UGASports - What's really happening on offense
football Edit

What's really happening on offense

In July, we examined Georgia’s new offensive coordinator using PFF data (www.PFF.com) to see just how the Georgia offense might be different in 2019 compared to the previous three seasons under Jim Chaney. Now, we are going to re-examine those numbers, and others, after Georgia’s first seven games of this season.

*Reminder, Coley’s 2015 data is from his time as offensive coordinator at Miami. *


First, while I realize points per game and yardage are often examined, let’s see where Georgia is on two important metrics – yards per play and successful play percentage.

Yards per play = 6.4 (11th in the FBS)

Successful play % = 42.5 (7th in the FBS)

Interestingly, the teams ahead of Georgia in both metrics include Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson (yards per play only).

Next, the most basic of big picture data – pass vs. run:

Chaney 2018 = 43.9 % pass

Coley 2015 = 53.0 % pass

Coley 2019 = 45.9 % pass

Obviously, the rain-soaked Kentucky game influenced that overall number, as the Bulldogs ran 43 times against the Wildcats and only threw it 12 times. Prior to that game, the Bulldogs threw the ball on 48.4 percent of plays.

What about the personnel? As many of you may have seen on Twitter, the Bulldogs have run only one offensive play this season without a tight end on the field. Also, this season has seen an uptick in the amount of 21 personnel – two running backs, one tight end, and two wide receivers – primarily through James Cook being on the field with another running back.

Personnel Groupings (not formation)
Chaney 2018 Coley 2015 Coley 2019

11 personnel

67.8%

64.2%

62.6%

12 personnel

23.1%

24.2%

21.1%

21 personnel

1.9%

1.1%

9.7%

*Of note, this is specific to the players on the field and not factoring in the next level of detail – the formation*

Now, onto the running game, where last week’s game against Kentucky we saw a defined deviation from the previous weeks. The Bulldogs ran an equal number of outside and inside zone plays – 16 each. Further, as we pointed out in Film Don’t Lie this past Monday, they even sprinkled in three counters, two more than they had in the first six games. Overall, here is the breakdown of the various running game schemes used (not all small percentages/other – e.g. jet sweep – included):

Run Blocking Schemes
Chaney 2018 Coley 2015 Coley 2019

Inside Zone

57%

34%

61%

Outside Zone

18%

24%

15%

Big on Big/Power

8%

14%

8%

Pull/Lead

2%

7%

<1%

Draw

4%

7%

3%

This is one area where Coley’s previous data/tendencies have not influenced the UGA offense. From a run blocking scheme perspective, the data shows what you may have already known – the Bulldogs look very much like the previous seasons.

Another area we examined in the summer was the passing game tendencies and where these numbers compare to UGA’s competition. In addition to the overall pass play percentage numbers above, let's examine a few other pass play types such as the use of play-action and deep passing attempts (20+ air yards).

Play-Action &amp; Deep Passing
Overall Chaney 2018 Coley 2015 Coley 2019

Play action %

25.8%

34.4%

23.1%

Deep Pass %

17.3%

18.4%

16.4%

While the deep pass attempt percentages are not significantly different, one area we predicted that would change is the amount of play-action passing. Thus far, it has not. Georgia’s 23.1 percent play-action is ranked 100th out of 130 FBS teams and only ahead of Vanderbilt in the SEC. There are some possible schematic explanations for this given Georgia’s formations – and something we’ll discuss in Film Don’t Lie this week – but this is an area the Georgia offense has yet to fully maximize, especially given the mounting evidence that play-action improves passing game performance independent of how effectively a team runs the ball.

The above is especially evident on “early downs” – i.e. first or second down. The following data compares early down passing tendencies by both coaches to this year’s SEC West contenders – Alabama and LSU.


Passing on early downs
Early Downs Chaney 2018 Coley 2015 Coley 2019 Alabama '19 LSU '19

Pass %

39%

47.1%

40.2%

51.5%

55.7%

Play Action pass % (of those pass plays)

36%

40.6%

32.1%

59.2%

35.2%

Explosive pass play % (15+ yards)

19.6%

19.1%

15.6%

27.4%

26.9%

As you can see, both Alabama and LSU thrive on getting explosive plays in the passing game on early downs, whereas, the Bulldogs 32.1 percent play-action on early down passing is 90th in the FBS. The Dawgs' explosive play percentage is 69th. The numbers also add perspective to how good Joe Burrow has been this year for LSU. Getting that volume of explosive plays in the passing game without using play-action is quite impressive and a testament to his ability and the Tigers’ passing game design.

Lastly, let’s examine Georgia’s most preferred formation in 2019 – 2 x 2 or double twins. Always with at least one tight end in the slot and often with both slots being a tight end, Georgia has run 50.3 percent of its snaps out of this formation – good for 5th most in the FBS and well above the 34.4 percent FBS average. While the rest of the nation leans pass in this formation (FBS average 59.7 percent pass), the Bulldogs are almost completely balanced, with 49.3 percent pass and, thus, 50.7 run. Their running game from this formation is more effective than most, producing an explosive run (10+ yards) on 22.6 percent of plays, good for 9th in the FBS in this formation. However, explosive plays in the passing game from this formation have been harder to come by. The Bulldogs have gotten an explosive pass play on just 15.8 percent of pass plays in double twins, whereas LSU and Alabama are both top five in the FBS at 29.3 percent and 28.3 percent, respectively.

In the end, what does it all mean? Under Kirby Smart, Georgia’s offensive identify has and might always be based on a strong running game. However, for the Bulldogs to finish this season where they want to, they are going to have to find ways to generate explosive plays in the passing game and increase the diversity in their running game as they did against Kentucky. And I can guarantee Coley has spent the entire week analyzing these and every other detail to improve his offense.