Georgia offense yet to click this season

Georgia offense yet to click this season

September 13th, 2017 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia senior tailback Nick Chubb believes the offense can play much better than it did in last Saturday night's 20-19 win at Notre Dame.

Photo by Perry McIntyre

Senior tailback Nick Chubb is opting for the glass-half-full approach when discussing Georgia's offensive attack through two games this season.

The No. 13 Bulldogs were brilliant defensively but erratic offensively in last Saturday night's 20-19 win at Notre Dame. They will be seeking a 3-0 start this Saturday night when Samford of the Southern Conference visits Sanford Stadium.

"I think it's the sign of a good team, having all those penalties and turnovers and still being able to pull it out," Chubb told reporters before Tuesday's practice. "I think it shows we have the potential to play better."

University classes were closed for a second consecutive day Tuesday, but the Bulldogs were able to practice for a second straight afternoon in their indoor facility.

Georgia's offense entered this season with three new starters up front, and each week has provided a different adventure. In the opening 31-10 triumph over Appalachian State, starting quarterback Jacob Eason suffered a knee injury midway through the first quarter and was replaced by true freshman Jake Fromm.

Sophomore receiver Riley Ridley served a one-game suspension in the opener before returning last week, but the historic trip to South Bend marked the first start of Fromm's career. Fromm completed 16 of 29 passes for 141 yards against the Fighting Irish but had two first-half turnovers, botching a handoff to Chubb and forcing a throw to tight end Isaac Nauta.

Bulldogs second-year coach Kirby Smart said Fromm needed to fall on the ball after the bad exchange and that "he knows better than that" in regard to the interception.

"This will be a great learning experience for him," Smart said. "You've got to figure he's going to grow a lot from playing in this kind of atmosphere and environment. He made some throws that he's not going to get credit for, too. Our wideouts have to make more plays."

Fromm's best throw of the night was dropped by sophomore receiver Mecole Hardman, who spoiled a potential first-and-goal situation.

Georgia does not have offensive players ranking among the elite in the Southeastern Conference, with Fromm ninth in efficiency and Sony Michel and Chubb eighth and ninth in yardage. Michel has rushed for 160 yards on 29 carries (5.5 per carry) and two touchdowns through two games, while Chubb has 159 on 28 (5.7) and two scores as well.

Chubb had 52 carries through his first two games last season.

"As long as we win the game, that's all the matters," Chubb said.

As a team, Georgia ranks ninth in total offense within the SEC.

In a sense, last Saturday night's win could not have been scripted any better for Smart. He became the first coach in program history to win inside Notre Dame Stadium, and he had plenty of teachable moments, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

"We tried to give that game away so many ways — dumb penalties, dropped balls, opportunities missed — and it's frustrating," he said. "We've got a good football team, but we didn't play the way we're capable of. I'm happy for them — don't get me wrong — because a lot of kids played their hearts out, and that's the way it should be, but we've got to play better."

Odds and ends

Michel is battling an ankle injury this week, but Smart is hoping he can play Saturday. ... Freshman Mark Webb recently moved from receiver to cornerback in a switch Smart said was "not necessarily permanent." ... Smart on Tuesday night when asked in a news conference about the status of Eason and senior cornerback Malkom Parrish: "They're both really improving, and we're excited about where they are. I think progress is being made."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.