Expectations Too High for Dawgs?

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Expectations Too High for Dawgs?

Sanford Stadium "G"
Sanford Stadium “G”
Photo: Greg Poole/Bulldawg Illustrated

As the season draws closer, expectations for the Georgia Bulldogs are only getting higher. On January 12, 2016, in Mark Schlabach’s Way to Early Top 25 he had the Bulldogs at #23. After Signing Day, Schlabach moved the Dawgs to #19. Now, heading into summer workouts, the Dawgs have vaulted all the way to #12. All of this with only a few spring practices in the books and no games being played. Expectations are rising incredibly quickly and are based on….well expectations. Expectations that Chubb will be 100% sooner than later. Expectations that Jacob Eason is going to play well beyond his years. Expectations that Lorenzo Carter is going to have a breakout junior season. Last but not least, expectations that Kirby Smart will make in-game decisions like that of a seasoned head coach. Seems like a lot to expect. All that said, what do I expect?

Expect UGA to be Physical – Every year Kirby Smart was at Alabama the Tide were one of the most physical teams in the country. After strapping it up against the Tide, you felt it for a good two or three days afterward. Kirby Smart is going to demand that in Athens. This offseason Scott Stricklin, Ed Ellis and Aaron Feld will pound it into them in the weight room.

I Expect UGA to Make “Rookie” Mistakes – The Bulldogs are going to be a very young football team this season. Eason may not start Week 1, but you can bet he is going to get a lot of snaps over the course of the season. He is going to see things he has never seen before from opposing defenses and make some bad decisions. The Dawgs are going to be incredibly young on the defensive line, and it won’t be surprising to see them get out of positions from time to time. Rookie mistakes also apply to Coach Smart, who will be making huge decisions, i.e., clock management, for the first time. It’s only natural that he will have a learning curve.

I Expect UGA to Play to Win – Too many times in recent memory the Bulldogs would get a lead of a couple of scores and would go into a shell and allow the opponent to get back in the game. In my opinion, UGA was not playing to win; they were playing not to lose.

I Expect a Boot in the Rear – Under Kirby Smart if you make a mistake in the game, and he feels he can’t trust you I expect him to express his displeasure then tell you to find a comfortable seat on the bench.

I Expect UGA to “Show Up” – Too many times when Mark Richt was at the helm in Athens the Bulldogs wouldn’t show up mentally ready to play. Sometimes it was against smaller school opponents that the Bulldogs were eventually able to out-athlete and get the win. Other times it was in Jacksonville against the Gators when the Gators pounded the Dawgs for 418 yards.

I Expect UGA to “Punch Back” – My #1 criticism of the Bulldogs under Mark Richt was that UGA often did not respond well to getting punched in the mouth. If one thing went wrong, they got shaken, if a second bad thing happened they rolled over. It was very disappointing to watch, and it seemed to happen a couple of times each season.

I Expect UGA to Lose a Couple Games – There are a bunch of question marks for the 2016-2017 edition of the Bulldogs. As I have detailed above UGA is going to be relying on a number of inexperienced players and a rookie head coach. This is not “UGA’s Year”. This a year of building the foundation and learning from mistakes to be better in the future.

I Expect UGA to Get Better Each Week – This is self-explanatory. Each and every week I expect UGA to be better than they were the week before and by the end of the season be a team nobody wants to face.

Now, I want to hear what the Bulldog Nation expects!

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Author /

Matthew “Huck” Pasek was born into a family of Georgia Bulldogs. Huck’s father, Gary, graduated from UGA in 1976 and became a high school chemistry teacher at Peachtree HS in Dunwoody, GA where he coached alongside Georgia High School football legend T. McFerrrin. Gary’s love of football, especially Georgia football, was passed along to his son. Huck lives in Belmont, NC with his wife, Whitney, and works in Financial Services Litigation. In his spare time he is an avid golfer, movie fanatic and habitual traveler to St. Simons Island with his wife “just to get away”. The moniker ImYourHuckleberry arose from his favorite movie, Tombstone, and character Doc Holiday’s famous line, “I’m Your Huckleberry”. Matthew was never one to shy away from a confrontation or debate, thus the nickname instantly stuck.

18 responses on “Expectations Too High for Dawgs?

  1. GirdersRBending

    This year will be interesting.  Every team (unless riddled with injuries) improves as the season goes on.  The second half of the season should produce a QB that’s playing smarter and with more confidence, OL should gel, and Chubb should be back.  I see UGA as a team no one wants to play the 2nd half of the season.  Question is, how do we fare against UNC, UM, and UT during the 1st half.  To me, 10-2 for the year sounds right.  I think everyone will be disappointed with anything less.

  2. Jesse1

    Do #’s 1,3,4,5,6, and 8, and the scent of rarefied air  are within these reach of these Dawgs paws. Not predicting a nattie, but 60 minutes of HELL will result in some  surprises. Surprises that go our way. Hustle football is the incubator of good luck. This team may, just may be a tad better than some want to admit. Cause the element of surprise will be lost when the “Red Clay Hounds” start ripping apart the carcass of the enemy.

  3. DawgDaddy

    ZippyMorocco I’m wid you Zippy, that last part is sooooo important too.   No embarrassments.

  4. Frankly

    I think UGA SHOULD expect to see an exciting, competitive, and  talented team.  However there is extreme risk of disappointment by the fan base that is interpreting every single move by this new staff as being certain evidence of greatness.  As I’ve said before, there is still this tiny little detail of this staff never having coached in a game before.  We still don’t know what we are going to get so in terms of the personality of the team so its really just a guessing game at this point.

  5. PTCDawg

    On any given Saturday it is irrelevant how good a team is or how many holes there are or how inexperienced we are at any given position, it only matters how they compare to the other team in the stadium that day. I do not look at the schedule and think, aha there is the third team we will probably lose to. I think it is more likely that we beat Tenn and/or Ol Missy than that we would lose to any of the other 10 teams on the schedule.

    If we aren’t already I believe we open the season as solid favorites in 10 of our 12 games.

    So given the team we have and the schedule we face, it seems to me that 10 wins in the regular season is just meeting expectations. Whether 10 wins puts us in the top 10 or outside the top 25 is anybodys guess.

  6. TrueDawg

    We may be young on the d line but we have Trenton Thompson and some other beasts that have been frothing at the mouth like DaQuan .  Talent level is high.  We may not have the depth that Alabama has in that spot but no one does in college football.   I expect us to win 10 games counting the bowl.  This team has the talent and the schedule to do so.  Richt won 8 his first season and pulled off the hobnail boot win in knoxsville in one of the biggest wins in program history.  I expect Kirby to have a signature win like that to.

    Sam Pittman is hopefully going to right the ship on the oline.  We’ve had the biggest line before but failed to win big.  He has never been on a championship team so I am sure he is hungry.

    I hope we’re as tough and ready to play as everyone says we will be on Saturdays.  However, we better get the W’s.  I remember everybody going on about Arkansas a couple of years ago about how tough they were but they lost 6 games. It will get old quick if the results don’t come in.  

    The east is down and folks in Fla are saying the gators are going to be pretty bad.  UT is up but we get them at home.  SC lost to us big time and there should be no excuse to lose to them this year.  Ole Miss is a wild card who has been getting a lot of heat. I see us competing for the east.  Attack the day….No excuses

  7. IYH_BI

    Reddawg13 Anything can happen but at this point in time I don’t have very high expectations.  I think 10 wins would be a fantastic season but 8 or 9 is what I would expect as of today.

    That said, there are quite a few things that can change my mind quickly.  For one, if Pittman makes our offensive line consistent and better at run blocking that’ll raise my expectatons.  If Chubb is 100% healthy.  If Eason shows he can handle the big stage in the Georgia Dome.  There are many more…

    However, my expectations from what I mentioned above won’t really change until I see them on the field strapping it up on a real football game.

  8. IYH_BI

    Bulltoad It will be interesting to see if the fan base takes on the personality of their Coach kind of like the players do.  If they do, Sanford Stadium will be louder and more intimidating than ever before.

  9. IYH_BI

    rugbydawg79 MMCSDAWG I agree.  I wrote about that about 10 days ago…Kirby needs to turn the tide in that series!

  10. Reddawg13

    Great write up! I expect Eason to start and perform admirably. He will make some mistakes. But we will do a better job of overcoming mistakes than we have in the past. We will play very hard and physical and play to win. Kirby will make less mistakes than one may think, he was trained by the best! Our team will be stronger and in better shape than ever, which will bode well deep into the 4th quarter and season. We will see players answer Kirby’s call to be great and exceed past expectations. Beamer will have our ST’s playing the caliber of football a Bulldog team should play. There will be some surprise players step up and make a difference week to week. As the season moves forward the “Why not us?” will become “Can be us!” Crazy things happen every year in college football and our Bulldogs winning the SEC is really not all that crazy! Think about it! Mizzou has won the east twice, so there ya go.


    IYH_BI MMCSDAWG Right!  Kirby is going to find out who wants to play and who wants play around!

  12. Bulltoad

    Another great article.  Thanks Huck.  I think Kirby’s attention to detail and his “smarts” will actually lead to fewer rookie mistakes than expected but I like your expectations for the team. 

    My biggest expectations are for the fans.  After 93K day I expect the fans to step up as well and answer Kirbys challenges.  We need a packed stadium for noon kickoff against Nicholls St.  Like Kirby said we need a united and energized fan base.

  13. IYH_BI

    MMCSDAWG I agree completely with your comment about the team being “hungry”.  I think there is going to be a lot of competition out there and Coach Smart won’t be shy about sending you to the bench if you aren’t giving 100% every day.


    I expect Eason to start game one and provided he doesn’t have a meltdown or totally collapse in the face of stiff competition he will be our starting QB the entire season.  Doing exactly what you said, laying the foundation and the building blocks for our future.

    I expect the Dawgs to be a much more physical and prepared team each and more importantly EVERY week.  

    I would be disappointed if we win less than 9 games and my expectation at the moment is to win 10 and challenge for the SECe.  The most important game of the season is against Tenn and it is at Home.   I expect the Dawgs to win the season opener in the Dome, it is a pseudo home game and I believe we can and should run the ball for 300+ yards against UNC.  
    I expect the dawgs to be hungry, this team is Very young and the level of competition among the youngsters is going to heat up once the summer/fall practices begin.  There is a lot of talent coming in the 2016 class and that will ramp up the competition level at several key positions.  

    I expect Pittman to put together and OL that will perform much more consistently than last.  

    Provided there are no major injuries I honestly don’t feel that winning the SECe is our of our reach.  Are we ready to beat Alabama or LSU in the SECCG…  most likely not, but winning the SECe is our goal/expectation for this year.

    Thanks Huck!  and keep up the good work!