Georgia’s offense is trying to overcome recent red-zone problems

The Georgia offense had been stringing together several games, where trips to the red zone often meant seven points, until it suffered a real setback last week. With one game left in the regular season, the Bulldogs are hoping to get back on form before the postseason begins.

Georgia had touchdowns in at least 70% of its trips to the red zone in four of its last five games before its away game against Kentucky last week, but that recent success didn’t carry over against the Wildcats. The Bulldogs scored just one touchdown in five trips to the red zone last week, a feat that saw them stop fourth and score on one trip and settle for field goals on three other occasions.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart noted the Bulldogs had made steady progress prior to the troubles in Lexington last week as they finished drives with seven points.

We started offensively very slowly in this area. And we moved into the 20’s and we crept up. And it got really good and then last week we took a step back,” Smart said. “The level of concern is execution. It’s not like you can say it’s a thing or, oh, you’ve got a problem here. No, you didn’t do that right. And any game we can point to and say we’ve got a bug here. And if you make a mistake here, we don’t execute. If you play good defence, they benefit from you.”

Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones explained that he couldn’t really pinpoint what the problem was against the Wildcats last week, adding that he felt the biggest problem was misunderstandings. Looking ahead to future opponents, Jones said the way the Bulldogs will overcome the issues that held them back against Kentucky is by physically dominating their opponents.

“WIf they know we have to run the ball and we know we have to run the ball, we just have to dominate. this is the end you know We just have to beat them physically, get them bigger and just be able to get what we need,” Jones said. “We have a great offensive line. We’re capable of that, but I just feel like sometimes it’s just a few mental mistakes. It’s not one person – I lay it on all of us. So all we have to do is look at ourselves, look in the mirror and just be man.”

The big challenge for the Bulldogs this week is that they face a Georgia Tech defense that played reasonably well with their backs to the wall.

Despite some struggles this year, the Yellow Jackets have boasted strong red zone defense, scoring on just 78.1% of opposing red zone trips (good for 29 national) and just 51, 2% of those touchdowns allowed travel (27th national). That ability to stop in the red zone was shown last week when Georgia Tech only allowed North Carolina to find the end zone on one of five trips to the red zone and prevented the Tar Heels from even scoring on three of those trips scored a 21-17 Georgia Tech win.

The Georgia defense has set the national standard in terms of red zone defense this season, with the Bulldogs finishing first in points allowable percentage (62.5%) and first in point allowable percentage (62.5%). Percentage of touchdowns allowed (29.2%). With that example on the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs offense will be hoping to find similar results again.

“OOur Red Zone team defensive percentages were really, really special. We stopped a lot of people and we compete all offseason. You can see our boys leave,” Smart said. “We do it every week – every Wednesday we go out and do it. So it was a focus for us. But it’s one of those things that we need to keep working on and getting better at.”