This is, I think, a fair observation.
… it also frees up Chaney to be more of what is known as a “walk-around offensive coordinator.” In other words, while he’s overseeing the tight ends, his focus remains mainly on the overall offense and all aspects of it. So he’ll still have the last word on what the offense looks like, what the strategy is and, yes, what plays are called.
It’s really on the latter responsibility that Chaney has attracted the most criticism from Georgia fans. Some of that is fair and some of it is not. Certainly he’s been known to call more inside dives than we think he should. But play callers are only as good as the players executing those calls. And Chaney has been through two seasons now of having to break in a freshman at quarterback and one of having to overcome substandard play on the line.
It came in response to a question about whether this would be the year that Georgia opens up the offense. As someone who’s sat in the stands for decades and heard my fair share of fans basically complain about any single play call that doesn’t result in an immediate touchdown, I can’t say that query comes as a particular surprise. Nor am I trying to defend Jim Chaney’s playcalling as immaculate. But let’s slow down a little bit here.
Consider the following stats from the 2017 Georgia offense:
- Yards per play: 3rd in the conference, at 6.7
- Scoring: 3rd in the conference, at 35.4 ppg
- Scrimmage plays of 20+ yards: 89, 1st in the conference
That looks pretty opened up to me, but, eh, what do I know?
And again, that’s with a true freshman quarterback who was thrust into the role unexpectedly and an offensive line that took a while to find some traction.
I suppose the bitching here boils down to wanting to see more deep passing, but, seriously, if you were Georgia’s offensive coordinator with the running backs and the receivers you had at your disposal to deploy, what would you have done differently?
Now 2018 looks to have a different set of variables in play — an experienced Jake Fromm, what should be an improved offensive line, the departure of Chubb and Michel, for starters — so it’s not unreasonable to expect Chaney’s playcalling to vary somewhat, at least within the confines of what Smart wants. As long as they’re at least hitting the statistical marks last year’s offense did, does it really matter how they get there?
Maybe next year’s QOTD will be wondering if 2019 will be the year Chaney lets the running backs have the ball more.