By DAN MATHEWS
ATLANTA, Ga – 32nd isn’t good enough. That’s the rank in total offense that Georgia has for the 2019 season.
69th in total passing offense isn’t great either. That’s just over 230 yards per game.
We’re seeing an offense that frankly, has met their end in the world of college football. This ball control and play suffocating defense model is a thing of a past.
If (sorry, likely when) Georgia loses again, then the choice will need to be made. The Bulldogs will miss the College Football Playoff and a ‘New Years Six’ Bowl Game will just not cut it with UGA fans.
This Georgia offense is not good enough to beat LSU in the SEC Championship Game. Even if they could limit the Tigers that day, then they would not be able to outlast an Ohio State or Clemson in the College Football Playoff.
The proof that change is warranted: when Jalen Hurts got to Alabama in 2016. It has only continued with Tua Tagovailoa leading this offense.
Lane Kiffin made that change and left. People were worried when Brian Daboll took over, that Nick Saban was going back to his old style of offense.
That latter part never happened, because Saban realized he couldn’t do it the old way anymore. Like the football genius he is… Saban knew that he needed to adapt to the style that was seemingly beating him at least once a season.
LSU is the latest example of why Kirby needs to change his offensive ways in Athens. The Tigers are the number one team in the country and 9-0 because they made the choice to evolve.
The Tigers have made the jump from 67th in the country to second in total passing offense this season. That took all of one year to make that change.
Sure, Ed Orgeron made the choice to bring in the hot shot young offensive mind of Joe Brady from the New Orleans Saints. The choice has made a huge difference and LSU isn’t in this position without him.
Does this mean that Georgia should move on from James Coley? No, it doesn’t.
However, this offseason needs to be a theme of study. Run-pass option, hurry up offense, more shotgun sets, etc.
This means that Georgia’s coaching staff needs to make trips to other coaching staffs. Heck, go to Kansas City and see what Andy Reid and the Chiefs are doing with Patrick Mahomes.
I know what you’re thinking… We’re ‘Running Back U’ and we’ll lose those guys. Maybe you will.
However, you also won’t lose players like the nation’s top tight end for 2020 in Arik Gilbert out of Marietta to LSU. If you continue down this path of playing the current offense you are, then he will not be the last to look elsewhere.
Gilbert (likely) got tired of hearing about how the tight ends would be a larger part of this UGA offense. We haven’t seen a tight end make an impact on this offense, since Arthur Lynch was on this team and catching passes from Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason.
Isaac Nauta was expected to be the next standout player at this position. The most catches he pulled in during a season was 30 in 2018.
In the running game, you can still be productive. LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire anyone?
LSU is still running for over 150 yards per game. They’re not what they have been in the past, but that’s fine.
The Tigers running back has 3 games remaining to run for at least 214 yards and to reach 1,000 for the season. He’s also pulled in 28 catches this season for 202 yards and a touchdown.
This season, D’Andre Swift has run for 921 yards and seven touchdowns. No disrespect, but is that production that you really cannot replace with more passing yards?
Besides, the NFL running game is evolving. The Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara types are becoming the caliber of player you want for that position.
So what if you take a step back defensively in the coming seasons? Wouldn’t you rather break the string of three straight losses at SEC West stadiums and give yourself a chance to beat the Alabama’s or LSU’s of college football?
Right now, you really don’t have that option. Change this offense and you might have that opportunity.