ATHENS — Mark Richt was asked an open-ended question on Sunday: How would he say Georgia’s offense has performed in the first year under coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and how would he say Schottenheimer has performed?
Richt, after a couple seconds, responded this way:
“Well I think that we certainly have had our struggles. But as of late we’ve scored enough points to win our last few games, which is the most important thing. So that’s how I feel about it. It’s a team sport. That’s how we play it, that’s how we coach it.”
Georgia (8-3) is on a three-game winning streak entering the regular season finale at Georgia Tech, but the defense has carried the load. Georgia now ranks ninth nationally in total defense, and second nationally in pass defense.
The offense, on the other hand, ranks 83rd nationally in total offense with 379.5 yards per game. The passing offense ranks 104th, at just 183.7 passing yards per game.
Three weeks ago, prior to Georgia’s game against Kentucky, Richt gave a bit more of a full-throated defense of Schottenheimer.
“I think coach Schottenheimer is a great coach. I think he knows what he’s doing. I think he knows how to coach QBs extremely well. Got a lot of faith in that,” Richt said. “And, like we said, we’ve had some ups and downs, but the season’s not over yet. I’m in that room most of the time, and I listen to what’s being taught, what’s being coached and how it’s being coached, and I’ve got full faith and confidence that he’s doing an outstanding job. We’ve just got to continue to get better as we go, and I think we will.”
Since then Georgia has defeated Kentucky, Auburn and Georgia Southern, but the defense carrying the load in those games. Georgia’s offense has averaged 315 yards per game during the three-game winning streak, playing against a Sun Belt team (Georgia Southern) and the SEC’s 10th-ranked defense (Kentucky) and 12th-ranked (Auburn).
It hasn’t helped to be without star tailback Nick Chubb since the first play of the Tennessee game. But it’s the passing game that has continued to slog along.
“We haven’t had a lot of big plays in the passing game, obviously,” Richt said on Sunday. “We’ve had probably more big runs than we’ve had big passing plays. But we got in the end zone enough to win, so that’s the most important thing.”