"RBU" Seems to be Having Trouble With the "R" Part...
Athens, GA- Under the Kirby Smart Regime, Most fans of come accustomed to expecting a top notch defense and a solid ground game from the Dawgs. The term "RBU" or Running Back University has been used to acknowledge the top running backs in Georgia History.
But as the college game has changed into more of passing game in the past 5-6 years, The Dawgs have seemed hesitant to embrace the offensive style change, continuing to pound the ball and suffocate opposing offenses with strong defense. That is until Coach Kirby Smart made the change to offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
Monken comes from the air raid days of Oklahoma state and was head coach at Southern Miss where they put up big yards through the air. All Monken was needing was a quarterback that could run his system. JT Daniels transferred in from USC as a highly touted QB that has the arm and wherewith how to be a perfect fit to run Monken's schemes. Although, Fans and some media will claim Kirby still has his "thumb" on the offense... If so, He cant be too happy with the inconsistency in the run game!
RUSHING YARDS IN LAST 6 GAMES:
Vs. Clemson: 121 yards
Vs. UAB: 127 yards
Vs. Cincinnati: 45 yards
Vs. Missouri: 316 yards
Vs. S. Carolina: 332 yards
Vs. Miss St. 22 yards
4 of the last 6 games the Dags have barely sniffed the yards they are used to seeing. In years past, the offense would see 200+ yards every game with a stable of backs chipping in. Coach Smart and others have recently commented on the lack of success.
JAMES COOK- RB,SR:
On the struggle with the running game…
"You know we just mentally prepared ourselves this week. Continue running in practice this week. Just reading out reads and hitting the hole and just things like that. We worked on it a lot. We should be pretty efficient this year"
On improving the run game
"I mean, just fixing the little things that we did wrong in the game on Saturday, all the little things that we could have gotten right, we are just fixing those and trying to fine tune everything. So I mean, things should be pretty good on Saturday."
Jamaree Salyer- OL
On the running game…
"Here at university, running the ball is--we always have a sense of urgency about that, whether it's good or bad. We always take things with the week. You know for us, I think the run game is kind of a detailed thing. I don't think it is effort thing, I don't it's a maybe even a personnel thing, I think it is just the details, you know, the fine details, the finishing this block, but going this direction. So yeah, it's always a sense of urgency here because that is what this program is being founded on to stay at. But yeah, we take great pride in our offensive line and defensive line of play and being able to run the ball and stop the run. So yeah, we really want to get those things corrected and you know, get back to being the team that we want."
Coach Kirby Smart:
On lack of run game against UAB… “Yeah, you know, you gotta do it better. You can't do that now. We may not have a running back get over 100 (yards), but that can happen because we may split them up, you know, we may share it out, but certainly, we thought we would’ve had more than 34 (yards) and should. We gotta work hard at that, we got to be able to create run gained. Some of our passing gains come from the run gain, right, the play-action. So your play action is not going to be real good if you're not a good run team, that's part of the success we have on defense is we don't have to honor play-action because we got a good run defense, so we got to be able to make that a threat, we got to be able to make that count and hit people and we did not do that at a high rate. Now, how much I had to do with UAB and how much they had to do with us, you know, I don't know. I still think UAB has a pretty good team and a pretty good defense, but we did hit them on some explosives.”
Obviously its a topic of discussion not only for the media but for the team as well. A couple factors may play in to this 1) shuffling on the offensive line. UGA has struggled to find consistency on the line in 2021 with lots of movement due to injuries (Tate ratledge) or Playing out of position (Salyer @ LT). 2) Give Defenses Credit! Loading up on the run with 8-9 in the box will be a game plan for most team against UGA. But Mississippi state showed blitzing the "A" gaps caused Georgia trouble and they could get a good run on the RPO but were able to throw against the blitz.
Whatever the case, The Dawgs need to get balanced on offense before facing the meat of their schedule in October. This weekend against South Carolina should help. With the Dawgs facing a former coach (Beamer) and having running success against the gamecocks last season (332 yards), expect the Dawgs to work out some kinks this weekend.