So let’s start by looking back at the last four games of last season. Georgia went 4-0 and JT Daniels compiled a passer rating of 178.50, which, had he done that over the course of the entire season, would have been top ten nationally.
The criticism of Daniels’ performance, such as it’s been, has generally focused on the quality of the defenses he’s faced.
Graham offers a rebuttal of that criticism.
So does Josh.
There’s a good case to be made there, but I also think there is an argument to be made regarding context. Mississippi State’s roster was depleted. Georgia faced South Carolina after Boom was canned and a major portion of the secondary elected to opt out of playing.
That being said, I think there’s a decent possibility we’re overemphasizing Georgia’s passing game. Why do I say that? Because the two closest games Georgia played in those four were against two defenses that elected to sell out to shut down the run. And it worked, too! MSU held Georgia to eight yards rushing (0.35 ypa); Cinci held Georgia to 45 yards rushing (1.88 ypa). The Dawgs won both games, but only by seven and three points, respectively.
And here’s the thing: last season’s Clemson’s offense (43.5 ppg) was better than Mississippi State’s (21.4 ppg) and Cincinnati’s (37.5 ppg).
Forget the sign stealing; if I’m Venables, I’m going to be sorely tempted to follow a similar game plan in an attempt to make Georgia’s offense one-dimensional. Then again, if I’m Monken, I have to think that’s something Venables is considering and look to scheme around that, which means throwing the ball on early downs to open up the run game. Wheels within wheels…