’t come overnight.
None of that, admittedly, makes this season any more pleasant to suffer through. What bugs me the most about that is no one associated with the administration has ever had enough respect for me or the rest of the fan base to admit the reality of the situation. Smart himself used Obama’s big boat analogy to describe his approach to this season, although admittedly without getting very deep into what the likely consequences in the short term would be. But the people who were responsible for bringing Kirby Smart to Athens? Please.
Either they themselves were in the camp that blinded itself to that because of a naive belief that “we’re Georgia and Richt was holding the program back!”, because ninety three thousand showed up at G-Day or some other nonsense, or were in a cynical group who didn’t know what might be coming, but saw an opportunity arising out of the natural excitement that comes with a coaching change to flush a few extra bucks out of our wallets while the honeymoon was in full effect.
All of which is why I can sympathize with those of us who are plenty disturbed from the low points we’ve been through in a mere seven games, while acknowledging that it’s not easy for any of us to see if in fact Smart’s on to something when he says things like this:
“I don’t deal with it,” he said Tuesday. “I focus on us getting better. With this job comes criticism. I’ve accepted it. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it with good friends and programs I’ve been in. That doesn’t scare me. What I’m worried about is our team and our players developing.”
I’m fairly certain I’ll do more grumbling this season, because there’s no reason to think after last Saturday any real corners have been turned when it comes to how this team approaches a game. When I do grumble, though, I’ll do my best to confine my irritation to the effort at hand, as opposed to any bigger picture stuff, because it’s simply too soon to draw any overarching conclusions.
For those of you who can’t quit the Alabama 2007 analogy — and note that Schultz indulged you — I will grant you that I would love as much as the next Georgia fan to experience the same shock I had watching Saban’s team in the following season’s opener demolish Clemson in a red and black setting, but who’s to say things will turn around that dramatically? I will settle for recognizing steady progress as it comes. For now, I’ve got no choice but to go with the flow.
At least I’m not cynical enough yet to think about what comes if Smart’s wrong. Let’s hope you don’t have to check back with me in three years or so on that.