Dan Wolken: 'I have to seriously question whether Kirby can coach' if UGA doesn't win the East
After signing the No. 3 overall 2017 recruiting class (No. 2 in the SEC), expectations are high for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Add in the fact that star RBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are coming back and the Bulldogs will be favorites to win the SEC East this season.
That means there will be pressure on second-year coach Kirby Smart to deliver on his squad’s high expectations. USA TODAY writer Dan Wolken went as far as to call Smart a clown if he doesn’t earn a trip to Atlanta for the 2017 SEC Championship Game during his Thursday appearance on CBS Radio show Dukes & Bell:
“Let’s not give Georgia that much of a pass,” Wolken said. “If Kirby Smart doesn’t win the East next year, he’s a clown. I’m sorry. Point blank. They are so far above the rest of that division in terms of talent right now with the players that they’ve got coming back. Give me a break. The expectation for Georgia next year should be winning the East, point blank. Period. If they don’t get that done, then I have to seriously question whether Kirby can coach.”
Wolken wasn’t done with his thoughts on Smart’s crew, though, and proceeded to take down the other SEC East programs in the process:
“We’re talking about winning a terrible division where we’ve got teams like Vandy, Missouri — South Carolina is definitely improving, but they’re not ready for primetime. Tennessee’s a joke. Florida’s not very good right now. Look at the teams they’re competing against. They [UGA] have no excuse not to win this division next year when you’ve got Nick Chubb coming back, you’ve got Sony Michel, Jacob Eason has got to take a step forward, you’ve got guys defensively — I think they’re pretty loaded on that side of the ball. I’m sorry, they are so much more talented than the rest of that division right now, I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear any excuses.”
Georgia finished the 2016 season with an 8-5 overall record, including a 4-4 mark in SEC play. That was only good for third place in the East, behind Florida and Tennessee.
If Smart can’t do better in 2017, it’s safe to say he’ll be facing extra scrutiny next winter.