Posted: 11:49 pm Saturday, September 3rd, 2016
By Jay Black
Life is good for Kirby Smart and Nick Chubb
ATLANTA — So who was the coach last year, again?
Bulldog Nation tends to get carried away, just a little bit. But it’s hard to believe even the most die-hard fan — ok well maybe not them — let’s just say, most fans never planned on the Kirby Smart premiere to look like this.
They would have taken any sort of a win. Some would have been happy with just looking good in a close game.
Instead, we saw a wow. Could you have asked for any more than what you got in this 33-24 victory over North Carolina?
Ok maybe the special teams had a bit of a brain burp to start the second half, so that wasn’t ideal. But this performance puts the proper marks in a lot of boxes.
“I can’t say enough about the resiliency of this group,” said a rather hoarse Smart on the UGA radio network. “We dug ourselves a hole and dug our way out of it.”
Georgia fans got to see it’s team put the issue in serious doubt early in the third quarter and then storm back to slam the door with 19 unanswered to erase a 10-point deficit.
Looking for fast and impressive defense? Check there too. The Dawgs held North Carolina’s high-powered offense to 315 yards, its lowest total since late in the 2014 season. And their 24 points are the fewest since the opener.
“It was all about playing the Georgia brand of football which is physical, relentless, tough, knock you back,” said Smart.
Exactly what the UGA people want to hear.
- GAME STORY: No. 18 Georgia 33, No. 22 North Carolina 24
Then, after watching some miserable offensive football for the final half of last season, Georgia finally got to see something that resembled a threat.
Oh and the unbelievable happened.
It drives me nuts the way unbelievable gets butchered in the English language. Things that actually are very believable are called just the opposite, but what Nick Chubb did in this Georgia Dome is impossible to wrap you head around.
Could it really have been 11 month ago that this junior from Cedartown had a knee injury that would make even the mightiest of men turn away and cringe. It was bent in a direction body parts aren’t supposed to bend. Tonight, 222 yards on 32 carries after three torn ligaments.
“It’s unbelievable,” says Kirby, making proper use of the word. “It just shows the competitive character of a kids who never quit and never doubted what the doctors were telling him.”
I thought his career was over in Knoxville or certainly diminished. If he played in this game, it would just be a cameo. Not the “Chubby Time (copyright Scott Howard)” that we have come to expect.
His head coach didn’t expect it either.
“When I was hired I remember calling him and he said ‘coach I’m going to play in that first game’ and I thought ‘Wow’ and he did. “He’s just a special character kid.”
Chubb is now moving up the “favorite Bulldogs ever” chart with a bullet.
No ego. No attention needed. No flash. Just a stud.
“He wants the ball,” says Smart. “He enjoys it.”
No matter where you stand, you enjoy watching people like Chubb play football. I’m afraid there won’t be many left, because someone is going to start paying him for his trouble next year.
But that’s next year, all of a sudden this season got much more interesting.
Expectations have exploded.
Sometimes in life it’s easier to slow play things. If people don’t expect much of you, you look great when you over deliver.
Kirby, there’s no turning back now.
Controlling a game against a decent ACC team should not matter this much. But it sure feels like the Dawgs announced to the SEC tonight that there will no bridge season. They want to compete right now.
The honeymoon for a new coach lasts until they get beat. Looks like Kirby Smart and Bulldog Nation just got upgraded to a first-class suite.
Yeah things can always go wrong. And Smart has got a true QB controversy on his hands. Jacob Eason is the better quarterback. Greyson Lambert did what Lambert does. He was fine. But Eason is better.
- PHOTOS: Dawgs win opener
He did freshman things by just throwing bombs to places where bombs were not needed and got bailed out by some stupid North Carolina penalties.
So Kirby might have to speed up the transition pretty quick.
But that’s a good problem to have. It’s one of the few Georgia’s head man has at the moment.
May the honeymoon continue.