It’s Chaney time.

Greg Poole looks at that same Saturday Down South piece with Tom Luginbill I mentioned yesterday and uses it to make an excellent point.

Offensive coordinators are the dumbest people on earth. If you don’t believe it, just survey fans immediately after a loss or a disappointing season. We all see the obvious play-calling gaffs that could have swung the game/season. Who among us is not a better OC than Jim Chaney, right? Second-guessing play calls is as old as football. I remember riding home from high school games as a kid and listening to my Dad and his friends complain about the blown call that certainly would have changed the outcome. “Just give the ball to ________________.”

Those of you with long memories might recall the long-ago age when, the now sainted, Mike Bobo was pilloried for his inept play-calling. How did Bobo transform himself into a competent coordinator, a genius even? Your best clue might be Mr. Bobo’s choice of offensive coordinator when he left UGA for Colorado State – his offensive line coach, Will Friend. Bobo’s metamorphosis in the mind of the fanbase began with Friend’s arrival in Athens.

That’s all in response to Luginbill’s point that “Although Georgia’s offense looked conservative last season, it might have been more out of necessity than identity.

While Poole goes on to focus on the crucial role Sam Pittman plays in the hoped-for offensive resurrection of 2017, something with which I don’t argue, I’d go even further and say there were a lot of moving parts that contributed to last year’s anemic attack.  Those would cover everything from other points Luginbill made, like Eason’s inexperience, to the question of how much the offense reflected Smart’s desire to establish a certain mentality there, despite that being a poor fit for the talent on hand.

What we don’t know is how much control that left Chaney with and what sort of compromises he was forced to make with his gameplan as a result.  To the extent he deserves something of a pass for the way last year played out, you’d have to think with a returning quarterback, a staff and offensive personnel coming back and operating on the same page for the first time in a few seasons and an injection of talent on the offensive line, that the room for benefit of the doubt shrinks noticeably going forward.

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35 Comments

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35 responses to “It’s Chaney time.

  1. Jt (the other one)

    Bobo got better because he was allowed to learn on the job oh and Aaron Murray/Todd Gurley showed up…genius at that point, but that’s not all two of his centers went on to start in the NFL one for the SB Champs this past season.
    Last season with a raw albeit talented QB and paper thin OL=minor disaster.

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  2. I don’t disagree with Greg very often, but in this case, I do. Chaney and Pittman on the field have been a disaster so far. Pittman has been spectacular on the recruiting trail, and I still don’t know what Chaney brings to the table other than his Drew Brees experience from almost 20 years ago. Both of these guys have been in the game for a long time and should have known this offensive line didn’t have the talent to be road graders. Whether that’s due to Kirby’s insistence or their own blindness, you don’t ask players to do things they can’t and expect to win. I guess that’s how throwaway seasons get their start. Here’s to hoping things are different in 2017 because that’s all you can do.

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    • just to be clear, your window for judging a coach’s performance is one season for which they had almost no role in procuring those players. More broadly, you are confident that our results would have been better had we asked our OL to zone block rather than man block. Never mind the fact that we did a mix of such in 2015, which did not work.

      The season was NOT a throwaway season. From a process standpoint, we began to change the culture of the program in a manner that will hopefully yield tremendous value in the future. Whether or record was 7-5 or 10-2 would have little if any bearing on whether we achieve the results we desire in the future. We have to build a roster and change the culture. both of those things take time, but when we do it, guys like Chaney and Tucker suddenly look a lot smarter. If we can’t we find the next head coach to try to achieve our goals. In the meantime, the criticism of the OC and HC is revealing.

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      • I said “so far.” I haven’t said, “Fire X or Y.” This is classic “Blame the players” or “Blame the previous guy” for the failures of the team. Kirby wanted the job, and he and his staff deserve the criticism for the results HIS team generated.

        Yes, the results should have been better. Barely avoiding the most embarrassing loss in the 120 year history of the program, falling behind Ole Miss in epic fashion 45-0, losing to Vandy when you only give up 170 yards of offense, the total egg laying in Jacksonville, and finally, blowing a double digit lead against a tech team not designed to come back from that kind of deficit were total team failures – coaches and players.

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        • Cojones

          Lordy, you are hitting all the pertinent bases and can’t help but agree. Add to that, the class that signed for Smart’s first year was amply stocked by Richt. Further, we haven’t held each coach’s feet to the fire of the statements they made collectively back then that got our spirits up and that we never saw.

          I’ll use one of your old saws, Senator – Don’t piss up my leg and tell me it’s raining. There are many of us who feel if Richt had been here with his staff, we wouldn’t have had such a terrible debacle that was last year and, if he remained here, we wouldn’t be facing this season with trepidation. No, we can’t reverse a damned thing, but let Butts-Mehre assume the responsibility for these two years, along with the people they hired to replace Richt et al.

          BTW, want to compare classes this year with Miami’s class that reflects Richt’s ability to recruit? Last count was 7 (3-stars), 9 (4-stars) and 1 (5-star RB). It follows the same recruiting patterns each year when he was here and he’s loaded up by mid-April in Miami. I keep up with them because my neighbor is a Miami fan, now incapacitated and it lifts his spirits Do we continue to have 2 commits for UGA thus far this year? How many has Richt gotten that we were interested in as well?

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        • Mayor

          I have to disagree with you on one point ee. I blame the coaches–not the players–for last season because of the reasons stated by you in your first post.

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          • Mayor, I think we’re on the same page. The coaching staff is primarily to blame for last year. For my point about the players, I’ll use the Nicholls game as the example. The players were not ready … they made mental mistakes (Eason’s pick, iMac’s multiple mistakes fielding kicks, the inability to get in someone’s grill and block them). That’s why I say these were team failures – from and between the sidelines.

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      • Otto

        Agreed and other than GT was about what I expected.

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        • Kirby appreciates your low expectations. Me – I was under the impression he was hired to win championships.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Brandon

            Because every rational college football fan expected one of the youngest, most inexperienced teams in America with a Freshman QB, no WRs, and almost entirely new coaching staff to win a championship last year cuz… DAWGS BABY

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            • I’m sure the games mentioned above especially tech, Vandy and Nicholls met your expectations. Falling behind Ole Miss 45-0 was part of the Process. Getting absolutely manhandled in Jacksonville was just a young team. I shake my head when people think all of our problems last year were due to the players.

              I didn’t expect a championship, but I expected a team that would beat the teams it was more talented than and fight like mad in the games it didn’t. That’s the coaches’ fault pure and simple.

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  3. Macallanlover

    Too much confusion over being critical on play calling (rarely justified, imo) and taking issue with an OC’s basic scheme, providing diverse options, and player deployment. I haven’t seen anything from Chaney that indicates he has an overall plan on how to attack the weaknesses of defenses we face in specific games, or the various situations that occur during games….other than the UNC opener.

    Nothing wrong with the play call at the end of the Vandy game, or when we needed a Hail Mary pass…except we used smurfs for the key implementation role of both when more physically capable assets were available Nothing wrong with planning to rely mostly on the run game in 2016 until we continued to butt our heads against a brick wall with certain defenses and had no Plan B.

    Every play is designed to be successful if executed properly, some have a better chance to succeed if we have played chess successfully, so it isn’t just about whether we run, pass, or go up the middle, or deep, on a specific play call. I am just not sure we have enough different looks to give us the advantage very often when facing a talented defense in the hands of a strong DC. And that is all about the OC and what we expect him to give us every season, every game, and every time the offense takes the field during that game.

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    • Mac, with regard to the last play against Vandy, I wasn’t so much troubled about giving the ball to McKenzie as I was (1) telegraphing the play before the time out and (2) not laying a finger on the ‘Dores best defensive player, who wound up stuffing the play. Not sure how much of either I can blame on Chaney.

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      • I have a problem with the play call. If you’re going to call a toss sweep in that situation, you give the ball to your best player to succeed in that situation. That’s not I-Mac. The best player on the field was asked to be a lead blocker rather than the player to makes play.

        The fact we didn’t change the play after the timeout was borderline criminally negligent.

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        • With regard to your first point, reasonable minds can differ, although it’s only fair to point out that Chubb averaged 2.5 ypc against Vandy, so it’s not like giving him the ball there was a guaranteed sure thing, either.

          With regard to the second, it was clear from the post-game chatter that the decision to stick with the play after the time out was a collaborative one and not dictated by Chaney, so I think my point still stands.

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          • I understand your point. If you’re going to run the ball in that situation (4th and short), you have to give the ball to the guy who has the most likelihood to break a tackle if something breaks down. Hell, it would have been better to run that play with Sony rather than with I-Mac.

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            • JT

              Well I remember a goal line play against Mizzu and the offense deployed IMAC the result 6 points and this play looked very similar except to the opposite side. I have to agree with the Senator, the OC gets way too much criticism. I guess I am an idiot like Chaney, chubb was being stuffed my first thought was exactly what the UGA offense tried, to get IMAC on the edge in space.

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              • Getting I-Mac on the edge wasn’t a bad strategy, starting him 8 yards behind the line was. By the way, I’m sure Derek Mason saw that play from the Missouri game on film and knew it was coming. Gadget plays like this work once and don’t work again that season.

                If you want to get the ball to McKenzie, run the jet sweep or the shovel pass where he’s already at full speed.

                I Haz a Fat Pencil deserves every bit of criticism he has received for that offense.

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        • DawgPhan

          Didnt Chubb whiff on the block as well?

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      • Macallanlover

        Guess I was stating player deployment was more significant than that specific call so IMac was an issue. Also, not using the right motion to get the guy who had been throttling us all day out of position was another weakness. The timeout certainly took the surprise away, but not accounting for the LB and not giving your strongest RB the ball is bigger for me. Again, I rarely take issue with the actual play itself.

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        • Mayor

          That play was one of those times when you can blame one bad play call, though. The call was just a flat out stupid call that had almost no chance of working because it was telegraphed. Everybody on the Vandy D knew exactly what was coming.

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  4. I think Bobo is a really interesting case study. Yes, his offense did get better when Friend arrived, but I’d also his offense from 2011-2014 was vastly different from 2007-2010.

    Whether that was him finding his own way, or evolving, I don’t know. Murray certainly helped, but Mason was very good in 2014 with not a great skill set.

    I haven’t been following him super closely at CSU, so I’m not sure what he’s running now.

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    • I caught a few of their games last year. The talent level is different, but the offense looked similar to what they were running with in 2011 prior to Gurley and Marshall arriving. I believe they finished Top 25 in Offense S&P+ last year, so they were decent.

      Honestly – it’s really strange seeing Joe Cox, he of the “I saw the guy and just threw it at him anyways” fame, being their QB coach.

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  5. DawgPhan

    Sure why gripe about individual plays, but the offense was not very good last year. Why that was is up to someone else to figure out. They are the ones making the big bucks, but there is no doubt that it could have been better than it was even with the shortcomings.

    Does anyone believe that the offense last season was the best that any coach could have gotten out of that group of players?

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  6. NoAxeToGrind

    Blame anybody you want. Eventually, Smart is the one who pays the price. Probably McGarity as well. Time will tell.

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  7. AusDawg85

    CHANEY APOLOGIST!

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  8. Ant123

    What really put me out with Chaney last year was the percentage of times
    We ran on first down. In fact there were many times it was run, run, try to pass, punt. With a less than stellar O-line the most important element to the offense is the element of surprise.
    I believe our offensive performance last year has negatively impacted our recruiting for 2018 as well. Now if we preform really well in the season we can recover much of the ground that has been lost.

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  9. W Cobb Dawg

    The well traveled Chaney has never been more than a mediocre OC. He’s had several opportunities over the years to establish himself as a top tier OC. I’m fairly sure the followers at his previous stops would describe him as a disappointment. Based upon a long career that can easily be researched, I don’t know why anyone expects Chaney to thrive at UGA. He’s another one of those coaches who make you scratch your head and wonder how he’s been able to hang on so long considering his performance. And he’s waaayyy over his head as both OC and QB coach.

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    • Exactly this … if Chaney were this great offensive mind, he would have had a shot at a head coaching job by now. The fact that he doesn’t appear to have ever been on someone’s list should have been a red flag, but Kirby wanted Pittman.

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