It wasn't lost on Jim Chaney that his offense didn't produce to anyone's standard a season ago.
The Bulldogs found it problematic to run the ball against a lot of teams and didn't display much offensive consistency. Chaney understood this and accepted the criticism that came his way. Through it all, however, Chaney would take questions from those around him about how to change the Georgia's offense for the better.
When Chaney studied the 2016 season, one obvious thing stood out as to why the Bulldogs couldn't move the ball. And based on that one correction, Georgia is now moving the ball at a much higher clip en route to a berth in the College Football Playoff's Rose Bowl semifinal game.
"I remember, in my disappointment, I just don’t think we blocked really well the whole first year at Georgia," Chaney said. "And you say, 'What do you want to change?' People think change is putting a wideout over there and a tight end over here. Hell, I want to block better. I just wanted to block better. I sit here a year later and if you asked me, 'What’s the difference from last year to this year?' We blocked better."
Georgia's offensive line has easily been the most improved unit on this year's roster. A year ago, Georgia finished 11th in the SEC in both scoring offense (24.5 points per game) and total offense (384.7 yards per game). While the line pass protected well most of the time, Georgia only mustered 191.2 rushing yards per game. This season, those numbers have improved to third in scoring offense (34.9 points per game), fifth in total offense (433.6 yards per game) and second in rushing offense (263.5 yards per game).
So while some people may think that Georgia's improvements on the offensive end had to do with implementing more run-pass option plays, Chaney said the improvement up front has made all of the difference in the world.
"You can’t look at our success and say, 'Oh, Chaney went to the RPO. The dumbass didn’t do it a year ago, now he is,'" Chaney said, drawing laughs. "I wish it were that easy. Sorry, I didn’t mean to ruin your article."
Chaney said his team has employed a "bully-bully" mentality this season, meaning that with strong blocking and a deep stable of running backs, the Bulldogs will run the ball regardless of the defensive alignment. And in 12 of Georgia's 13 games, that strategy has worked.
But Georgia also had Nick Chubb and Sony Michel a year ago but found itself unable to run the ball at the clip it had in previous years. With Georgia's offensive line becoming more familiar with Chaney and position coach Sam Pittman in the second year of the system, the Bulldogs' offense has benefited in a big way.
"We got some talented kids carrying the ball, but at the end of the day we blocked better," Chaney said. "Our football team has bought in completely to blocking. On offense, that’s an admirable thing to buy into. I’m tickled with that. Our kids understand that to play you have to block."