This is why Kirby’s got to make sure those Georgia fences are strong.
Daily Archives: January 26, 2017
Mr. Conventional Wisdom’s post on recruiting is every bit the gem you’d expect it to be.
Pay no attention to those number one recruiting classes Nick Saban racks up year after year. He’s an artist.
I sort of hate to pick on Chip Towers, but this recent post of his suggesting there’s nothing ailing Georgia’s offense that a dual-threat quarterback couldn’t fix on his lonesome, drives me up the proverbial wall.
The writing is on the wall. Or, rather, the scoreboard. Georgia needs relent and join the masses. It needs to convert to a spread offense and start recruiting dual-threat quarterbacks to run it.
I’m not basing this just on Clemson’s recent accomplishments, though that is certainly a compelling argument in and of itself. The Tigers rode the considerable dual-threat skills of quarterback Deshaun Watson all the way to the mountaintop twice. They finally won the whole shooting match this past season by out-scoring Alabama 35-31.
The rules and trends in college football all simply favor this style of play. You can either embrace it or get left behind.
And Georgia’s getting left behind.
It’s dramatic. And there’s no question we’ve witnessed a steep decline in Georgia’s offensive production since Mike Bobo left town.
Offensive scoring and production last five years:
Year, points per game (SEC rank), yards per game (SEC rank)
- 2016—-24.5 (11th)—-384.7 (11th)
- 2015—-26.3 (9th)—–377.2 (8th)
- 2014—-41.3 (1st)——457.8 (4th)
- 2013—-36.7 (5th)—–484.1 (4th)
- 2012—-37.8 (3rd)—–467.6 (3rd)
You can already see the problem with his argument there, though, right? The 2014 offense, the most prolific in Georgia’s history, was quarterbacked by the notoriously fleet-footed Hutson Mason, who managed the staggering total of 3 rushing yards on 43 carries that season.
There’s just a ton of lazy thinking throughout. Let me count some of the ways.
- There are all kinds of spread offenses. The Air Raid is a spread offense. Rich Rodriguez runs a different scheme, but it’s a spread, too. Bottom line is that you don’t have to have a running quarterback to run a spread attack. Even Towers seems to acknowledge that when he writes, “Chaney is the type of experienced coordinator who can implement whatever the head coach directs him to do. He was orchestrating a spread offense for head coach Joe Tiller and quarterback Drew Brees at Purdue way back in the 1990s, before it was cool.”
- For that matter, you don’t have to run a spread attack to throw effectively out of the shotgun.
- Further, you don’t have to have a running quarterback to employ RPO plays. In a post I linked to before, Chris Brown points out a wrinkle Matt Canada came up with to do just that: “But maybe the most creative thing Canada did this season was to find a way to run the Inverted Veer while eliminating the QB as the inside runner, namely by replacing him with a player trailing as the pitch man. It’s obviously a tricky read for the quarterback as it happens so quickly, but Pitt’s QB was an effective decision maker.” [Emphasis added.] (I’ll come back to that “effective decision maker” point in a minute.)
- As far as Georgia employing RPOs goes, maybe Chip needs to go back and read one of his old columns.
Everybody gets wrapped up in flavor of the month schemes, and I get that. There’s also no question we see plenty of college offenses out there that have done well deploying a running quarterback to make their teams go. But there are other ways to go about skinning that cat.
Georgia’s had problems on offense of late, no doubt. But I’m not buying in to the idea that a dual-threat quarterback is the silver bullet to cure all those woes. The Dawgs have been through three offensive coordinators in the last three years and three quarterbacks in that same period. Georgia started a true freshman in Jacob Eason who had to learn how to play under center for the first time in his career. None of that suggests Chaney had any confidence he had an effective decision maker in Eason to run his offense in 2016. (Remember, Chaney coached Nathan Peterman at Pitt before Canada.)
Would I let my quarterback run more if I had a Watson or Newton taking snaps? Hells, yeah. Is that the only way to go about being productive on offense? Georgia’s track record during Bobo’s last three seasons suggests otherwise. Even Mike Leach has acknowledged that you can get away with running the I-formation successfully if you’ve got the right talent for it.
The job of an offensive coordinator is to design a scheme and a game plan that creates mismatches in the opposing defense and take advantage of them. It’s not rocket science, or at least it shouldn’t be. You can do that with Deshaun Watson; you can do that with Jacob Eason. Georgia’s problem has been not having everyone on the same page with an offensive philosophy to do just that, along with an offensive line that’s been subpar.
A second year with the same coordinator and quarterback working together, along with a significant talent infusion along the o-line, should begin to address those shortcomings. If things start clicking, I bet we’ll find that all sorts of quarterbacks can succeed in a Georgia uniform.
The most amazing thing about this ESPN piece looking back to re-grade the SEC’s 2013 recruiting classes isn’t the low mark Georgia gets, natch…
2013 grade: A
2017 grade: D-
This class was ranked 10th at the time of signing, and it turned out to be a disaster. Of the 33 signees, only two were bona fide, multi-year starters (Kublanow and Floyd), and 16 players transferred, left the team or didn’t suit up for the Bulldogs. Several others who are on the team haven’t panned out. About 11 players have contributed a respectable amount, but Georgia’s depth issues are evident because of this class.
… it’s that there’s actually a conference school that finished worse than Georgia. Well played, TAMU.
And to think Kevin Sumlin was paid a million more dollars a year than Mark Richt.
Gridiron Now posts an interview with the doofus… er, Mississippi legislator… who’s pitching a bill that would fine the NCAA $10,000 a day for every day an investigation lasts past a year.
It’s as muddled as you’d expect someone who thinks a private, voluntary organization has to apply due process in dealing with its membership would sound. Although it feels like he knows he’s not going far with his bill:
Q. Have you talked to people in other states that have had similar situations with the NCAA, and if so, what has been the feedback from those people?
A. Recently, I have had calls as far away as Connecticut to California, and in my preliminary research, I didn’t find where any other state had looked at it from this angle.
I think the conversation is ongoing, and that’s the goal, which is to raise awareness and create conversation on this topic.
Conversation? Not until Stacey Osburn sings, skippy.
Chip Towers suggests that’s Georgia’s AD’s basic strategy these days.
The Georgia football team is coming off a 7-5 season. Everybody knows that. The men’s basketball program is in its usual spot, firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble. The women’s basketball team finds itself in unusual territory, pretty much out of the postseason conversation halfway through the conference schedule. Gymnastics opened the season unranked but is just underway. Nobody knows what to expect of baseball.
This is not where UGA athletics ever wants to be. If you’re Athletic Director Greg McGarity, you know this and you’re praying for improvement.
Eh, as long as the money keeps rolling in, I think Greg’s sleeping pretty soundly at night.