Georgia football looks locked and ready to enter the Danger Zone.
As we close the door on Georgia football’s 2020 season it has become quite clear that the blueprint for winning championships has changed. No longer is smashmouth football the way to hoist the trophy. No, no. If your offense isn’t moving down the field at Mach Five with its hair on fire then you are doing it all wrong. In today’s college football there is a need for speed.
Outscoring your opponent is the name of the game. Well, that was always the name of the game. However, the old philosophy was more about the time of possession, holding on to the ball so the other team couldn’t score, and playing good defense. Those days are gone. Today the strategy is to have the faster more maneuverable jet loaded with state-of-the-art weapons that can blow the competition away.
Georgia football’s jet is fueled up and ready to go. Pilot JT Daniels is ready to take control and navigator Todd Monken is ready to make sure they execute the gameplan as they attempt to complete their mission. Air to air missiles George Pickens, Kearis Jackson, Jermaine Burton, and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint will be rejoined by Dominick Blaylock while air to ground bombs Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh, and Kendall Milton also return. That is not to discount bunker busters Darnell Washington and John Fitzpatrick.
It is time for Georgia’s offense to spread its wings and show just how much firepower they really have. In the last four games of 2020, the Bulldogs’ offense averaged 38 points a game. That is not quite where they want to be. The last two National Champions have averaged around 50 points a game. LSU in 2019 averaged 48.4 points a game and Alabama just finished a campaign where they averaged 50.1 points per game.
Simply put Georgia football has got to bring the heat in 2021 if they expect to see their name on the trophy at the end of the season. Having enough points to graduate (make a bowl game) is just not good enough anymore. It is time to become the top gun of college football. Georgia has the weapons at its exposal to go head to head with anyone and it is time they show off their firepower.
In 2018, before LSU’s offense made their impressive run to an undefeated season with an offensive attack that would make the Pentagon jealous, they averaged 32.8 points per game with an SP+ rating of 16.3. Those numbers jumped up to 48.4 points per game and an SP+ rating of 33.1 in 2019. Their offensive gameplan and execution had evolved to the point of being unstoppable in just one offseason.
In 2020, Georgia’s offense had an SP+ rating of 24.6, much higher than that of LSU in 2018. This shows that Georgia could possibly shove it into overdrive in 2021 and reach another level of offensive output that would allow them to possibly rival the output of LSU and Alabama the past two years.
2021 will be Monken’s second season as Georgia football’s offensive coordinator. The one big difference for Georgia this go-around is Monken should have a full offseason to teach and install his offense. He will also be able to pour into a quarterback that is laser-focused on being the leader of the offense and not focused on selfish ambitions.
Now there are some that will say that Kirby Smart runs the offense, but they would be wrong. You can look at the trends in the play-calling over the last three seasons to see that this is not Smart’s offense. Little by little, it has evolved into a modern offense with a balanced attack. Georgia is still Running Back University, but these receivers are getting a lot more love.
According to Sec Stat Cat, here is the breakdown of how Georgia’s offense has been called the last three years:
2018: Run: 57.97 % Rpo: 13.15 % Pass: 42.03 %
2019: Run: 51.52 % Rpo: 14.97 % Pass: 48.48 %
2020: Run: 50.88 % Rpo: 19.74 % Pass: 49.12 %
This shift mirrors the one that has happened in Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban, a defensive-minded coach in his own right, and Smart’s mentor will never completely abandon the run, but he has been passing more as well. Balance is the key to these offensive attacks. Getting everyone involved, getting the ball in the hands of more playmakers, and making opposing defenses defend every blade of grass.
2019: Run: 46.61 % Rpo: 25.06 % Pass: 53.39 %
2020: Run: 49.50 % Rpo: 23.97 % Pass: 50.50 %
However, there are some that have fallen in love with the LSU model of doing something. A complete ariel attack that puts the running game on the back burner. There is a good chance this model never makes its way to Athens. Not that it doesn’t work, LSU used this philosophy in 2019 to annihilate everyone in their way. It’s just not a philosophy that fits Georgia football.
2019: Run: 38.81 % Rpo: 23.98 % Pass: 61.19 %
2020: Run: 39.54 % Rpo: 23.60 % Pass: 60.46 %
Georgia football’s offense ran 922 plays in 2019, 447 of those were passes. In that same year, Alabama ran 826 plays 441 of those were passes, just six more than Georgia attempted. This year Georgia ran 684 plays with 336 of those being passing plays. Alabama ran 901 plays this season and passing on 455 of them. However, they did have their starting quarterback healthy from game one.
Georgia football had to wait until Daniels was healthy enough to take live contact. Once he was Monken was able to run his full offense like he had wanted to since game one of the season. Over those games, Daniels attempted 30 passes a game which over a 14 game season would come out to 420 attempts. Of course, give or take for tempo and in game situations. So Monken’s playcalling is not that far off from what Steve Sarkisian was doing in Tuscaloosa this season.
Even though Georgia attempted fewer passes in 2020 than in 2019 their passing game was more efficient. Jake Fromm had a success rate of 45.45 percent on his passing attempts in 2019. In the four games that Daniels started this season, his success rate was 46.67 percent. Mac Jones had a success rate of 63.34 percent this season. This proves that Georgia football needs to get more efficient with their passing game. Not that they necessarily need to pass more, but they need to make more positive plays when they do decide to put the ball in the air.
They say that a quarterback makes all the difference in football and that couldn’t be more true today. Georgia football has the pilot it needs to guide their offense to where they want to go. With him in place and an arsenal of weapons around him, there is no reason why Georgia can’t get into a dogfight with any other team and come out the victor.
Georgia’s offense is fueled up, the weapons have been secured, the pilot and reel are in place, and the deck is clear. All that is left is to point it down the runway, hit the afterburners, and go take care of business. It is time to enter the Danger Zone with the confidence of a Maverick pilot with everything to prove and show everyone once and for all that we are as dangerous as any other program out there.