Georgia Football: Jim Chaney wasn’t to blame for offensive struggles.

Kirby Smart, Tyson Campbell (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Kirby Smart, Tyson Campbell (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

A lot of Georgia Football fans blamed offensive coordinator Jim Chaney for the offense’s performance this weekend but it wasn’t play-calling that was the problem against the Vols.

In some ways, we’d all like to be Jim Chaney. The guy gets played nearly a million dollars a year to call plays for the Georgia Football team. It’s a role that a lot of fans think that they could do better. UGA isn’t alone in this. Basically, every football fan out there thinks that they know more than their team’s offensive coordinator. It’s just a part of loving the game. However, after Georgia’s offense sputtered a bit against the Tennessee Vols, there were once again lots of fans lamenting Chaney and calling for his head. But when you go back and rewatch the game, it’s pretty clear that the coach was not the problem.

The drives that stalled in the first half of the game were very well called. The issue was that they were not well executed. It shouldn’t be a big surprise, UGA is a relatively young team this season and young players make mistakes. Still, Georgia’s players left two, maybe even three touchdowns on the field against the Vols.

The first was D’Andre Swift‘s drop on a screen pass that stopped the Dawgs second drive. If Swift catches that ball, he’s got two linemen down the field as well as a wide receiver and only two defenders. In short, that’s a touchdown.

On the third drive when the Dawgs had to settle for a field goal, Jake Fromm and his wide receivers didn’t correctly execute some really great calls. Fromm had Terry Godwin wide open on a quick pass and threw it a bit too far. He then overshot Jeremiah Holloman on a deep pass on third down that really should have been a touchdown. Holloman had beaten his guy deep. The same thing happened the play before Issac Nauta‘s freak TD. Riley Ridley was wide open in the end zone but Fromm overthrew him.

Those simply mistakes ended up taking 11 points off the board for the Dawgs. Do fans feel better going into halftime 28-0 up? They should do and it wasn’t conservative or bad play calling that led to the difference. It was execution mistakes on the part of the players that caused the discrepancy.

And those plays were just from the first half. The sloppy mistakes continued into the second. Georgia ran Demetris Robertson on a jet sweep for the second time this year and once again, he had loads of room on the outside. Unfortunately, he decided to cut inside his blocks and was dropped for a short gain. If he’s trusted the outside protection, he might have gone to the house for the second time this year. There were 3 or 4 times where Fromm made the wrong read and never saw some wide open receivers down the field and instead took the quick check down. And I mean WIDE OPEN, as in they walk in for touchdowns from 25 yards away.

Here’s the good news Georgia fans, players can get better. Swift is unlikely to drop a catch like that again this season. Fromm is a good deep ball passer and will connect on more of those passes than he misses. Godwin has just returned from injury so will shake off that rust and coaches can show Fromm how to find those open receivers that he missed on tape. Players can grow and improve, but teams are pretty much stuck with their coaches schemes. If schemes are bad, teams are in trouble. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks how the Brian Schottenheimer experiment is working out. Not well is the answer.

I understand that in the moment it can be frustrating to watch a team fail to execute. I also know that it’s much easier to blame a 50-something-year-old guy sitting in a box than the players who you naturally feel so much attachment to. But rewatching the game, it’s actually very clear that Georgia’s scheme has more options and might be even better than last season. It just needs the players within it to execute better going forward.

Next. Some other takeaways from UGA's victory over the Vols. dark

UGA fans shouldn’t be lamenting the fact that they have Jim Chaney as offensive coordinator. He’s built an offense that should continue to get better as the season progresses. Just three season ago, it was the Dawgs who were stuck living the Schottenheimer experience so it’s safe to say that things have improved. Is Chaney the perfect play-caller? No of course not. However, he has created an offense that could be one of the best in the nation if the players do their jobs and execute. That’s really all a coordinator can do at this level and it’s why Chaney will have Kirby Smart’s full support for a very long time.