For the first time as head coaches, Macon native Chris Hatcher went against former assistant Kirby Smart.
When Hatcher was assembling his first coaching staff at Valdosta State in 2000, he hired Smart to be his defensive backs coach for $8,000 that year. Fast forward 17 years, and the two were inside Sanford Stadium squaring off against one another.
Of course, Smart was coaching a much more talented Georgia squad, which moved past Hatcher’s Samford team 42-14.
But Hatcher had a particular takeaway that has him optimistic about his team.
“I think one thing that we did show is I don’t think we got pushed around,” Hatcher said. “We held our own. Of course, we gave up some big plays, and then we couldn’t sustain the drives. But (Smart’s) done a great job. His team is playing hard. I’m mighty proud of him.”
Georgia held a 21-0 lead and forced Samford into four consecutive three-and-outs to start the game. Samford was then able to score a touchdown on its fifth drive to cut the game to 21-7. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm fumbled the ball on the next possession, which set Samford up in good field position at the Georgia 25-yard line.
Georgia’s defense held and forced a Samford field goal try. Georgia defensive back J.R. Reed blocked the field goal attempt, ending Samford’s chance of entering halftime with only an 11-point deficit. Georgia was then able to jump out to 21 unanswered points in the second half en route to victory.
“I don’t think we tackled well, which allowed them to have some big plays,” Hatcher said.
While the score indicated a blowout, Hatcher felt his team was able to at least be competitive on a play by play basis.
While Georgia made many more defensive stops and big plays on offense, Hatcher said there was plenty his team could hang its hat on.
“I wish we could’ve been in the game there late and given them more of a run for their money,” Hatcher said. “But he's got a good football team. I think we’ve got a really good football team, too, and I’m excited to see us improve from this game.”