I just have a feeling that will make its way to a safe deposit box in the Kirby Smart Savings & Loan, to be pulled out at a future date.
The mood in Athens upon return from the Loveliest Slaughterhouse on the Plains was not nearly as dark as Alabama after sundown. Not once would you have looked around and thought to ask, “Who died?” or “What, is there an NCAA investigator at the door?”
If anything, Smart seemed more comfortable dealing with questions about uprooting all the mental and physical errors involved in that awful first loss of the season instead of fielding those prior ones about dealing with the burden of success. Coaches trade in crises, after all. And this coach, we have come to learn, is the Vasco da Gama of fault-finding.
And the players seemed well aware that their dreams have not been crushed, that winning out would cure all. “Everything we want to do is still out there for us, we have to hope for that,” tight end Jeb Blazevich said, before returning to script. “But really nothing matters if we don’t win this weekend, that’s what we’re focused on.”
Hmmmm. Might Georgia actually be better off now without the burden of being No. 1?
Losing can never be deemed a benefit, unless you’re the Hawks and there is a draft lottery for which to prepare. But could the Bulldogs be more comfortable in the more accustomed role of pursuer? They sure looked tight as the pursued Saturday. There, after all, aren’t many Alabamas out there that function well in the thin air of No. 1.
The Smart message of focusing on the moment, his constant shrill warning that humility is just a game away just got meaningful. His sermon just grew teeth.
That’s the best-case at play here. But, honestly, trying to read the psyche of one college-aged male is impossible enough, let alone a whole locker room of them, especially after they’ve just had the dog crap whipped out of them.