Thanks to guest author James Morgan for submitting this post…
First off, hats off to Kirby Smart and the entire coaching staff for having an A+ season that exceeded most of Dawgnation’s wildest expectations. The team was ready for every game it played in all season and played it’s best this season when it mattered the most.
That being said, in the 2012 SEC Championship Game against Alabama, Mark Richt and the offensive staff decided to hand the ball off almost exclusively to Todd Gurley. Much like with Sony Michel and Nick Chubb in 2017-2018, Georgia had a dynamic running back duo (Gurley-Keith Marshall). Gurley carried the rock 23 times for 122 yards against another dominant Alabama front, while Marshall only got two carries, far below his season average.
Smart, Jim Chaney and the offensive staff should have recognized that the more effective back against Alabama was Sony Michel. Michel only received 14 carries against Alabama, turning them into 94 yards. Sure, he accumulated some of them on 3rd down draws, but he ran with great balance and made the most of his attempts. Chubb got the lion’s share of the carries with 18 total and grinded his way to 25 yards. Too often, in comparison to Michel, he couldn’t make his man miss or shake off a tackle before a gang tackle came.
I’m not saying Michel should’ve seen the same ratio of carries that Gurley got. Instead, I’d say 18-20 carries earned based on his superior performance. In addition to this, Michel should’ve also been the starting back during overtime.
It’s too late to change this now, and hindsight is always 20/20, but this is something Smart and the coaching staff should review before going up against another talented defense in the future. As DawgNation all painfully learned, football can be a game of inches, so you have to make every inch and every advantage count.