Own the East: Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney
Editor’s Note: It may be time for the Georgia Bulldogs to take back the SEC East in 2017. We’ve featured the most important UGA players, coaches, fans and staff for the upcoming season in a 20-part video series, which you can binge-watch right here.
ATHENS – Despite what Georgia fans saw from him last season, Jim Chaney has put together good offenses over the years.
The Bulldogs were awful on offense in 2016. In the 14-team SEC, they were 11th in scoring (24.5 ppg), 11th in total offense (384.7 ypg), 10th in passing (193.5 ypg) and ninth in rushing (191.2 ypg), an area in which UGA usually excels. The lack of production is blamed on Chaney, the 32-year coaching veteran who took over as Georgia’s offensive coordinator in head coach Kirby Smart’s first season.
Contrast that to the three most productive seasons in UGA history, all of which occurred from 2012-14 under former offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who left to become Colorado State’s head coach in 2015.
But you don’t stick around for more than three decades in major college football if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Chaney’s offense at Tennessee – where he also served as interim head coach — finished 18th in the country and featured the seventh-most passing yards and TDs in SEC history. During his two-year stop at Arkansas (2013-14), his offense averaged 406 yards and 31.9 points while producing two 1,000-yard rushers and a 2,000-yard passer. At Purdue, where he was coordinator from 1997-2005, his quarterback, Drew Brees, led the nation in total offense and won the Maxwell Award.
So it’s not like Chaney doesn’t know what he’s doing. More likely, Chaney and Georgia’s offense had a hard time overcoming the fact it was operating behind a substandard offensive line and true freshman starter at quarterback. There is also evidence that what Smart was asking Chaney to do ran counter to what was best suited for his quarterback and personnel.
Regardless, Chaney is in the second year of a three-year contract. If the Bulldogs can get back on track and produce yards and points at the rate the program is accustomed, it will be another reason Georgia should own the East.
Click here to see more of “Own the East,” our 2017 season preview of the Georgia Bulldogs in video form.