You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

breaking news

Plane crashes into Cobb County house

How can Georgia improve its red zone scoring in 2017?


Brant Sanderlin/AJC

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant Georgia football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today, red zones and Blue Flowers.

Addressing Georgia’s red zone woes

One reason for Georgia’s offensive struggles in 2016 was its inability to produce points when it got inside the red zone. The Bulldogs ranked 64th in red zone scoring percentage, getting points out of a trip inside the 20 only 84 percent of the time. They were 71st in red zone scores per game (TDs or FGs) with only 2.9 per game. Worse still, Georgia ranked 12oth nationally in points per trip inside the 40 (3.75), a major part of the finishing drives calculation in Bill Connelly’s five factors.

To put it bluntly, Georgia was awful in the red zone last season and must improve that facet of its offense if the Bulldogs plan on being a more successful team in 2017. The blame for this lies everywhere: Jacob Eason making freshman mistakes, Jim Chaney making bad play calls, wideouts not being able to catch a pass, the line not creating big enough holes for Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Take your pick. But many problems also means many potential solutions. Here are a few ways Georgia can be more effective in the red zone next season:

Find more creative ways to get the ball to Chubb and Michel

Georgia’s dynamic duo is good enough to play the three yards and a cloud of dust game and typically do just fine. But when the defense packs itself in in the red zone and the line still can’t open big enough holes, that game plan just won’t fly. Chaney has to figure out some better ways to get them in space with a full head of steam near the goal line. Screens, pitches, tosses, just pick one. If you just let them run it up the gut, sure, they’ll get some (UGA had 15 red zone rushing scores last season.). You don’t want to completely go away from those bread-and-butter plays, but a few wrinkles here and there could help spring them a tad more often.

Involve the tight ends more

I’m a proponent of involving the tight ends more in the offense in general, but their talents could specifically be used in the red zone. Eason and Isaac Nauta formed a nice connection last season, as the pair was able to link up twice for red zone scores, a fifth of Eason’s red zone touchdowns. Eason should deliberately look his way more in the red zone next season. Jeb Blazevich also is a guy I’d like to see more from, considering he’s 6-foot-5 and can battle with guys in the end zone. But with Georgia’s propensity to run inside the 25, a few well-designed plays could hide the tight ends and get them more opportunities to score in those crucial situations.

Let Eason scramble

We haven’t seen it much, but from what we have seen, Eason can move for a big guy. He ran for 89 yards at a 6.4 clip when you take away sacks from his rushing statline. That’s far from eye-popping, but it’s mobile enough to get the job done. And in the red zone specifically, his big body can help him stretch across the line in close situations. There doesn’t need to be a lot of this, but I’d love to see Chaney install a little zone read so Eason can make the decision to hand off to Chubb or Michel, or run the ball himself just to keep the defense on its toes. At the very least, use rollouts more often down there so he can survey the field and make a mad dash to pay dirt should he see an opening. He’s got some wheels, so let him use them.

Diamond Dogs take on Xavier

Georgia baseball has a two-game Spring Break home stand against Xavier on Tuesday and Wednesday at Foley Field. Game 1 begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, with freshman righty Christian Ryder (0-1, 7.88 ERA) starting on the mound. The 5-6 Dawgs have been in a lot of close calls already this season, playing in seven one-run games and going 3-4 in those contests. Fresh arms should not be a problem against Xavier, as only six pitchers saw action in the series against UAB last weekend.

But the Diamond Dogs aren’t spending their entire Spring Break week playing baseball. On Monday, some players took time to visit a local elementary school.

Pair of Lady Dogs earn track & field honors

The NCAA Indoor Championships are up this weekend, meaning the indoor season is about to come to a close. With the close of the season comes the doling of awards, and two Bulldogs earned honors in the SEC.

Junior Keturah Orji earned the SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Year and true freshman Louisa Grauvogel earned the SEC Women’s Freshman Athlete of the Year. Orij won her third consecutive SEC indoor triple jump title, her fifth SEC triple jump title overall, at the SEC Indoor Championships last month, breaking multiple national and UGA records in the process. Grauvogel, meanwhile, was the top freshman finisher in the pentathlon at the SEC Championships, finishing fifth overall.

Orji was also named the USTFCCCA South Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year on Monday.

Dawgs in February

Here’s a one-minute look back at February in UGA sports.

ICYMI

Good dog

These tennis dogs have a very important job.

The post How can Georgia improve its red zone scoring in 2017? appeared first on DawgNation.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Georgia Tech chose NIT over NCAA in 1971
Georgia Tech chose NIT over NCAA in 1971

In 1971, the last and only time before this season that Georgia Tech made the NIT semifinals, the college basketball postseason was a different scene than it is today. Tech’s approach in that season explains it quite clearly. At the end of the 1970-71 regular season, the Yellow Jackets were 20-8, just the third 20-win season in school history...
Hawks still evaluating backup point guard spot
Hawks still evaluating backup point guard spot

The Hawks backup point guard position continues to be under evaluation. Malcolm Delaney served in the role for most of the season behind starter Dennis Schroder as the Hawks went without a third true point guard on the roster. Jose Calderon was claimed off waivers on March 4. Upon his acquisition, the Hawks played Calderon in the backup spot for five...
Former NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton of Duluth dies
Former NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton of Duluth dies

NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton of Duluth, who won the 1970 Daytona 500 driving for Petty Enterprises, died this week. Hamilton, 74, passed away Wednesday. Hamilton, a native of Maine who moved to the Buford-Norcross area and built winning cars after his driving days, won four times during a career that spanned six seasons, including twice at Talladega...
Teheran turns in nifty bases-loaded escape in final Grapefruit start
Teheran turns in nifty bases-loaded escape in final Grapefruit start

LAKELAND, Fla. – When he pitched five dominant innings for Colombia in a March 11 win against Canada in the World Baseball Classic, Julio Teheran looked pretty much ready for the regular season. When he worked six strong innings against the Detroit Tigers on Friday, extricating himself from a bases-loaded, no-outs jam along the way, Teheran left...
Braves’ bullpen and bench decisions coming down to final week
Braves’ bullpen and bench decisions coming down to final week

LAKELAND, Fla. – The final spots in the Braves bullpen and possibly a bench job or two were still not finalized as the team entered the final week of spring training games, with Braves manager Brian Snitker noting that 25-man roster decisions and moves could be made right until just before opening day, which is April 3. “Couple of decisions...
More Stories