One reason I have higher hopes for Georgia’s passing game in 2018 is that I expect the offensive line to make another leap forward. Another reason, though, is that there are signs the receiving corps is stepping up things.
That’s now behind him, with Hardman coming off of a strong finish to the 2017 season. Holding an expertise with the playbook, Hardman believes he can bring more to the table as a junior.
“Once you get it down like I have it now, you can start putting a little flavor to it on your own, and play how you’re supposed to play,” Hardman said.
By this, Hardman means he doesn’t have to stay directly on script with a particular route. If a defender is playing a certain way, Hardman can try some techniques that break the initial line of the route. And as the chemistry between a quarterback and receiver grows, the coaching staff allows for more leeway in this area.
Hardman said the trust with quarterback Jake Fromm has grown to the point where they can maneuver their way around a strict route concept.
“In the playbook, you have lines and they tell you the route,” Hardman said. “But on the field, coming out first, you try to run it like that. But once you know it, you can do different releases, stems, and not necessarily how it’s drawn up. When you’re comfortable with that, coaches will give you more freedom to do more things.”
Remember that last season was Hardman’s first full year on offense. His game did improve noticeably over the second half of the season. If he’s really comfortable with the playbook and Fromm, look out, world.
From there, assume he’s not the only receiver growing more comfortable with the offense and his quarterback. This could get fun.