Kirby Smart reveals why Georgia RB James Cook hasn’t gotten more touches
ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is always looking for ways to improve and enhance his football team.
That’s why Smart said on his Thursday radio show that he’s interested in James Cook getting more touches for the offense.
Smart explained that Cook’s relative lack of touches in the offense the past couple of games has had more to do with the defenses the Bulldogs have faced than the play calls.
“On a lot of plays … there’s options, that he’s the guy or another guy is the option, and lot of them just haven’t gone his way because defenses are dictating that ‘I don’t want him to have the ball, I want the other person to have the ball,’ “ Smart said.
“In the world of football every play has three plays on it, and the average fan watches and says, “Oh, D’Andre Swift has got the ball,’ well that play could have been D’Andre, or it could have been James or it could have been (Lawrence) Cager, and a lot of it is based on what the defense does.”
Cook had just one carry and one kick return against Notre Dame, and last Saturday at Tennessee the only time he touched the ball was on two receptions.
It’s quite a contrast from the first three games of the season, when Cook had 8 carries for 103 yards and 6 catches for 57 yards.
Smart expounded on what goes into determining how many touches a player gets, and that there are occasions the ball will go to a specific player.
“We talk all the time about touches or ‘him plays,’ meaning he’s getting the ball — we have plays where this guy is getting the ball, it doesn’t matter,” Smart said. “Then we have plays that are really up to Jake (Fromm) to determine where the ball goes, and it’s based on the look the defense gives you.
“James has probably lost out on three or four touches a game where the look dictated that it just didn’t hit right. Where we had some other games, I think the Vanderbilt game, I think you saw a lot of James.”
The thing Smart wants to make clear is it’s not a case of Georgia not wanting Cook to get the football.
“So it’s not by design in any way shape or form, and we want to try to get him more touches, but ultimately there’s only one ball, and there’s only X number of plays, so we have to make sure we’re being efficient with our touches,” Smart said.
“I want everybody is to get the ball,” he said. “My ultimate goal, to be honest with you, is to win the game…. (but) if we’re being productive we’ve got to ask ourselves how can we improve, and if I had to say there’s an area we could improve on, it would be trying to find more ways to get him the ball.”
Here’s a look at the Top 10 “touches” leaders:
D’Andre Swift (77): 66-460 rushing; 10-147 receptions, 1-4 KR
Bran Herrien (46): 40-251 rushing, 4-21 receptions, 2-37 KR
Zamir White (27): 26-199 rushing, 1-5, receptions
Tyler Simmons (21): 7-47 rushing, 6-56 receptions, 8-134 PR
James Cook (20): 9-99 rushing, 8-69 receptions, 3-57 KR
Lawrence Cager (15): 15-197 receptions
Demetris Robertson (14): 2-29 rushing, 12-153 receptions
Kenny McIntosh (13): 13-128 rushing
George Pickens (12): 12-185 receptions
Dominick Blaylock (11): 9-179 receptions 2-17 PR