Offensive identity is offensive.

Can you reconcile these two statements?

“We’ve got to be able to run the ball, we’ve got to have explosive passes, we’ve got to be able to throw the ball down the field,” Smart said, adding: “You’re going to say that’s broad, I’m going to say we don’t know until we find out more about our personnel. We don’t make our personnel fit Jim Chaney’s offense. We can’t do that.”

“We have a gameplan every game we go in, just like every team does, that you have three wide sets and you are able to run certain plays out of them,” Smart said. “We have those. If those work, then I’m great with it, especially if we’re not successful in the other. But we have to do what the strengths of our team are. And sometimes that’s two back, sometimes it’s not.”

Actually, I think you can.  It’s just that I’m not sure Chaney and Smart have shown a sense of flexibility consistently throughout the season.  Part of that may be due to them not really having a good feel for what those team strengths are.  So sometimes we’ve seen what feels very much like an effort to jam a square peg in a round hole and sometimes we’ve gotten the impression they’re simply feeling their way around.

“A lot of that is based on not only who we are or what we run, but who we play,” Smart said Monday, when asked about the creativity of Georgia’s rushing attack. “The bottom line is the bigger and more physical they are out there, the harder they are to move. We have to be creative. We have to have the right runs into the right fronts. We have to be stubborn enough to be able to run those. But at the same time allow Jacob to use his strengths and use the wide outs.”

I’m not mocking here.  Eason does have his strengths, as this stat from Jason Butt clearly demonstrates:  “On drives that have ended with go-ahead scores with less than two minutes to go in games, Eason is 11-of-16 passing for 171 yards.”

There are a lot of head coaches who would give their left arm for a quarterback capable of that.   Keep a game close late, and you’ve got a real chance to steal a win.  That’s something to build around.

It’s not an end in and of itself, though.  It’s not nothing, either. So while you shouldn’t slavishly copy everything you do in a end-of-game, two-minute drill setting and make that the sum total of what you do offensively, there are certain elements of it that may be worth adapting in the first fifty-eight minutes of play.

I’ve never coached, but I watched enough Mike Bobo to confirm that the best offensive philosophy is keep it simple, stupid.  Get the ball into the hands of your best playmakers.  Figure out your opponent’s weaknesses on defense and exploit them until your opponent proves he can stop what you’re doing.  Scheme around your weaknesses.

Case in point:  Auburn’s defense comes into Athens a little nervous over what Vanderbilt — Vanderbilt! — did to work around the Tigers’ pass rush.

Georgia’s blossoming attack all starts with quarterback Jacob Eason, and running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, who have combined for 1,178 yards. They’re a big concern for the Tigers’ defense, which has struggled in the last two games against quick passes. Those quick passes, slants and screens have negated Auburn’s once-powerful pass rush.

While “blossoming” may be a bit of a stretch, there is some validity to the concern.  The same Vanderbilt offense that only managed 171 yards in Athens gained nearly twice that last Saturday on the Plains.  It was only the second time all season the ‘Dores managed to exceed 200 yards passing.  And, oh, yeah, Auburn managed only one sack.

You would think this approach would be a no-brainer this week, as it works around an offensive line with shortcomings and plays into areas where Georgia indeed appears to be finding contributing skill position players as the season develops.  But will that happen?

Maybe.  There were some encouraging signs in that regard against Kentucky.

Georgia was in the shot-gun 40 times in last Saturday’s game, and those plays gained 276 yards. The other 33 plays netted 184 yards, though 51 of those came on one play: The 51-yard pass to Javon Wims, which was on play-action.

Both of Georgia’s touchdowns came out of the shot-gun: A 38-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie out of a four-wide set, and a 26-yard Sony Michel run on an inside handoff. Michel had five runs of 8 yards or longer out of the shot-gun.

It wasn’t just the formations they ran.  For the first time in a while, it appeared they made a conscious decision to use the pass to set up the run by backing defenders out of the box.  In the immortal words of Javon Wims, fresh off his career day,

“When we run the team ball teams are going to tend to stack the box, and they’re going to bring all their guys in, and sometimes you have to keep them honest by throwing it.”

Amen, brother.  Sometimes it really ain’t rocket science.  Keep KISSing, fellas.

41 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

41 responses to “Offensive identity is offensive.

  1. Bright Idea

    2 backs, 3 wides, spread, doesn’t matter. Too much overthinking. You still have to block and plain and simple Georgia is just not good at it.

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    • True, but the opposite side of the coin is that every defense is just not good at something, too.

      Well, except for Alabama’s. 🙂

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      • JT

        I agree with Bright, formations, motions all that is good but smoke and mirrors only get you so far at the end of the day you can only compensate for lack of dominate OL some many ways. That to me has been the biggest difference in games. When the OL performs decent Chaney looks like he is a good play caller, no blocking and he is an idiot. The combination of poor OL an inexperienced QB who is not mobile is a lot for any OC to overcome. I have to admit against Vandy the 4th and 1 my first thought was get Mckenzie to the edge to compensate for an OL that is getting no push. I read a lot of criticism of predictable plays, when the OL is bad you need to try and out number the defense with numbers which makes the formation predictable or you can try misdirection plays which doesn’t work against well coached disciplined defenses.

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        • Napoleon BonerFart

          There is no way to outnumber the defense. On running plays, UGA’s offense uses the QB to hand off to a RB and is left with 9 blockers. The defense has 11 tacklers. That math will never favor the offense. The great equalizer for the offense is scheme.

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          • Irwin R. Fletcher

            Scheme looks great on paper…but every time an X and an O meet, you have to win the one on one battles or else scheme means jack squat. And if you have to make it 2 on 1 battles, to your point, you leave even more folks unchecked.

            I think where I’ve settled in is that it’s hard to judge scheme because we are basically playing at our talent level on O.

            Let’s look at our power success rate (i.e. short yardage success) game-by-game…mind you, national average is 68%.
            UNC- 60%
            Nicholls-0%
            Mizzou-50%
            Ole Miss-67% (49% of this game was played in garbage time)
            Tennessee-50%
            South Carolina-60%
            Vandy-0%
            Florida-0%
            Kentucky-80%

            We are 120th in the nation, folks. 120th. The only game above average was against Kentucky and they have had 3 games that were 0%!!! I don’t even know how that is possibly correct…yet here we are. (BTW…the D ranks 122nd in the same stat..so there’s that)

            http://www.footballstudyhall.com/pages/2016-georgia-advanced-statistical-profile

            I keep harping on talent…and I may be wrong or oversimplifying things here…but in my mind, you can only scheme so much for short yardage runs. Heck, you can clearly scheme too much as was seen on the IMac run on 4th and 1 against Vandy. And…if you can’t get a first down on 3rd and 2, doesn’t that affect what you call on 2nd and 7? I mean…at some point it becomes execution in limited space, right? So who isn’t executing? I’d be willing to be $$$$ that it isn’t the two backs that are going to go in the first 3 rounds of the draft…or the full back…it’s the O-Line. And the question is now whether you think Pittman can’t coach or whether you think there just isn’t any talent (I’ve made my statements too many times on what I think here)

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  2. SlobberKnocker

    I hope that Kirby and Chaney are figuring it out but, my fear is that they havent or are too stubborn. I saw similar success running spread formations at UT only to see us seemingly forget them for most of the subsequent weeks.

    Sure hope I’m wrong.

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    • doofusdawg

      This… and Chaney and staff game planning with what they think gives us the best chance to win makes me cringe.

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  3. AusDawg85

    Practice. Be physical. Ok, we know Kirby’s formula. He really does want that Trent Richardson type of pounding ground game and then take select deep shots to Julio Jones. We don’t have the personnel for that but he’s not going to stray too far to adapt to what we have this season. Practice. Process. I’m convinced now he was always looking at the 2018 season. Everything else is recruiting and practice. Ok. Nothing exciting was on this year’s schedule or next. (!) I think a lot of other experienced HC’s might have gone with quick fixes to take advantage of a weak schedule and division, but if anyone knows what it takes to beat Bama it’s Coach Smart.

    Can we at least see some improvement with the Red Zone D soon?

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    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      “I’m convinced now he was always looking at the 2018 season. Everything else is recruiting and practice.”

      I didn’t start out thinking that, but I don’t think there is any question about it right now. Example: we have a group of freshman OL who haven’t seen the field this year. I think only Kindley has played, and he got an injury and I think they are going to try and get him a medical redshirt, and that might be true of Holyfield also. Has Mecole played? Maybe, I am not sure. Does Cleveland really suck? I kind of doubt it. I think we have some freshman receivers that haven’t seen the field. Some of these guys are 3* types that might need some seasoning, but overall there’s no reason for some not to be playing if the goal was to win now.

      On the other hand, there is all the reason in the world to back load the roster and develop some depth for the future and take some lumps this year, if it means us getting to a point where we can crush some folks maybe by next year, but surely by 2018. I absolutely want us to win this year, but I really, really, would like to see us get to some year-in, year-out success. I’d like to buy a permanent ticket to the SECCG and know I wouldn’t have to sell it to a Gator, or Mizzou fan. I would never sell to a UT fan of course, and hopefully that will never come up..

      Planning is what roster management is all about. Not planning and poor roster management is what caused us to get disenchanted with CMR; in all other respects he was a solid man and a good coach. We may have to just consider this year – and maybe next year – an investment in the future, and hope Kirby knows what he is doing.

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      • 202dawg

        Mecole has been in on special teams all year. He’s the number two KO return guy and number one gunner.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Shitload of pressure and McGarity and on Smart. McGarity did not hire Smart to take us from 10 wins a year to 11 wins per year, he hired Smart to win that sweet 2018 national championship. Admittedly, if he gets to the playoff in 2018 but does not win it Smart buys a couple of years worth of good will, but still it is the promised NC or bust for them both.

        Everyone is expecting Smart to deliver Saban results, but he is not Saban. When Mal Moore hired Saban Nick supposedly told Moore, “You may not have hired the best football coach in America but you did hire the best recruiter in America.” If Smart is not now the best recruiter in America Smart faces the same obstacle every other SEC coach faces, and that is Saban is still out there recruiting the best talent.

        Smart is in a damn tough position. He can do a really good job for us but unless he gets us a National Championship many Georgia fans will view him as a failure.

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        • AusDawg85

          I don’t think the NC is in anybody’s contract, nor should even be an expectation. 2 out of 3 & 3 of 5 SEC East titles is a start if everybody else stays about the same. Then show we can go toe-to-toe with Bama in a Championship game. If Kirby wins the SEC by year 5, he’s a success. To get to the playoffs and NC, you pretty much need to go undefeated, and have a Heisman “once in a generation” style player…unless you are Bama.

          Kirby is truly going in a different direction than we were before. I really see why Chubb and Sony are wondering what’s going on…it’s not going to include them. You have the NFL to look forward to gentlemen…fair well.

          I think Richt would have been able to get 2 of 3 SEC East titles as well, focused on team speed and scoring. I also think that strategy would fail against Bama, but you only need to get lucky once (see Miss, Ole and TAMU). It’s probably not a long-term strategy, but just a series of short term chances depending upon the key position talent you can recruit at QB, RB and WR. He also was going to have to find a replacement for Pruitt.

          I hate the way the transition went down. I don’t like starting over when another path was possible with less pain. And I’m not convinced we get to a better spot anyway. But I am on board with Kirby and will sit back for the remainder of this season and next (dammit…I wanted to kick the sh*t out of the golden domers, but maybe they’ll melt down on their own to help us). Eason, Ridley, Herrien, Holyfield, Nauta, a big OL and a junkyard D can get me really excited for 2018.

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          • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

            Brother, you and me got different expectations and definitions of success. If Smart hasn’t won the SEC by the end of his 5th year, it ain’t ever gonna happen. I’m not convinced it’ll happen if we don’t go out and win a national championship in 2018.

            Elite coaches win and win FAST. I’ve posted before, but only 2 coaches have won a national title in the last 15 years that didn’t win it within 2 years of arrival at their school that won.

            Kirby needs to win the east next year. needs to give Bama a game in the dome. and needs to BEAT bama in the dome in 18.

            Don’t talk about talent or recruiting. If he’s the coach that will ever get us there, he will have no better opportunity than in 18.

            We didn’t fire Richt to win 10/11 games a year. We fired Richt to get Harbaugh like results. He has some 3-4 losses in 2 years at Michigan. The 2013 class has been beaten to death, resurrected, and killed again. The 2016 recruiting class ain’t freshmen any more at this point of the season. with the talent on this team outside of 2013, we ought to be hell on wheels in 2018, with one hell of a team next year.

            and I thought the same for Richt. Anything less is simply a failure to take advantage of team talent, friendly schedule, and opportunity to take this conference over.

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            • PTC DAWG

              Since Saban was hired in the SEC, who has won and won fast consistently? As in multiple SEC Titles….

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              • Gaskilldawg

                That is why the Jeff Dantzler and Kevin Butler radio show is so unrealistic.

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              • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

                if that wasn’t our goal, why did we fire Richt? The only reason you pay someone $4MM to go away is because you think the next guy is better. If we’re just waiting on Saban to retire, again, why did we fire Richt?

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            • AusDawg85

              We both agree on SECe next year and 2018. Bama and OSU continue to get the top 2 recruiting classes…but we’re #3. We’ll be competitive in 2018 and with luck can beat Bama, but not stand with them toe to toe IMHO. That’s a 5 year plan.

              Forget the NC. Playoffs will change/expand within 5 years and just be that much tougher for us to achieve unless we get another #34 type player.

              So…if Kirby has 3 SECe titles and 1 SEC Championship by year 5, he’ll be a “success” and maybe in position for a better run at the playoffs. I think Richt would have done the same, but not with a solid foundation…just a system built on speed and playmakers. If Kirby is failing, we’ll know by year 3 when there is no physicality, no bench strength, no tenacious D (cue DIF for video!) that we’re building on.

              I just hope Kirby had the guts to look players like Chubb and Sony in the eye and tell them they’re just not part of any 5 year plan.

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      • Napoleon BonerFart

        I agree that Smart sacrificing the present for the future is the only thing that makes sense now. And I’m completely fine with redshirting players that could help us this year so that they can help us more in future years.

        What I don’t understand is how running Chubb inside into walls of defenders helps us in either the present, or the future. I guess putting Eason under center will help him develop. But why not put him under center and let him hand off on an outside run that’s been more successful for us this year?

        Admittedly, I’m no coach. But I can’t see the benefit from stubbornly doing what didn’t work up until now.

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    • AthensHomerDawg

      Interesting to note here that Saban, an experienced HC, went 6-6 his first season and a perfect 12-0 in regular season the following year. With SHULA’S players. Quicker “process”?
      The preacher won the SEC his 2nd year. No process.😉

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  4. jollyrogerjay

    Georgia needs to send WRs deep, clear the field, and throw to the RBs in the flat. Chubb and Michele will have a wonderful day. That is where Auburn struggles. I have seen it all season. Auburn is going to really, really miss #36 Pettway.

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  5. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    It’s interesting the resurgence of Bobo around these parts(not you senator.) He was practically run out of town on a rail, and yet, now he’s considered the gold standard. Amazing what perspective can offer.

    It has seemed this year that Chaney has the stubbornness of Bobo, without the knack for exploiting a weakness. Both would run the ball up the middle to what seemed a mind numbing amount, and yet, Bobo also introduced the pistol, attacked the sidelines, and seemed to hide our deficient offensive line year in and year out.

    What I loved about Van Gorder back in the day was how he attacked what an offense did best, to force them into their weaknesses. In that era, it was possible and good lord was it effective. Chaney seems to be the inverse, so far. He’s forcing our offense into our weakness, which is inside runs against stout front 7s. I work with annoying, loud auburn fans. I hope chaney is able to do a little different this week and force Auburn to account for what we do have in spades, which is speed and quickness outside, strong armed quarterback, and running backs that can punish any missed tackles.

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    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      ” I work with annoying, loud auburn fans.”

      But you repeat yourself. 😉
      Oldest daughter works for Synovus in Columbus and is going to dread going to work Monday id Vegas is right.

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    • Otto

      Never Bobo, while they certainly share some qualities Chaney has been better in the 2 minute drill and has show slightly more willingness to change. Chaney did put Mizzou on his Freshman QB’s arm

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      • Servicestaff

        Eason has been better in the 2 min drill. Chaney has changed nothing. He just gets stuck in a chapter of the playbook. When he finally flips the page, people think he has come up with something different. Chaney isn’t as bad as schotty, but he is nowhere near as good as Bobo when he left.

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        • Will (The Other One)

          This is where I’m at too. The catch is: Bobo got better as he gained experience. Chaney? Not just starting out like Bobo in 2007. So we have to hope it’s personnel (poor OL, WRs dropping passes, freshman QB) holding back the offense more than just stubbornness.

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    • Bobo wasn’t run out of town on a rail. Many people believe he took Richt’s FSU offense to the next level from 2011 to 2014. If not for the injuries in 2013, that offense was on pace to put up numbers for points and yardage that likely would have never been broken.

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  6. We’re in serious trouble if this staff doesn’t know our strengths and weaknesses by now. Sure, smoke and mirrors will only get you so far but mixing that in is a lot better than continuing to try and do what hasn’t worked.

    Chaney seems like a great OC for the couple programs that can actually impose their will. Chaney would run the same offense and that same plays, regardless of talent. The anti-smoke and mirrors sentiment is why our offense is so anemic and why we get run, run, pass, punt. Kinda hard to believe anyone is opposed to mixing it up after watching most of a season of this offense.

    One of the few times he actually mixes it up he has the smallest dude on the team running that ball, on a game deciding 4th and 1, while our best RB lead blocks. I honestly don’t think Chaney has the ability to get a real feel for his team or for what the opposing D is giving him. I certainly don’t think he’s the right OC for a new HC who is defensive minded. Kirby needs an OC who can be like another HC.

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    • W Cobb Dawg

      You nailed it. I’d add two more items. First, we repeated the 2015 mistake of not picking a #1 QB as early as possible and getting him ready. Second, offensive position coaches Pittman and Coley haven’t yet demonstrated they can do their basic jobs of getting players ready. The fundamentals suck for the players under their tutelage.

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  7. DawgPhan

    maybe we should just let the players call the plays.

    I also think that the real reason for moving Chaney upstairs is that he was constantly berating the QB on the sidelines during games. Even Smart has figured out that you got to love these guy up a little, sometimes.

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  8. Biggus Rickus

    Did I watch a different game than everyone else? Georgia opened by running the ball out of power sets on their first four plays. After losing a yard on the fourth one, they threw on 2nd and 11 and threw again on 3rd and 11. The next possession, they ran the ball 8 straight times – mostly, if not entirely out of power sets – before finally throwing on 3rd and 23. The third possession, they hit the play-action deep ball out of an I-set and promptly lost four yards on a power run on the next play. Basically, after they ran it off the goal line on the second possession, Kentucky realized they had to cheat to stop the run. As the game wore on, Georgia ran more shotgun three-wide sets as a reaction to that. I think I’d call that running to set up the pass, if I’d call it anything. It actually didn’t look too different from a lot of their games, except the line blocked reasonably well.

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  9. Rp

    Mostly agree with the first comment. See Atlanta Falcons. 2015: crappy offensive line, Shanahan is an idiot that needs to be fired. 2016: much improved offensive line, Shanahan is the greatest coordinator in the history of the NFL. Hopefully Chaney can have a similar enlightenment.

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  10. Irwin R. Fletcher

    The advanced stats all say Auburn’s D is really, really good. Big issue for UGA is that Auburn’s strength…not letting you finish drives…matches up with UGA’s offensive weakness of not finishing drives. While the passing plays of 25+ yards are up over the last two years…they are no where near where they need to be…plus the long, 20+ yard run is almost non-existent…and no one can tell me that has anything to do with our RB talent….that is a direct result of defenses being able to stack the box and our offensive not being able to open holes or both.

    I’ve got a really bad feeling that folks are looking at last Saturday’s games and reading to much into how that might affect this Saturday. To me…if our line can somehow look as good against Auburn as they did against Kentucky, then maybe Chaney can scheme enough to beat them. But this feels like Florida to me…we need 25+ against a good D to have a shot.

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    • LakeOconeeDawg

      ^^^ What he said^^^ Strength vs Weakness….
      One in particular that has me cringing is the Catalina vs Lawson match up.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      I can’t remember a really long run since Chubb’s clincher vs UNC.

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    • AusDawg85

      To beat the barners…

      Eason has to be throwing early and often with no dropped passes. Ugh.

      Get Sony in space and Chubb in some creases. Ophh…

      D must stop Auburn in the Red Zone. Yikes!

      No ST mistakes. Oy….

      In other words, we can’t f-up the things we’ve been f-ing up so far this season. How, exactly, do we do that?

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