From manball to the kitchen sink

Finding a way to replace George Pickens’ production will be no easy task, as Tom Fornelli shows:

As shown in the table below, Pickens ran the most routes of any Georgia player in the first four games of the season (he missed the team’s games against Kentucky and Florida due to injury), but was third in targets.

Player Routes Targets Receptions Rec. Rate Yards per target Route Depth
George Pickens 138 21 13 61.9% 1.01 10.04
Jermaine Burton 117 22 8 36.4% 0.95 8.04
Kearis Jackson 101 31 21 67.7% 3.20 7.53
John FitzPatrick 67 7 5 71.4% 6.57 5.61
James Cook 44 8 6 75.0% 13.88 0.21

You’ll notice how the shorter the average route depth is for each player listed how much more efficient and productive they were, with running back James Cook and tight end John FitzPatrick doing the most with the least.

It wasn’t until Pickens returned from his injury and Daniels took over as the team’s starter that Pickens began to look like his old self. Let’s look at this same chart with the same players, but with Daniels at QB, and replace James Cook with Kenny McIntosh who played a bigger role out of the backfield during this stretch.

Player Routes Targets Receptions Rec. Rate Yards per target Route depth
George Pickens 128 32 23 71.9% 11.66 9.97
Jermaine Burton 93 24 17 70.8% 11.42 7.72
Kearis Jackson 90 14 9 64.3% 8.43 7.87
John FitzPatrick 51 7 5 71.4% 7.00 7.87
Kenny McIntosh 34 7 6 85.7% 8.57 1.31

Pickens’ average route depth stayed effectively the same, but his efficiency exploded with Daniels. He improved his catch rate on targets by a full 10%, and his yards per target exploded from 1.01 to 11.66. In short, he became the kind of big-play receiver that Georgia was hoping it had and that it needs if it’s going to win a national title.

As you can see when looking at the two charts, it’s not just Pickens’ numbers that improved. The other receivers and tight end became more efficient, while the running back became less critical but still productive.

So, what to do if you’re Kirby Smart and Todd Monken?  Every damn thing.

“You take your best 11 football players and you try to find ways. That could be one back, three tight end. That could be three back, one tight end. That could be five wides, no backs, no tight ends. You find your best football players and you find ways to get them the ball and that’s what I think coach Monken does a great job of. He’s going to try to exploit whoever you are playing’s weaknesses and he’s going to try to use our strengths to do that with. We have plays that we call that are the same plays we call in all personnel groupings, it’s just another way to get another playmaker the ball. We lost a guy who is a pretty good playmaker but we’ve got other guys who we think are good playmakers and we’ll just try to find ways to get them the ball.”

Kirby’s right about that.  Once Daniels was inserted into the starting lineup, Monken’s ability to exploit defenses really shone.

But, when in doubt, there’s always the old tried and true ($$).

I think we’re enough run-oriented and we have a strong enough offensive line that people have to honor and commit to the run and they’re not able to put a lot of doubles out there on people,” Smart said.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

9 responses to “From manball to the kitchen sink

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    We’re gonna miss Pickens. He caught anything within 10 feet of him. But I think Jermaine Burton is greased lightning; he was always behind his defender, and his hands aren’t bad either. It’d be nice to have a Gene Washington type, in an affense that actually uses the forward pass.


    • Down Island Way

      Stats don’t lie, Madman Monken has shown, proof positive, with good QB play, his plan of attack works (hell, his resume shown that) run/pass, it’s the opposition choice, UGA “O” will miss injured players, next opportunity up…

      Liked by 3 people

  2. No doubt we are going to miss #1. If D-Rob (contract year) puts it together and Rosemy-Jacksaint and Blaylock are ready, we have plenty of guys who can be just fine.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Godawg

      This ^


    • D Rob needs to be that journey man/working man WR that makes some catches to keep teams head on a swivel, allowing bigger play makers to shine. It will help his NFL future as welll, there are plenty of guys like that.


      • miltondawg

        I heard Brian Finneran on the radio talking after the loss of Pickens. He made a good point. The remaining receivers on the team need to be sure that they know every route whether from the X, Y, or Z spot. No one wants to hear about “but he’s a slot receiver” or anything like that. Be able to run every route. You want to get to the NFL and stick, go be a guy that can produce from every spot in the offense and don’t pigeon hole yourself. Have tape running X routes, slot routes, etc. D Rob needs to be that guy.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. akascuba

    If the loss of Pickens forces the offense to be less predictable I`m all for that.
    Spread the ball around keep the other teams playing catch up.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. JaxDawg

    Pickens was the player I was most looking forward to watching this year, and I hate it for the kid that he’s hurt. But man…I can’t remember the last time we had this kind of depth in the pass catching arena.

    In addition to all the names already mentioned, watch out for Arian Smith. All the recruiting buzz was that he was an under the radar prospect, and against Cincinnati and USCjr the kid flashed. Speed kills at the WR position, and he has it. With a season and a full off season under his belt, he’s gonna be a match up problem.

    Liked by 4 people