“We throw to the open guy.”

Kirby doesn’t have time for this tight end shit.

But the tight ends make up a talented group – Nauta was the team’s third-leading receiver last year – so why do they comprise a collective 14 percent of the team’s catches?

Kirby Smart has a simple explanation. Defenses are playing man-to-man against Georgia, because they’re worried about UGA’s run game, and it’s easier for tight ends to get open against a zone.

“Trust me, I know about coaching defense and I know how people are playing us. So it’s easy to see why tight ends aren’t catching as many passes for us: Because they’re not open,” Smart said. “We throw to the open guy.”

Smart sounded bemused at all the fuss about the subject.

“I’m so engulfed in what we’re doing that I don’t know what people are so enamored with about the tight ends catching the ball. If the tight ends get open, they’ll get thrown the ball,” Smart said. “When people play you to stop the run, they play man a lot. When they play man, they cover the tight ends. I dare you to show me where there’s a tight end that’s open in man-to-man. …

“We’ve got plays designed to go to the tight ends, but they’ve been covered. It’s not a matter of we don’t want to throw to our tight ends. We have no mutiny against them. We just have to keep working at it and try to get some spots where they’ll be open. If some teams will play zone we could throw the ball to the tight end.”

Kirby’s bemused.  I wonder if his tight ends are, too.

75 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

75 responses to ““We throw to the open guy.”

  1. Mr. Tu

    The truth is “We throw to Wims because that is who Jake is looking at.” Honestly, Fromm has no idea if anyone else is even open or not

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    • I’ve become open to this theory as the season has progressed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yet, eight different guys caught his passes in the game against USC.

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        • Wims is our best pass catcher so I get targeting him, but I also think he’s not the best at gaining separation. I still think we need to take more deep shots. Fromm can’t make the seam route work right now as I think his arm negates that route, which sucks as I think that’s where Nauta and Woerner could do some damage.

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          • Thorn Dawg

            Oh please. Here we go again with Fromm doesn’t have the arm to complete the seam route. The kid can sling it 60 yards.

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            • In college I could throw it 50+ yards. Throwing it long doesn’t mean you can sling it. Sticking a throw in the seam before the safety gets there is where arm strength shows out. I think Fromm is closer to Hutson Mason than he is Aaron Murray. And I think the coaches know that and keep those kinds of throws to a minimum. They tried one against AUB late and the throw didn’t get there.

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              • Thorn Dawg

                Sure you could, Uncle Rico.

                Watch Fromm throw the Out or the Dig and tell me he throws like Mason.

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                • I said I think he’s closer to Mason than Murray. I didn’t say he was just like Mason. But I also think the lack of shots over the middle are by design. Fromm is a heady dude, so I don’t buy the coaches don’t think he can’t read the coverages. Either the coaches don’t think the WR/TE can get open (possible) or they don’t trust the QB to get the ball to them.

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                • hailtogeorgia

                  Just so I have this straight, the coaches know that Fromm’s arm isn’t strong enough to effectively throw the seam route (a route often run by TEs, designed to exploit zone coverage), so that’s why we haven’t seen those types of plays targeting the TEs. Got it.

                  …OR, could it – just perhaps – be that Fromm’s arm strength is fine, but in an effort to stop the run, have been playing more man coverage than zone, thus limiting Fromm’s opportunities to throw the seam route to the TEs because they haven’t been open? No, can’t be…what would give me that idea? It’s almost word for word what the head coach said when asked why the TEs aren’t getting targets, but no, it’s definitely an arm strength issue, 100%.

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                • Nice job on the uncle Rico crack. Too funny

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          • Cojones

            Wim can get vertical separation whenever the ball is thrown to him and since he is taller than most, can get up to those high passes before the opponent can. Since he can run faster than most, I’d target him every time until someone puts in a taller and faster LB or S against him.

            I’m glad to hear this from Smart because I wasn’t alone in wondering why the TEs weren’t targeted much. Would like to think that opportunities for great tunnel screens are being masked until the correct moments.

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          • Dawg in Lutz

            He throws it to Wims because he just has to throw it up and we know who’s going to catch it.

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          • Truth be told, none of our WRs are awesome threats. Wims is the de facto #1 because he’s big with good hands, but he’s not elite. Godwin II is a fine possession receiver. After that, uh, Ridley’s there sometimes.

            I think back to the missile silos Murray got to throw to in ’12: Mitchell, King, Brown (before he got hurt), Conley…all those guys would be WR1 on this team easily.

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            • Shoot, can’t believe I forgot Bennett. Sorry Michael.

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            • For sure. Our WRs are nice, and with a young QB that’s not the best. If Fromm were a JR he’d make these guys look much better than they are IMO, but as a freshman he’s not ready to handle that.

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              • The Dawg abides

                Be careful dude, you’re asking for the wrath of Last Word Greg. Remember, this is Fromm’s team.

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                • Greg’s parting shot is always to ask you to not take his comments personal, calm down, and not get so upset about his opinion. Nevermind that no one has even gotten upset…lol. He has even used this line on the Senator. That and he might call you a stalker for commenting.

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                • Mike Cooley

                  Last Word Greg? Lol. “Thinks Fromm is the most awsomest of awesome quarterbacks. Thinks you are a hater if you point out anything he might have done wrong.”

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. Jared C.

    Senator – How long can Georgia continue to recruit elite TE talent, but mainly ask them to block?

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  3. Biggen

    Eh, I think the TE are fine with how shit is working out. There is a good feeling running through your body when you make a block that springs a RB loose for a big gain or TD.

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    • “Fine” is probably about as good as they are with it. But at the same time I don’t recall too many instances of Nauta or Woerner being wide open and not getting the ball. But I also don’t recall Nauta getting any slant routes like the one he took to the house last year against Tenn.

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      • Silver Creek Dawg

        I recall a seam route Nauta took to the house against the Bizarro Dogs earlier this season.

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        • Got Cowdog

          #83 certainly seems to be enjoying himself.

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        • That’s wasn’t a true seam route as there was no safety over the top. It was essentially a go route. The seam route (as I see it) is the one where you have to stick it in the gap over the LB but in front of the safety. Against MissSt it was a third and 1 and there was no one over the top which meant Fromm could use touch (something he’s very good at). I’m talking about the Aaron Murray specials with Bennett where he had to put stank on the ball to get it to his man before the safety could get there.

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        • Macallanlover

          Correct. I think the reduced throws to TEs are a combo of them being used more for blocking than we would like, and Kirby’s explanation of us facing man coverage more often. There are probably a few ways a good OC could scheme them opening, but we are lacking in that area. It isn’t a matter of not wanting to use them, just not getting them open for the reasons already stated.

          Unquestionably, Fromm throws to Wims more often, who can blame him? There is no conspiracy, they have had good success due to Wims’ size and ability, same reason Pat Sullivan threw to Beasley more often in 1971, or dozens of other examples over the history of football. I would love to see Godwin, Hardman, and Nauta/Woerner get more passes but when you throw 7-12 times a game it is hard to get everyone several chances. What QB doesn’t want to throw to open receivers?

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          • I think our WRs are nice… but that’s about it. We lack separation across the board. I can’t think of many legit 9 routes we’ve attempted all year. We might have called some that turn into back shoulder throws because the WR (Wimms especially) can’t separate.

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          • Greg

            Terry BEASLEY!!!….Boy, that is a throwback. A good one, great tandem…white boy could run a 9.7 / 100 (yds).

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          • Will (the Other one)

            We heard about Nauta spending some time practicing in the slot WR spot before the season. How often has he played it in games? It feels like Swift has gotten the most looks of non-WRs in the slot so far.

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      • Greg

        Not a slant, but a post play. Here you go:

        http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=20796721

        I agree, there should be more…..but we are leaving the tight ends in to account for some of these 8 man fronts imo. Also, he does not have a lot of time back there in some cases, he has to get rid of it.

        Here is another on arm strength, hit him in stride….as long of a TD pass as any the past couple of years, plenty of arm imo:

        https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=jake+fromm+touchdown+throws&&view=detail&mid=A66388783EBEB935A15BA66388783EBEB935A15B&FORM=VRDGAR

        Keep your seat, Senator….no offense

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        • Greg

          Hard to tell on here, but meant for Parish, 8:18 am.

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        • Satowndawg

          Can you please post video of his missed throw to Ridley against auburn…

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          • Macallanlover

            That was a “missed throw” in your book. Sorry, I have seen missed throws and they are more than 18 inches off. Pretty bad throw by his standards but extremely catchable if you are not trying to house it. All receivers, including Ridley, should have caught that ball for a long gain 90% of the time. Trying to catch it an run for a TD was the reason that pass was incomplete, not the throw being so awful. One of my favorite things about Fromm is getting the ball to our receivers where they can catch it.

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    • Stoopnagle

      They are playing and they’re all on the field a lot. That counts for a lot these days of spread offenses and what not.

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  4. Mayor

    I think Kirby’s explanation is spot on.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Can’t be, our Coaches are clueless.

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      • Jared S.

        Definitely.

        Plus, everyone knows coaching by committee is the best way to execute an offense.

        Why don’t we have an App where all of Dawg Nation can vote via smartphone on what play they want Chaney to call on a given down AND what decision they want Jake to make at the line of scrimmage IN REAL TIME…

        WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Newt

    I’ve thought the lack of TE involvement in the passing game has more to do with where we want to throw the ball on the field. TEs tend to work the middle of the field and I don’t think we want Fromm throwing the ball in the middle of the field as much because there’s more traffic and he’s more prone to throw INTs. With the box stacked to stop the run, all those defenders make for tight passing lanes between the hashes and open up the outside for easier/safer throws.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this is spot on. Our coaches don’t want Fromm throwing over the middle (for whatever reason). That tends to be where TEs make a lot of their money.

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    • Mayor

      Isn’t that basically what Kirby said?

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    • Hate to be cynical (we are 10-1) but everything seems to always be defined by what we can’t do…….or what this or that defense won’t allow.. or what’s never open. I thought we had the Athletes to maybe, one time, do something simply because we can. Isaac Nauta could play in the NFL this weekend–yet we won’t even see if he can make a play against a defender who is 99.9% of the time going to be an inferior athletic specimen ?

      So, we hand it off or throw back shoulder sideline routes to Wims. I thought we had more weapons in the cupboard than this. We damn well better throw to the middle of the field in the SECCG or try SOMETHING. ANYTHING. That shit I saw in Auburn was an abomination.

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    • DoubleDawg1318

      I think this is correct. I think the coaches are scared to have Fromm throw it over the middle and so far they haven’t had to which is why the TE’s are not getting a lot of action.

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      • If you can’t or won’t throw over the middle, you make pass defense 10x easier. Safeties can either crowd the box knowing you aren’t going to go over their heads, or you can play man with 2 deep safeties to take away the outside passing game. Winning offensive football today forces teams to defend the full width of the field. We aren’t doing that much, and it makes defenses not work so hard to take away our passing game.

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  6. 92 grad

    I’m not very technical when I watch games, just look at the more on the surface stuff. I’ve read a lot of posts and comments though and one thing I have learned since auburn is that the opponents D line can create pressure and penetration with only 4 guys. Obviously that leaves 7 defenders free to play man coverage and they only have to do it for 2-4 seconds. Not only do we need the TE to pass and run block but if they do break off for a receiver option there’s just too many defenders. This seems to be the core of the issue as I see it. If our online could hold ground against the D line plus a couple blitzes then things would be more gooder, right?

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    • Got Cowdog

      Spot on 92. It’s the same problem we had in spades last season. Good thing is, it took a highly ranked team playing at a very high level to expose it instead of Vanderbilt, or Nicholls State. That’s considerable O-line improvement in my book. Let me get my shades, the future is coming.

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    • AusDawg85

      Bingo! Everything you need to know about the Auburn game. 4 DL beat up to 7 blockers at times with basic bull rushes and stunts.

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  7. gastr1

    Really, who cares how the tight ends feel? Those guys are a dime a dozen (can’t recall a time when we didn’t have a decent one…ok, Martrez Milner wasn’t great. There. Other than that.). Lort. Much ado about nothing.

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    • JPDawg

      Trez played in the League for a couple of years. Couldn’t have been that bad.

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    • cali_dawg

      Yeah, who gives a shit about our own players. That’s a great attitude for a fan to have.

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      • gastr1

        That’s not what I was saying, obviously, jackass. Let me spell it out for you: Why does it matter if any of our receivers are bothered by a game plan where they block more than catch? Why are their personal feelings about the playbook important?

        I mean, Terry Godwin has 24 catches in 11 games. Nick Chubb, man, he never gets any passes thrown his way! Not only that, where is that tackle-eligible play to get Isiah Wynn a catch before he graduates?

        If course I’m concerned about their health, safety, and progress as students. As players, since when do they get invited to complain about the playbook? Seems stupid, IMO.

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        • cali_dawg

          So Sony and Nick weren’t justified when they complained to Cheney about the playbook after last year’s Florida game?

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  8. JT

    Senator, I have to side with Kirby on this. I am sure he and the other coaches study a little more game film than we do. I still don’t understand the complaints about the OC he is putting up lots of points with a rebuilding OL and for the 2nd straight year a true freshman at QB in a conference built around defense. I would also like to address the complaints about the play calling in the Auburn game. The coaches practice the game plan all week and if it doesn’t work you can’t just put in a new one at halftime. You half to stick with it after that. I can understand why they kept running in the middle they obviously saw something they felt would work if they could execute it, in hindsight obviously the game plan was not their best, sometimes your out played and out coached by the other team, that’s football.

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    • dawgtired

      “I still don’t understand the complaints about the OC …”

      I’m NOT complaining but I’ve heard others, so I thought I’d offer an explanation according to what I’ve heard. People want to see ‘schemes’ that work against ALL defenses, not just when your players can ‘over power’ less talented teams. Chaney was quoted earlier this year as saying…”I wanted to run the ball at least 20 times in the first half”. That gives the impression that he is going to pound the ball (most likely up the middle) regardless of success in hopes of tiring a defense in order to…wait for it…’pound the ball’ more late in the game. As long as it is working and you are scoring and winning, most people are happy. But, sooner or later you meet a team like Auburn, that is able stop you and still have the talent to hang in the 4th qtr. I know we gave Auburn too many breaks but the concern applies. At this point, it would be nice if we were efficient at other things. If defenses are unsure of the next play, it is difficult to ‘key’ on certain plays or players. People want to see offensive schemes that work due to ‘out-thinking’ a defense no matter who we play…AND a little variety. I know I like variety if it’s working.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. David K.

    The whole point of having a tight end like Nauta is that you can’t cover him man to man. Safeties and corners are too small and linebackers don’t have the coverage skills to stay with him. Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez or Tony Gonzalez could take over a game. You could double cover them and they’re still unstoppable.

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    • JPDawg

      So maybe Nauta isn’t going to be a NFL HOFer (or murderer)?

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    • Cojones

      Yes, he has an upside after he catches the ball. He’s big, tough and fast and creates YAC yards more so than other TEs. Blazevich is no hack either. Love seeing both of them with the ball in their hands.

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      • Dawg in Lutz

        Fromm will throw to the TE’s next year. he needs to continue to read defenses and understand the offense better. that comes with experience. AM got better each year at exploiting the defensive weaknesses. Fromm will do the same.

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  10. Dog in Fla

    On this whole tight end fascination, Kirby proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic that we have no mutiny against them.

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    • Jared S.

      He needs vocabulary help.

      Or has he actually revealed a hidden truth…

      … that the TEs are actually the captains of this ship?

      Hmmm…..

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  11. TN Dawg

    We are completing 10 passes a game.

    Nobody is gonna be All-American in the receiving corps.

    If we were struggling on offense it might be worthy of discussion.

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    • dawgtired

      Seriously! When you only throw the ball 15 times per game, how many players are going to get the opportunity to catch?

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  12. Russ

    Look, beating people is nice, but I want to beat them in an increasing variety of ways.

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  13. Many on here are mocking the concern, but if we play 100% risk averse in Atlanta, we’re gonna get skull drug again. Our accomplishments this year have been wonderful, but the SEC East is basically like playing in a non-power 5 league this season. Imagine boise state winning the Mt. West with just a few offensive sequences up their sleeve. Their fans would be rightfully worried when it’s time to step up the competition. That’s what we are this year….our 2 biggest threats in the division are having a once in 40yr type dumpster fire seasons AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.

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    • gastr1

      The post wasn’t about any of that.

      It was about maybe the tight ends haz a sad and Kirbs does not.

      L -O- f’ing- L.

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  14. Mayor

    I know it was a long time ago but I seem to recall Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas winning a lot of natties by running the ball and not passing it. tOSU, too. Bama under Bear Bryant won some throwing (Joe Namath, Steve Sloan) and some running (Richard Todd, Steadman Shealy) but when the Tide ran it those years it was pretty much exclusively running. A team can win all its games, and win the national championship, running the ball. Run the ball and stop the run. That’s still how to win football games.

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  15. Biggus Rickus

    I’ve been as bemused as Smart by the obsession with tight ends lately.

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  16. rchris

    What I want to know is: Is Luke Ford bemused?

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