This, in a nutshell, is what drove me crazy watching the game last night.
Kolton Houston knew the final play, or what proved to the final play, was in good shape when the Georgia left guard got to the line and saw Georgia Southern had bought into the three-wideout look, and had two safeties back.
“They were in the perfect look,” Houston said. “And I said: This play has got a chance to spit. And sure enough she went right down the pike.”
Sony Michel did indeed go right through the middle for the game-winning 25-yard touchdown on Georgia’s first play of overtime. The blocking on the play was perfect, and Michel did the rest.
But the rest of the game didn’t look so good blocking-wise for the Bulldogs, at least from afar.
It didn’t look that good up close, Seth. But I digress.
The offensive line has struggled for a good part of the season. To make matters more challenging, the staff decided to undertake a wholesale reshuffling of the o-line for Georgia Southern. That, in turn, invited the exact response Georgia got from the Eagles’ defense.
“They definitely dialed up and brought everything but the kitchen sink at us,” Theus said. “They were twisting and bringing stunts and all kind of pressure. We had to respond to it, but we did a good job, had a good gameplan for it. And tried to make out adjustments as best we could.”
They blitzed. They stunted. But basically they loaded the box every opportunity they could. And what was frustrating about that was that Schottenheimer had a very obvious counter at his disposal, which was to play out of three- and four-wide sets. Especially with the latter, those forced GSU to play with six defenders in the box and that meant Michel had room to operate. Add in that the Eagles’ secondary was nothing special in pass coverage, and it was an obvious tactic to stick with.
Unless you’re Brian Schottenheimer, I guess.
I’m definitely not someone who qualifies as having been in the arena, but it’s straight out of Offensive Coordinator 101 that your playcalling should start (and end) with taking what the defense gives you. Instead of sticking with that, we saw a bunch of I-formation and twin-tight end sets that were nothing more than an opportunity to flood Georgia’s offensive line with more defenders than it could handle. That’s exactly what they got, too.
Theus was honorable enough to deny that the personnel changes had an effect, but you couldn’t help but see that Long was overmatched and there were communication problems throughout the game. Yet, Schottenheimer kept calling plays that left them susceptible to GSU’s scheming.
This, again, is part of a pattern I’ve seen this season of setting players up to fail that’s been the worst part of the coaching job we’ve gotten out of the staff this season. It smacks of the approach they took with letting Bauta start the Florida game, while limiting his first team reps in practice and not altering the game plan from what hadn’t been working.
I don’t get it.