Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Jim Chaney’s juggling act

Far be it from me to suggest that Georgia’s offensive coordinator is having a boffo year at the box office, but I will say that I think he’s doing a better job than many of you give him credit for doing.  Mainly that’s because he’s still working his way around a couple of serious personnel shortcomings.  The offensive line is the most obvious one, but the true freshman quarterback is right behind them.

Don’t get me wrong.  Fromm’s done a great job keeping things together after being thrust prematurely into the starter’s role.  But, in the immortal words of Dirty Harry, a man’s gotta know his limitations, and it appears Chaney does.

If you’re looking for some examples of that, take a look at this Ian Boyd post.  Boyd nicely summarizes what Chaney faces in structuring a game plan with his current personnel in this paragraph:

The Georgia staff has two key areas to resolve with Fromm at the helm against better opponents. The first is easing pressure off the run game so that opponents don’t load the box and take away the Nick Chubb/Sonny Michel tandem. The other is easing the pressure off a freshman QB who’s not yet ready to carry the weight of the team.

A lot of Chaney’s difficulties stem from that, while Fromm does an excellent job with his pre-snap reads, he’s not experienced enough to deal with defensive adjustments after he makes that initial determination.  Sometimes, as we saw against Notre Dame, that leads to trouble.

As you watch that, keep an eye on the running back.  A more experienced quarterback would have gladly settled for dumping off the ball for an easy completion there.

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.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

What is the opposite of a decided schematic advantage?

That would be this.

That’s some bad shit there, Booch.

I’m beginning to think I’m going to be offended if Georgia loses in Knoxville in a couple of weeks.

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

“The ante’s up.”

When it comes to the subject of penalties, if Kirby Smart ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.

Although if he really wanted to piss off everybody, he’d bring in Penn Wagers to do it.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Meet at the quarterback.

I’ve already gone on at length about the brilliance of Mel Tucker’s game plan against Notre Dame.  Ian Boyd breaks down three sack plays to illustrate the ways Tucker schemed to wreck havoc in the Irish backfield.

It wasn’t just the speed of Bellamy and Carter that was so devastating.  Tucker did a masterful job of mixing looks and bringing blitzes from different places.  Notre Dame had difficulty keeping up.

Then again,

sometimes it was just the speed of Bellamy and Carter that was so devastating.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Is Jim Chaney up to something?

I want to go back to something Seth Emerson posted a couple of days ago.

Remember last season when it was said in some quarters — like here — that Georgia should use the shotgun and spread more, because its quarterback is more comfortable in that setup? Well, Georgia became just that in this game … even though the quarterback was different. 

Here was my best attempt at charting each Georgia formation, and the result of each play. (Note: Yardage gains may be approximate, as may be some descriptions of play formations. I’m trying to get this posted before my power goes out): 

  • Shotgun, four-wide, one tailback: 10-yard completion, rush for no gain, incomplete (penalty, PI), 2-yard gain, incomplete, Chubb 10-yard run, Godwin TD catch, Ridley 5-yard catch, Chubb loss of 1 yard, interception, incomplete, Fromm scramble and loss of 2 yards, incomplete, Michel 4-yard run, Michel 1-yard catch, Nauta 8-yard catch, incomplete.
  • Shotgun, three-wide, one TE, one tailback: Chubb 30-yard run, 31-yard completion to Godwin, incomplete, Swift completion loss of 4 yards, Michel gain of 13, Michel gain of 4 yards, Michel 1-yard gain, 2-yard completion, Michel 1-yard run, Fromm 5-yard scramble, Michel 1-yard run, 9-yard completion to Ridley, incomplete, Chubb 1-yard run, Chubb 12-yard run, Chubb screen for 12 yards, Michel 3-yard run, incomplete, Herrien 2-yard gain, incomplete, Michel 6-yard TD run, Chubb 1 run, Hardman 5-yard screen catch, Michel no gain.
  • Shotgun, three-wide, two tailbacks: Michel gain of 10.
  • Shotgun, bunched, two TE, two WR, one back: Hardman forward lateral catch for 8 yards, Hardman forward lateral catch for 4 yards.
  • Shotgun, two-wide, two TE, two WR, one back: Fromm muffed handoff/fumble. Chubb 3-yard run.
  • Shotgun, three wide, two offset in backfield: Woerner 3 yard catch, Wims 30-yard catch.
  • Pistol, two-wide, one TE, two-back: 4-yard completion.
  • Pistol, two-wide, one TE, two backs: Incomplete.
  • Pistol, three-wide, one TE, one back: Chubb loss of 2, Chubb 5-yard run.
  • Pistol, two backs, three wide: Michel17-yard run.
  • Bunched two TE, one back, one WR outside, Swift offset: 15-yard gain (holding penalty, Blazevich hold), Swift 37-yard run, Hardman 7-yard run, Chubb 1-yard run.
  • Bunched two-TE, two back, one WR: Chubb 1-yard run.
  • Wild Dawg (no other back, three wide, one TE): Michel 2-yard gain.
  • Wild Dawg (two-wide, one TE, Hardman with two other backs): Hardman lost 2 yards.
  • Wild Dawg (two other backs, three wide): Herrien lost 1 yard.
  • I-formation, bunched: Incomplete, Michel 6-yards on pitch-out.
  • I-formation, two WR right: Chubb 1-yard run, Payne 4 yard run, Payne 7 yard run, Pass and sack, Payne no gain.
  • Victory formation: Kneel, kneel, kneel.

Note: On a lot of those shotgun sets the tailback was off-set a couple yards from the QB, so it was quasi-pistol.

By my count, that’s seventeen different formations before Fromm took a knee to close the game out.  Further, as Seth pointed out, there were variations within the formations as to player placement.

That’s a lot of formations, especially when you consider that Georgia ran less than seventy plays against Notre Dame.  Now it’s true that the end results were nothing to write home about (other than Georgia scoring more than the Irish did, that is), but I wonder if there was another method to Jim Chaney’s madness.  Maybe this is what you do when you’re still trying to figure out what will work best with an offense that’s just beginning to fit all the parts together.

In other words, try as many things as you can, see what works best and do away with the rest.  Or, if you prefer a cruder metaphor, throw a bunch of shit up against the wall and see what sticks.

One thing that apparently will stick is the ongoing abandonment of the I-formation, something I noted after the Appalachian State game.  That’s not necessarily about committing to the passing game, either, although I still question letting Fromm throw the ball as much as he did Saturday night.

Georgia called most of its running plays out of the shotgun against Notre Dame. Judging by what a couple of key offensive contributors had to say Tuesday, expect more of this in the near future.

When it came to the run game, Georgia was primarily a shotgun-oriented team against the Fighting Irish. Excluding the three kneel-downs at the end of the game, the Bulldogs went with 29 run plays out of the shotgun compared to 11 from under center. And three of those under-center runs came when Georgia tried to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, prior to punting the ball to Notre Dame for its final offensive possession…

Chubb said the shotgun runs help because most of them are run-pass options, giving the quarterback the ability to pull the ball from the runner and attempt a throw if he sees something open up downfield.

“It helps because Jake has options to not give whoever the ball and pass the ball somewhere else,” Chubb said. “They have to be on their heels. They can’t worry too much about the run because it will hurt them with the pass.”

Smart hit on what remains the biggest problem on offense as a reason for Georgia’s increasing reliance on the shotgun formation.

Head coach Kirby Smart said that Georgia has worked diligently on softening the opposition’s box defenders. While this doesn’t directly correlate to the shotgun, that’s the best method to execute run-pass option plays. That, in essence, is why Georgia was so shotgun-heavy with its run game against the Irish.

Improving the run game has been a focal point since the 2016 season ended.

“It’s been a conscious effort to loosen up the box,” Smart said. “It doesn’t have to be the gun. I think most of the time when you open formations up, the gun helps you. Any time you throw RPOs, it helps to be from the gun because it’s hard to do that under center. So the conscious effort has been to loosen it up but not necessarily with the shotgun. But I think the two go hand in hand.”

Check out the big brain on Mr. Impose Your Will.  Seriously, it’s changes like this in Smart’s thinking that make me want to believe he really has learned from his first-year mistakes.  It’s great to have a coaching philosophy, but the best philosophy in the world can’t overcome personnel mismatches.

The best thing about this is that they were able to survive Notre Dame because the defense is far enough along that they could afford the luxury of tinkering with the offense.  I’d expect more of the same this week against Samford, because… well, cupcake.  The thing to watch is where the fine tuning takes them as, hopefully, they manage to develop some traction on the offensive line.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Tuesday morning buffet

Let’s open up the chafing dishes.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Pac-12 Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, See You In Court, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

“Jake’s already comfortable making checks.”

I don’t know if Jake Fromm is as precocious as his teammates are making him out to be…

“He’s been out there making his own checks since the first day he’s been here,” fullback Christian Payne said. “He already knows the whole offense. That’s a special kind of guy you don’t see a lot of.

“He can definitely make all the checks, all the alerts, everything like that.”

… but I love that they’re planting that idea out there for Notre Dame to ponder as it gameplans.

“He’s been comfortable since the day he got here, trusting his eyes and seeing what he sees. If he sees a safety rotation he’s going to check it. And I think he’s very comfortable with making those calls…”

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics