Yesterday, in a post about solo tackle rates and Georgia’s offense, I said Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb are a couple of ridiculously talented running backs, because Georgia’s 2014 offense managed to be one of the most efficient in the country despite every team keying on shutting down its running game.
“Here’s what it came down to for us,’’ said GM Les Snead. “Todd, for us, was one of those once-every-few-years talents, one of the best players we’ve seen come out in a while. We just felt he was somebody we couldn’t pass up. This wasn’t about Week 1 against Seattle, whether he’d be ready to go then; we will let nature takes its course on that. This was a long-term decision.
“One of the things we looked at was the team around him. I’m not sure about this, but it’s possible there might not be an offensive lineman who blocked for him at Georgia who will start at the next level, or play at the next level. When we looked at him on tape, we saw him playing against a lot of seven- and eight-man fronts, which is what he’s going to be seeing when he lines up for us. We saw him playing against not a lot of air, which is what he’s going to be seeing when he plays for us. So that translates pretty well.”
Now I think Pyke and Theus have a shot to play on Sundays, but that’s not really the main thing there. It’s what Snead saw Gurley doing regularly in the face of a stacked box that’s key. Making something out of nothing has been a characteristic of Richt’s best backs over the past few seasons, going back to Knowshon Moreno. With those kinds of backs, it hasn’t mattered if the offensive line play has been less than stellar. (Handing the ball off to Carlton Thomas up the middle? That’s another story.)
Mark Richt likes to ride the beast when he can. Good thing he’s got two more seasons of Nick Chubb.