Han by Andy Lee

Getting 2020 Going

The final old college football bowl game of the long bowl season – before the college football playoff final for the national championship, which is technically a bowl – is always the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. 8:45 p.m., the first day of the new decade. Will it be one of continued good-never-great?

While Kirby Smart has solidly established himself as a very good regular season head football coach with three consecutive 11-1 seasons and SEC East (WHO CARES!, we’re 1-2 in SECs) “championships”…his postseason efforts have been frankly very subpar. Winning a sUGAr would help…a tiny bit.

High school recruiting is the calling card, supposedly, of “the Kirby way” but we can all see the names of recruits from the previous head coaching regime and recognize them as what were or still are actual sporting brand names: A.J. Green, Knowshon Moreno, Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley, David Greene, David Pollack, Odell Thurman, Thomas Davis, Matthew Stafford, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Isaiah Wynn, Roquan Smith, Deandre Baker, to name a few.

Show me Smart’s high school gem stars: Rodrigo Blankenship was a walk-on out of Marietta (Sprayberry High School) who they didn’t even start soon enough, in an 8-5 debut year. Very good safety J.R. Reed is a transfer, from Tulsa. Swift, sure, he has had some good moments since signing out of Philly, simply because he wanted to go to RBU and be a Georgia runner. Georgian Jake Fromm has regressed to the level of a sub .500 passer, as an upperclassman. I see lineman Andrew Thomas (out of Pace Academy in ATL) – not a finalist for top lineman in the country this year – and not a whole heck of a lot else of proven bonafide star individuals.

So don’t talk about needing better 17 year olds anymore, Coach Smart! I don’t want to hear about 5-stars, because Georgia had the most on the roster in the whole country this year. And couldn’t score.

Why? Bad offensive coordinating and point-blank: not enough explosive talent on-hand.

Nauta and Eason looked like good signees when they stayed on with UGA after Richt recruited them and was replaced by Smart. Technically, they were Smart recruits out of high school. Javon Wims was a transfer; so was Lawrence Cager, the best two receivers of the Smart era. The big get overall was Justin Fields. He rushed for ten touchdowns this year, threw for 40 more, with one interception. While Smart’s guy Fromm had two picks in his last game – a total Georgia no-show on offense vs. LSU in Atlanta – and three in a home loss to South Carolina. Smart’s so-called best friend Mike Bobo has joined the Chickens to call plays, by the way. We are stuck with James Coley (a BAD HIRE!).

Coach Smart hit his peak back in 2017 (13-2) and has now coached a full-cycle (four years).

The Dawgs had no chance in the SECCG, putting up only a field goal for most of the game. No chance at all to win with a bad offensive coordinator and Swift so unhealthy he got only two carries. Why did he even play if he was only good for two touches, like that? Because the stable is not close to what it was with Gurley, Chubb, Sony. ZEU$, to date, is simply a bust. Yeah, I know he has been hurt twice in his football career, but the on-field story is: he has not shown anything at all in college.

Let’s run down Smart in the postseason right quick, and then I’ll see you next year:

1-0 Georgia barely edged a .500 TCU, in the Liberty Bowl (I was there).

2-0 Georgia revenged on Auburn in Atlanta, when they were injury depleted.

3-0 Georgia was extremely fortunate in a Rose Bowl overtime win (I was there).

…Then the impostor syndrome started to show up, a top-down total collapse:

3-1 Georgia blew a national championship to Bama, leading big at the half and in the 4th.

3-2 Georgia blew an SEC championship to Bama, featuring a fake punt by Justin Fields in a tie game, from midfield on 4th and 11. Bama recognized the giant quarterback had subbed in on special teams (duh).

3-3 Georgia looked poorly-coached, losing as big favorites to Texas.

3-4 Georgia was blown out by LSU, in Atlanta.

You get blown out every year, Smart.

You lose four postseason games in a row and then go on television and say “blah blah recruiting blah blah.” …Not buying it!