From The Field: Redemption in Jacksonville

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From The Field: Redemption in Jacksonville

Devonte Wyatt (95) and Kirby Smart,
Fourth-Quarter, Georgia-Florida game,
Saturday, November 2, 2019
Devonte Wyatt (95) and Kirby Smart,
Fourth-Quarter, Georgia-Florida game,
Saturday, November 2, 2019

The three weeks leading up to the annual tilt with the Gators were painfull for Dawg Nation. The long national nightmare of dashed expectations has, justifiably, conditioned many Dawgs to overreact. A big win over a traditional national power evokes championship daydreams, while a loss to a lesser team brings suppressed memories of past mediocrity flooding back to our consciousness. Years of frustration will cause that to happen to the best of us.

All I can say is don’t worry, be happy Dawg Nation, The rumors aren’t true. Kirby Smart can coach AND recruit, even though your “office expert” told everyone that last week that Smart could only do the latter after the loss to USCe and the rain-game against UK. I’m not suggesting that the Dawgs are about to cruise into the playoff, just that an extremely young team is getting better and growing up before your eyes. Don’t buy tickets to the College Football Playoff yet, but planning to be in Atlanta on December 7 would be in order.

These Dawgs believe, even if fans are not yet convinced. They have played with a confident air all season. That confidence is the single thing that sticks out to me from observing them from the sidelines. They have completely bought into the message of the staff. There is no doubt in their minds of eventual victory as long as they execute the game plan. They believe it because they have seen it work. It is straightforward and straightforward is best.

Kirby can recruit, everyone agrees. The players believe that Kirby and his staff can coach, and the coaching message is simple: Play rock-ribbed defense to make the opponent earn every inch. Execute the offense behind a massive and deep offensive line that will eventually tire the opponent and turn two-yard running plays into eight-yarders and open the field for the passing attack. It is the SEC; every game will be a fight. Depth of talent and execution win games, and as the team matures, performance will become more consistent.

It is time for all of us to shake off the negativity that has crept back into our consciousness. Everything in Athens is still proceeding according to the master-plan. Talent is in place, and more is on the way – oh, and Kirby CAN coach. Don’t forget about Pearl Habor Day!

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.