The Kirby Smart Hater’s Guide to Georgia’s 7-0 Start: Analysis of a Team Completely Devoid of Identity
For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing this over at Dawg Sports. For reasons that are a combination of baffling and hilarious, I’ve moved this (and all my writing) back to my internet backyard. Please continue reading Dawg Sports. Those folks are awesome, and I may or may not stumble back over there in a stupor some day.
With all that out of the way…welcome to the Kirby Smart Hater’s Guide to Georgia Football, where we give a voice to the fans who will never be happy with Kirby Smart at the helm in Athens.
Undefeated. Seven and zero. Seven and oh. 7-0. Lossless.
No matter how you say it, sounds pretty good right? Unfortunately, football is game of inches, not a game of records. And this Georgia team is still coming up short.
This is Year 2 of the Kirby Smart experiment (I know! It seems like he’s been here forever!) and this team is still completely devoid of identity. Last night’s win over the worst team in the SEC was a microcosm of the Bulldogs’ ongoing struggles.
Defensively, Georgia was a disaster against Mizzou. It wasn’t Octoberfest for Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, it was Locktoberfest and he was getting drunk on points not pints. His efficient Tiger offense scored in almost every quarter against Georgia’s first-team defense, and he torched an allegedly healthy Bulldog secondary time and time again. Think the defense is this Georgia team’s calling card? Think again.
Offensively, a lackluster showing was less surprising but no less indicting.
Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm looked “like a freshman” setting Mizzou up with a short scoring drive after an ugly interception, but to some extent that’s expected. A little bit less anticipated was Fromm’s me-first approach to the ground game. Fromm called his own number for a four-yard touchdown scamper late in the first half despite the fact that six different Bulldogs ended the game with a higher yards-per-carry average. Fromm kept the ball on four runs en route to just 14 rushing yards. Meanwhile, Mecole Hardman (who averaged 35 yards per carry) only got one chance. There’s no “I” in “Jake Fromm” but the end of his last name and the end of his first name is a big, fat “M-E.” Makes sense why Georgia seems to be moving backwards offensively in the end.
Responsibility for all the struggles can’t be heaped on Fromm. He is just a freshman, after all (not sure if I mentioned that). On the ground, no one stepped up. Despite 51 total rushes for the team, nobody reached the 100-yard mark — not senior leaders Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, not proven sophomores Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien, and not D’Andre Swift’s parents’ son. In the passing game, the lack of leadership was also clear. No Bulldog logged 100 yards receiving.
Who is this team? Does Kirby Smart know? He looked downright unengaged in his post-game interview last night when he made Roquan Smith and Sony Michel talk to the world. At some point, Georgia’s going to need a leader to step up. It would be nice if that leader was Kirby Smart, the guy paid to lead this team.
Yes, Georgia is 7-0 at this point, but who is this team? Will we ever know? Are the Bulldogs for real good? Are they bad? What are they?
What’s frustrating is that while we search for answers with a second-year coach, the coach we had in our back pocket is making waves with the Hurricanes (no disrespect to those impacted by tropical storms). In back-to-back weeks Mark Richt’s Miami team has heroically conquered Florida State and Georgia Tech in the final seconds. That’s what his team does. His team wins big games in dramatic fashion when it matters.
It’s hard watching that while Georgia tries to stay out of its own way.
The Kirby Smart Hater