ATHENS — Georgia tailback D’Andre Swift has 58 carries the past three games and has not broken a run longer than 23 yards, averaging 4.88 yards per carry.
Those would respectable numbers for most backs. But for the dynamic Swift, it almost constitutes a slump even as he leads SEC tailbacks with 6.44 yards per carry
Consider, Swift’s burst last season against Florida, Kentucky and Auburn, when he rushed for 447 yards on 45 carries (9.93 yards per carry) with home run carries of 83 and 77 yards against the Wildcats and the Tigers.
“I need to do a better job breaking tackles, I can’t put it on anyone else,” Swift said on Monday. “People load the box, but you can’t use that excuse,”
Even if film review reveals Swift simply hasn’t had running lanes, and Kirby Smart backed that up.
“We’re getting runs, good runs, 10 yards or more,” Smart said, “but we’re not getting explosive runs, which are longer because there’s a lot of people in the box.”
The No. 10-ranked Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 SEC) will be looking to get back on track when they play host to Kentucky (3-3, 1-3) at 6 p.m. on Saturday (TV: ESPN).
Swift is ready to do his part, on and off the field.
“I’m going to address the team today and just tell everybody we need to stick together, we need to be more of a family now than any time, and let them know one loss doesn’t define our season,” Swift said.
“We need to keep going and treat every game like a playoff game, that’s really what it is,”
Swift, like most everyone else, has high expectations for the Georgia offense.
“We should be one of the best teams in the country on offense, in every aspect, and I think we need to do a better job of playing fast in practice and hopefully see that trickle down to Saturday,” Swift said. “We haven’t played a complete game offensively, at all.
Swift echoed Smart’s suggestions for the offense to open up.
“I think we need to do a better job of getting the ball to playmakers in space and try to get the ball outside a little more,” Smart said. “Outside zones, screens, stuff we need to work on in practice, to get better at those things.”
All that said, Swift said no blame should be placed on new offensive coordinator James Coley.
“I think he’s done a good job so far, you can’t put it on him, what he calls really doesn’t matter, as long as we execute and get the job done, it really shouldn’t matter,” Swift said. “So you definitely can’t put it on Coach Coley at all, he’s done a good job with what he’s been doing.”
It’s just a matter of going back to work after the 20-17 overtime loss to South Carolina.
“We know how good we can be,” Swift said. “No loss is a good loss, we just have to approach every game like it’s our last.”
SEC Rushing Leaders
Georgia RB D’Andre Swift
Georgia-Kentucky Game Week