… has nothing to do with Nick Chubb and any perceived “he’s not his old self” bullshit.
For starters, the rushing performance against Florida was historically inept.
Particularly disconcerting was the Bulldogs’ inability to run against the Gators. The Bulldogs had just 21 yards rushing on 19 carries. CBS Sports said it was Georgia’s worst against the Gators since 1960. UGA’s sports communications staff is still researching but that’s at least worst than the Bulldogs ever did on the ground in the Mark Richt era.
As a general rule of thumb, when your sports communications staff is still researching how crappy something was, Athens, you’ve got a problem. But it doesn’t take much thought to conclude that even a Nick Chubb at 50% is better than at least a few of Georgia’s running backs over the past half century.
If you’d like a little hint about what roots of that problem might be, here are a few enlightening moments.
It’s not totally fair to say guards in the plural there, because Gaillard moved his man out of the way to open a hole for Chubb. Unfortunately, Wynn didn’t maintain leverage and as a result his man was able to blow the play up.
This time, it’s the center and right side of the line that whiff… also, notice how Blazevich gets driven back three yards by the left end, which forces Michel inside.
Jim Brown couldn’t get back to the line of scrimmage with that kind of blocking.
Said junior guard Isaiah Wynn: “We just have to all get in the right page. It’s kind of frustrating but, at the same time, you can’t let it get to you because you tend to mess up even more. So we are just working on fixing it and getting better. Some of it is just technique-wise. The effort is all there.”
He’s right about technique. It’s poor enough to make you wonder what Pittman is doing with these guys.
It’s not just the running game being affected, of course. Take a look at the pass blocking on what turned out to be Georgia’s longest play from scrimmage Saturday.
As noted, that’s seven blocking four and Eason still had to run for his life. Yes, the result was a big play to Godwin, but look at the opportunity Eason missed.
That’s not on Eason, who made as much out of the situation as he could. He simply isn’t getting the time to read the field there. Unfortunately, as the game progressed, his lack of confidence in the line play led him to bail out of the pocket when he didn’t always need to, as was the case on this wasted play.
Florida did an excellent job adjusting to the roll outs after getting burned by Eason on the Dawgs’ lone touchdown drive. That’s a big reason Georgia’s offense ground to a halt in the second half.
If you’re a defensive coordinator preparing for this offense, there’s no way you can have any fear of being overly aggressive attacking the line of scrimmage. The linemen don’t play consistently, and there’s often little help from the blocking tight ends or as I mentioned yesterday, Christian Payne.
A smarter man than I would think about scheming around the problem with more quick hitting runs and passes and also giving Eason a little more time in the shotgun, but that’s obviously not a place this staff wants to go.
Speaking of which, this is the first time I’ve heard Smart get into specifics about how the offensive game plan is being draw up and called during games.
As for scheme, Smart said he is involved with the offensive game plan sort of after the fact, but “knows every play that is called” during games. Essentially he leaves the the creation of the play script and play-calling to offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and the Bulldogs’ offensive staff. Receivers coach James Coley was also a coordinator at Miami and is heavily involved in the game plan, along with line coach Sam Pittman.
“I can’t get into specifics as far as the exact amount of time, but there’s not a play that’s called from an offensive standpoint that I’m not hearing,” Smart said. By the time the offense goes out there, the first thing I want to know is, ‘what are we starting with?’
“As far as game-planning this offensive staff is very intelligent. They’ve got a lot of experience. Two coordinators are on that side of the ball that have been there before. So I trust those guys and believe in those guys.”
There’s really not much else he can say at this point, I know. But the line play is killing this team right now and unless the coaches decide they have to scheme around the shortcomings in blocking, this offense is going to continue to sputter the rest of the season. With or without Nick Chubb.