Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney: Fan Day Remarks

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Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney: Fan Day Remarks

Jim Chaney - Fan Day 2018
Jim Chaney – Fan Day 2018 
Jim Chaney is always an entertaining interview, and his remarks Saturday morning were no exception. 
On if bettering his personal health was a result of coaching tight ends…
“No, it doesn’t have anything to do with coaching tight ends. I just woke up; I was way too big. I had to do some work and get some weight off of me. Hopefully, that’s something that will help me coach and do better and serve the university a little better, and my own personal health.”
On Jay Johnson (offensive quality control) in the press box…
“Whether he won’t be there, or will be there, we haven’t worked all the details out on the press box stuff, and all that new protocol that we’ve got to look through. But Jay’s a fine football coach. Anybody with his vast amount of knowledge you want to use. I’m real fortunate. We can run through my personal staff here, and I’m as happy as any coach could be in college football. I’ve got good coaches everywhere. I don’t like to use the word ‘I’ very much, but in this sense, I will. I’m the one who benefits from it. I’m lucky to have every one of those guys. Our quality control guys, our graduate assistants do a fantastic job.”
On when he heard of sophomore QB Jake Fromm’s injury…
“I got to go fly fishing again. I made it three days up there before my arm started going numb. So I had to come back and have neck-fusion surgery, so I had a wonderful July. It was fun. And I think that time I was coming home was when Jake got the fish hook in his hand. I don’t know, he’s okay. I’m not worried about Jake Fromm. He’s a tough kid. He’ll be just fine.”

Justin Fields
Justin Fields
On freshman QB Justin Fields…
“We all know how polarizing the quarterback position can be. Everybody wants to know about that spot. In my particular role, I worry about everybody. And every good football player we have, you try to find ways to get them on the field and utilize them. And right now, Justin’s battling the quarterback spot, as is Jamaree Salyer with the guard spot, as is Luke Ford with the tight end spot. All that young group of kids that we brought in are all competing. I love [Justin]; he’s a wonderful young man, comes from a great family. He’s a competing son-of-a-gun, and he’s also a hell of a good football player. The future is very bright for him. As far as what happens in the future, as far as playing time and all that, all that is going to take place in the next three to four weeks, and all that who plays and who doesn’t play, you know as well as I do, that gets down to Coach Smart’s decision. So I don’t get into all that, I’m just very glad he’s here, a part of our program and competing for our starting position for our team.”
On working with the tight ends…
“I never ask them when they walk in, ‘Are you happy to see me or are you not?’ Some of them would probably say yes, and some of them would probably say no. I’m very comfortable at the tight end spot. I’ve coordinated from the coordinator spot, the quarterbacks, and the tight end spot. James [Coley] moving into quarterbacks, it’s been awesome. He brings a good, vast amount of knowledge to that position. He knows what he’s doing there. It’s kind of a fresh breath for those guys to hear things from a different voice. He’s done a great job with them. For me going back to the tight ends spot, I’m very comfortable there also. So, those kids that I’ve got in the room, particularly the older guys, with Isaac [Nauta] and Charlie [Woerner] and Jackson [Harris], those kids have known me a long time. The transition has been pretty much seamless in my opinion. I think we’ve done a good job in that room. And Shane [Beamer] had done a good job before. It just kind of worked out that the staff just kind of switched around. It worked out fine. I’m very comfortable with where we’re at right now. I think it’s actually brought it a little energy to what we’re trying to do. I’m pleased with our movement and how we’ve done it.”
On tweaking the playbook with the players available to him, particularly Justin Fields’ run game..
“I think you’ve always got to look – it’s a good question, and we think about it all the time. Justin’s ability to run the ball is exceptional. We don’t have a vast amount of depth at that position right now, so when you start running quarterbacks, you’re putting him in harms way a little bit more, so you’ve got to be real conscious of that. I don’t know if you walk out and say, because Justin Fields can run, he is a running quarterback. I think Justin Fields is a fantastic quarterback. He happens to be able to run. So that’s a good thing. Designing a playbook directly because he can run, I think that would be disoriented of who we want to be as a football team. But it does give us some different things we can open in the playbook. It does open some pages to it. As far as strategy goes, it’s another skill set available to us to use at any time we want to.”
On Chaney’s coaching stops along the course of his career…
“You don’t have to remind me. I’m home, baby.”
And if he’s run an offense playing two quarterbacks…
“I’d have to think back. I’m sure somewhere along the years we’ve had that situation happen. You don’t rule anything out. Like I said guys, everybody wants to know about that right now. And I don’t blame y’all for asking the question at all. But we’re so much in a mode of training camp right now, just trying to get every player a little bit better, and cohesively working within our unit, and utilizing our base offense, that the mindset of game planning and putting out two different offenses hasn’t – can’t even think about things like that. My mind is so far away from that right now. I just want him to be all he can be, and let us evaluate him, see what his skill set is, and utilize it to the best of our ability – overall, to help Georgia win football games. And if it ends up being that way, so be it, but that’s a long way in the future.”
Jake Fromm (11) hands of to Zamir White (3)
Jake Fromm (11) hands off to Zamir White (3)
On if he’s seen a different Jake Fromm as a sophomore..
“I do, a little bit more because he’s more confident with the Xs and Os. There’s no question about that. He’s got that year under him, and he had a fantastic year, and he’s playing good football for us, and he’s playing very confident. But Jake’s personality has always been Jake. Even last year, he was a freshman, he was still Jake. He’s an outgoing guy, he likes to talk to his teammates. He’s positive all the time. So a lot of his personality traits haven’t changed. A lot of it is his familiarity, and he played 900-some snaps of football last year. That’s hard to overlook. He’s a good football player.”
On working together as a staff on each week’s game plan..
“Collecting ideas. It’s not all Jim Chaney. Trust me on that. When we get in the run game, it’s Dell [McGee] and myself, and Sam [Pittman] a lot. When you get into the passing game, it’s Cortez [Hankton], and James, and it’s Jay and myself. We all collectively put it together, slap it up on the board, see where we’re at. If we’re heavy somewhere else, and someone has an opinion on somewhere else – anybody can bring up anything they want. I don’t care. I worked for a guy named Gene Murphy a hundred years ago – bless his soul, I lost him a few years ago. He told me, ‘Jim, if you ever have an opportunity to hire people, always try to hire people smarter than you.’ THat’s always stuck with me. I’m fortunate on our staff; I’ve had a lot of good people who are a lot smarter than I am. I would be a damn fool not to listen to what they have to say. I try to do a better job of that. Routinely, I like to go at it, for me, I’ve got to bring that in and listen even more. I’m trying to do a better job of that, and I think the guys are recognizing that. We’re in it together. I use every bit of their skill set to help us put a plan together.”
On Sam Pittman’s comments about Isaiah Wilson’s redshirt last season and his growth…
“You can’t replace his mass and athleticism.  What he has had to do is learn the speed of the game and how fast and physical this game is.  He’s gotten better. Every day at practice you see him improve.  Where he is today and when he walks out of Georgia is going to be an incredible jump, there’s no doubt about it.  I’ll also add that from when he walked in the door to where he is now is an incredible jump.  He’s done a real good job working his butt off. It’s very important to him.  He’s a large body. He can do things wrong and they have to run around a mountain to get to the quarterback.  So that’s a good thing for us. We like those big kids, you guys know that. What you have to understand when you go big and you try to develop a team the way we try to do it, we’re physical playing the line of scrimmage, we’re going to try to beat you up up front.  With that, there are some inherent fleas that come with it. Some quick defensive linemen might give us a little bit of trouble, but we think by the end of the game- beating on you and pounding on you- our bigs will overcome.
Back to Isaiah, I think he’s progressing as planned and he has to continue to learn the game of football, continue to compete and get playing time.  I will add this- there are not a lot of positions that are locked up on an individual right now. We have a tremendous amount of competition going on throughout our football team, which I’m tickled with. I can’t wait to watch them compete.”
On the talent at running back…
“I think they’re good football players and look forward to watching them go play.  There’s a lot of talent there in that room.  Everybody tells me how good we’re going to be, but I still look for those two kids we had last year (Nick Chubb and Sony Michel) walking down the hall and they haven’t showed up yet, they’re gone.  They’re history.  The kids we have, we like.  We think they’re going to be good football players but to go out on the field and perform they have yet to do that.  We have to watch them do that, watch them go play.  We are excited about it. We’re optimistic about it.  The rubber hits the road in about a month when we go out on the field and play. We’ll find out where we are at that time. But we sure like those kids.  I’d rather be in our position than a lot of other people’s position.  We have good talent at that spot with great kids.  I’m excited about watching them and being able to utilize their individual skillsets.  More pieces of cards we can use to put the puzzle together.  I like it.”
On the staff defining explosive plays and how well they did in that regard last season…
“Run game is 12 yards or more.  Pass game is 16 yards or more. We were 1 out of 6.7 plays in explosive last year if I remember right. That’s not bad.  That’s pretty good for me.”
On the wide receiver core and Demetris Robertson being eligible…
“I don’t even want to touch on that. Right now he’s in here playing and that’s out of my pay grade to let you know if he’s ever going to be eligible to play.  When that thing does or does not come through we will deal with it then.  Everything else we will defer to Kirby and let Coach Smart deal with that.
The receiving core, in general, is older, they’ve played a lot.  We have Riley (Ridley), Mecole (Hardman), and Terry (Godwin) who have played a lot.  Trey (Blount) played last year. Jeremiah (Holloman) played last year.  The one thing about our receiving core you have to remember is- you think about Special Teams.  Tyler Simmons, Riley (Ridley), and Jayson Stanley all played over 100 snaps last year on Special Teams- that’s a game and a quarter of nothing more than Special Teams.  In places where I’ve been, wide receivers hadn’t played that much. That’s telling you a little bit about their character. They care about the team and they’re physical football players.  You can’t play Special Teams and be any other way.  We try to encourage all of our kids in that room and it’s going to get down to that room.  When we walk out on that bus- who is going to be on the bus, who is going to play on Special Teams? If you have a first-round wideout? I don’t know, maybe we do, maybe we don’t. I don’t know for sure yet until we go play.  In our room, they understand of their need to do that (play on Special Teams) in order to get on the bus and that can be said for a lot of positions.  We don’t get to travel 110 people.  We are going to travel 70.  If you want to be on it, go earn that spot.  We have enough competition now that the kids understand that. “
On the comparison of Jake Fromm to Drew Brees…
“What are the commonalities? They both have very high FBI, football intellect.  They get it.  They understand.  They both affect other players in a very positive way.  They both have proven to win football games.  The differences I don’t even want to touch on, but they share those traits.”
On the presumption that because the tailback position has recruited well that they will be able to step in…
“It is to me.  It isn’t to a lot of other people. I believe what I see with my own eyes until you go out on the field and perform and play.  I’m not trying to be a “Debbie Downer” here or anything. I’m not that dude.  I’m excited about that group.  (DeAndre) Swift, Elijah (Holyfield), and Brian (Herrien) have all played a little bit. But in a bigger role than what they’ve played in, they have yet to do that.  We’ll wait and see how it all plays out.  I hope I’m sitting here when I get my next chance to talk to you guys that we’re able to say yeah we’re glad to have all these kids.  And I hopefully will be able to do that.
So much is about recruiting- all the stuff and all the stars and everything.  It’s Saturday at 1:00 or 3:30 or whenever you play.  The game is what it’s all about.  At my age, it’s even more profound.  How do we perform? My ultimate job is to get them ready to play on Saturday and have a strategic plan that we feel like we can win the game.  The group of kids we have right now are working hard and I’m excited about being a part of getting them ready to play and putting them on the field to represent Georgia.”
On the plan to get more than one running back on the field at the same…
“We did a lot of that last year with (D’Andre) Swift playing that other half back spot with another running back on the field.  That’s not foreign to us.  We probably did that about 70 snaps last year, which is more than anybody probably in college football. Playing with two or three wide receivers and two running backs on the field won’t be foreign to us. We have the packages to do all that.  Now, can you tell me that second running back is better than that second wideout or that third tight end? Who are you going to play? I’m going to put the 11 best players out on that field to win the game. If not Coach Smart will be looking at me like I’m the dumbest man on earth and he doesn’t like really good players standing by him on the sideline.  He really doesn’t like that. If he’s one of the best he’s going to be on the field.  If we happen to have two of our backs are the best then they’re probably going to be on the field.”
Follow up: have the freshman showed you that’s something they’d be comfortable with doing?
“On tape from high school, yeah. But I have not witnessed anything but more than one practice. It’s premature for that but once again I am very optimistic.”
On the progress and success of the offense over the past two seasons…
“When I was a young coach I once drank that Kool-Aid and that it (the success of the offense) was all about me and the next year we fell flat on our face.  I learned that lesson the hard way.  What happened last year is just last year.  What took place last year, is it going to happen next year? There’s no guarantee of that, there really isn’t. You attack that year and try to be the coach you can be.  You study during that offseason all the time- what can we do better? And that’s my obligation- to go do it.  I go in there every year with a great fear of failure.  That’s just good coaches. You don’t want to fail at anything. You want to make sure you are on your game.  That’s my obligation to this university and Coach Smart is to make sure that I bring my “A” game every year.  My name is stapled on this offense and I want it to do well.”


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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.