Former Georgia QB takes shot at Kirby Smart after loss: He 'kind of got caught with his pants down'
Georgia coach Kirby Smart is facing a host of questions about his game management decisions from fans and media this week after the double overtime loss to South Carolina.
One of them is former Georgia QB Hutson Mason, who played under Mark Richt, who said on “The Paul Finebaum Show” that Smart was unprepared to make the kind of decision to kick a field goal, which would have been about 55 yards, or not, late in the game.
“I think Kirby’s exactly right, there’s not a coach in America that is not going to try to get a couple extra yards with eight seconds left,” Mason said, according to Dawgs247, “especially when you have the most trustworthy quarterback in Jake Fromm. He’s taught, and he would have, just thrown the ball out of bounds if nothing was there. My core problem with this is that Kirby Smart was unprepared for the moment.”
Mason said Smart didn’t make a quick enough decision to signal plays in late in the game.
“The angle that nobody is talking about is why did the play take so long to get in? And it only points back to Kirby,” Mason said. “Because in the situation there, Kirby is trying to decide, ‘Am I going to punt it? Am I going to go for it? Am I going to kick a field goal?’ And the problem is, he should have been a play ahead, two steps ahead, thinking about these things.”
Mason believes offensive coordinator James Coley waited for a decision from Smart.
“‘Kirby what are we doing? Are we gonna kick it? Are we going to go for it?’ And he is waiting, and with about 25-20 seconds left (on the play clock), Coley then gets the OK green light for him and there’s a process,” Mason said. “The (graduate assistant) has to signal (the play) in, you know all this stuff that takes longer and longer. So I think the problem for me is again Kirby was unprepared in the moment and really kind of got caught with his pants down.”
On defense, Mason said Smart was much more involved in the defensive play calling in overtime.
“So maybe he’s not able to handle more of the head coaching responsibility because he’s got a young, inexperienced defensive coordinator in Dan Lanning,” Mason said. “I don’t know maybe that’s so in that moment, you know, where a head coach who trust his defensive coordinator to be calling the plays, would be sitting back with this bird’s eye perspective and this bird’s eye view of thinking ahead. But you don’t have that luxury when you’re trying to call plays, and sit in the head coaching chair and handle timeouts, you know, challenge all these different things.”
Mason laid out several examples where Smart’s game management has been lacking.
“But SEC Championship Game, national championship two years ago, this game…I mean there are several, there’s a large enough sample size for us to see this now and go, you know, Kirby is costing his team in big time, crunch situation games,” he said.