Georgia football fans should be proud, not angry after loss

Nick Saban shakes hands with head coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Nick Saban shakes hands with head coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Despite a heartbreaking loss, Georgia football fans should feel proud of this team not ashamed.

It seems to happen every time. Whenever the Georgia football team loses a game, a segment of the fanbase loses their damn minds and starts demanding blood. It was the same after the LSU loss and the National Championship game last year. The Dawgs lose a game and some people seem to want the entire program burned to the ground. In their defense, this reckless anger is fermented by a ridiculous ‘hot take’ media that just loves to stir the pot. I mean who better to criticize a head coach for a play call than a guy who has literally never called a play in any sport in his entire life?

There’s no denying that this was a tough loss. The Dawgs had two 14 point leads and couldn’t stop Jalen Hurts after somehow shutting down the man many thought would win the Heisman. Kirby Smart went for a fake punt late in the 4th quarter which failed and ever reliable Rodrigo Blankenship missed an easy field goal that could have changed everything.

But that’s life. This Alabama team is coached by a man 26 years older than Kirby Smart and considered by many to be the greatest head coach of all time. He’s lost some games like this in his career and he’s also made plenty of coaching mistakes as well. Just because you love your team doesn’t give them to right to win every week and the mere fact that UGA is here in this position right now is a testament to just how far they have come since Kirby arrived in Athens.

All of the hot take artists, paid and unpaid, out there who are crucifying Kirby are conveniently ignoring that he and his coaching staff created a game plan that absolutely shook Alabama. This year’s Tide team was considered unbeatable until about an hour into yesterdays game. Nobody gave UGA a chance including Vegas who made Bama 14 point favorites. Now those same talking heads are suddenly saying that Georgia blew it and that Bama is actually just ok. Do you know why that opinion changed? Because Kirby Smart is a hell of a football coach.

12 other teams had a chance to prepare for a week and face Bama. Every single one of them was humiliated. Georgia wasn’t. They came incredibly close to upsetting a team that until now was considered invincible and Nick Saban is not lying when he says that he doesn’t want to face UGA again this year. That’s not just coach speak and him helping out his old protege. Right now, I’m not sure anyone in the country stands a better chance of beating the Tide.

Smart and the Dawgs didn’t finish the drill this year and the same thing happened in the National Championship game. But this is the youngest team in the SEC, and the 4th youngest in the entire country. Almost all of it will return next season and think how much better those freshmen and sophomores will be. Add to it what will likely be another stellar recruiting class and the Dawgs should be more loaded than any UGA team I have ever seen in Athens.

I feel the pain of this loss as much as the next fan, but to turn all that was good about this season into just an angry rant is pointless and it takes away from the people who sacrificed for their school and community. There are players that we might never get to see play in a Georgia uniform again that deserve better than that. Guys like Jonathan Ledbetter, Deandre Baker, Lamont Gaillard, and Terry Godwin. Those aren’t little names people, those are guys we should be telling our kids about one day because every single one of them did something exceptional. Terry went from being a guy who wanted nothing to do with Kirby’s program to a leader of it, Lamont was no-name DL who became one of the best offensive linemen in the SEC, Deandre was a 3-star who became the best CB in the country and Led turned his life around and showed others how they could too.

This was a small senior class because many moved on after Smart arrived but those who stayed were just as important at building Kirby Smart’s culture as last years group. They were the tone-setters and leaders for a 2018 recruiting class that genuinely looks like the best UGA has ever seen. Many of those seniors could have gone pro, but instead stayed and made sure that once again, this program was comfortably one of the best 5 in the country despite being so young. Maybe that’s not enough to reach the playoff, but 123 other college programs in the country just called and they’re jealous as hell of Dawg fans right now.

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So yeah, fair weather fans can shout and scream and stomp and complain, but pardon me if I don’t join in. I’m going to celebrate a coach that is damn close to beating the GOAT despite being in just his THIRD YEAR and a group of players who gave everything for this university. Yesterday, that everything wasn’t quite enough but I’ll be damned if that means I throw them under the bus. In 2018, UGA is now undeniably one of the premier powerhouse programs in the country and that happened because of Kirby Smart and these players. They aren’t going anywhere. Go Dawgs.