Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said during his press conference Tuesday that one thing that his team can do better at is getting the ball into the playmakers hands more.
No.3 ranked Georgia beat the then No.7 ranked Notre Dame 23-17 last Saturday, but some of the Bulldogs’ skilled offensive players didn’t get the chance to make many big plays.
WR George Pickens (1) was only targeted twice, RB James Cook (4) had only one carry, and RB Zamir White (3) didn’t see any action despite being 100 percent healthy.
Smart also wants offensive coordinator James Coley to let quarterback Jake Fromm take more shots downfield. On Saturday night, Notre Dame loaded the box and came heavy to try and stop Georgia’s run game. Fromm is an experienced enough quarterback to be able to read the defense, and audible out into another play.
“It’s limitless what we’re trying to do, but the central focus is protecting Jake and let him throw the ball vertical,” Smart said. “Spread the ball out some and loosen people up.“
“We know our strength is running the ball. Sometimes teams try to take that away, and you’ve got to have answers.”
When the pressure came Fromm did an excellent job of finding receivers downfield. His favorite target so far this season has been Lawrence Cager, and those two connected together five times for 82 yards and touchdown. The most impressive pass of the night was when Fromm found Cager on a vertical route for a 36 yard gain.
When Georgia played Vanderbilt, the Commodores did a great job of stacking the box and not allowing a Bulldog touchdown in the second half.
“At the end of the day we know what kind of boxes we’re going to see, what kind of fronts we’re going to see,” Smart said after the opening game against Vanderbilt.
On Tuesday, Smart said that his offense is still looking for ways to maximize it’s talent at the skilled positions.
“What can we do to get the ball to our playmakers in space, how can we do it better?” Smart said. “How can we find plays to get the ball on the perimeter to loosen some teams up, throw the ball downfield, find ways to get George Pickens the ball.”
Smart also talked about getting Zamir White more involved in the game.
“We wanted to get Zamir involved and we need to do that,” Smart said. “And he’s growing and getting better. He had two of the best blitz pick-ups I’ve seen out there today where he stoned them. So he’s getting better and he’s getting more confident and I want to be able to show confidence in him and put him out there and let him go play. It wasn’t just Zamir. It was a lot of guys. There were a lot of guys that I would’ve loved to get in the game but the opportunity never presented itself. And we still played a lot of people.”
It seems like Georgia’s attitude this week has been about work, and about how to get better. Several times during practice different coaches have reminded their position players, “this isn’t a bye week, it’s a work week.”
Georgia is off this Saturday, but the following week the Bulldogs travel to play Tennessee in Knoxville.