It was over the top. It was nit-picky. It was anal. It was unnecessary.

Those thoughts might’ve crossed the minds of those who watched Kirby Smart lay into Jake Fromm after he failed to pick up a first down on a third-down scramble up 31 points at the end of the third quarter of Saturday’s blowout at Vanderbilt.

In case you missed it, here was the Georgia coach going full Nick Saban on his quarterback:

Why did Smart lose it like that? I mean, he had the hair flopping out the visor and everything. For a guy winning by four scores in the midst of yet another dominant showing, that was quite the outburst.

And let’s get back to the play itself here. Why should the team’s starting quarterback be expected to lay out for a first down in that spot? I’m not even convinced Fromm could’ve picked it up if he extended the ball or if he cut it back before going out of bounds. It actually didn’t even look like Fromm slowed up on the play.

Here’s a crazy thought: Smart was sending a message about the bigger picture.

Don’t leave yards on the field. Ever.

It doesn’t matter if you’re up 31 or up three. Don’t assume first downs are there. Never let the situation dictate the effort. The second you stop giving everything you have, we’re in trouble.

That’s a valuable lesson for a freshman quarterback to learn, especially one who experienced as much immediate success as Fromm.

Smart didn’t get caught lighting up his defensive tackle on national television. That doesn’t get the point across the same way. That’s a Tuesday practice.

Instead, he made Fromm his example. You know, the kid who’s been told how great he is for the past month, just like Georgia. Did Fromm need to hear Smart’s message? Maybe. Maybe not.

Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

I talked to Fromm’s high school coach at length about how he has the perfect mindset — in all aspects of life — to play quarterback on the big stage. That conversation told me that Fromm is probably the last guy who needs to be told to keep his focus.

Smart is doing whatever he can to show his team how to be perfect. He learned a thing or two about watching Saban all those years. Getting to the top of the college football mountain doesn’t come by taking plays for granted. Finishing runs and getting every yard possible can be the difference between good and great.

Georgia is trying to be great in 2017. So far, it looks like the No. 4-ranked Bulldogs are capable of doing that. But while the season flies by for the rest of us, it’s a three-month grind. As Saban himself reminded us this weekend, “poison” comes in the form of media praise. While that might sound a bit extreme, he got his point across.

Smart also got his point across Saturday.

Georgia is not in any position to take its foot off the gas. The Bulldogs will not find themselves on the right side of four-score leads in every single SEC game. At least I don’t think they will. Bringing anything less than their “A” game for 60 minutes could ultimately cost them a chance at a special season.

No matter how much the college football world declares Georgia an elite team, nothing is guaranteed until the clock strikes zero. The same was true on Saturday.

Smart’s blowup was obsessive. It was perfectionistic. It was passionate. It was inspired.

It was exactly what his team needed to see.