UGA Play-Action Pass Game Finds MSU
By FirstDown PlayBook on Sep 25, 2017

This time last week as Jim Chaney and the University of Georgia offensive football staff was watching video from the Mississippi State vs LSU game the week before, it must have been glaring. They had to see an aggressive defense that was jumping all over the LSU run game and using their secondary to stop the run in the process.

The fact that Georgia was most likely going to be playing with a true freshman quarterback in #11 Jake Fromm probably didn’t do anything to convince Chaney that the Mississippi State defense would play the run game any different in Athens this past weekend either. As the two teams lined up for the first play from the line of scrimmage, it did not take long for Chaney to verify his thoughts.

On the very first play Georgia lined up in a two tight end formation with star running back, Nick Chubb, in the backfield and motioned the Z receiver inside prior to the snap. Everything about the play looked like run and the receiver was going to have to dig out the safety to his side to have everyone blocked. MSU was playing an under front and some form of man coverage with the safeties screwed down to play man on the tight ends. The only other coverage it could have been would be the most aggressive form of quarters coverage known to football.


Either way, as Chubb turned at the line of scrimmage to toss the ball back to Fromm on the flea-flicker pass Mississippi State had their entire football team committed to the run. There was no safety in the middle of the field and Georgia had set the tone from the very first snap of the football game. You can only imagine the confidence that this had to give the freshman quarterback and could take some pressure off of the offensive line to get the overloaded defensive box blocked in the run game.

Both of these Southeastern Conference teams are very fast and Georgia had a great game plan to attack the perimeters with the toss crack running game. Most of it was with Fromm under Center tossing to #27 Chubb  or #1 Sony Michel but Chaney would also dial up the toss crack scheme later in the game to Chubb out of the wildcat offense for six points.

With 5:53 left in the third quarter Georgia was leading 21-3 and facing a 3rd & 1. Chaney once again banked on the fact that the Mississippi State secondary was going sell out to get off the field. Georgia lined up with a fullback #47 Christian Payne in front of #1 Michel and #83 tight end Jeb Blazevich motioned inside. Once again, this looked like one more toss crack run play to get the needed one yard. Instead, Fromm faked the toss and kept the ball on the play-action pass.


Wide Receiver #18 Deandre Baker released inside to block the will linebacker and this time it did look like Mississippi State was playing a very aggressive form of quarters coverage. The safeties read the block and by the time Baker came off of the bluff block there was not a MSU defender near him. In fact, the fullback was also open! The closest Mississippi State came to stopping the play was the crack side defensive end did not widen against the fake crack block by #83 and he almost sacked Fromm before he got the ball off.

The importance of detailed video review is obvious here and we are sure there were a lot of helpful eyes in the press box helping Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney watch the secondary during the game also. So as you turn your television on this coming weekend know that the chess game will continue. Bob Shoop and the University of Tennessee defensive staff will see the damage Georgia did to Mississippi State and will know to defend the run by gaining extra secondary defenders may work but it is something that you do at your own risk.

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