Category Archives: Georgia Bulldogs
Everyone seems awfully excited about a “big” win over South Carolina, don’t they? What an accomplishment! I guess it makes sense in a way, seeing as the Gamecocks are one of the only teams in the SEC that Kirby always beats. Read a schedule sometime. Since arriving in Athens, Kirby has coached against 10 SEC teams. He’s found a way to lose to 6 of them. Unreal. “Georgia football is back,” they say. Tell me that win Kirby has a less than 40% chance of losing to a conference opponent.
Fortunately, the problem with Georgia football is pretty easy to diagnose. It’s the quarterback play. Last year, there was no quarterback controversy. As Kirby Smart pointed out in July of 2017, “Jacob Eason is our starter going into the season.” Unsurprisingly, Georgia was decent in 2017. The offense improved from 87th in the nation in yards per game in 2016 to 32nd. Undoubtedly, having a settled quarterback position helped those improvements.
This year, however, there is an alleged QB controversy. Smart did everything he could to run off Eason, the personification of consistency. And now, a battle between Jake Fromm and Justin Fields has the offense backsliding and currently ranked 36th in the nation despite an easy schedule that has featured one FCS opponent (Austin Peay) and a game against one of the four SEC opponents Smart knows how to beat (South Carolina). I’ll detail the specifics of Georgia’s struggles in my Top 10 at the end of the article, but yet again the issue is QB play.
Jake Fromm has thrown for 351 yards, 3 TDs and 1 pick this year. That’s pretty good—for a single game. But if you’re a keen follower of sports like me, you know Georgia has actually played TWO games. Fromm has failed to throw for 200 yards in both contests. Of course, that shouldn’t be surprising. Fromm has now failed to throw for 200 yards in 12 of his 17 career games. He’s just not a good quarterback. He has as many sub-100 yard games as he does 300+ yard outings. It’s honestly amazing that he still even sees the field seeing as he’s put up the following combined statistical line against Georgia’s two biggest historical SEC East rivals (Florida and Tennessee): 11 of 22 for 185 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT. That’s in TWO GAMES!
But there is hope for Kirby because there is SUCH an obvious solution: Justin Fields. For the second-consecutive game, Fields posted a better completion percentage than Fromm. And don’t forget, Fields has been responsible for infinitely fewer turnovers than Fromm. Who would you want under-center?
|TDs to INTs||Infinity||3||Fields|
|Yards Per Rush||9||-1.3||Fields|
If Kirby doesn’t start Fields, he needs to be fired.
Now, here are ten things that bothered me from Georgia’s narrow win in Columbia:
- Deandre Baker is overrated. He did nothing to stop Deebo Samuel in my opinion. Seriously, if Deebo was playing in a standard PPR fantasy football league he would have put up 13.63 points. If that’s average for a roster, the squad would score damn-near 123 points. That would beat my team every week.
- Seriously, if Baker is so good why was he responsible for 2/3 of Georgia’s penalty yards while trying to stop Deebo?
- Seriously, if Baker is so good why did Deebo play a hand in 50% of South Carolina’s touchdowns?
- Remember when Georgia had a good ground attack? The Bulldogs have only had one game with a 100-yard rusher in the last 298 days and that was against a defenseless Big 12 team in a meaningless Rose Bowl.
- For the second week in a row, Georgia doesn’t know who should be a running back and who should be a receiver. Mecole Hardman was the best runner on the team but only got one carry.
- D’Andre Swift led the team in carries despite having the fourth-best YPC average on Saturday.
- This incongruity apparently is something we should get used to. Swift is the team’s leader in carries despite averaging only 5.4 yards per carry, which trails the team’s average of 6.5 and individually trails Demetris Robertson, Mecole Hardman, Tyler Simmons, Justin Fields, Elijah Holyfield, James Cook and Brian Herrien.
- Georgia’s talented tight ends continued to be utilized. The crew combined for one catch, 10 yards and no touchdowns.
- Georgia logged its first sack of the season! That was huge, wasn’t it? Only five teams in the country—such powerhouses as UMass and UConn—have fewer sacks than Georgia. Junkyard Dawgs are back!
- In general, giving up 336 yards and 19 first downs to a Will Muschamp-coached team just kinda hurts your soul, doesn’t it?
Until next time,
-The Kirby Smart Hater
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a well-timed bar graph might be worth a billion. Or, at least it might be worth $7 million – or whatever Kirby Smart’s salary is.
Consider this quarterback “comparison” (and I use that term loosely). Justin Fields should be Georgia’s starter. And yet, there’s been no official announcement from Saint Kirby, whose team didn’t even play a complete 60 minutes against lowly Austin Peay!
Who is the better passer? Well if you care about simple things – like I don’t know, did the pass land in a Georgia receiver’s hand – the answer is clear.
Who plays risk-free football? Well Fields (always the black quarterback in this analysis) has TD-to-INT ratio of infinity right now. Fromm (shown in red) is much lower than infinity.
Who does more with their legs? No contest.
And who wins more? You guessed it: Fields.
If Kirby Smart can’t figure this out, we need to find someone who can. It’s just not that hard. Maybe these graphs will help him see something that everyone else in Bulldog Nation has already witnessed. But I’m not that optimistic based on last week’s performance, and I WILL expose him if things don’t improve.
Speaking of room for improvement, here are the ten things that bothered me most about Georgia’s meager 45-point win in Week 1:
- The Bulldogs didn’t even play 60 minutes! Nobody’s talking about that. Georgia leads the damn conference in minutes of football skipped on account of laziness.
- James Cook was kicked out of the game for a targeting violation on a punt-returner. I don’t want to point out the obvious: But if you don’t want to scramble your opponents’ brains, maybe don’t sign a Cook. Further, is it even normal for Georgia to have running backs playing on punt coverage?
- Why isn’t Demetris Robertson playing running back? He didn’t do a damn thing in the passing game (0 catches for 0 yards and 0 TDs) but led the team in rushing yards, yards per attempt and rushing touchdowns. I’m no genius but maybe he’s playing the wrong position?
- I think the exact same thing could be said of “wide receiver” Tyler Simmons. Simmons is averaging 19 yards per rush attempt this season. The junior hasn’t hauled in a 19-yard pass in his entire career. Football just isn’t that hard. Maybe they coaches would have figured that out in the 56th minute of the game…
- It’s great to see Georgia using the tight ends more this year. Three different tight ends caught a pass for a total of 22 receiving yards. Electric! You can’t pick up that level of production – 7.3 yards per completion – just anywhere. Wait, yes you can. Great “scheme,” Georgia.
- The Bulldogs didn’t log a single sack. That’s inexcusable against Austin Peay or any lowly opponent from the state of Tennessee. Now admittedly, the Governors probably weren’t as bad as last year’s Tennessee Vols team offensively, but the Dawgs got three sacks against UT last year. Gonna be tough to own the Volunteer State if the defense doesn’t start…I don’t know…defending.
- Kirby doesn’t know gold when he sees it. Rodrigo Blankenship is arguably the only good thing this football program has going, and he only got to log one field goal attempt? What the heck was that? There’s no way Hot Rod wins the Heisman if he doesn’t see a pick up in usage.
- Some would say Kirby Smart is a good recruiter. I have trouble reconciling that notion with the fact that that the lowest-rated player in Kirby’s most recent class (3-star Jake Camarda) made the biggest impact on this game of any freshman. Camarda picked up 165 yards on three punts. For comparison’s sake, even over-hyped and should-be-on-the-bench Jake Fromm only threw for 157 yards. Maybe Kirby should start targeting more three-star players and fewer 5-stars.
- After the game Kirby said the team needs to grow up and grow up fast. That’s Kirby in a nutshell. Size is everything. Speed is also everything. Execution be damned.
- Georgia is, frankly, lucky to play South Carolina this weekend. The Gamecocks are one of the few teams Kirby seems to have any kind of edge against. He’s 2-0 against them. But don’t forget that we could still have Mark Richt as our fearless leader had South Carolina not made advances at Kirby back in 2015. I’m just stunned that Georgia was held hostage by frickin’ South Carolina’s football program and the hire that followed hasn’t been a success.
Until next time,
-The Kirby Smart Hater
2018 Offers Georgia Bulldogs Head Coach Kirby Smart a Chance to Step Out of the Shadow of his Mentor, Mark Richt
The Kirby Smart Hater stops by almost weekly to put his own unique spin on the Georgia Bulldogs football program. Here is is first contribution to the 2018 season.
Much to the chagrin and disbelief of Georgia fans around the world, the Dawgs are not—in fact—on top. To the contrary, there’s a strong case to be made that Georgia is actually the worst football team in the country. Truthfully, that take is a little too hot even for my kitchen, but there’s something to be said for the fact that no team in the country has lost a game as recently as Georgia. All we really know at this point is that as recently as January 8, 2018 Georgia was definitely worse than at least one other team (Alabama). We don’t know that any other team was worse than Alabama that day and we have no reason to believe that any team in the country has been worse than Alabama since that day. Georgia could literally be the worst team in the country. But I don’t actually think that’s the case.
But remember, the Dawgs are not on top. Further the very notion that Georgia is almost at the pinnacle of the sport is a bit ridiculous. We can’t really say with any certainty that Georgia is even the best team in the state under Head Coach Kirby Smart. They were for a brief period better than Georgia Tech last year, but they also lost to Tech in Smart’s first campaign. I’m not sure that either effort should be weighted more than the other, so Smart’s Dawgs are basically just as good (but not better) as Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets. Smart is also 1-1 against the state of Mississippi, thanks to a loss to Ole Miss in 2016 and a win over Mississippi State in 2017. Under Smart, Georgia is a combined 2-2 against the state of Tennessee with losses to both Vanderbilt and Tennessee in 2016 and wins over the two programs in 2017. How about the state of Florida? Yep. You guessed it. Smart is .500 against the Gators too (loss in 2016 and win in 2017). Smart was 1-2 against FBS opposition from Alabama in 2017 alone (lost to Auburn, beat Auburn, lost to Alabama).
In fairness, there are states in which Georgia would (based on recent experience) be the best team in the state (North Carolina thanks to a 2016 win over UNC and a 2017 win over App State, Missouri thanks to 2016 and 2017 wins over Mizzou, South Carolina because of wins over the Gamecocks in 2016 and 2017, Kentucky because of wins over the Wildcats in 2016 and 2017, Louisiana because of a win over LaFayette in 2016, Texas because of a win over TCU in 2016, Indiana because of a 2017 win over Notre Dame and Oklahoma because of the Sugar Bowl). But does the map below imply that Georgia is the best team in the country? Spoiler: It does not!
I think the crushing reality presented above is what makes moving on from the 2017 season so damn difficult for the Kirby enthusiasts out there. Saying, “Well, we were just one bad play away from winning a National Championship in Kirby Smart’s second season,” sounds a lot better than, “Two years into the Kirby Smart Experiment, Georgia would be the best football program in just eight out of 50 states.”
Alas, 2017 can’t be redone or re-written and many of the key components of last year’s squad are gone forever.
- Jacob Eason, forever QB1 in the hearts and minds of true Bulldog fans, is now at Washington.
- Nick Chubb and his 5,130 career yards from scrimmage and 48 touchdowns: gone.
- Sony Michel and his 4,234 total yards and 39 scores: also gone.
- Javon Wims, Georgia’s leading receiver a year ago: See ya!
- Roquan Smith, the team’s defensive MVP: Couldn’t wait to leave Kirby for a few bucks.
- Lorenzo Carter, who came up huge in so many critical spots: Later!
- Aaron Davis, a four-year starter: Peace out.
- Dominick Sanders, a four-year starter: He’s outta here.
What’s interesting about the guys above, however, is what they have in common. I’m talking about more than just moving on from the program. These guys were the very fabric from which last year’s somewhat successful team was woven. But more than that, these guys shared a crucial bond: They weren’t Kirby Smart’s guys. They were Mark Richt’s guys. People forget that.
We’re so quick to praise the unrivaled recruiting genius of Kirby Smart, but who built last year’s team? Not Kirby. No sir. This team was built by his longtime mentor, Mark Richt. You could make a case for Eason being a Kirby Smart recruit seeing as he signed in Kirby’s first recruiting class, and I’d listen. But only because I listen to stupid arguments all the time. The fact remains that if Jacob Eason wanted to play for Kirby Smart, he’d still be playing for Kirby Smart. Instead, he opted to spend another year without meaningful game experience at a third or fourth-rate program in the Pac-12.
If we’re going to give Kirby Smart credit for recruiting (which apparently is something people do now), then we need to discount his track record by the amount of credit due to Mark Richt for recruiting.
Therefore, as far as I’m concerned, Kirby Smart is 0-0 as a head coach. Year 1 starts now. And so does his opportunity to step out of the shadow of his longtime mentor and the man responsible for making Smart who he is, Mark Richt. People forget that long before Kirby was the head coach at Georgia and even before his brief stints with the Miami Dolphins and Alabama Crimson Tide, Smart got his first taste of winning at an elite level under former Georgia head coach Mark Richt with an SEC Championship as an assistant with the Dawgs in 2005.
Now, he must find a way to move out of that shadow and establish a name for himself. How does he do that? In a word: winning.
Smart must find a way, for the first time in his career, to approximate the level of winning Georgia fans grew accustomed to under Richt. That won’t be easy. Smart already has a worse winning percentage than Richt against the SEC (Richt won 69.2% of contests while Smart has won 68.8% of conference games) even with the “bump” of rolled over goodwill from the Richt Era. Further, he’s been categorically worse against Georgia’s primary rivals and crucial opponents.
|Opponent||Richt Winning Percentage||Smart Winning Percentage||Edge|
2018 is something of a make-or-break year—not so much for Georgia football but for Smart’s foray into coaching. Wins over perennial powerhouses like Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Georgia Tech will help him inch towards the ever-rising standard left by Richt. But ultimately it may be Richt’s absence that saves Smart and breathes new life into his coaching lungs. Of course, I’m talking about the absence of the Richt-coached Miami Hurricanes on Georgia’s schedule. Much has been made of Georgia’s weak schedule in 2018, and surely it is a benefit to not draw the likes of Alabama in the regular season. But the nail in Smart’s proverbial coffin could have been a regular season game against Miami.
After all, Smart’s long-time mentor, Mark Richt, has never lost a game when coaching against a former assistant.
Until next time,
-The Kirby Smart Hater
I’ve been blogging about Dawgs in the NFL all week. But how about the Dawgs that aren’t in the NFL? I can’t believe these guys aren’t on rosters.
Jones received an injury settlement from the Arizona Cardinals last Septembers and hasn’t really been heard from since. Quite obviously, a lingering back injury limited Jones (remember, he had back/spine/neck issues dating back to his days at USC before he transferred to Georgia), but his career certainly lacked the punch many expected.
A first round pick back in 2013, Jones lacked the explosiveness to become the outside edge rusher that many expected. Though he could still come back, it appears his NFL career lasted just four years and saw only six quarterback sacks.
It’s wild to me that Murray, the SEC’s all-time leader in [insert passing statistic here] didn’t last as an NFL backup. He was a full roster participant with the Chiefs in 2014 and 2015 before serving as a practice squad QB briefly for the Cardinals in 2016 and signing for a few weeks with the Eagles later in the season. Murray has thrust himself into the sports media (and insurance) business and seems unlikely to make another NFL bid.
Now a graduate assistant at Georgia, it’s hard to believe Rambo didn’t hold on for longer at the NFL level. He started three games as a rookie for the Washington Redskins in 2013, floundered about for a bit in 2014 and then was an 8-game starter for the Bills in 2015 and started five games for the Dolphins in 2016. Rambo intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles in a single game back in 2015. How does that guy not make it?
The story isn’t written for Trent, and I refuse to pass judgment on him for going pro early. After going undrafted this past spring, Thompson signed a 3-year deal with the Cleveland Browns worth up to $1.71 million. Unfortunately, none of that was guaranteed and Thompson was released a few weeks ago. If he hasn’t been claimed yet, it’s hard to imagine him landing on a roster before the season begins in earnest.
There was a period during which it seemed like Herrera was the only player on Todd Grantham’s defense who knew where to go. And then there was a period during which he anchored Jeremy Pruitt’s unit. Through all of this, Herrerra registered 334 total tackles with 21 coming behind the line of scrimmage. He also logged 3.5 career sacks, 3 interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and nine deflected passes as a Bulldog. He was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft and played only three games for the Colts.
I have to believe he will be back once more fully healthy.
Much like Herrera, it’s hard to understand how Sanders’ production in the SEC didn’t translate to meaningful NFL attention. Sanders collegiate state line is no joke: 54 games, 53 starts, 156 tackes, 11.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 16 interceptions, 381 interception return yards, 23 pass deflections, 3 fumble recoveries. Sanders was with the Eagles briefly this summer. He worked out with the Cowboys earlier this week but was not signed.
Davis was waived in June by the Giants with an injury settlement, so maybe he’ll resurface. But like Sanders, he was incredibly productive as a defensive back. He started 45 games and logged even more tackles than Sanders (184) while also forcing three fumbles, recovering five fumbles and intercepting five passes.