I saw D’Andre Swift’s reaction after he got blown up on a first down run late in the game, when Georgia was desperately trying to maintain possession of the ball to run out the clock. I didn’t know the background story, though, until afterwards.
The CBS and Sanford Stadium cameras caught an awkward moment between Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift Saturday night during Georgia’s 19-13 win over Texas A&M.
The Bulldogs were coming off a first-down run by Brian Herrien on a third-and-one play when Fromm let the play clock run down and handed off to Swift into the teeth of a Texas A&M blitz. The Aggies showed the blitz at the last second, knowing that the Bulldogs were trying to let as much time tick away as possible, and Swift loss two yards on the play.
The junior tailback sprung to his feet and had some words for Fromm, who never really pushed back as TAMU called a timeout with 2:43 left in the game and the two started walking toward the sideline.
After the game, Kirby Smart shed some light on the event and described it as something that would have been impossible to avoid considering the circumstances.
“I wouldn’t call it a dustup,” Smart said. “He was just frustrated. It was a situation where we don’t run that play into a pressure from that side. They did a good job disguising it. We told Jake to milk the clock and when you milk the clock you can’t change the play. You milk the clock, you’ve got to run the play. It wasn’t a great play, but that’s called passion, it’s not a dustup. It’s love. When you have family, your family doesn’t always get along, right? But they love each other. These two young men love each other as much as anybody.”
Had it been any other time in the game when UGA wasn’t trying to milk the clock, Fromm would probably been up to snap it sooner, had an opportunity to recognize the blitz and put Swift in a better situation. Instead, the play put the Bulldogs behind the chains.
“I think it’s just two competitors that want to compete and do the right thing for the offense,” Fromm said. “The clock is ticking, they showed a blitz there at the last second and I didn’t have enough time to change it. That’s part of the four-minute scenario, trying to milk out the clock and two guys want to be really competitive and win a football game.”
The “four-minute scenario”. There’s your metaphor for this season’s Georgia offense. Or, if you prefer, you can go with this one:
Simmons said Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley has been focusing the offense on third downs and red-zone touchdowns. Against Texas A&M, Georgia went 5-of-15 on third down, and it scored one touchdown in its three trips to the red zone. The other two were Rodrigo Blankenship field goal attempts.
“There’s always something you can improve on,” Simmons said. “We’re definitely getting to where we want to be. We just have to keep progressing.”
Keep? When did they start?
Look, Jake and his receivers definitely had their share of execution issues, especially in the first half, when Fromm missed badly on a couple of key throws and one an early occasion when he threw a perfect slant (!), only to have it go right through the hands of the receiver. But the coaching staff isn’t exactly doing him a lot of favors, either.
Watching Georgia’s offense was interesting because they used a minimal amount of creativity or modern concepts. They stayed in 11 personnel, didn’t put anyone in motion across the formation, no bootlegs or rollouts, a couple of quick throws, and didn’t run any RPOs with backside screens. They used the toss play away from A&M’s playside blitzes a few times but didn’t go to them consistently.
Time and time again, A&M didn’t have to do much but crowd the box and allow Georgia backs to come to them. Nothing came easy for the Bulldogs and while A&M had something to do with that Georgia really was their own worst enemy time and time again both in philosophy and execution.
Forget Attack the Day. “Nothing comes easy” is this year’s mantra. And it shouldn’t be; Georgia hits a couple of those near misses early on and yesterday’s game isn’t close. Incapability isn’t an excuse, either, as Fromm nailed three beautiful passes on the Dawgs’ lone touchdown drive.
I’m beginning to wonder if there is so much confidence in the play of the defense that it robs the offense — coaches and players — of their edge. Whatever the problem is, they’d better find an answer in a couple of weeks. LSU has only failed to score at least 30 points once this season and has never been held below 23. Georgia has failed to score more than 23 points five times already this season. Something’s gotta give for Georgia to win another SEC title.