Year two of the Kirby Smart regime and Georgia is SEC East champion, having swept the East for the first time since the league divided into divisions. I asked the following question after the Auburn game, and it bears repeating today, what was your prediction of the Bulldogs season win total when previewing the season back in July? If your answer is eleven, you may want to try a career in Vegas. Coach Smart and his staff established the requirements for inclusion on the team last year and turned that players into believers as we approached the September kickoff. “The Process” in action.
The contest with Kentucky felt a bit strange on the sideline. I never had the feeling that Georgia was not in control of the game, but the Dawgs sure were sloppy at times. Penalties and some missed blocks caused the offense to get off to a sputtering start. However, it was clear that UK had no answer for UGA in the long run. In fact, it was clear before halftime that the ‘Cats could not deal with the depth that Georgia was throwing at them. By the mid-third quarter, Kentucky’s defense was gassed, and Georgia continued to substitute liberally, giving valuable playing time to build quality depth even further. When Kirby and Company arrive at the SEC game, the depth that the staff is built over the last half of the season will be invaluable, not to mention helping to exact revenge from the world’s most irritating team, coach, and fanbase on North Avenue.
A persistent theme during warm-ups was the desire of the underclassmen to honor the seniors with a win in their last home appearance. It is abundantly clear that everyone understands the contribution of this class and is grateful for their efforts on behalf of the program. Both the effort of the seniors and its acknowledgment by the team are part of the culture change that we have heard so much about since Kirby’s arrival. There have been plenty of skeptics, especially after last year’s record, but the transformation of the program is real and ongoing. This program is far from having arrived. I can not stress enough how excited I am to watch the continued development over the next few years.
One solid piece of evidence of Kirby’s makeover was sitting in the stands just behind the east endzone – Zamir White. Mr. White, a North Carolina native like Todd Gurley, has run for a TD almost 25 percent of the times that he has touched the ball in his senior season at Scotland County High. If you were expecting a significant dropoff in the wake of the loss of Georgia’s senior class, you might want to look back at that preseason prediction for 2017 and reevaluate your 2018 expectations. To quote the 20th-century poet/songwriter Robert Hunter, “Help On The Way.”