Last week, I fretted about Georgia’s offense being somewhat predictable due to Jake Fromm’s limits.
Speaking of pre-snap reads, those are even easier for Fromm to handle when he’s making them from the shotgun or pistol rather than under center. Given his background and experience, that’s hardly surprising. Unfortunately, that can make for predictable playcalling.
Looking at last week’s game against Samford, Georgia broke away from at least one tendency it had the game prior against Notre Dame. Georgia increased its plays from under center with its first-team offense. In total, the Bulldogs ran 21 plays under center compared to 30 plays in the shotgun against Samford.
While Smart said switching between shotgun and from under center is “overrated” when it comes to analysis, it does play a part in what the opposition is trying to find out.
“They can look at those things, see it, try to get tendencies off it,” Smart said. “I think every coach in America is trying to break his tendencies.”
But the reason for noting the number of plays under center and out of the shotgun in the Samford game is important for one particular reason. Of the 21 plays under center, quarterback Jake Fromm threw from this spot zero times.
Fromm received only one passing call from under center against Notre Dame and he was sacked on the play.
The tendency here is that Fromm isn’t going to throw the ball when Georgia is under center.
All you can do is all you can do, obviously, and, to be fair, Georgia was going to run the ball down Samford’s throat no matter what formation in which it lined up. Still, with an opponent like Mississippi State, which showed last week it does an excellent job with its game prep, that’s got to be a major concern. Maybe Chaney deserves to be cut a little more slack than he gets.
Instead, it looks like a certain former Georgia defensive coordinator got baited.
During the week of practice, Georgia’s offense practiced the flea-flicker play over and over.
On Thursday, the offense was told it would begin Saturday’s 31-3 win over Mississippi State with the particular play. It was something head coach Kirby Smart saw on film that he believed would work early in the game. Plus, taking a deep shot that early might soften Mississippi State’s box against the run…
On the play, quarterback Jake Fromm lined up under the center on what looked like a run play. After all, Fromm did not attempt a pass from under center the week before against Samford. Mississippi State loaded the box to prevent the run in response.
Fromm handed the ball off to running back Nick Chubb, who then pitched the ball back to Fromm. Godwin was left wide open for what turned into a 59-yard touchdown reception.
Smart said he spoke with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney about the potential play call on Wednesday, which is when the final decision was made to go with it.
“I thought it was there. And it worked,” Smart said.
That wasn’t the only unpantsing that worked.
Throwing the ball only 12 times, Fromm posted a 270.70 passer rating last night. Passer ratings from Mississippi State’s three other 2017 opponents: 53.25, 93.30 and 84.51. In the last decade, no other quarterback has eclipsed that mark against MSU.
After his third start as a true freshman, Fromm is now second in the SEC in passer rating. Somebody’s putting him a position to succeed.