Today, in 3-D chess

If you jumped over to read that Andy Staples piece ($$) Seth linked to in his tweet, you’ll come across his take about Georgia’s offense that I find way more interesting than his praise for Stetson Bennett.

… Georgia has built a unit that feels like a correction to the way defenses have changed to deal with spread offenses.

When Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart was in his first few years as Alabama’s defensive coordinator, the Crimson Tide played huge linebackers (between 235 and 260 pounds)… Secondaries and linebacker groups have gotten much lighter. The best secondaries tend to include five players who all would have been cornerbacks 15 years ago. Today’s outside linebackers would have been strong safeties. Today’s inside linebackers would have been weakside linebackers.

Defenses had to do this, because playing such large second- and third-level players put them at risk of having a 240-pound linebacker covering some 175-pound burner in the slot. To deal with four- and five-receiver formations that could morph into different looks with shifts and motion, defenses had to go small. And that’s fine until they run into an offense that can spread the field and still be huge.

… If the Bulldogs can harness that (i.e., using three tight ends), they’ll be able to use all those big bodied pass catchers to create multiple mismatches in the passing game while also maintaining a numbers advantage blocking in the run game…

In a way, this is nothing new.  A long time ago, I wrote about what the spread offense was doing to traditional defensive schemes and what a contrarily minded offensive coordinator might make of that development.

All of which makes you wonder how far this trend will go.  If you configure your defense for small, speedy types who can keep up with these spread sets, it would seem to open you up to other problems.  In the land of the dime package, the power running game is king, so to speak.

So, it seems, might the 13 formation with freakishly skilled tight ends be.  Gosh, I just wonder if Georgia has an offensive coordinator who has a clue about how to deploy such talent effectively.  Actually, I don’t.  I’m looking forward to the ride.



Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

33 responses to “Today, in 3-D chess

  1. With these TEs and Kenny Mc, we can go 12 personnel and, based on defensive personnel grouping, shift into a heavy 2-tight set against dime packages or into an empty set against 4 or 5 DBs. TG3II would have been devastating in these type of sets.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. RangerRuss


    Liked by 9 people

    • akascuba

      In the words of our National Champion HC: That sounds good to say too.

      “ break those bitches make them never won’t to play you again”

      Liked by 2 people

      • 69Dawg

        Old Kirby is down right eloquent. We now know how he gets the guys fired up and as an old timer I’m all for it.


  3. practicaldawg

    I’ve been saying regularly since last year that a perfect storm is brewing for UGA’s RB room to feast in 2022. If you look at Monken’s history at other programs, you’ll find years with massive rushing stats too. Our TEs are going to be a big time problem for defenses. It’s just that everyone is focused on the passing game right now. But what if the TEs are also good blockers? And what if you also have what some are saying is the the best OL in the Kirby era? And what if you have a stacked backfield of RBs? I think you see where I’m going.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. owensborodawg

    So, you’re saying we won the National Championship and/because we dictated a possible sea change in offensive/defensive schemes? Our Georgia Bulldogs? We aren’t antiquated, but so advanced that people can’t figure out how to play us when Bowers splits out wide, Gilbert is in the slot and Darnell Washington is lined up tight? I think I can get used to this new world order. Yes, yes I can.

    I wish my father was alive to see this. He, too, would say FTMF, but direct it to the village on plains of Alabama. He hated Auburn.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Isn’t that largely what happened in the Rose Bowl? Oklahoma’s defenders were used to dealing with small, fast running backs and receivers and then had to tackle Nick Chubb and Sony Michel

    Liked by 2 people

  6. jcdawg83

    One of the great things about the college football game is the constant change of offenses and the reaction of defenses to the change. The spread came about when some offensive coaches looked at the dominant defenses and said “I can beat that with speed mismatches”. Spurrier was a pioneer in that regard. When he came to the SEC he brought a game no one had ever even imagined. His offense was all about creating mismatches in space with linebackers being forced to cover receivers and running backs. The SEC was a “three yards and a cloud of dust” conference when it came to offenses when Spurrier arrived. The big tailback, bowling ball fullback and road grader linemen was the offensive model pretty much every team used. Within 10 years of Spurrier showing up in Gainesville the rest of the SEC had adopted more of a balanced offensive attack and speed became critical for defensive players. Now, it appears the pendulum may start to swing in the other direction.

    I think the old saying “big and fast beats small and fast every time” sums it all up.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nil Butron is a Pud

    I fully endorse us coming out against Tech and their interim coach in a wishbone set with 3 TE’s in the backfield.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this sentence from one of those 2008 comments on the linked older post:
    “If Knowshon gets in a 1-on-1 situation with some skinny CB downfield…”

    Because 6 months later, this happened: