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Georgia Football

Kirby: “Whatever You Have Do to Win”

August 18, 2020

ATHENS - Georgia coach Kirby Smart wants to win, and he says he will do anything he must to get that done. 

“I believe in doing whatever you have to do to win,” he said Sunday when asked about running the ball, and the Bulldogs’ new offense. 

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“Whatever you have do to win” in this case involved a lot of moving parts this extended off-season. Jake Fromm left, and Kirby replaced him with three newcomers at quarterback - two of which started last year at a Power Five conference school. Going into 2019 how many UGA fans would have been fine with Fromm leaving? How many were fine after he left, but before Kirby got rolling in the transfer market?

More importantly, because players come and go, Kirby made the move at offensive coordinator. That’s something insiders felt had to change if the Bulldogs were going to make strides not just offensively, but towards a national title. 

“He had nearly everything in place, but he had the wrong offensive coordinator,” one insider said just after the Sugar Bowl win over Baylor. “I just think he picked the wrong guy. He doesn’t usually make that mistake.”

The 2019 team scored over 30 points exactly twice against a Power Five team… and one of those came against Geoff Collins’ and his Yellow Jackets at Mark Richt Field in Atlanta. That sort of production isn’t good enough.

Struggling to score isn’t what Georgia should be. It’s easy to point to the fact that both Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are actually from Georgia. But D’Andre Swift and George Pickens aren’t exactly lacking talent, either, even though they don’t call the Peach State their home. And they both played for the Dawgs last fall. And both were killers at times. 

“We want to get the best football players we can on the field,” Kirby said. “We are going to use (Todd Monken’s) experiences and his strengths, and the players’ strengths, which is much more important, and we’re going to put those at the forefront and hopefully have more success.”

We didn’t see a ton of that last fall. Fromm wasn’t what he was in 2017 and 2018. That could have been for a slew of reasons. Georgia seemed predictable, but it certainly wasn’t productive on offense. Games against the Gators, Auburn and A&M came down to the wire because the offense didn’t know how or didn’t choose to end those games.

Go rewatch the Texas A&M game and pick which moment UGA could have blown that game open… you have a few choices. 2019 ushered in a new era for Kirby and company. Blowout SEC wins - which the program was swimming in from 2017 until the South Carolina loss in 2019 - vanished. The offense couldn’t function the way it should have. Fights to the death into the fourth quarter were the norm.

But the Dawgs got through it, and back to Atlanta. They just couldn’t keep up with Joe Burrow and LSU when they got there - then again who could? 

Kirby knew he had to do something, and he did. He’s understood for some time that no one player changes a program. Herschel Walker ain’t walking through that door, and even if he did the game has changed. You need more than one player. You need it all. 

So Kirby did what was needed, and he instituted change, which came in the form of different quarterbacks and a different offensive coordinator. He wasn’t taking any chances. 

“We want to be able to score points,” Kirby said. 

The odds of that happening have gone up. 

Tags: Football, 2020
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