Kirby Smart takes blame for loss to Alabama, ‘back to the drawing board’
Georgia coach Kirby Smart made it clear Saturday night was a team loss, putting the 41-24 loss to Alabama as much on the coaches as the lack of execution on the field.
“Give their coaches a lot of credit, they out-coached us,” Smart said in his postgame Zoom press conference from Bryant Denny Stadium. “We’ve got to do a better job coaching our players and putting them in chances to be successful.
“But I was really pleased with the way our guys competed, just frustrated we couldn’t get anything going in the second half.”
Georgia held a 24-20 halftime lead before the Tide rallied with 21 unanswered points, responding to two interceptions with touchdown drives.
“We had some big stops in the red area in the first half, and then the second half, we couldn’t do it. We didn’t stop them,” Smart said. “They out-physicaled us at the line of scrimmage. I thought their quarterback played well. They’ve got great skill players.
“Thought DeVonta Smith played big tonight, he caught a lot of 50-50 balls, as well as Waddle, so give them credit.”
Tide quarterback Mac Jones was 24-of-32 passing for 417 yards with 4 TDs and one interception. Smith led Alabama with 167 yards receiving on 11 catches, and Waddle had 6 catches for 161 yards.
Smart said he felt Georgia lost momentum when it was unable to score on the opening drive of the second half.
The game shifted later in the third quarter when Waddle reeled in a 90-yard touchdown pass to put the Tide up 27-24 at the 4-minute mark.
It was Alabama’s first lead since the opening quarter, and they didn’t relinquish it again.
“We stalled out on that opening drive and lost momentum at that point, especially when they hit the long bomb to Waddle,” Smart said. “It was a big play for them, a nice schemed-up play, give them credit.
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board. We’ve got a really good football team, and we control what’s in front of us by how we play.”
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett was 18-of-40 passing for 269 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Zamir White led the Bulldogs with 57 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
Smart said the defense didn’t play aggressive enough at the end of the first half, allowing Alabama to drive for a field goal that cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 24-20.
The head coach was also disappointed Georgia didn’t do more to help Bennett with the run game, calling for 40 pass attempts versus just 30 rushes.
The Bulldogs are idle next weekend and play Kentucky on Oct. 31 after the SEC adjusted teams’ schedules on account of the Florida program’s COVID-19 issues.
“We’ve got to get better, I realize that,” Smart said. “And that’s on me and my responsibility, and that’s what we’re gonna do going forward.”