Swift wants more creative play-calling from No. 10 Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — D’Andre Swift is still looking for No. 10 Georgia’s offense to play its first complete game.
He suggests some changes may be necessary to make that happen.
Swift, the leader of the Bulldogs’ running attack, would like to see the offense be less predictable in Saturday night’s game against Kentucky. He didn’t mince words when asked if he’d like to see more creative play-calling as a way to help the Bulldogs’ running backs create big plays.
“Most definitely,” Swift said Monday. “I think we need to do a better job of getting the ball to the playmakers in space and getting the ball outside a little more.”
Georgia still leads the Southeastern Conference in rushing after being held about 80 yards below its average in last week’s 20-17 double-overtime loss to South Carolina. There were many runs at the heart of the Gamecocks’ defense. Too many for Swift’s liking.
Swift ran for 113 yards but his longest run was only 14 yards. Coach Kirby Smart says he’d like to see more explosive plays, including from the running game.
Georgia has excellent big-play potential at running back with Swift, Zamir White, James Cook and Brian Herrien, who missed the Kentucky game with back spasms.
Swift said the best way to take advantage of all that speed in the backfield is to mix in more “outside zone, screens, stuff like that.”
The Bulldogs were held to a season-low 4.0 yards per carry in the loss.
Smart said the production qualified as “rush efficiency” by the team’s standards, which include average yards gained on each down. The obvious problem was Georgia’s four turnovers, including quarterback Jake Fromm’s three interceptions.
Asked if he believed Georgia had an efficient running game against South Carolina, Swift said “No, not at all.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise was Georgia’s inability to wear down the South Carolina defense. The Bulldogs’ big offensive line was the biggest reason Georgia outscored its first five opponents 84-17 in the second half.
After the loss to South Carolina, Smart said “They outplayed us up front.” He said he wants his players to learn from the loss.
He said Georgia’s line has to prove it deserves its billing as perhaps the best in school history.
“I’d love to talk about that, but they’ve got to do it,” Smart said.
Tight end Charlie Woerner said the entire offense must respond to Smart’s challenge.
“A challenge is nice,” Woerner said. “You definitely want to go out there and continue to prove to our coaches and prove to our fans that we can do what we need to do in the run game, that we can move guys off the ball and create gaps and create holes for our running backs.
“It’s definitely a challenge and we’ll face the challenge and we’ll get better.”
Georgia (5-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) can still make a third straight trip to the SEC championship game if the offense can recover from the turnovers and below-average run production.
It’s also a challenge for first-year offensive coordinator James Coley. Swift said Coley shouldn’t be blamed for the Bulldogs’ season-low 17 points in the loss.
“I think he’s done a good job so far,” Swift said.
Woerner said high expectations for the offense can be realized.
“Yeah, we have a very talented offense, very big O line, very mature offense,” Woerner said. “We have a lot of mountain left to climb until we’re at our best. That’s what encouraging about this. We can learn a lot from this loss and continue to get better.”