The last time Georgia celebrated a win this drenched in water, the fire hoses at Auburn were to blame for the wetness. However, Saturday night vs. Kentucky was the work of a higher power.
If only the act of God that brought forth the downpour could also be summoned to restore the thunder and lightning to UGA’s offense.
Rain or shine, things are not currently great for the Bulldogs in that regard, and some fans are getting restless.
There were some boos Saturday night when the Bulldogs went into halftime no better off than when the game started, tied at zero with lowly Kentucky.
UGA coach Kirby Smart was asked postgame about fan frustrations, deftly dodging the question in the process.
“No effect for me, I’ve got headphones on,” Smart said when asked about the impact of the jeers. “That’s what they pay their money for, to give their opinion. They’re entitled to that. I respect that.”
It’s probably wise for Smart to pretend not to notice the booing. However, some of the other things he seems content to ignore are potentially problematic.
For instance, Smart’s telling of Saturday’s affair is that weather conditions prevented UGA from running any offensive sequence that didn’t resemble a rugby scrum.
“There’s not a lot you can do in those conditions,” Smart said. “It’s tough to throw the ball in those elements.”
The stats certainly back up Smart’s assessment. UGA quarterback Jake Fromm was just 9/12 for 35 yards.
However, it seems fair to point out, Georgia isn’t the first team to play in the rain, nor is it the only team that faced those conditions Saturday.
Florida played at South Carolina earlier in the day in what was described as a “driving rain.” Gators quarterback Kyle Trask still managed to complete 21 of his 33 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns. Gamecocks quarterback Ryan Hilinski threw it plenty as well – going 17/35 for 170 yards and a touchdown.
Furthermore, Smart stepping to a podium to attempt to explain away a stymied UGA offense is becoming a bit of a troublesome trend.
There was the weather on Saturday. However last week, we were told everything was fine with the offense — despite losing to South Carolina and only scoring 17 points –because there were four uncharacteristic turnovers. And when UGA got off to a slow start against Notre Dame? That was fine too because it was all about wearing down the Fighting Irish for the fourth quarter.
All of this might be true, but it will be hard for some not to think Smart is stacking up reasons while his chief competitors for the national championship are stockpiling results.
Oklahoma, LSU and Ohio State are averaging 50 points per game, and Alabama isn’t far behind.
UGA is tied for 24th at 36 points per game.
That’s not too bad, but it is a regression from last year when the Bulldogs finished third in both of those ratings systems.
It’s reasonable to assume, no matter what Smart says publicly, he’s aware his offense in its current form isn’t keeping pace with the nation’s top teams, nor is it as effective as the units he’s previously led at UGA.
What remains a mystery is what he – or offensive coordinator James Coley – will do about it.
The one thing that’s certain is that Smart doesn’t have any plans of consulting a suggestion box anytime soon.
When asked about responding to the boos Saturday night, Smart said, “Our job is to put our kids in the most successful situations. I don’t think you make decisions on that.”
Smart’s comment seemingly echoes what former NFL coach Buddy Ryan supposedly told Bill Belichick when Belichick was coaching the Cleveland Browns.
“if you listen to the fans, you’ll be sitting up there with them,” Ryan is credited with saying.
Honestly, most of the booing fans are probably fine with being ignored – at least for now. It was an instinctive reaction to a lousy stretch of a miserable night Between the Hedges. Their outburst doesn’t mean they love their Dawgs any less, nor do they have any less affection for Smart.
They just want to see him build an offense sturdy enough that it can’t be washed away by the rain.