In defense of James Coley

Lawrence Cager is passionate in his defense of his oft-criticized offensive coordinator… okay, maybe not this impassioned…

… but, you know, impassioned.

“I have a biased opinion of Coach Coley,” Cager said. “He did a lot for my life, and he’s a great coach for me and all these guys. I know any guy in this room would go to bat for him.

“Whatever negative stuff is being said about him are people who really don’t know what’s going on inside of here, and he shouldn’t be getting anything negative.”

Let’s hope a few of Cager’s teammates go to bat for him in the Sugar Bowl.  It couldn’t hurt.


Filed under Georgia Football

39 responses to “In defense of James Coley

  1. Gaskilldawg

    Next Wednesday is signing day. No head coach is going to fire an assistant who is a good recruiter until that assistant’s recruits have faxed in their NLIs. You will not know if Smart is sticking with Coley until after Wednesday.


    • For shits and giggles, does that mean CKS has already offered the OC job to somebody else?


      • Normaltown Mike

        That’s a trick question.

        UGA under Kirbs is gonna eliminate the anxiety of a bad O and punt on 1st down every series so that we can get the D back on the field. The inverse of that HS coach in Arkansas.


      • Gaskilldawg

        I have a source who thinks that Smart has asked Coley to find another job but that source is not sure that information s accurare


  2. Dawgoholic

    There are legitimate reasons to not blame the offensive woes on Coley. That being said, he’s the OC and we all saw what happened. Everyone should defer to Kirby here and support his decision.


  3. UGA '97

    In Defense of….gonna be a lot of that today, that said, did Kirby use excess power over a $1 million first year OC?


  4. TN Dawg

    I appreciate Cager’s play as well as his loyalty to his coach and friend. Loyalty is an admirable quality.

    It doesn’t change the fact that the offense struggled and looked bland, even when unleashed.

    Out of curiosity, and I feel like there must be one I’m just not thinking of, but I don’t recall one double-pass, flea-flicker, double-reverse, HB pass, reverse pass, fake kick (understandable), kick return reverse or any type of gadget play.

    I’m sure my memory is lacking and I missed a game or two due to work, so surely there are some there. It just seems as though we were almost trick-play free this year.


    • Charlottedawg

      Loyalty is a vice not a virtue. This is exhibit A, it keeps you from taking an objective view when a person is underachieving relative to his peers and keeps you hanging on to suboptimal options for far too long.


    • We ran a flea flicker and didn’t hit it in a game late in the season (can’t remember which)?


      • Will (the other one)

        It was either Auburn on TAMU, and the WR was open


        • Reverend Whitewall

          Wide open, and shockingly Jake overthrew him.


          • Lutz Dawg

            the pass was thrown to Pickens and just out of reach. the SEC Network broke this play down and showed where Pickens slowed up in the middle of his route until he realized Jake had thrown to him. So, it looks like Jake over-threw him when actually Pickens didn’t run the route hard throughout and was to blame for the incomplete pass. Let’s not just blame everything on Jake.


  5. DawgPhan

    Anyway you slice it, this offense is half as efficient as it was last year. That isnt people outside the arena wanting more big plays, its the facts of the offense being really bad all season.


  6. W Cobb Dawg

    Here’s hoping Kirby gets visited by the ghosts of sec championship games past, present and future, culminating in a Scrooge-like epiphany. Sure, keep Coley. But get him some help. Luke was a good move. Now get a guy who has some game plan, QB coaching and offensive coaching chops.

    By the way, if Hartley doesn’t land one of those top TEs, don’t be surprised if he’s odd man out.


  7. DawgPhan

    I also guess in all this gnashing of offensive teeth, we are just going to not talk about the heisman this year.


  8. Austin

    My two cents.

    I wonder if all the receivers that left early were a sign of things to come. As in did they leave because they thought they were all going to be drafted, which they weren’t. Or did they leave because they knew under Coley it would be even more “man ball” blocking and not getting to show their talents and be under used and that made them jump to the NFL and try their hand.

    Or did the lack of the receivers being ready make “man ball” the only option, and tie Coley’s hands and make play calling predictable and what we saw this year.

    Personally, I feel the passing game did about the best it could, but Fromm regressed, receivers didn’t step up, and absent play action really hurt us this year.

    The plan was a great. Play sound fundamental football and don’t let the lack of offense hurt you. But eventually it did and in a big way in the South Carolina game and in the SEC title game.

    The question is was the game plan a big product of what we had, or what we wanted?

    Not really saying anything that hasn’t beens said 100 times.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TN Dawg

      I think Nauta absolutely left because he wasn’t getting touches.

      Mecole probably for dough.

      If I were a 5* TE in high school, UGA would not be my choice. I’d be packing my bags for Iowa.


      • Reverend Whitewall

        The touches could definitely be part of it, but I think in the end, Nauta knew he was shorter and slower than what the scouts are looking for, and another year of college ball wasn’t gonna change either of those factors. So he might as well jump in and try to beat the odds instead of risking injury for another year of not getting paid.


  9. The other Doug

    “…people who really don’t know what’s going on inside…”
    So, what was going on behind the scenes?


  10. Geezus

    Sorry Larry, it really doesn’t matter what happens in the locker room, that part is expected regardless of the coach – that’s called his job. What matters are the results on the scoreboard and based on that, he (Coley) has failed consistently.

    Receivers do not get 3 stars or higher without at least 1 skill … catching the damn ball. Our guys came in here with talent, our coaching has failed them. It’s up to Kirby (as the CEO) to put a plan in-place to quickly correct the problem so that the investors and shareholders (the fans) are satiated, else the spigot starts getting turned off.


  11. more spinners

    Pittman and Chaney leave within 4 years. Most of these young men sign to play for 4 years.
    Looking back when those 2 came of board they could not wait to reacquiant, like Claire and Jamie, even their SO’s were excited. Gone to UT and UArk.
    So when did UArk become interested in Pittman, I heard nothing til he had committed. But no doubt the way the O line played a so-so LSU defense you had to wonder. Then Chaney could not wait to get to UT, leaving like Pittman before a major bowl game. KS stayed with Saban til after the games.
    Pittman and Chaney. 3 games stick out to me, well one other. Florida in ’18 when on the 1 yard line man ball could not drop it in. Then LSU hammering us in Baton Rouge. Manball…pro-set [don’t think KS & CO., is anywhere near spread], Texas in the Bowl, then toss in SC game, then UF and UA driving on the alleged vaughted D [and hanging on], then against LSU again with almost zero running game and no production on 1st and 2nd downs…now you have to throw.
    I’m like the former Auburn HC [national title], run can run when they load the box.
    Those 2 coaches were suppose to lead UGA out of the desert…close to the top bar, but never over.
    Then you have some current players, in particular Fromm, always saying the O is close to break out. What does that mean…hanging on the bar by out thumb nails. He says that and in the later part of the season he tanks.
    OU, LSU, Clemson, OSU…do you hear about a “pittman O line coach there”. Nope. 2 of the 4 have QBs out of this state. One of those was at UGA under Chaney and Pittman.
    Here is my point. Coach Luke are we going to see what you can do to move this offense along considering the current staffing. Hope your communication skills and playbook can put some points on the board against Baylor [they run the spread and score alot, and does anyone here know who their OC and O line coach is.].
    I once heards a maligned HS coach say the pros run some spread. Guess the is why LSU’s HC plucked that coach from the Saints.


    • Debby Balcer

      There was interested in Pittman early. Right after Morris was fired a bunch of his former players were publicly lobbing for him to be hired. They took out an ad in the paper. Pittman is from OK. I don’t think he would have left except for this job.


  12. I don’t think Coley was the problem. I think some of the play designs were poor, but I think some were outstanding. I don’t think he is a terrible coach or anything like that. I think he was a first-year play-caller and some improvement can and should be made.

    I think UGA needs to find a QB that can make something happen with his legs. If you look at Joe Burrow (or Fields or T-Law or Tua or your pick for CFB’s best QB), a lot of the plays he makes are when he breaks out of the pocket. He makes some throws on time in the pocket, but there are a lot of times when the initial play is not there, he scrambles a bit, and then finds a guy wide open down the field for a huge gain. If that’s not there, he picks up a few yards with his legs or moves around until a WR gets open. He averaged about 7 rushing attempts per game for 22 ypg. If he doesn’t make a few really important runs against Alabama, they lose that game. It’s not that he became an option QB, but he could scramble around and make something positive happen when he needed to. There was a reason UGA used a spy and didn’t over-pursue on the pass rush for much of the SECCG. LSU didn’t dominate UGA because it’s scheme was better or the play design was just superior. They had playmakers at QB and WR that UGA couldn’t replicate. Kirby isn’t wrong when he says that. T-Law averaged 6 rushes for 31 ypg. Again, making things happen with his legs when the initial play wasn’t there. Jake had 35 attempts for 0 yards this year… and it’s not because the OL gave up a bunch of sacks. If the initial play wasn’t there, it was a lost down. End of story. That needs to change for UGA’s offense to become truly dynamic.

    Perhaps it can change with Fromm. Perhaps they tried to protect him as much as possible since there was not a legitimate backup. Or maybe, that just isn’t a part of his skill set. I think in addition to throwing it a whole bunch with the returning WR’s this summer, he ought to do their running drills with them. See if he can gain some mobility in the pocket that he so very sorely lacks. If he can gain that, then maybe on some of those lost downs, he instead scrambles around until he can heave it deep to a wide open WR like those other guys do so frequently.

    I think Jake can be great. I think we have seen glimpses of what he could be, and he has a good football mind. But if you put a dynamic QB behind center for UGA in 2020 (like a D’Eriq King, for example), I think UGA’s offense would become nearly impossible to defend.


    • Will (the other one)

      I was hoping they’d make a run at Joey Gatewood (instead Kentucky grabbed him.)
      Fields’ TD-to-INT ratio of 40-1 certainly blows up the “only conservative offense reduces the risk of turnovers” argument.


    • 2675miller

      You don’t need 5 future nfl 1st or 2nd round picks on the ol if you have a qb who has decent feet. That same qb also offsets the extra man or two in the box. A pro style offense requires nfl talent players and nfl level execution (which is pretty hard to achieve with 20 hrs of practice time)I would contend that Fields would have taken fromm’s job by the last 3rd of the season had he stayed for that reason if no other.


      • I would contend that Fields would have taken fromm’s job

        I expected this to happen even with the offense doing well in 2018 and having no reason to expect differently in 2019. I thought Fromm had a hold on the job until Fields had proven he could handle the load, which would probably come sometime during year 2. Unfortunately, Fields never gave it that chance.


    • Tony Barnfart

      Yep, when the ball is coming from only one launch point (the pocket), with a pretty concrete time frame, the receiver’s job is that much harder (and the defense easier) because the whole thing has to be in sync.

      We’re shooting a pellet gun at the can on the fence while LSU has a .410 shotgun


  13. Russ

    So it’s Kirby’s fault?



  14. Duronimo

    If we go to the spread, are our heavy hogs the right fit? After all, it’s an offense that attacks the whole field requiring the Oline to run to the edges via zone blocking schemes. Are we, even with this class, recruiting the wrong lineman if we’re planning to make a change?