Today, in skinning the offensive cat

This reads like one of those posts where the author thinks he’s got a unique insight on something, throws some stats out, but really has no idea where he’s going.

Champions simplify; they do not diversify.

When considering the many challenges facing the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs offense, Bulldogs fans might keep that axiom in mind.

Yes, the development of sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason remains the most significant factor in whether the offense excels or sputters. Yes, the line needs better play from returning veterans or an infusion of help from newcomers. Yes, a receiver or two must deliver some big plays to alleviate pressure on Eason and the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

All those aspirations are fine, but another goal keeps getting attention this preseason: diversifying the offense…

Using so many potential weapons sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t actually happen so frequently. Indeed, statistics show that spreading the wealth is not necessary to win a championship.

Diversifying the offense doesn’t necessarily mean using every skill position player on the roster in equal measure.

A look at recent national champions is informative.

The past five national champions: Clemson (2016), Alabama (2015), Ohio State (2014), Florida State (2013) and Alabama again (2012). For the most part, they did not spread the wealth. Instead, they fed their best players.

Well, duh.  Does anyone really think that Elijah Holyfield’s and Nick Chubb’s carries this season are going to be roughly equal?

It all goes back to something Mike Leach wrote in Swing Your Sword.

… To me, a balanced offense is one where each skill position touches the ball, and every position contributes to the offensive output.  There is nothing balanced about running it 50 percent of the time and throwing it 50 percent of the time if you are only utilizing two or three offensive skill positions and only attacking part of the field…[Emphasis added.]

… I think it’s almost impossible to have a great offense if you have only one or two guys touching the ball.  That one guy had better be really, really special, a Hall of Fame type of talent, like Herschel Walker was at Georgia in the early ’80s…

…  People get overly impressed by that artificial balance, where it’s half run, half pass, but with only a couple of players touching the ball.  You can run the ball every snap, but if you’re in the wishbone, and everybody touches the ball, that’s real balance.  Or you can throw the ball every snap, and if everyone touches the ball, that’s real balance.

If you’ve got that otherworldly talent, in other words, feed the damned beast.  In the absence of that, you take advantage of what the defense gives you and if spreading things around best enables you to do so, go, dog, go.

Nick Chubb is going to get the ball a lot because he is an All-American-level talent.  As we sit here right now, there isn’t a similar type player in the receiving corps.  It’s only reasonable to expect Jim Chaney’s offensive strategies to reflect that.  You can diversify looks and formations and still get the ball in the hands of your best players.  It’s all a matter of figuring out what works best and implementing that.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

16 responses to “Today, in skinning the offensive cat

  1. 81Dog

    shorter article: Assess your team’s talent, and do what gives you the best chance to win.

    Stunning insight, there.


  2. Greg

    Only 1 ball….


  3. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    Man, this gives me flashbacks to early 00s junkyard Muschamp defenses. Muschamp’s philosophy of going all out to stop whatever the other team’s strength was and force them into a weakness was something to watch.

    Oh, you have a team built around the run? Good luck passing to beat us. Your an air it out type of squad? Hope your running backs know how to break tackles.

    It was such a great time to be a student when you walked on every field expecting to win, especially the road games.


  4. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Q: Do you like Epling?
    A: I don’t know, I never Eppled before.
    What a load of hooey.
    Especially the “champions simplify…” non-axiom. I wonder if the Patriots have that sign in their locker room. The rest of it could have been written (and probably has been, at some time or other) by Tony Barnhart.


  5. steve

    I am confused. The words ‘spread around’ and ‘wealth’ in a discussion of SEC football should have Auburn somewhere near the beginning of each sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 69Dawg

    Speaking of balance just looked at Liberty Bowl and counted the 1st half plays 16 runs and 16 passes. Bobo would have been happy. Granted some of the runs were Eason running for his life but hey with that line you figure he was in life saving mode.


  7. Dave

    What’s getting lost in the shuffle here is that, yes, you only have one ball and should get it to your best players, but the threat of all those weapons must be accounted for.

    To use the Falcons as an example, I don’t need Taylor Gabriel getting the ball as much as Julio, but you damn well better account for him, or he’ll burn you. You ought not rotate your safeties over to help out your best corner to take Julio away.

    Georgia’s (perceived, at this point) multitude of offensive weapons will mean that defenses will have to defend not only all three levels, but also the left, center, and right areas of the field, again, in theory based upon what we think we have.

    My hope is that Chaney doesn’t start to overthink it (insert Chaney Burn here).