Despite the uncertainty over who’ll be the Dogs’ quarterback, most fans I’ve been talking with this spring feel pretty good about the offense because of the returning experience on the offensive line and at tailback, and, of course, A.J. Green.
But the Macon Telegraph’s spring practice coverage has touched on a couple of other reasons to be optimistic about UGA’s offensive prospects.
One is the likelihood of additional mobility at QB if either Aaron Murray or Logan Gray is behind center. While Mark Richt’s teams haven’t generally been known for a dual-threat QB except during 2005 with D.J. Shockley — and last year that really wasn’t part of the offense with Joe Cox — Georgia’s coaches think Murray and Gray have that potential. (Zach Mettenberger, not so much, but he’s pretty much taken himself out of the starter’s race at this point with a suspension hanging over his head.)
Speaking of Murray and Gray, Mark Richt said, “I believe those guys are athlete enough to add a little bit of quarterback run, run a little zone read, run a little quarterback draw. I don’t see us running a true option, but … we’ll have quarterback run gamed for them, and you would expect them to make plays either crossing the line of scrimmage or scrambling right, left, buying time and finding someone downfield.”
We’re not talking about the Dogs relying on their quarterback to run extensively. But instead of just sailing the ball out of bounds when everyone’s covered, Richt said, the quarterback can move up in the pocket and maybe have room to gain 4 or 5 yards. “If two times a game the quarterback can cross the line of scrimmage and get the first down when it wasn’t designed for it to happen that way, that’s huge, and I think those guys can do that.”
And if that proves to be the case, it can help the passing game, Richt notes. “Defenders respect a guy who can run and sometimes will come off a coverage to come get him, and all of a sudden they can flip it to a guy who’s open.”
A more mobile quarterback also allows you to move the pocket while he searches for an open receiver, like Matthew Stafford did against Kentucky a couple of years ago. Cox really wasn’t able to do that, which resulted in quite a few of his inteceptions.
The other plus for the Dogs’ offense highlighted by the Telegraph is the potential mismatch with the defense that tight ends Aron White and Orson Charles offer since both are athletic enough to split out at receiver, especially if a linebacker is trying to cover them.
As Murray noted, “It’s going to be good to have those guys just to confuse the defense, not knowing if we’re in a two-tight formation, or spread, or three receiver look.”
“It’s going to pose a great threat,” Murray said. “It’s going to be pretty hard for the defense … we come out with two tight ends, and they think we’re going to be in a two-tight formation and we split one out, or we split two out and they’re in a base defense. They’re not ready to handle four receivers. It causes it a lot of confusion just because of their athleticism.”
Yes, the Dogs will have an inexperienced quarterback this season. But barring any key injuries to the line, I’m still feeling really good about Georgia’s ability to move the ball and score.
What about you?