Monday, September 26, 2016

Stop trying to come to a conclusion on Kirby after 4 games!

As a Georgia fan, I get that you were hoping to see some noticeable turnaround in the way we performed in big games under the new staff. I was hoping, too. But, that's all it was; hope. 

There's a lot of areas where people are laying blame for Saturday's debacle. Depending on who you are and what "camp" you're in, they primarily focus on talent (or lack thereof), poor recruiting which led to the lack of talent, the current staff to play the right players and call the right plays, etc. There are other areas of concern as well, but this post isn't about that.

The main point to concern yourselves with is that, if you felt the program under the previous regime was inherently flawed, as the administration and boosters did, then you have to allow for more than 4 games to untangle all the knots and start to rebuild. 

You may not want to, but you have to.

"Tom Herman was able to do it!!" That's the primary response to the aforementioned suggestion. 

He's done a phenomenal job to this point, but that situation is an exception, and there is also a lot more than just looking at the end results when going into a job. Also, if we're throwing out single examples, I submit to you Gus Malzahn. After making a huge splash going 12-2 and losing in the BCSNCG, the Tigers are a combined 17-13. So, an instant turnaround means as much as the opinion of you or me when it comes to predicting medium and long-term success (though, it seems Malzahn earned a stay of execution after narrowly beating LSU). 

People are making fun of "The Process" already. But, you have to let Kirby and staff do what they believe will be the best for Georgia in the medium and long term. While I in no way believe they're not trying to win now, I do believe they're trying to win in a way that will lay the foundation for the future. Altering your process now, in year 1, to win an extra game or two with smoke and mirrors would not be the right choice. 

Being that this is the case, there's no reason to try to draw a conclusion that Kirby Smart is somehow in over his head, too stubborn, too stupid, Chaney doesn't know how to call plays, Mel Tucker is lousy, etc. 

Hopefully, we'll see some incremental improvement this year, significant improvement next year, and true competition for an SECC or beyond in year three. And, who knows, if some things break our way, maybe we'll those things sooner.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Nicholls game was awful, but it doesn't matter!

Most folks are ready to wash the bad taste of the Nicholls game out of their mouths. We'll obviously get to do that Saturday night, and it will either be replaced by a minty-fresh win over Missouri, or more of what we've had this week.

Having read all kinds of comments and opinions being offered up this week, though, it amazes me the number of people who have already decided that the Dawgs don't have any talent (or, very little), Kirby Smart is a stubborn fool, Jim Chaney has no idea what he's doing, etc.

Look, this is a young team with a new coaching staff. There are going to be ups and downs. What will ultimately decide how this season goes is two-fold: How quickly will the team and staff reach a level of consistency (preferably a "good" consistency), and until then, which weeks will the peaks and valleys occur, and how high and low will they be?

To the first point, that's anybody's guess. They may permanently gel (more or less) beginning this Saturday, it may take several more weeks, or they may not find any true cohesiveness until next year. It cannot be accurately predicted by anyone given the newness of player and staff personnel. Don't bother trying, lest you be an arrogant blowhard.

To the second point, since we don't exactly know which team will show up and what kind of improvement to expect, don't base your season outcome upon either of the first two games. As I've said before, if Nicholls was week one and UNC was week two, the talk would be all about how much Georgia improved. That didn't happen, but it doesn't change the fact that were relatively good against UNC and unequivocally bad against Nicholls. If anything, that inconsistency and apogee of good and bad is the quintessential earmark of a young team and new coaching staff. They've both got to get traction, and there's no way to predict when that will happen, or what they team may look like when things settle in and take hold.

There may be a talent issue, but I promise you, teams far less talented than Georgia will blow the doors off of Nicholls this year. There may be a coaching issue, but teams with far inferior coaches will blow the doors off of Nicholls this year.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Don't be one of the moron keyboard jockeys on the pay forum sites and calm down

There is no sugar-coating it. Georgia stunk on Saturday. There will be no excuses here. Realistically, Georgia should have been able to score 30 pts even if Nicholls knew what was coming.

Having said that, I'm going to give you a simple scenario and not-so-humbly suggest that you relax.

Suppose Georgia had opened with this game two weeks ago, and beat UNC yesterday?

I'm well aware of the "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts..." saying, but the point is all the comments of "we have no talent on O-line" and "Chaney is being too predictable" and all the other summarily dismissive opinions I've read over the last 18 hours are no more valid either way.

Before yesterday, "nobody in  the East was better than Georgia," and today, "Georgia will be lucky to win 3 SEC games."

There are a few things I feel pretty confident in saying.

First, yesterday's will prove to be the single worst game Georgia plays this year. (God, let's hope so)

Second, as bad as the O-line looked, it is and will be far better as the season goes on. I'm not saying there are 4 future NFL players of the starting 5, but I do believe they were just out of sync with each other, and unsure of what they were doing. This can happen when you institute an entirely new coaching philosophy from the ground up. Put another way, I have to believe we have more O-Line talent than most/all of the teams Nicholls will play this year (along with obviously better running backs), and I am pretty sure most of those other teams will have their way with Nicholls on the ground. You're going to see a much improved line next week and going forward.

Third, I did see Georgia start to wake up in the second half. Unfortunately, the energy and enthusiasm were derailed by two costly turnovers. This is not an excuse. Had Georgia been playing better, these turnovers wouldn't have happened, and/or they wouldn't have mattered all that much. The simple fact is that, on a day when the Dawgs were not playing well to begin with, the interception and the muffed punt were nearly killers.

Lastly, while I don't think Georgia was being "vanilla" as a strategical plan to keep other teams from seeing our full complement of plays, I do know that the Bulldogs will introduce more unique and complex plays going forward. How? They have to.

Bottom line is that yesterday was indicative of a team that has a new coaching staff and philosophy, a true freshman QB, and some depth and talent issues at a few positions (that may yet be overcome).

However, you're a moron keyboard jockey if you are making iron-clad declarations about any aspect of the team or staff based upon yesterday's game. It's far too early to tell. Again, these same moron keyboard jockeys would have made the same idiotic statements if Georgia started out against Nicholls in week 1 just like this. If they were right, we would have lost to UNC 52-10.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Kirby's Quest for Depth is About More Than Having Capable Backups

There's no doubt that solid depth is necessary to avoid a big drop off in performance as games and the season wear on. You've got to account for fatigue and injuries, and without quality depth, it's impossible to sustain high-level play. Ole Miss was a prime example of this on Monday, as the Rebels lost a couple of key starters and really wore down, leading to an absolute throttling at the hands of FSU in the second half.

So, building good depth at every position is key in that regard, However, Kirby and the staff have, in my opinion, a paramount reason for building up the roster. Capable and quality depth encourages top effort through competition.

At this point, most avid Dawg fans are aware of the debacle that was the 2013 recruiting class. They are further aware that, from time to time, Georgia would essentially whiff on top-flight talent at various positions for a year or two, causing gaping holes in depth. This was no more apparent than at the OL, WR, and QB positions.

What ultimately happens is that a player will settle into a starting role because there's nobody there to push him, save a walk-on or low-end 3-star or 2-star recruit. This is not to call anyone out or suggest that they're not giving good effort, but it's often human nature to just give "enough" effort.

If a 5-star recruit has no quality depth behind him, then giving 80% is going to trump a walk-on's 100% just about every time. With depth at a position, now you have two 4-star guys giving a 100%, which will beat out a 5-star's 80%. At that point, you're either going to get 95-100% out of the 5-star, or you'll be better off with the 4-star, with that 5-star backing him up. Whichever the case, you're now in much better shape. Never mind being able to account for injuries or "busts" in recruiting.

Obviously, nobody compares to Alabama right now in terms of depth across the board. The Tide have a 2, or even 3-deep roster of former 4 and 5-star recruits who would be starting almost everywhere else. They also are able to become more seasoned, bigger, stronger, faster, etc. while they wait their turn, instead of being forced into action based upon talent and upside alone.

The bottom line is this: You better dedicate yourself fully to becoming better at every facet of your position, because now there's someone just as talented as you ready to take your spot if you don't.