Questioning the Kirby Hire was Premature

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Questioning the Kirby Hire was Premature

Kirby Smart
Kirby Smart

“Hiring Kirby Smart was a huge mistake!! #Muschamp2.0 #FireKirby”.

“Let’s burn it all to the ground and start over because a loss to Vanderbilt is completely unacceptable”. 

“How many coaches are going to get fired at the end of this season?”

That is a very small sample of my Twitter timeline after the Bulldogs came up short against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday afternoon.  The most common tweets were one that indicated that hiring Kirby Smart was a mistake. 

First off, I agree, the Georgia Bulldogs should never lose to the Vanderbilt Commodores – especially at Sanford Stadium.  Vanderbilt had no business being in this game but the Dawgs made critical mistakes that handed the Commodores points.  Somehow, someway Georgia found a way to lose this game and that is unacceptable.

Unacceptable, YES!  Unexpected?  NO! I have said time and time again this season the Bulldogs are going to have growing pains this season.  The two most critical individuals in a college football program are the Head Coach and the Quarterback and Georgia has a “true freshmen” in each role.

As we have seen, Eason is going to have his ups and downs in his freshmen campaign.  Last week, he played his worst game of the season and this weekend he arguably played his best game in spite of a poor game plan.  There is absolutely no denying the game plan was not only poor on the offensive side of the ball but the staff was much too slow to make adjustments.  Coach Smart needed to step in much earlier in the game and tell Coach Chaney to open it up and throw the ball more often on 1st and 2nd Downs.  The gameplan was far too conservative and it allowed Vanderbilt to stay within striking distance.

Much like Eason, Coach Smart is having his ups and downs in his first season as head coach.  He has had issues with clock management, questionable decision making and an apparent lack of involvement with the offense.  We saw an example of the questionable decision making at the end of the first half when he opted not to give that bad, bad man in Rec Specs (Rodrigo Blankenship), who was absolutely crushing the ball, an opportunity to kick a 54-yard field goal to end the half.  Rodrigo’s confidence was high and the way he was kicking the ball it was well worth a shot but instead he elected to throw a Hail Mary to a group of receivers that included the 5’8 Isaiah McKenzie (who is not going to win any jump balls).  Also, we saw his lack of involvement in the offense.  I understand Coach Smart’s background is in defense but he needs to step out of the defensive huddle and spend more time consulting with Chaney and perhaps make a decision to loosen the reigns on Eason earlier in the game.  There is a lot of room for Coach Smart to be introspective and evaluate himself during this bye week.

Besides the inexperience at the head coach and quarterback, there is one more issue that is causing the Bulldogs to struggle this season.  Simply put, the Bulldogs do not have any dynamic, big play threats on the offensive side of the ball that can take over the game.  McKenzie can do it in brief glimpses while Chubb and Michel are both dependent on a Jekyll & Hyde offensive line.  There is not a single receiver on the perimeter that the Dawgs can throw a quick slant to that will shrug of a tackle and take it the distance.  Therefore, the Dawgs have to depend on a true freshmen QB to consistently drive the team the length of the field with 10-15 play drives to get points on the board.

Put all of that together and that is the perfect recipe for a team to be in a lot of close games and unfortunately for the Dawgs they have come up on the wrong side of those close games against Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

I know what many of you are thinking – Excuses!  Excuses!  These are not excuses, this is reality.  So let’s live in reality for a minute:

#1 – Mark Richt is not coming back.  Even if he could, why would you want him to?  He led the Miami team to a nice start but then lost the big rivalry game against a team from the state of Florida (sound familiar??) and then had his team come out completely flat against the Tarheels at home to lose a second game in a row.

#2 – Tom Herman is not going to be the Head Coach at the University of Georgia.  Kirby Smart is going to be the Head Coach of the Georgia Bulldogs for the foreseeable future and Tom Herman will be somewhere like Texas and Southern Cal.  And what has he proven?  He has proven that he can win games in a below average conference against teams with inferior talent and get his team up to win 1 or 2 big games each year.  He has also proven that he can lose to Navy.  He is going to have his growing pains when he gets into a “grown man conference”.

#3 – Kirby Smart could be Will Muschamp 2.0.  Kirby Smart could also be the next Nick Saban.  Simply put, we don’t know.  We don’t have any clue.  Odds are he will be somewhere in between (hopefully closer to Nick Saban).

So where does that leave us?

It is a question for the coaches to decide.  It is a question for the players to decide.  It is a question for the fanbase to decide.  Each and every person needs to make their own decision.  In case you want to hear it, I’ll tell you exactly where I stand.

I am disappointed.  I am angry.  I am optimistic.  I believe Kirby Smart has made some terrible decisions.  I believe he will learn from his blunders and get better.  I believe Jacob Eason is going to be an elite quarterback.  I believe Georgia will continue to have growing pains this season.  I believe Kirby Smart will relentlessly recruit the players Georgia needs. I believe Georgia’s best days under Coach Kirby Smart are ahead of them.  I will continue to believe.

Now you know where I stand, how about you??

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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.

5 responses on “Questioning the Kirby Hire was Premature

  1. Mamadawg

    Great post as always.

    Coaching: I don’t know how involved Kirby is with the offense. I do know he needs to get more involved. I’m not feeling Chaney. I would prefer someone younger with fresher ideas. Chaney doesn’t adjust despite overwhelming evidence that what he’s sending in isn’t working. His stubborn choice to continue running it up the middle when the box is loaded, not to mention our poor OL play, is baffling, to say the least. At this point, open up the passing game. Run, run, pass hasn’t worked since the Nicholls game, with the exception of the Tennessee game. Everyone in the stadium knows what’s coming. It’s incredibly frustrating. The fans, where I was sitting yesterday, were calling for Chaney’s head, not Smart’s. For a large number of fans to be calling Smart a bad coach is just stupid. No other word for it.

    Mark Richt: I love the man. He is hands down the classiest person in college football. And as you pointed out, he continues to lose games that he should win at Miami. I mean, winning 9-10 games a year was nice, but losing to ranked teams on a regular basis was not fun. It was time for him to go.

    Eason: He’s a freshman.

    I stand behind Kirby Smart. I stand behind our Dawgs, win or lose. We can’t do a whole lot about the OL or ST at this point, but we sure can do something about the play calling. I also agree with Patriot, give the young guys some playing time. If we’re having this conversation 3 years from now, I’ll be worried. It’s not 3 years from now yet. Until then, Go Dawgs!

  2. PatriotVeteran

    You’re spot on. Eason threw for 346 yards without much help from his OL. It’s time to replace the OL and put in some Freshman to at least give them some EXPERIENCE, but I truly believe they would give Eason the protection he deserves, players like: Pat Allen 6’4 298 lbs, Chris Barnes 6″3 301 lbs, Ben Cleveland 6’6 341 lbs, Daniel Gothard 6’6 324, Sage Hardin 6’6, 290 Cente, Soloman Kindley 6’4 336, Sam Maden 6’6 334, and Allen Williams 6’7 352, to list a few and there may be others or even some Sophmores available.

    The current OL is not working or improving, so give some raw recruits an opportunity to SHINE and most of them are bigger and weigh as much as the current OL. Eason needs some help protecting him. His fellow FRESHMAN AND SOPHMORES should be given a chance to show, they will play “Exceptionally Hard 100% PLUS, on every play”. Those who cannot live up to the hype, should be replaced by others who will be here next year. CHANGES are needed and if we lose game, than at least we lose giving it our all, while at the same time getting experience. We will live to fight and win big in 2017, if not for the remainder of the rest of 2016. GO DAWGS – THE FANS WILL BACK THE COACHES AND PLAYERS, regardless of what Decisions CKS must make before our next game. We’re losing anyhow, so try something new.

  3. Tey

    Actually georgia does have an ouside attacker. They just don’t use him. Riley ridley doesn’t drop passes and he has the burst to blow by. For some reason he barely sees the field

    1. Greg

      Eason is just a route thrower he doesn’t see the whole field……so many receivers wide open and he didn’t see them