Here’s a good piece from Ian Boyd checking off the four things an offense needs to be capable of these days to overcome a defense’s plan to, as Boyd puts it, “… make sure they can take away an offense’s best features and force them to get by on their third or fourth options.”
He breaks this down in the context of the Big 12, but I thought it would be a good exercise to see how this applies to Georgia. Here’s a more detailed look at his list:
1. Effective distribution at QB
The QB has to know where the ball should go in the different dimensions of the offense and then reliably deliver it there with good timing and placement. Good defenses make it harder to figure out where the ball should go and narrow the windows that a QB has to hit in order to break down their structures.
2. Effective blocking along the OL
In the run game that means not allowing penetration, making contact on assignments (if they’re in position to threaten the play), and getting push when you have a double team. In pass protection that means no free runners inside and making good edge guys work their way slowly so they can’t interfere with a three-step drop. An OL that can do all of those things against a sturdy front will set enough of a floor that a team can dominate if the QB and skill players are good.
3. Some kind of plan for blocking a nickel front in the run game
Five OL can handle five men in the box, to handle that sixth and prevent teams from stuffing your offense from a two-deep shell with a six man box, you need a plan to block six. One way is to block him with an ancillary, another is to option him with a QB pass or run option. The former barely counts because if you actually want to run the ball on a nickel front, like on 3rd and 2 for instance, you don’t want to count on hitting a slant.
4. Two to three offensive features/specific skill players that can’t be stopped without the defensive being +1
This is where the over-stressing occurs, checklist items 1-3 merely set the stage for achieving this result.
He writes that, “… if an offense can check off every part of this list at a high level, then it doesn’t matter what the defense can do, the offense is going for 30+.”
Now, we don’t know for sure what James Coley has up his sleeve, but given the pieces in places, it probably won’t be a radical departure from an offensive scheme that last season managed to be top fifteen nationally in both points per game (37.9) and yards per play (7.05).
So, how many of Boyd’s boxes can we reasonably expect Georgia’s offense to check this season?
- Effective distribution at QB. This is one of Fromm’s great strengths. Checked.
- Effective OL blocking. I’m not sure I even need to type an explanation here. Checked.
- A plan for picking up overloaded fronts trying to stop the run. Georgia uses a variety of sets deploying tight ends and blocking backs to pick up extra defenders, although it could be argued the offensive line doesn’t need that much help. Checked.
- Ability to isolate skill position players to take advantage of defensive alignments. Boyd argues this naturally follows from being able to implement the first three goals, so it would seem to follow that this box is checked, as well. You can ask who those particular players are at this point, but considering the number of five-star recruits at Coley’s direction, I don’t think he’ll have that much of a problem finding two or three for a given play.
Last season, Georgia averaged 37.3 points per game against D1 opponents, second best in the SEC. What’s your thinking on that number this year?