“That was the one red flag for the team going into the season.”

Seth Emerson ($$) talks to Bill Connelly about the Dawgs returning only 24 percent of their receiving yards from last season.

But receiving yards have been the best indicator. Why? The idea runs counter-intuitive to the idea that an offense is built along the lines and at quarterback.

“I’ve talked to coaches a little bit about it and it kind of surprised them a little too,” said Connelly, who joined ESPN in June. “But when you’re looking for why, the best explanation I’ve heard is the chemistry between quarterback and receiver and the actual routes that are being run, and just the overall cohesiveness there, ends up mattering more than anything else.”

Mea culpa time here:  I confess that I severely underestimated the impact of this on Georgia’s offense this season.  And as much as I read Bill’s work, I shouldn’t have.

I’d like to think if I’d have seen this chart Seth compiled in the preseason, I really wouldn’t have.


(The asterisk is about Malcolm Mitchell’s injury, in case you’re wondering.)

Historically speaking, that 2019 result isn’t as bad as you might expect, so maybe score one for Coley there.

There is some slightly bad news to brace for, though, per Seth:  “Right now, Georgia projects to return 54.9 percent of its receiving yards, pending stats from the Sugar Bowl.”  Coach ’em up, fellas!


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

53 responses to ““That was the one red flag for the team going into the season.”

  1. TN Dawg

    Does Seth count Blaylock in his returning receiving production? Because I don’t think he’ll be giving us anything next year.

    I can’t see because of paywall.


    • gastr1

      Yes, he is including Blaylock. You never know how this plays out. Could be ready mid-season.


    • Todd Gurley was ready after his ACL. White would have been ready last year until he tore the other ACL. Chubb was ready (maybe not fully) in 2016 after what was one of the most horrific knee injuries I’ve seen.

      No reason to believe Blaylock won’t be ready for the fall. Whether he trusts it or not is a completely different story.


  2. DawgPhan

    I wonder if focusing so many resources on the OL hurt our ability to get depth @ WR.

    only so much to go around and we definitely increased our OL depth.


  3. Bright Idea

    Even with the receivers’ inexperience and stacked boxes Georgia’s biggest failure was the inability to consistently get the running game going. The vanilla zone read out of the shotgun with no QB run threat was paralyzing which put way too much pressure on the passing game. When Plan A, by design, failed, Plan B wasn’t up to the task.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. UGA '97

    large holes in the experience chart isn’t the issue here. it’s about the progression and development as the season goes on. Preseason Top 4 CFP Power 5 Conference Tams don’t regress that significantly without a major malfunction in many areas. Heck even Wake Forest Totals Offense Rankings last 3 years are better than ours. Its not like the SEC East is full of world beaters. There are plenty of hungry schemers out there that would relish the opportunity at half the price as Coley.


  5. Biggus Rickus

    54.9 is more than twice as much as they returned this year, so it could be worse.


  6. practicaldawg

    Are there any good receivers in the portal yet? That seems to be the lowest hanging fruit. Find a couple more Cagers.


  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    Just speculating, but there have been several first year receivers who were finished products. I can’t think of too many names but grant me the idea for discussion. And there have been experienced receivers who never quite caught on.
    The idea is: returning receiving yards are significant but not a sure thing. Especially with the extra iffy route runners and hot tempers we had this year.


  8. Derek

    Pre-season I thought we’d win the East by showing up. I thought being a post-season contender depended upon Zeus blossoming. Never happened. There was little reason to expect the passing game to be explosive. “Serviceable” was the best we could hope for and without cager that was a mark we couldn’t hit.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dawg93

    This is why the Holloman loss bothered me so much at the time, yet I kept seeing other Dawg fans online reassuring themselves that “we’d be fine” because we had a couple of 5-star WRs joining the team. Losing Holloman dropped our returning production by 13%. Yikes. Had we somehow kept either Ridley or Mecole, it would’ve been a 17-18% boost.

    I’m guessing the reason it looks like our offense out-performed expectations, relative to the returning WR production, is that it doesn’t factor in the boost from Cager. Yes, he was new to the team and, specifically, Fromm, but I think returning production is not just about having a guy your QB has experience with but it’s also about having veterans at that position. For evidence, look no further than how much better the offense functioned when he was playing.

    You gotta think Kirby is all over the WR’s in the transfer portal.


    • Biggen

      Bingo. I went back and watched some of our games on YouTube before the season started but AFTER Holloman was dismissed. It was amazing how many TD catches he alone counted for. I kinda knew we were in trouble after I watched some of those games.

      We are down to 23 scholarships this year because we signed Cager and Wolf last year after signing day. When you take scholarship transfers after signing day, it counts against the next years 25 total.


  10. ugafidelis

    Maybe we should have thrown some slants.


  11. Bill Glennon

    Looks to me like they made a lot of recruiting mistakes. Early returns are not promising for a lot of these guys. With the exception of Pickens and Blaylock, does it really look like any receiver on this roster could be an all SEC player? Compare our guys this year to Jeudy, Smith, Waddle and Ruggs and the plays they were making as freshman and sophomores, let alone Hardman, Ridley, or Holloman.

    As the old Ohio State coach said: “If a dog’s gonna bite, he’ll do it as a pup.”


  12. more spinners

    Consensus here.
    Need some better coaches on the offensive side of the ball and a better play book.
    Old eye test
    Waiting on Fromm
    Recruit a dual threat QB and keep him on the roster!.


  13. Go Dawgs!

    You know, for all the vitriol that gets thrown Coley’s way, I’m surprised that nobody ever seems to question the job that Cortez Hankton is doing with the receivers. I saw some dudes in the SEC Championship Game that still can’t run a route just the same as they couldn’t in the first game of the year. Pickens and Blaylock were brilliant, but I’m not sure that isn’t just off of God given talent. His unit was short on experience this year, but they also seemed to underperform their talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. CB

    I wonder how many receiving yards Bama returned in 2017?


  15. Heyberto

    My biggest question? Shouldn’t we have seen the young / freshmen receivers, and Fromm’s comfort level with them, improve by the end of the season? Outside of Pickens does anyone think they did? Or do stats bear something else out that is counter to my own perception?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Will (the other one)

      He did seem more comfortable with Blaylock by year’s end. But nothing clicked really outside of Cager, Blaylock, and Pickens. Injuries didn’t help (Tommy Bush, who’s Cager-sized, spent most of the year out with a sports hernia, Kearis Jackson looked great early, then got injured), but Simmons and Landers kept getting chances all season but almost never delivering.


    • Russ

      Someone pointed out yesterday that we waste our cupcakes running generic plays instead of using them to increase confidence between the QB and receivers. I think that plays into it as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Uglydawg

    Where to find great receivers? Basketball courts. A lot of great athletes don’t play football in HS. They get overlooked by football coaches that only look at football film. Find those tall guys with good hands and great athleticism.
    Anybody else remember Richard Tardits? A frenchman that never played football that became a defensive end and a legend at UGA.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Connor

    I was worried about that exact stat of Connelly’s, but I talked myself into the O-line and the QB and the Running backs… lesson learned. If you aren’t returning a lot of receiving production, you need to temper your expectations for the success of your offense. Just Truth.
    I wonder how much this says about the nature of offenses in this day and age. If it was possible I’d love to know if that stat has changed over the decades. Was it ever true that having a loaded offense minus receiver production was a good indicator of offensive success? Or was the last time the 40’s or something?


  18. FlyingPeakDawg

    There could be more returning receiving yards if we targeted the TE’s more and used Cook more effectively. A QB protected in the pocket as good as Jake was should have had a higher completion rate and yardage. Execution, scheme, coaching…all failed together this season but hey!…11 wins.


    • Texas Dawg

      You hit the nail on the head. The coaches can’t teach speed. They can not make stone hands soft. What they can do is teach PROPER route running. How to position yourself against a defender. They can design and call routes that are hard for other teams to cover (ie LSU as pointed out by the CBS broadcast team). Landers could not catch a cold so others should have been given a shot. We don’t know if they would have been better (they were not on the field) but it would have been very difficult to be any worse.


      • ASEF

        Landers and Simmons were on the field to block and break tendency Surprise! We threw one to them! But if you’re not getting enough explosive runs for downfield blocking to matter, then what’s the point?

        Simmons, if you remember, was a recruiting steal from Bama. I wondered if that played into Kirby’s fondness for him as well.


  19. DawgByte

    In July and August the majority of message board banter was regarding the depleted WR corp. When we lost Holloman I knew it would be a significant problem, however my glass full side thought there was enough talented youth to help Fromm. I was wrong. Our talented youth did not progress like they should and the promise of DRob did not materialize as it should.

    Speaking of DRob, how does the #1 WR recruit in the country and a player who lit it up in the PAC-12 become invisible at UGA? That’s on Cortez Hankton! It’s unconscionable to waste that kind of talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. RC

    Guilty as charged. I told somebody before the Eason that if I had to have a team that was deficient at one area, WR would be it. Shows you what I know.

    That said- I agree with the points others made above, that we didn’t seem to do a lot in the way of play action and other tactics to help them get open a little easier. I also agree that I would have expected there to be more improvement by the end of the season.


  21. 69Dawg

    Russ above hit the nail on the head, Kirby won’t play a WR that can’t block. The stupidity of this is breath taking. If a guy is a great receiver and the OC has a brain you can use him to clear out an area for the running backs. What we have are 197 pound WR expected to block 235-250 pound OLB’s. Watch the great passing teams their schemes take the safeties and corners out of the run play. Oh yea we don’t like to run outside it’s not manly enough for Kirby. I like Kirby but damn the 2009 version of Alabama is not going to win the SEC over the 2020 version of LSU or Bama for that matter.


  22. Mayor

    Let’s face it. The 2019 Georgia football team was a good but not great team because of deficits on offense. The D was excellent but not the O. Large strong roadgrader O-line but maybe not as mobile as one would like, hence little to no pulling and sometimes defenders could run around the blocks. We didn’t have enough top-notch personnel at wide out and it turned out that our QB (for whatever reason–we could debate why for hours) regressed. Therefore the passing attack wasn’t up to championship caliber. We had one great RB and one good backup RB but the rest of the backup RBs didn’t play much and really didn’t perform up to the level we’d hoped. Plus, the offensive game planning was spotty and frankly the position coaching particularly at WR was suspect. We all were shocked (I certainly was) when LSU exposed the team like it did. But looking back, this team just wasn’t good enough to win the SECCG or make the playoff. The fact that we finished at #5 is over achievement not under achievement IMHO. I hope there aren’t any negative consequences in recruiting from getting pantsed like we did on national TV by LSU. Only time will tell. But….Georgia won another SEC East division title–3rd in a row–and won 11 games (or more) for the third season in a row. That ain’t too shabby.


    • Merk

      Those on the outside who watched, would have seen a highly ranked team that was down it’s #1 WR, lost the #2 and #3 early in the game, and pretty much down the #1 RB. So I don’t know that it will effect perception too much, clearly those who were following the program knew what type of a crap show it was and the injuries just magnified it.


    • dawgtired

      Not too shabby at all. Of course we want to win it all and make better showing at times, but we are always in the NC talks now. That in itself is good for recruiting.
      Look how much better we were with just one effective WR. Imagine what 2 or 3 would do for us. Fromm seemed to regress some but the lack of confidence in the WRs may have him off.
      Coley may need some consideration for the woes you’ve mentioned. I’m not convinced he is the problem. Luke is offense-minded, so maybe he can add some thought to our coordinating as well as continue a great OL.
      It’s hard to believe we could have a better OL.
      Let’s hope there is no real problem at WR coaching. Time will tell.

      It’s near impossible to have a better D…and they are young.

      We have recruited some QBs, too bad they haven’t all stayed. I look forward to seeing Beck, he has the body. Fromm staying one more year will give him time to grow and we’ll have experience to rely on until then.
      The continue success in recruiting is a must. If it does, we’ll stay on the porch with the big dogs.