Georgia Football: Bulldogs Offense Faces Unique Challenges vs. Louisville

Andrew Hall@DudeYouCrazyCorrespondent IIIDecember 22, 2014

Georgia running back Nick Chubb
Georgia running back Nick ChubbJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

Let's get this out of the way: Georgia's offense isn't good, it's great. After posting 41.7 points per game through 12 contests, that much is not up for debate.

The Bulldogs lead the SEC in points per game and rank eighth in the nation by the same measure. Georgia played half the season without star running back Todd Gurley and still found a way to run for 255 yards per contest. Aaron Murray, the SEC's all-time leading passer, is now in the NFL, but the Dawgs rank ninth in the country in passing efficiency in the first year after his departure.

This offense is not good. This offense is great.

Prolific, efficient and impressive as it may be, though, the offense could be stifled by four unique challenges against Louisville in the Belk Bowl.


Mike Bobo may be running off for a well-deserved head coaching gig.
Mike Bobo may be running off for a well-deserved head coaching gig.Daniel Shirey/Associated Press

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is still a candidate for the head coaching job at Colorado State. That much is known. Whether or not he is offered the job or how seriously he is even being considered remains to be seen, but there is no cause to believe he's been eliminated.

Accordingly, there's reason to believe that Bobo may not even coach in the bowl. Head coach Mark Richt acknowledged this possibility over the weekend, according to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald.

After saying he didn't know of a timetable for a decision regarding Bobo's future, Richt added: "We'll have a plan for everything, I can say that."

It may be unlikely that Bobo is gone prior to the bowl, but the fact that such a scenario has necessitated planning could weigh on players and other coaching personnel. If he does in fact coach, Bobo's mind could very well be elsewhere.

That unrest could negate some of Georgia's offensive prowess.


Ironically, rest could do the same. After all, Georgia's worst offensive performance of the season came following a bye week.

Indeed, against Florida, the Bulldogs mustered just seven points in the game's first three quarters.

Georgia's other conference loss also came after a week off, and though the defense was largely to blame for that defeat to South Carolina, the offense struggled at times as well.

After scoring a touchdown on its opening drive, Bobo's offense failed to reach the end zone for the remaining 25 minutes of the first half and squandered multiple opportunities.

This offense has not been at its best after long periods of rest, and the month-long lag between the Georgia Tech game and the Belk Bowl certainly fits that bill.

Familiar Face

Georgia is familiar with Todd Grantham, but he's familiar with the Dawgs as well.
Georgia is familiar with Todd Grantham, but he's familiar with the Dawgs as well.Garry Jones/Associated Press

On the other sideline is of course Todd Grantham, Louisville's defensive coordinator and the former occupant of the same position at Georgia.

Bobo and the Bulldog offense have done a fantastic job of adjusting to opposing defenses, so the concern doesn't lie so much in what the Cardinals might throw at them.

With that being said, it is a bit disconcerting that Grantham is every bit as familiar with Georgia's personnel as the Bulldogs are with him.

Grantham saw quarterback Hutson Mason in practice for four years. He knows exactly what receivers like Chris Conley, Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett are capable of. He doesn't know Jeb Blazevich from experience, but he does have an understanding of how Georgia likes to rely on tight ends.

The passing game could be particularly challenged by Grantham's familiarity.

Unfamiliar Faces

Quite obviously, Georgia has no keen understanding of Louisville's defensive stars. This is the case for any bowl game, but several Louisville players could impact the game tremendously.

Safety Gerod Holliman, for instance, won the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back, and he was an AP first team All-American selection.

The Bulldogs will have film on Holliman, but if video footage properly prepared opposing offenses for his ball-hawking affinity, the sophomore star wouldn't have intercepted 14 passes this season.

On the front end, Sheldon Rankins has been a a force from his defensive end position, racking up 12.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage this season and registering seven sacks.

What sets Rankins apart is his play-making ability. He's forced one fumble, recovered a fumble and intercepted two passes. That's not too shabby for a 305-pound defensive lineman.

The Antidote

Nick Chubb has been the cure for a host of ailments this season. If he (and the Georgia running game as a whole) plays well against Louisville, these four factors can be negated, and there's reason to suspect he can be the antidote once more.

After all, when Gurley was suspended, many feared the offense would drop off. Chubb made sure it didn't. When Gurley came back briefly and was lost again (this time to injury), Chubb remained constant.

The freshman isn't a no-name filler for Todd Gurley any more. Nick Chubb is the man in Athens. However, he may be the man in Charlotte on this occasion and in doing so have his finest performance of the season.  

Nick Chubb is worried more about running through people than about where Mike Bobo might run to.  

Chubb famously was in the weight room the day after touching the ball 42 times against Missouri, so he's probably not too rested.

Further, Todd Grantham doesn't know a lot about Nick Chubb, and Chubb likely doesn't care too much about Holliman's accolades. He's racking up his own.

There are unique challenges for Georgia's offense in this contest, but there's also cause for optimism.  

In some ways, those sentiments are true about the unit as a whole moving forward.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all stats courtesy of


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