Dual-threat? I’d settle for any kind of threat.

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.

  1. 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.”
  2. For that matter, you don’t have to run a spread attack to throw effectively out of the shotgun.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.

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29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

29 responses to “Dual-threat? I’d settle for any kind of threat.

  1. Russ

    Yeah, that article popped up in my feed and I had the same thoughts as you. I guess he’s just filling space until signing day.

    The last three seasons have featured a new OC and a new QB each season. Having both return for a second consecutive season has got to show benefits this season. Whether or not Chaney is the ultimate answer, I don’t know. But I think we have to let him and Eason develop an identity first. This season will tell us pretty all we need to know.

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  2. Irwin R. Fletcher

    Clemson is so committed to dual threat QBs that they have a verbal from the #1 pro-style QB in the country in 2018, Trevor Lawrence from Cartersville.

    Should UGA be open to a dual threat QB if that is the best QB they can sign in a class and building an offense that highlights those strengths once he’s on campus? Obviously. Full stop. The rest of Chip’s column is garbage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Dawg abides

      Agree on Clemson. They are still going to run their offense with Lawrence, they just won’t have the designed qb runs and zone reads. The true spread guys always tailor the offense around their current qb’s skills. It’s been happening in the Big 12 for years. Stoops, Gundy, and Holgerson offenses have prospered with multiple types of qbs. TCU was pass heavy with Dalton then took full advantage of Boykin as a dual threat. With the requisite qualifier of Briles being a POS, he was the best at taking advantage at his qb’s skills. His offense was already prolific but exploded under RG3, the prototype dual threat. After that Baylor still put up huge numbers, but with a totally different type of qb in Bryce Petty. Hell, they played their bowl game last year down to their third or fourth qb, and spread UNC out and ran for over 600 yards.

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  3. 92 grad

    I don’t buy into the idea that chip is hedging his point on Clemson. They won with Watson but they won the playoff by virtue of outstanding wide receiver play, especially on the last drive.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      That, and Watson was a damned good passer. Two games vs. Bama, two games of passing over 400 yds. Great passing and great WR play seem to matter even more than how likely the QB is to keep and get 10 yds.

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  4. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    Watson is an incredibly talented passer, who can also run. I’m pretty sure every coach in america would take an incredibly talented and accurate passer, who is mobile.

    The thing is, unless you run a very specific type of spread offense, if the very fast QB is not accurate and a good passing decision maker, then your offense will sputter and grind to a halt. granted, if your QB is not fleet of foot, tall, skinny, long flowing locks of hair, a weird west coast personality, is not accurate and does not make good decisions, you end up with the 2016 UGA football season.

    Let’s see what happens with Eason in year 2. Like you Senator, I have little confidence in Chaney. He gets too cute by half and nuts up in important situations. That being said, I wouldn’t have wanted Eason to have to learn a 2nd system before he ever truly mastered the first.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pretty sure every coach in america would take an incredibly talented and accurate passer, who is mobile.

      You would think so, wouldn’t you…

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  5. gastr1

    I think all of this is really neat and really right, but I have this nagging thought that Kirby Smart isn’t interested in any of it because he salivates over a simplistic power running game grinding down defenses to help out that Saban-style defense he’s building. Alabama lite, indeed, IMO. We don’t need none of that stinkin’ spread.

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    • DawgFlan

      I seriously hope that Kirby is smarter than that, gastr1. If he can’t see the shift in rules, innovation, and competition that demand a potent offense, it won’t be fun for UGA. As much one may personally prefer the halcyon days of stifling defenses vs. power running games, the reality is today’s game favors the offenses. You can win with a defense that is disciplined and opportunistic enough to make a QB uncomfortable, limit big plays, and maybe create a turnover or two. Richt and Bobo, for all their offensive success, still fell for the trap of “running out the clock” and settling for field goals when you have the lead. The best way for an offense to help a defense is to score TDs.

      On Inside the NFL, they had Matt Ryan mic’d up for the GB game. When GB scored a TD in the 3rd quarter to cut the lead to 38-14, he got his offense together and said something along the lines of “We need a touchdown here. Let’s go.” Not, “We need to get a few first downs, give our defense a rest, and kill some clock.” Welcome to football 2017.

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      • Your last paragraph is exactly my point of view with 7 minutes to go in the tech game. We have the ball at midfield with a chance to drive a stake straight into tech’s heart. We go 3 and out trying to kill the clock, and the defense collapses. Then we panic with the clock on our side, throw the pick to give up field position, and lose the game.

        I would love to know how many times over the last two seasons we’ve gotten the ball outside our 40 (advantageous field position) and done nothing with it.

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      • gastr1

        I hope you’re right, DawgFlan.

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    • do not resuscitate

      I also think that Kirby was thinking of his two (two!) stellar running backs and his tie freshman QB when he chose to run the ball. Now, whether he chose the right method for running the ball is a legitimate question, as our late season improvement in that area seemed to stem from a change in running philosophy, but perhaps he believed that running was a better option.

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  6. HVL Dawg

    GATA Senator!

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  7. I’ll take a dual-threat QB, but only if he’s a good passer first. Deshaun Watson is a pass-first QB who runs when necessary. Aaron Murray was a dual-threat type of player who passed first but was a damn good runner when he had to be.

    On philosophy, my heart says Kirby wants to build a high-powered offense like Alabama had with Coker, Sims, and McCarron — a power running game combined with a pro-style passing game. My head is afraid gastr1 is right that Kirby wants to run the ball, play defense, and hope his legacy doesn’t become Boom 2.0.

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  8. Dawg Stephen

    I would expect a article like that from the AJC.. but not from Towers.. hes better than that… That type writing is Schultz and Bradley esque……

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  9. Clemson won one with one of the best all-around qb’s I’ve ever seen. Alabama won Natties with Jacob Coker, AJ McCarron and Greg McElroy. The last was the fastest with a scorching 4.84 40 so clearly the best choice is to go spread and wait for the next Watson to come along and hope he doesn’t pick Clemson instead. Really??

    I agree that we need to recruit dual threat guys for two reasons: 1) you need them for scout team looks and 2) every once a while you can find a guy with both wheels and accuracy. Those guys are hard to beat.

    First things first though and the most important asset of a qb is the ability to throw the ball accurately down the field. The vast majority of really athletic qbs can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think Kirb-Dawg has shown that he has a plan and he’s going to pursue it regardless of the outcome. #identity

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sherlock

    Thank you for doing my job for me, Senator. Chip is a cancerous troll that injects memetic nonsense into the simple minded. Everyone needs to be prepared for the morons that were inspired by this article that will bitch about not having a “dual-threat” QB every time Eason gets sacked or throws the ball away on 3rd down next season.

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  12. DawgPhan

    The goal has to be to score every time we touch the ball. Every time regardless of the time on the clock or what the scoreboard says.

    Too many times this season we saw that offense take the field where scoring did not seem to be the focus.

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  13. Granthams replacement

    The threat of the QB running is what’s important. Watch the 2006 Georgia auburn game and how Staffords draws against man coverage burned auburn/Muschamp.

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  14. Mayor

    “A second year with the same coordinator and quarterback working together” should fix things. Under that rationale Schotty should have been retained last year and Lambert should have been the starting QB.

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    • “A second year with the same coordinator and quarterback working together” should fix things.

      Um, no.

      My exact quote: “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.” Which is hardly the same thing as what you typed.

      Are you making an effort to irritate me today, Mayor, or is it just coming naturally?

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  15. CB

    “And there’s no question we’ve witnessed a steep decline in Georgia’s offensive production since Mike Bobo left town.”

    Line through “Mike Bobo” insert Todd Gurley, pre-injury Nick Chubb and B-Mac who recruited them. Remember Georgia scored 51, 31, 52, and 48 in it’s first 4 games under Schott with a healthy Chubb, the outlier being 10 points against Bama, but it’s hard to hold that against anyone IMO.

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