ATHENS — Jake Fromm’s passing accuracy and poise are just two things that set him apart.
A third attribute, that truly makes Georgia’s quarterback a weapon, is his ability to read defenses.
But the ball was taken out of Fromm’s hands to an extent during the 23-17 win over Notre Dame, and Kirby Smart explained it had more to do with he coaches that Fromm.
Smart hinted something was amiss in his postgame press conference on Saturday night when he mentioned the play clock running down on Fromm, adding that “We didn’t allow him the time to do what he does best, and we’ve got to do a better job managing that as coaches.”
Smart expounded on that following Tuesday’s practice.
Fromm looks to the sideline to get play calls between snaps when running Georgia’s Pro-Style offense. Once at the line, he has the freedom to change plays.
There was a problem with that against the Irish.
“We didn’t get the call to him fast enough so he could do what he does best, and it came out as we didn’t let him do what he does best,” Smart said. “We didn’t get the call to him fast enough, so we’ve got to do a better job of getting the call to him so he can do that. Because when you’re down on the play clock, it doesn’t give him enough time to do that (change the play). That’s what he does well.
“There were two or three times where I bet he had the call with 11 or 12 seconds left, and that’s not enough time.”
CBS analyst Gary Danielson was impressed with Fromm, and made the point that Fromm could run most any style of offense and win football games.
“There are stats about Fromm, that he needs to throw it less than 30 passes to win, but boy, I’ve seen him at his best, you can play him any way you want, he’s a winning quarterback no matter what you do,” Danielson said. “I’m telling you, this guy can throw in any offense, they just choose not to do it in the pass.”
Fromm was an efficient 20-of-26 passing for 187 yards and a touchdown, and he ranks ninth in he nation in passing efficiency.
Eric Zeier called it
UGA legend Eric Zeier told DawgNation during the offseason that Fromm would be the Bulldogs biggest weapon and explained why.
“Jake has the unique ability to put the offense in position to win every single play,” said Zeier, who was the SEC’s all-time leading passer at the time he finished his career as the Bulldogs’ quarterback and a first-team All-American in 1994.
“He’s able to change plays and recognize matchups, and that’s the greatest weapon an offense can have, that ability to be able to do all of that at the line of scrimmage.”
Zeier correctly forecasted what the Georgia offense would be up against this season.
“A lot (of play calling) is based in forcing defenses to load the box,” Zeier said, “then throwing the ball when there are one-on-one situations.”
Offensive coordinator James Coley works from the press box and makes the play calls, and then the call gets signaled in from the sideline.
Smart did not specify where the delay took place.
Judging from how easily Fromm moved the ball when Georgia went into its two-minute offense — when he was making calls for himself — more downfield plays could have been on tap had he gotten to the line early enough to change the play call.
Notre Dame was playing press coverage most of the game, often leaving the Georgia receivers with one-on-one coverage on the perimeter while stacking the box to stop the run.
Irish coach Brian Kelly explained why that was Notre Dame’s only chance to win.
“If you give Georgia the opportunity to run the football, you have no chance to win the game,” Kelly said. “The game plan was set that they were going to have some one-on-one shots on the perimeter, but the extra hat was going to be committed to the run.
“And they hit some one-on-one shots on the perimeter, but we had to be effective against the run, or we had no chance.”
Smart, clearly, has complete confidence in Fromm and will work to make sure he has time to work his magic at the line of scrimmage moving forward.
“Jake takes things that are broke and fixes them, and he makes wrong right,” Smart said after the game, “and I’m glad he’s on our team, he’s a leader, he’s a commander in chief, the guy makes good decisions.”
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