Thursday, October 15, 2009

Offensively Obscene

The Georgia Bulldogs' offensive problems are many. In fact, there is no dimension in the Bulldogs' offensive game that can be deemed reliable. It is time to start over.

Times like these call for getting back to basics. Re-establishing a foundation. It is time to commit ourselves to running the football.

Practice time must be devoted to the most basic of plays, the I-formation isolation play. Long a staple of the Georgia running game, it has vanished. I can only imagine the amount of time currently being devoted to these gimmicky spread plays in an attempt to get the ball in the hands of Branden Smith or Rantavious Wooten. Today, however, no such time can be spared.

Until you have mastered the basics you cannot graduate to the advanced. There is a reason academic courses have pre-requisites. Football is no different, and in football it all starts with the running game.

It appears to me, we have abandoned the power running game, opting instead to find production through fancy scheming. While coaches are paid to come up with winning schemes, the primary function must be to teach the basics. More often than not, the more fundamentally sound football team will beat the team with a good scheme without solid football fundamentals.

Sure, traditional running plays have been called, but there has been no commitment to it. We have treated the Iso play, one of the games safest, as the deep bomb. We run it, if it works great, if not, we simply resort to trickery.

Joe Cox was recently quoted as saying a Quarterback needs to develop a rhythm. Well, the running backs, and the running game as a whole, need to develop a rhythm as well. Just as Joe doesn't think it makes sense to alternate quarterbacks, it doesn't make sense to alternate offensive philosophies from series to series, play to play.

There was a time, not all that long ago, when the Iso play was a priority. If an opponent was stopping it, we did not abandon it, we simply altered our blocking strategy at the point of attack. A trap would be added from either side, the fullback would be given a different blocking assignment. Seemingly subtle changes to the blocking would be utilized until the defense would be foiled. The ISO was a must.

Defenses always force adjustments. Historically, for Georgia, those adjustments were subtle, tweaks if you will. Today, we resort to radical changes. These radical changes appear to leave our players second guessing themselves, appearing as though they really do not know what to do. The result has been three and outs, lots of them, and Drew Butler in danger of leg fatigue from punting so much.

Identities are not searched for, they are chosen, they are dictated. Despite all of the passing numbers during the Richt era, everything was predicated on the ability to run the football. We ran the football and threw it out of running formations, with or without play-action. 

This year, we have not only abandoned the running game way too early in games, we have essentially abandoned running formations. You do not have to be Monte Kiffin to know what Georgia is going to do. Given formation and personnel, the average Georgia fan can tell you what play is coming. If we can do it, I bet Vandy can do it.

I am not at practice. I cannot say what they are and are not working on. I can make an educated guess. I can guess that these fancy formations with reverses and specifically designed plays to get the ball into player "x"'s hands take a considerable amount of practice time. Practice time that should be invested in the foundation of your offense, a running game.

If we had a reliable passing game, I would temper my argument. If you are just as likely to go three and out throwing the ball, doesn't running it make more sense. You chew up clock and eliminate the interception. Yes, the running game may produce fumbles from time to time, but as we have seen, so has the passing game.

In short, the coaches need to get back to coaching the fundamentals and quit trying to be scheming wizards. You recruited this talent, now it is time to coach it up. Teach the fundamentals and force their execution. Master the basics then build off of them.

There has yet to be a press conference that has cited a "lack of execution". Well, coaches, you better get back to the basics our players are capable of executing. For, without change, the execution we are talking about this off-season may very well be your own.

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