Loran Smith: The Dawgs must be ready for Tech

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Loran Smith: The Dawgs must be ready for Tech

Loran Smith
Loran Smith

All evaluations reflect that Georgia Tech is an improved team, a consensus that is troubling for Georgia coach, Kirby Smart who worries that the Bulldogs may not be keenly focused on this rivalry game.

Tech became bowl eligible last weekend by defeating Syracuse 31-22. Even so, theirs will likely not be a season to remember no matter the bowl game they are invited to.  






Unless they were to find a way to defeat their cross-state rival, the University of Georgia, the nation’s No. 1 ranked collegiate football team.  That challenge could be made easier if the Bulldogs fail to respect the team which ole timers ranked as the most important on the UGA schedule.

Georgia has been dominant in the rivalry in most every respect in the last 75 years.   The Bulldogs hold a sizeable lead in the series (70-39-5).  They have a 29-15-1 record at home and a 33-20-3 record at Grant Field/Bobby Dodd stadium.





Very impressive but it won’t do anything to help the team take care of business at hand—the next game on the schedule.   One good thing is that the head coach is bent on making sure his team is aware that they will be facing a group of players that will be hosting the Bulldogs with intent to ruin Georgia’s season.

Much has been said about Buster Faulker, offensive coordinator, and Kevin Sherrer, defensive coordinator, both of whom coached at Georgia for Coach Smart.  Joining the Yellow Jackets, too, are two former Georgia players, wide receiver Dominic Blaylock and tight end, Brett Seither, and that gets frequent mention.  

None of that has significance to Coach Kirby Smart if his team prepares itself mentally to play a team positioned as a spoiler to bring about the biggest headline in college football this year.

One of Smart’s assets as a head coach, has been getting his team ready to play mentally.   The fact that he is worried this week reflects the fact that he never takes anything for granted.

It has been a long and successful season, and he does not want it to be spoiled with his team not focusing on the quality opponent that he considers Tech to be.  He isn’t interested in Tech’s record and Georgia’s dominance in recent years.   He realizes that to win a rivalry game, you must be prepared for your opponent to play his best game.  You must, again, as the Dawgs have all season, be prepared for a team to render a peak performance.

Bill Cromartie, an Atlanta based free-lance writer, wrote a book about the rivalry between the two schools and called it, “Clean Old Fashioned Hate.”  The title suggested that while the two schools were rabidly intent on winning the big game Saturday after Thanksgiving each fall, that was civility in the rivalry.  

It remains a good history book of the rivalry and in it you will find interesting details about the games that have been played between the two schools, since 1893.

Georgia has been successful for years except for one period: 1949-1956.   In those years, Tech won eight straight games.  Coach Wallace Butts had fallen on hard times.   He did not recruit well, there was red ink everywhere and alumni depression reached an all-time low.

But when Theron Sapp crossed the goal line to “Break the Drought,” on Grant Field in 1957, things have been much different since.   Butts closed out his career with four straight wins in the rivalry.  

The men who followed him, for the most part, have had success against Tech, especially Vince Dooley and Mark Richt.  And now Kirby Smart is working to build a resume as he did as a player when the teams he played on posted a 3-1 record during his time on campus.

Back to Bill Cromartie’s well written book on the series, if there is any encouragement to be gained for Georgia fans is that Cromartie discovered that over the years the favored team usually wins the game.

That means nothing to Kirby Smart.





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