Groo notes Kirby Smart being pleased with his cleverness.
While the running game was the big beneficiary of Georgia’s adjustments on offense against Tennessee, one other consequence was the role of the tight ends. The position was limited anyway by an injury to Charlie Woerner, but the wider formations meant a lot less of the three-TE sets favored when Georgia attempted to establish a power running game earlier in the year. It seemed as if the tight ends were more involved thanks to Nauta’s productive game and big score, but Smart chuckled at a question about the position’s role in the Tennessee game. “I thought they were used less (against Tennessee). We had less tight ends on the field.”
Ha ha. Ha.
Those three-tight end sets haven’t exactly been kicking ass in the run game. The Tennessee game plan showed other ways to move the ball.
The tights ends did have a place in the spread formations: tight ends were often kept in tight to block or – as on Nauta’s TD reception – release down the middle of the field, but they also occasionally lined up as the outermost receiver with a wide receiver in the slot. That look forced Tennessee to either cover the split TE with a cornerback (creating a size mismatch) or move a bigger defender over from the middle of the field (reducing the number of defenders in the box.) It just meant that we saw a lot more one and two-TE sets rather than three at a time required by some of the tight formations. “We had less tight ends on the field than we’ve had in previous weeks,” explained Smart.
But the defense had a harder time in coverage. Funny how that works.
I’ll say it again — here’s hoping Smart and Chaney don’t pull in the offensive reins because of weather concerns or confidence that Carolina’s run defense won’t shut Georgia down. Nauta was a nightmare match up problem for UT and Eason is clearly comfortable throwing him the ball. Use all your weapons, man!