This is what I was saying yesterday, only more coherently:
But with the switch to James Coley as offensive coordinator, the Georgia offense has even more deeply embraced the “impose our will” manball tendencies that they had cultivated under former offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. Against South Carolina, Georgia ran on 60% of standard downs even though their overall run rate was only 42.6%. That means there were a ton of run-run-pass sequences. Yes, Georgia has had some notable injuries along the offensive line and at wide receiver (including emerging top target Lawrence Cager), but the Bulldogs also have three former five-star receivers they can turn to in George Pickens, Dominick Blaylock, and Demetris Robertson. Offenses with far worse talent at receiver are still willing to scheme guys open. [Emphasis added.]
But still, without the turnovers — one of which was a pick-six, another inside the South Carolina 30, and another that ended Georgia’s first overtime — Georgia likely still wins this game eight or nine times out of ten. The Bulldogs had a 10.4% success rate margin over the Gamecocks despite the conservative play calling. In the end, credit goes to South Carolina’s players and coaching staff, who clearly identified during their bye week that Georgia would be either unable or unwilling to target their edge receivers against man coverage, allowing the defense to concentrate on slowing Georgia’s run game. The Gamecocks held Georgia to a 33% passing downs success rate and just a 22% touchdown rate on Georgia’s nine scoring opportunities.
Banner Society’s Bud Elliott summed up this game perfectly: “When you never scheme players open and never hit explosive plays, your offense has to be so clean. [Georgia] should have won game (10% [yards per play] edge and ran 27 more plays), but 4 turnovers is not clean. Georgia’s lack of explosive play ability is an every-week issue.”
Georgia’s goals are still on the table for the season — a double-overtime loss to a conference opponent can be overcome in terms of making the playoff — but it’s hard to see the Bulldogs winning out without tactical and strategic changes.
Doubling down on Chaney’s approach has a cost, and that cost is a greater reliance on not screwing up. My fear from here is that Kirby believes the best course of action going forward is doubling down on Coley’s approach.