Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Zeier, on last week

It echoes a lot of what’s been said here, but he’s been in the arena, so it sounds better coming from him.

“South Carolina has been able to get after quarterbacks, we’ve seen that, (so) I thought we were going to try to get the football out of Jake’s hands, utilize the quick game,” Zeier said. “I was a little surprised we didn’t get James Cook more involved in the football game.”

Zeier said “the blueprint is out right now, on how to attack us on the offensive side of the football,” and that “you’ve got defenses that are selling all out against the run.”

Indeed, Jake Fromm attempted a career-high 51 passes in the loss to the Gamecocks with a career-high three interceptions. Fromm who had not been intercepted in the first five games, also was sacked three times and fumbled away a center exchange.

It was not all on Fromm, but Zeier did not give his fellow quarterback a pass.

“It was probably the one time I’ve seen Jake Fromm miss reads, where we had guys running open, and all of the sudden if you hit that, if the correct read is made and you complete the pass on the seam or going outside, now all he sudden, you look like a genius when you’re calling plays,” said Zeier, who finished his career between the hedges in 1994 with 67 UGA records and 18 SEC marks.

“When you miss a couple of reads, make a  couple of bad throws, you drop a couple of passes, all those things add up to a bad game all the way around.”

Zeier said Fromm had his challenges on account of the Georgia receivers not creating separation.

“We are not creating space, so the windows that we’re having to throw the football into, in many cases it looks like an NFL game, where you’ve got elite defensive backs where your window is extremely small,” Zeier said.

“How do you help receivers get off the jam? Get them in motion, get them moving, so you don’t allow a defensive back to come up and get in your face where that first step you’ve got a problem,” Zeier said.

“You can also utilize slot receivers to get down the seam in quick fashion, get mismatches, get James Cook on the outside as opposed to having a receiver, force defenses into different looks than they are accustomed to, create mismatches with your alignment, and then get movements going and motions going to try to loosen up what defenses are trying to do.”

Forget about the tight ends… one of this season’s biggest mysteries is why Georgia isn’t utilizing James Cook more.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

This week, in manball

Look, don’t get me wrong.  Kentucky isn’t a particularly good team this season.  As Josh notes, the ‘Cats haven’t exactly been stopping SEC offenses.  Getting Georgia’s execution back on track should be enough to carry the day.

So I understand doubling down on core identity.

And when Kirby Smart was asked about how Fromm has handled the fall out from the loss, the Georgia coach said his quarterback seems to be in good spirits.

“He’s been great. He’s been helping those wideouts, challenging them, just as he was before,” Smart said. “Challenging them outside, giving them looks like we know they’re going to get. Hard corners, and trying to get them more physical guys at the line, pressing them and things like that. So we can simulate those looks a little better. But Jake’s been great.”

True, when you don’t give a defense new wrinkles, you should be able to anticipate what you’re going to get.

Which brings me to Seth’s preview piece for tomorrow’s game ($$).  He’s got a couple of quotes from Charlie Woerner that are revealing.  For example, here’s what Woerner says about the offense going up-tempo:

“We don’t always do it, but when we do it is really effective,” tight end Charlie Woerner said. “They’re not ready. Most of the defenses we play, they change a lot of their defensive personnel, so it helps us when we go fast and get them stuck in a personnel grouping they don’t want. But yeah, two-minute wasn’t great on Saturday. We’ve got to continue to work on little things, get better on our tempo stuff, so we can use it all the time and it can really be a weapon for us.”

But Woerner said they don’t always want to be in tempo because of certain plays they want to run. They want to be able to substitute during drives, which is where their depth comes in, and when they do that the defense by rule has to be able to answer with substitutions.  [Emphasis added.]

So, they know pace works, they know how it affects the opposing defense, but they don’t want to commit to it too much because it limits the playcalling (you get one guess about that) and they like substituting.

Then there’s this about play design and throwing over the middle:

There is also the idea of throwing more balls to the middle of the field. Woerner pointed out that South Carolina played a lot of one-high safety and cover 3.

“It takes away a lot of the middle, definitely,” Woerner said. “But a lot of that, they’re doing because they’re trying to take away our run game, and loading the box. That’s why a lot of the middle is gone.”

Now, there are ways to deal with that — and, to be fair, Coley did call more five-wide, empty backfield sets against South Carolina than I’d seen previously this season.  The problem is that most of that came when the Dawgs were in scramble mode, trying to claw back in the game, rather than as a way to attack the defensive scheme.  And that’s because Georgia plays as Kirby wants Georgia to play.

Take it from the horse’s mouth:  “We’ve never lost a game when we were efficient in the run game…”

And that’s fine, to an extent.  But can’t Georgia have another answer on offense when it’s inefficient running the ball?  Or maybe the better question is why can’t Georgia scheme ways to promote efficiency in the ground game other than by imposing its will?

Again, unless Georgia’s hemorrhaging turnovers, those aren’t questions that are likely to need answers Saturday night.  But we all know there are times coming up when Tyler Simmons’ blocking skills aren’t going to be enough to carry the day by themselves.  It might be prudent to consider other ways to skin the cat.  Just sayin’.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Dodging a slow moving bullet

Normally, this would sound clichéd…

SUDGE: What will it take for Kentucky to pull an upset in Athens?

MOORE: There has only been one game where Kentucky didn’t find itself in a hole in the first quarter. They can’t let that happen against Georgia and let it get out of hand fast. Kentucky also has 16 turnovers this season if you count turnovers on downs, and they have to win the turnover battle.

They have to try and do what they did against Arkansas. Georgia’s running backs are a totally different animal in terms of depth, but I think they need to keep the explosive plays to a minimum. I think Georgia will run all over them, but it’s about containing the big bursts. Kentucky has to try to shorten the game in order to have its best shot.

… but after last week, it sounds like a credible game plan.  It’s up to the home team to make that revert to mere wishful thinking.

That being said, it’s a little weird for both teams to share a goal of shortening the game.  If you’re Kirby Smart, dominating time of possession is nice until it isn’t.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“No longer is LSU slamming its proverbial head against the wall.”

I’m not gonna lie to you.  Every time I watch LSU’s offense this year, I grow a little more jealous.

Turns out LSU has been doing it wrong all these years. For more than 100 years, the minds behind LSU’s offense told us that if we just run it a few more times, the passing game would open up. Just one more toss dive they said. Just one more battering run into a loaded box. It’ll make it easier on the quarterback! Just one more run, baby! Just. One. More. Run.

We have been hoodwinked, bamboozled, run amok and flat-out deceived!

The run does not set up the pass. The pass sets up the run. LSU’s 2019 offense is proof of what the nerds have been saying for a few years now at the professional level. Passing is king, play action works no matter what and you should throw on early downs.

It’s not that Georgia lacks the personnel to do those things.  It’s not even that Georgia doesn’t do those things.  Play action is a staple.  The Dawgs threw as often as they ran on first down against South Carolina.

What Georgia lacks is a commitment to fully incorporate that mindset into its offensive scheme.  Sure, executing better than it did last Saturday is bound to make things better, but ask yourself if you think this team has the slightest possibility of scoring 42 points on 48 offensive plays against Florida in a few weeks.

You can stop chuckling now.  We return you to our regularly scheduled manball, already in progress.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Why not?

Just because a Tennessee beat writer’s interview with Kevin “That High School Coach Who Never Punts” Kelley ($$) was inevitable after Jeremy Pruitt’s joking presser about “they always onside kick, they never punt” doesn’t make it any less awesome.

“He knows that playing regular football, lining up and running the ball and playing good defense, unless Alabama makes a lot of mistakes, they really don’t have a good chance to win. The Vegas line (which favors Alabama by 35.5 points), which is made by some of the smartest people in the world, shows that,” Kelley said. “So if that’s the case, and you’re trying to give your team the best chance to win, it’s not by lining up and playing regular football. So I would for sure do it. But of course, I believe in this system. I do it. But I’d be doing a lot of those things and a lot of different things than I’ve done in the past just to give us a better chance to win.”

I’d love to see Pruitt do it, if for no other reason than it would be guaranteed to make Fulmer shit a brick.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Strategery And Mechanics

Today, in strategery

Another you won’t believe it until you see it stat about Georgia’s offense:

Here’s how Georgia’s receiving corps stats shape up:

Screenshot_2019-10-17 cfbstats com - 2019 Georgia Bulldogs Receiving

Take out Wolf’s four-catch, 73-yard effort against Murray State, and he and Woerner have combined for 9 receptions and 58 yards.  Perhaps not the best use of resources, in other words.

Of course, there’s no stat to measure will imposition, so there’s that, at least.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

You have questions. Kirby has answers.

Talk about your timely reader questions…

Screenshot_2019-10-16 A clue to the new direction

Here’s what the boss man has to say about that:

I go back and say again, we talked about it the other day, it’s simple: Don’t turn the ball over, be more explosive, and win two-minute, all right?” Smart said. “Those are three really critical factors. We’ve got to be more explosive.”

“The runs that we have, there were about six or seven runs in there that were over 10 yards that I would argue could be home runs if one more guy gives a little more effort and gives a little more blocking,” Smart said.

“You’ve got to be able to be more explosive when you get an opportunity to do that. And you’ve got to win two-minute in games. And you can’t turn it over.”

It’s simple, indeed.  When receivers blocking downfield gets a mention and getting receivers open downfield doesn’t, that should tell you all you need to know about what he thinks needs fixing.

Manball can’t fail; it can only be failed.  Win those battles, boys!

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics