Has this 7-5 season caused you to lose faith in Kirby Smart?

November 26, 2016, Athens: GAME WINNER Georgia Tech running back Qua Searcy breaks the tackle by Georgia Defender Maurice Smith (bottom left) and sails into the endzone for a 28-27 victory over Georgia in the final minute of a NCAA college football rivalry game on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Athens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Georgia Tech running back Qua Searcy breaks the tackle by Georgia’s Maurice Smith (bottom left) and sails into the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown in a 28-27 victory over the Bulldogs in the final minute. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

ATHENS — Georgia was not expected to be great offensively this season. The Bulldogs were starting a freshman quarterback (Jacob Eason) and a suspect offensive line, so any success figured to hinge on running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel ability to tiptoe around those problem areas.

Where Georgia was expected to be better this season was is defense, which is why Saturday’s loss to Georgia Tech at Sanford Stadium was so significant. The Bulldogs, who had been playing well on defensive of late and had stuffed Auburn for an upset win, allowed two touchdowns in the final six-plus minutes of the game — including a 94-yard drive — and lost to the Yellow Jackets 28-27.

For my column on the game and why I believe this loss falls right in coach Kirby Smart’s lap, click here.

Georgia fell to 7-5 with the loss, including 4-4 in the SEC. That’s the Bulldogs’ worst season since going 6-6 in the regular season in 2010 (before a Liberty Bowl loss to Central Florida). Question: Has this caused you to lose faith in Kirby Smart as a head coach?

Georgia’s offense had two red zone possessions in the third quarter that both culminated in field goals, not touchdowns: an 18-yard drive following a fumble recovery by Dominic Sanders that died at the Tech 10; a 58-yard drive that wilted at the Jackets’ 20. Freshman quarterback Jacob Eason also threw a late-game interception that set up Tech for its go-ahead touchdown drive.

But this latest loss was on the defense coached by Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker (as well as Brian VanGorder, who returned for this week’s game as a consultant after being fired at Notre Dame in September).

Georgia Tech’s offense, its legion of misguided critics notwithstanding, has shown it can score points in bunches. But this was a game Georgia’s defense should have put away.

From linebacker Davin Bellamy, “We should have closed it. We should have ended it. You gotta close it out, man. Dig deeper.”

Smart owned it after the game, saying, “We as coaches have to do a better job and that starts with me. I’m the leader of the organization.”

He will have a lot to prove as a second-year head coach next season

For the complete game column, click here.

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313 comments
GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Talent was part of the problem this year but late game coaching decisions cost them the TN and GT games.

loran-whatayagot
loran-whatayagot

I give Kirby Smart a pass since this is his first year. He did make mistakes even a first year coach should not have made. Next year will give us a clearer picture.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

Your head coach is a former DC but he brings in another former DC who just got fired this year for incompetence as a "special consultant"?  Anyone outside of the delusional doggies not see anything weird, bizarre, strange, and outside the norm about that?????

Big Wally
Big Wally

I try to leave my political speeches off of this blog, but this was too much to let go.


Per ESPN:

"On a conference call with Miami media last week before Castro's death, Kaepernick was asked about a T-shirt he wore early in his protest of racial oppression and inequality that showed Castro and Malcolm X together in 1960 with the phrase "like minds think alike"".

So he refuses to stand for the American Anthem because of the oppression it represents "to him", yet he wears a Fidel Castro shirt - the week he plays Miami (which has the largest Cuban population in the US).  


SMH

Jse1960
Jse1960

He clearly he has a double digit IQ

Big Wally
Big Wally

Oh well, maybe we are a basketball team now, LOL.

Long Memories
Long Memories

Hard for me to totally blame the defense.  They didn't throw the interception.  Eason has been slightly off target most passes this year.  For being the supposed best freshman quarterback I have seen others that hit the receivers in the numbers a lot better and can run with the ball.  The real key was when the defense had held on fourth down, Georgia had a 13 point lead and the ball at the 50.  It was time to put the boot on their throat.  Instead Georgia went strictly off tackle.  Also much as I like Chubb, i though Sony should have been in for that important series because of the day he was having and was hitting the holes a lot quicker.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@Long Memories I said the same thing.  When they went 3 and out I was saying that will come back to haunt them.  Cheney's play calling on that series was something a middle school team would do.  Run, Run, Pass (with a penalty mixed in).  Also agree with Eason, he was not very accurate at all in most of the games.  His completion percentage was right at 50% I believe.  Considering most of the passes they had him throwing were high percentage passes, that is not good.  I think that is why Fromm is going to UGA.  Whoever is recruiting him is telling him Eason isn't all that he was supposed to be. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Big Wally @Long Memories Fromm is coming to Ga. because he is not afraid of the challenge. He will probably red shirt his first year, then it will be a battle for the starting job in Eason's junior year. I doubt if Eason will be a high draft choice because he is not very mobile so he will be a Dawg for 4 years. A new OC is imperative for  next year. Eason needs help and some new talent around him. If they hold back Fromm they will lose him.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Loved hearing on the radio the other day, why Urban Meyer went to Ohio State instead of Notre Dame.  Notre Dame wouldn't let him get around the academic requirements, and Ohio State evidently agreed to look the other way on all of his recruits. 


Good job OSU. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@Mulk @Big Wally Have you looked at some of the players coming out of OSU?  Maurice Clarrett has brain damage and he got admitted.

Mulk
Mulk

@Big Wally


If I was a UGAG fan, I wouldn't criticize anybody else's academic requirements??? Just sayin.

Jse1960
Jse1960

Exactly, not to cast fault on OSU, but ND is a different animal although the latest academic scandal makes me wonder...putting that aside ND is more like Vandy, Northwestern, Tech, Stanford and Duke etc. Tough to get in and grades aren't given to you.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@Mulk @Big Wally They also heavily recruited a player who punched a teacher while he was in high school.  He did the same thing earlier in the year (while at OSU) and was suspended by Ohio State Administration - against the wishes of Urban Meyer.  That shows you what he is recruiting.  If you think Richt would have recruited that player at UGA, you are wrong.  Richt dismissed a player - Trey Matthews, just because he threatened a teacher (now at Auburn).

Mulk
Mulk

@Big Wally


Come on Big, you know that Richt recruited a lot of questionable characters during his tenure.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Hey TOHIO (and the lapdog since you two are basically one person), just thought I would point out that the mighty Big 10 has 3 teams ranked in the bottom 25 of all of college football - Illinois, Purdue and Rutgers.  That information is a little bit dated (two weeks ago - CBSSports),  I'm sure once updated that there is a good chance Meatchicken State will be included in that group.


Good job Big 10.  Now we know why Meyer had those fake heart attack and ran to the Big 10 as fast as he could.

Jse1960
Jse1960

Dude you are out of your element here. The Big 10 is vastly superior this year to the SEC. Just look at the rankings...4 teams in the top 10. Outside of Tide nobody else in the SEC has less than 4 losses.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@Jse1960 They got fat off of the bottom feeders.  The SEC doesn't have a single team in the bottom 25.  Big 10 has 3 and probably 4 when this weeks games are factored in.  No other power 5 conference has that many bottom feeders. That is a fact.

MikeS777
MikeS777

I had no real expectations because you need a track record first.  Kirby Smart is a first time head coach who for the first time put together a staff, and it didn't work.  To be honest, that's not unusual. I will say I wasn't ever impressed with the OC hire.

And this defense was not playing good.  OK they shut down Auburn, but then ULL scored 21 on them the next week.  Frankly I didn't expect them to hold Tech under 30 the way Johnson's offense looked against Va Tech and Virginia.

The bottom line is, people tried to trivialize what Richt did like Smart could never do worse.  If nothing else, this season should put to rest the idea that you can just show up and win 10 games at UGA.  It's not an easy thing to do anywhere, much less in the SEC.

MikeS777
MikeS777

I should point out that meanwhile Jeremy Pruitt is at Alabama coaching up their defense better than Smart.  They just went the whole month of November without giving up a TD.  That includes games against LSU, Miss St., and Auburn.

A big reason I didn't want to see Richt fired is because I knew that meant Pruitt was gone too.  His defense at UGA last year was excellent, and that was after immediately turning around a terrible unit from Grantham in 2014 and coaching a national title defense at FSU in 2013.  There might not be a better DC in the nation than Pruitt right now.

And there's no way I can be convinced that the offense, in particularly the running game, would have struggled under Richt.  You give Richt a runner like Chubb, and he's going over 100 for the game every time.  Chubb never had less than 100 yards for Richt.  Then you throw in a talent at QB like Eason, and your looking at an offense that will average 30-40 pts per game.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@MikeS777 I'll point out again. Pruitt is coaching players Smart recruited at Alabama.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Big Wally @TideDawg @MikeS777 I respect Mikes loyalty to Richt.....so he should switch his loyalties to Miami. When I left Alabama I became a Dawg fan, but I'm a Tide fan for life.

Long Memories
Long Memories

@MikeS777 Much as I like Chubb he is simply not the runner he was before the injury.  Time will tell if and when he gets back to old form.  And Eason was slightly off target most of the year.

Mulk
Mulk

@MikeS777


What should be to rest is this "much less in the SEC" bull crap. That SEC boat has sailed. You should quit saying stuff like that and things like SEC speed, SEC SOS, etc. What you should be saying - B1G SOS and B1G type speed and B1G type coaching. Obviously, they have replaced the SEC for bragging rights. I also think that there has been a fundamental shift in the ranking process by the committee?


A good coach should be able to just show up and win 10 games in the east. But, I do agree that even that might be hard for an unproven head coach.

Mulk
Mulk

@MikeS777


I like Chubb but he is over rated like a lot of things over there like Eason. Did you see the running backs at LSU, Bama, Auburn and even Florida? Much better. And, that is just around here. The guy at Clemson and FSU, much better. The guy at Michigan? Ohio St? Penn St.? He may never play 4 years at Tech, but Mills is a beast.

Mulk
Mulk

@TideDawg


Bama does its own recruiting. There won't be a drop off because Smart left. Bama won't miss Smart.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Mulk @TideDawg That's true, but it doesn't change the fact that Smart recruited the players that Pruitt inherited, just like the Dawgs are playing with Richt's/Pruitt's recruits. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

3 loss #15 FL representing the SEC! SEC! LEAST in the CC game. 


No wonder it's regarded as THE worst division in Power 5.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO I don't know what coattail riding you are talking about; sure Alabama is the best program in the SEC but again UGA isn't riding coattails


Name me a conference that other than the SEC that has 6 teams that have played multiple times in the national title game and won at least 1 title in the last 6 decades


Has the most bowl wins  (UGA ranks 3rd Alabama ranks 1, Ohio state ranks 14th)


Head to head matchup vs the big 10 (UGA 10-4 ,  Ohio St vs SEC 5-11)


Head to vs the ACC (UGA 75-27)

TideDawg
TideDawg

@OH:IO Last time I checked, neither OSU or Mi. are in the title game.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@OH:IO I haven't heard any reports about Florida's coaching staff molesting any children. How is that working in the B1G????


Who's playing in the championship game in the B1G?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO Ohio State representing the B!G east  in the B1g CG, whoopsie my mistake!

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO Two 2 loss teams representing the B1G in the CG game. Most Certainly a 2nd Tier conference.

Big Wally
Big Wally

TOHIO: You are the liar my friend.  The first article posted by the AJC after the game and here is DN's post. Once again, seems like a daily thing, I have proven you to be wrong.

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DawgNole 22 hours ago

Congrats to GT. Ninety-four-yard drive in a 3-plus minutes on a handful of plays was the dagger.

No excuses from this Dawg(Nole).

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TOJacket
TOJacket

He wasn't on this thread Sarah.

TOJacket
TOJacket

if you hear from him again, tell him we run this State!

Big Wally
Big Wally

TOHIO:  I never claimed he was.  If you were not as dumb as a bag of rocks you might have bothered to look at another thread.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Haha...killing ya huh sport?

Big Wally
Big Wally

TOHIO:  I haven't turned myself into someone else's lapdog like yourself.

DS
DS

Smart and his staff need more time to work with players on skill development and situation awareness. They've got talent but aren't living up to their potential yet.

Some good improvement this year, but still more to do.

Also need to work on instilling a winning culture, determination and leadership among the players. All that attitude stuff.

OH:IO
OH:IO

5 or 6 and dog is a hole are wuss dogs in safe spaces.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Dawgnole was on here right after the game talking to intelligent Tech fans and congratulating them.  You don't qualify, so he left you out.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


Then he went into hiding, eh?


What? As a Tech fan or intelligent or an intelligent Tech fan?

TOJacket
TOJacket

That's a lie. I went back and looked. And when did he become intelligent Shirley?

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket I proved you to be wrong - yet again.  Look to recent comment section moron.