If you look at this chart at al.com summarizing Georgia’s offenses over the last six seasons, you’ll notice the dip in yards per pass and passing yardage in 2014. In fact, you’ll notice that both represent the lowest numbers over that entire period, with the former in particular being a sizeable fall from the previous low. And that came despite a record high in completion percentage.
To put it more starkly, take Aaron Murray out of the equation and compare Georgia’s numbers with Hutson Mason to those with his 2009 counterpart, Joe Cox:
- 2014: 11.1 YPP; 200 YPG; 67.4% completion ratio
- 2009: 12.5 YPP; 201 YPG; 54.9% completion ratio
Sure, Mason had a more dynamic running game than Cox did, and, to some extent that would explain the relatively low yards per game component there. But think about the rest of the story being told by those numbers. Cox completed about a fifth less of his throws than did Mason, but despite that, still managed to gain better than 10% with an average throw, compared to Mason. And keep in mind those numbers don’t take into account the interceptions each threw. (6 vs. 17.)
If you’re throwing more zeroes than the other guy and still manage to best his yards per pass average, there’s only one explanation. Georgia had a more effective downfield passing game with Cox in 2009 than it did with Mason last year.
I don’t think Richt and Schottenheimer want to repeat that story unless Ramsey gives them little choice.