Smart Bringing Hope (and Passing Game?)

ATHENS - It certainly seems clear by the reaction tonight that Kirby Smart is a very, very popular person.

Recruits, in on a visit to see what UGA is all about, had their cell phones out recroding Smart's entrance; fans, eager to see their next head man in the flesh, went nuts. People seem to be excited about Georgia football again. 

And after a very long 10-3 season (something never said anywhere other than perhaps Tuscaloosa), Georgia fans really do deserve a little bit of hope. Kirby Smart, and we don’t know for sure if he is good at being a head coach or now, is giving them that. 

He’s not slept much, but he does have seemingly three immediate goals, and two of them relate to recruiting. 

1. Finish this 2016 class out strong. 

There are a slew of five-star prospects Smart and his group and still pull in. Derrick Brown is on his official visit this weekend. Mecole Hardman, who arrived this weekend after canceling his trip to Alabama, decided to come to Athens… again. Jacob Eason and Isaac Nauta are already signed and in school. 

The momentum is there with players like Brian Burns, so the possibility of signing five five-star players for the first time in school history is a very real possibility. Its not some far-off dream that really has no hope of happening. 

2. Filling up Sanford Stadium for G Day. 

I know. I know. Someone is going to whine about the Masters. Dean’s advice: If you have tickets to the Masters - go to the Masters. The two events are not comparible. Wait? The Masters is no longer the weekend of G Day?

Rejoice. That excuse is officially out of the window - as if it ever had real merit to begin with. 

Still, Smart is wise to lay down the sellout-the-stadium chip. For far too long Georgia fans have been rather passive about such matters - quick to point out how backwards Auburn and Alabama are for trying to do such things. 

And, while Bama and Auburn continue to be backwards in ways Georgia folks will never understand, they are fully and totally behind their teams every day of the year. All Smart is asking is for UGA fans to show thier passion one day in the spring. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask. 

Plus, this is nothing about the fans or the players on the current roster. G Day, if Smart has his way, will be an event. Trust me. The more events to capture the mind of a teenage recruit the better. Smart is correct on this front. 

3. Finding a passing game. 

Smart is trying his best not to be so blunt, but he has repeated over and over that Georgia needs some semblance of a passing game in 2016. If you watched any of the games from last fall I don’t need to explain to you what Smart is saying now, and what folks like Fletcher Page and I have been talking about for longer than that - Georgia’s passing game was useless in 2015. 

If you didn’t watch any of the games here is what you need to know. Seven times this season Georgia’s starting QB didn’t throw more than 150 yards. After the starter was benched, for nearly throwing four interceptions against Missouri, he was replaced by the No. 3 QB who then went out and threw four interceptions in the most important game of the year. The backup quarterback had more yards punting than passing. 

Disaster. No wonder Kirby Smart is here, and Mark Richt isn’t.

Meanwhile, Smart is trying to bring hope (and a passing game) to Athens. 

Both are a long time coming.


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