Smart Evaluates Offensive Strengths, Weaknesses
Georgia was on a steady climb with significant momentum heading into the game against Alabama. However, once the third quarter started, the Bulldogs ran into a brick wall. The good thing about taking a punch to the face as Georgia did against the Crimson Tide is it gives a team an honest look at the things that needs to be improved along with those that were done well.
Ultimately, the game was decided when Georgia failed to score in the second half, and against a team like Alabama that obviously doesn't cut it. Monday, head coach Kirby Smart talked about some of the strengths and weaknesses of the offense:
“I think the best thing we do offensively is third-down execution, and being able to execute on third down and convert. That has been a point of emphasis for us in practices, to convert third downs, put together a good third-down plan, play-action passes—a lot of those shots and overs and different things off of the run game we have been able to hit."
The offense has converted 45.5 percent of its third downs, which is impressive considering the number of times the Bulldogs have have found themselves in third-and-long. Even against Alabama, Georgia still did a solid job by converting 44 percent. Georgia's ability to run the ball played a big part in that, which is where Smart said the offense does well.
Smart emphasized that a key aspect of the offense is being able to set up shots using play-action passes. To do that, a ground game must be established so the defense bites on the run fake. Against the Tide, Georgia ran the ball 40 times for 145 yards averaging 4.8 yards per carry and they are at 3.96 for the season. That's a good way to help set up the play-action shots that Monken and the offense want to dial up.
When he named the things the offense needs to improve on, Smart was clear on the two things where he wants to see improvement.
He said, "The more important thing for us to continue and improve on is the ability to run the ball inside and outside, to create balance and decision-making in terms of not turning the ball over.”
Stetson Bennett is not a quarterback that should be throwing the ball 40 times a game and it showed as he threw three interceptions against Alabama and those three turnovers were big factors in deciding the game. Having a new offensive coordinator and quarterback this year meant early struggles were expected. Helping fix those rough spots will be finding the right balance on offense and establishing a good rhythm for the talent to roll with for the rest of the season.
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