UGA Football

When it comes to game-planning, teams are in a ‘plagiarism business’

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart coaches his team from the sideline against Florida.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart coaches his team from the sideline against Florida. The Telegraph

Football is a copycat sport.

While coaches have their own philosophies and styles, some of what goes into game-planning against upcoming opponents has to do with what other teams did well against them previously.

If one team appears vulnerable on film with a certain play, you can bet a coach will try to exploit that.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart explained how this happens when he is studying an upcoming opponent on film.

“I’ll see a play that a team’s running, say Missouri, and I’ll say, ‘(Offensive coordinator) Jim (Chaney), this is pretty interesting. You might look at it,’” Smart said. “Because what happens is you’re crossing over opponents right and left. So I’m watching Missouri against South Carolina and you’re putting away mental notes that Missouri did that and it worked.”

One example of this came early in the season against Notre Dame. In three previous seasons, fullback Christian Payne never received a carry in a game.

Against the Fighting Irish, Payne was given three fullback dives for 12 yards. Two of those short-yardage plays went for first downs.

The previous week in Notre Dame’s game against Temple, the Owls utilized the fullback on offense, according to the NBC broadcast of the Georgia-Notre Dame game.

This sort of thing works both ways too.

With Florida funding success running the ball in the second quarter of Georgia’s 42-7 win, there could be some concern that South Carolina will look to replicate what the Gators did well there.

And with the Gamecocks starting a talented quarterback in sophomore Jake Bentley, perhaps they try and attack Georgia’s secondary the way Missouri did two games ago.

“We’re all in the plagiarism business, as far as plays,” Smart said. “We’re copying what other people do. Defense is the same way. You watch pressures and you try to copy what other teams do.”