Look, don’t get me wrong. Kentucky isn’t a particularly good team this season. As Josh notes, the ‘Cats haven’t exactly been stopping SEC offenses. Getting Georgia’s execution back on track should be enough to carry the day.
So I understand doubling down on core identity.
And when Kirby Smart was asked about how Fromm has handled the fall out from the loss, the Georgia coach said his quarterback seems to be in good spirits.
“He’s been great. He’s been helping those wideouts, challenging them, just as he was before,” Smart said. “Challenging them outside, giving them looks like we know they’re going to get. Hard corners, and trying to get them more physical guys at the line, pressing them and things like that. So we can simulate those looks a little better. But Jake’s been great.”
True, when you don’t give a defense new wrinkles, you should be able to anticipate what you’re going to get.
Which brings me to Seth’s preview piece for tomorrow’s game ($$). He’s got a couple of quotes from Charlie Woerner that are revealing. For example, here’s what Woerner says about the offense going up-tempo:
“We don’t always do it, but when we do it is really effective,” tight end Charlie Woerner said. “They’re not ready. Most of the defenses we play, they change a lot of their defensive personnel, so it helps us when we go fast and get them stuck in a personnel grouping they don’t want. But yeah, two-minute wasn’t great on Saturday. We’ve got to continue to work on little things, get better on our tempo stuff, so we can use it all the time and it can really be a weapon for us.”
But Woerner said they don’t always want to be in tempo because of certain plays they want to run. They want to be able to substitute during drives, which is where their depth comes in, and when they do that the defense by rule has to be able to answer with substitutions. [Emphasis added.]
So, they know pace works, they know how it affects the opposing defense, but they don’t want to commit to it too much because it limits the playcalling (you get one guess about that) and they like substituting.
Then there’s this about play design and throwing over the middle:
There is also the idea of throwing more balls to the middle of the field. Woerner pointed out that South Carolina played a lot of one-high safety and cover 3.
“It takes away a lot of the middle, definitely,” Woerner said. “But a lot of that, they’re doing because they’re trying to take away our run game, and loading the box. That’s why a lot of the middle is gone.”
Now, there are ways to deal with that — and, to be fair, Coley did call more five-wide, empty backfield sets against South Carolina than I’d seen previously this season. The problem is that most of that came when the Dawgs were in scramble mode, trying to claw back in the game, rather than as a way to attack the defensive scheme. And that’s because Georgia plays as Kirby wants Georgia to play.
Take it from the horse’s mouth: “We’ve never lost a game when we were efficient in the run game…”
And that’s fine, to an extent. But can’t Georgia have another answer on offense when it’s inefficient running the ball? Or maybe the better question is why can’t Georgia scheme ways to promote efficiency in the ground game other than by imposing its will?
Again, unless Georgia’s hemorrhaging turnovers, those aren’t questions that are likely to need answers Saturday night. But we all know there are times coming up when Tyler Simmons’ blocking skills aren’t going to be enough to carry the day by themselves. It might be prudent to consider other ways to skin the cat. Just sayin’.