Georgia’s offense has been the cause of several letdowns this season, but most recently against Vanderbilt in a 17-16 loss.
Jim Chaney came to Athens with a lot of hype, and rightfully so. He pioneered the spread offense in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s at Purdue with quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Kyle Orton.
Later he adopted a more balanced and pro-style offense when he returned to college football in 2009 as part of Lane Kiffen’s staff at Tennessee. He stayed in Knoxville after Derek Dooley was hired and led the 2012 Volunteer offense to being one of the schools best.
Jim Chaney is a guy known for utilizing the personnel he has and changing the offensive style accordingly. He was the guy who didn’t force a power offense on a team with a weak offensive line and four good receivers. Conversely, he wasn’t the guy who would force a spread offense on a team with a good halfback, fullback, and group of tight ends.
For whatever reason, that’s not happening right now. It’s painfully obvious that Georgia’s offensive line is just not good or strong enough to play in a power offense. Yet we see play calling consistent with a power offense and we see Nick Chubb and Sony Michel getting hit in the backfield.
The offense has only scored more than 30 points twice, 31 against North Carolina (33 with the safety by the defense) and 31 against Tennessee. Georgia needed a defensive touchdown to score 26 against Nicholls State, and a special teams touchdown to score 28 against South Carolina.
Less than two months ago I wrote a piece on here praising Jim Chaney and claiming that we would be a complete turnaround from Brian Schottenheimer. And so far I believe he has, but not by much.
He still has a lot to prove. Saturday was a disaster. Georgia could not move the ball on the ground the way they were trying to against Vanderbilt. However, there was success through the air in spread type formations. So why not just make the adjustment?
Similar situation against South Carolina. The Game Cocks could not stop the run, but instead of forcing Chubb, Michel and Herrien down their throats, Chaney called pass plays that broke up the teams momentum. Georgia could have easily scored two or three more touchdowns had Chaney just let allow the players to keep doing what worked.
That’s Georgia’s and Chaney’s biggest issue now, Georgia has no offensive identity. Are they a ground and pound team? Are they a spread, semi-air raid team? Are they a balanced, pro-style team?
Thing is, Georgia has enough skill players around the offense to be all of those things when the situation demands it. Against Tennessee, balance was key. Against South Carolina, ground and pound was working. and Against Vanderbilt, the spread was beckoning to be utilized.
There’s plenty of time for Chaney to mold the offense in to what he wants through recruiting and in the spring. Georgia needs wins in 2016, just let the players play to their strengths in each game.
In defense of Chaney
Talent wise this is not the best Georgia has been. Jacob Eason and Isaac Nauta are future superstars in the SEC. Chubb and Michel are still great, and Herrien has been a bonus. Isaiah McKenzie and Terry Godwin are play makers.
But there are still issues. Obviously the offensive line is the big one. It’s not a unit that was recruited and molded to play in a power offense, they are mostly leftovers from the Mike Bobo era when Georgia ran an offense that was less demanding on offensive linemen. Losing Will Friend as offensive line coach in 2015 didn’t help that unit either.
The receiving corps is full of great athletes but not great receivers. Riley Ridley and Javon Wims stepped up Saturday and are beginning to take their place as the future stars. McKenzie is dangerous but he drops passes too much, so does Micheal Chigbu. And Reggie Davis struggles to get himself open.
The most reliable receivers are underclassmen, and the offensive line is a work in progress. To top that off, the offense as a whole as a true freshman quarterback and a new offensive system. We shouldn’t expect 2012 numbers this year.
I still have faith in Chaney, and I believe that he can revive the Bulldogs offense. But he has not proven to me or anyone that he will do that.
More from Dawn of the Dawg
- Georgia Football seems to be stirring up some concern out west
- Georgia football: Looking at the weirdest offseason in recent memory
- Georgia football: Korey Foreman could make Dawgs defense even more fearsome
- Georgia Football is in starting QB limbo after Jamie Newman announcement
- Kirby Smart has built Georgia football program in his image, not Nick Saban’s