This($$), I think, fully qualifies as an existential choice for Georgia’s head coach.
Coley’s connections in the area, and his recruiting prowess in general, was partly why Smart was so reluctant to let him get away. But the ability to bring in Todd Monken to rejuvenate the offense ultimately took priority.
Not that he sought my approval, but that was the right call.
As candid of an answer as you’ll hear from Coach Smart: “They’re tremendous players, but they’ll only be as good as they can be if they stay as hungry as they are. When you’re not hungry, you become average.” #GoDawgspic.twitter.com/cnPY2x1fkl
In your opinion is Kirby Smart able/willing to truly evaluate every part of the program, himself included and make necessary changes? If not I fear we’re stuck here.
This was the tone of several questions this week, and a general sentiment among a growing segment of the fan base: Is Smart too stubborn and set in his ways to fix the offense? (Tim, I know you say “every part of the program,” but let’s be honest, you mean the offense.) Another reader, George C., went so far as to term Smart’s post-SEC championship presser as “tone deaf,” which was when Smart said this: “People can say, well, Coach Smart wants to play man ball. Coach Smart wants to win, and we threw the ball 42 times.”
For the record, the very fact Smart cited the term “man ball” means he knows the criticism is out there. He is self-aware. That’s a good thing. Whether he acts on it is, of course, a whole different matter.
Seth gives Kirby the benefit of the doubt there. How about you? Sounds like a reader poll topic to me.
UPDATE: Kirby and Georgia’s offense appear to be a popular Mailbag topic. Here’s the leadoff item from Andy Staples‘ ($$):
You asked the question about Kirby Smart: Will he adapt like Saban and Orgeron and fulfill the promise he’s created at Georgia, or will he stubbornly refuse like Les Miles and throw away all he’s built in Athens? So what’s the answer? What do you honestly think he’ll do, knowing what you know about Kirby?
I think Smart will try to change the offense. The question is how far he’ll be willing to go.
He tried to hire former Georgia coordinator Mike Bobo — who was fired last week at Colorado State — but South Carolina coach Will Muschamp won the tug-of-war between former Georgia teammates to hire their former teammate Bobo. Bobo would have opened up the offense…
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart appeared on the Paul Finebaum Show Friday, as the show broadcasted live from the Georgia campus in Athens. Finebaum asked Smart about his team’s offensive struggles during the season.
“First off, I don’t think you have to defend your offense in this conference when you’re playing the level of football that we’re capable of playing,” Smart said. “There’s good defenses, I mean, the SEC is a very defensive league. When you look across the board, and I turn on tape and I get to watch it every week, there’s some good defenses out there. There’s some really good defensive backs, and they tend to get their hands all over you. And they let them play in our league, and that’s what you look across the board and see.
“So we’ve had moments (on offense) where we’ve really shined in third down. We’ve had moments we’ve really shined in the red area. We’ve had moments that we’ve been able to run it better than others. We haven’t put that combination together. And that’s what we’re always looking to do, so we’re trying to improve.
“We’ve got two receivers that have been out of action, in action, out of action. We’ve had an offensive line that’s been in and out and a little beat up. But we’re trying to put a complete game together.”
And Jules was trying to be the shepherd, Ringo. Trying real hard.
I’ll say it again — you and I may not think Kirby’s manball approach is appropriate in all circumstances, but it’s hardwired into his DNA.
But a hard-fought game against the Irish will go a long way in building comfort and confidence in those situations for this year’s squad, particularly for players who haven’t been in that spot before.
“You look inside yourself when you get tested, and there were some guys that had to look inside themselves,” Smart said. “They had not been tested like that. How are they going to respond? They came out fighting.”
I don’t think it’s merely the case that if his team runs the gauntlet into the CFP at year’s end that Smart will turn around and point to how they held up when things got tight at the end against Notre Dame. I think it’s something he is happy to verify in the here and now, regardless of how the rest of the regular season plays out.
Best get used to it, in other words. If nothing else, you can’t accuse him of not forging a team identity.
“But outside of that, the biggest advantage you can have is have good leadership, have a veteran football team, and when you’ve got that, it doesn’t matter whether you have spring practice or not. When you don’t have that, it’s tougher, when you don’t have leadership and you don’t have the experience at certain positions.”— Kirby Smart, Dawgs247, 3/31/20