Swift for Heisman
SWIFT FOR HEISMAN by: Han Vance
Lightning and the thunder. After getting off to a less than fully-excellent start while Georgia cruised through an easy early season slate until skidding on the bayou at Baton Rogue, SWOLYFIELD: the fusion brand of Swift + Holyfield came through in a big way later for 2018 Georgia football.
In fact, the University of Georgia Bulldogs, aka RBU ~ Running Back University produced back-to-back double thousand yards rushers, with different backs, and unusually mighty, ahem, feat.
Prior, Todd Gurley (an NFL MVP) dominated then played sporadically, as the early promise of GURSHALL never manifested into much after their freshman years together, Gurley so drastically outshone at UGA an oft-injured Keith Marshall. Gurley played sporadically, well when on the field, sure, but somewhat sporadically via injuries and his suspension.
Then, when Chubb emerged halfway through his frosh campaign, it was mostly Chubb. We did have Gurley/Chubb back together for a game (a home massacre in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry). But when Chubb was healthy, it was far and away mostly Chubb after that. Sony hit the thousand-yard mark when Chubb got hurt, as they were both sophomores. Then, it was mostly Chubb again.
Finally, over the back half of 2017 offensive coordinator Jim Chaney could no longer deny the touches to team leader Sony Michel and Georgia popped back into the ATL’s SEC championship game, winning it and a playoff at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Chubb and Sony combined for 2,5000 rushing yards and that team won 13 football games, tying the school record for wins.
To do it again, though, with 2017’s third, D’Andre Swift – who had had no career hundred-yard games, and then-fourth-to-fifth string runner Elijah Holyfield, has fully laid down the gauntlet at GEORGIA ~ Where we will be running the football.
The offensive lone loses its leader in center Lamont Gaillard but is maturing, after being young for two campaigns. These guys have propelled four guys to dual-over-two thousand yard campaigns. They plan to and will produce big again this year.
Perhaps a factor in his NFL departure, some feel Holyfield was a little behind, and would have stayed behind, an injury-recovering ZEU$, at the time of Zamir White’s second catastrophic injury before he ever laced them up for Georgia. White should be ready to go soon, finally, after a redshirt last year. Throw in veteran Brian Herrien, who played the best in the Sugar Bowl and has gotten a few touches a game since his true freshman debut alongside a junior year Chubb, who was fresh back off his horrible injury, when Herrien scored on his first career touch over UNC in the Georgia Dome. And speedster Cook.
Sam Pittman remaining at Georgia to run the offensive line was my main concern, when all the coaching shifting happened. On defense, ace Mel Tucker will plainly be missed, while Georgia strictly promoted from within. This is Kirby’s time to shine.
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney vacates for a lateral move to rival Tennessee under former Georgia, FSU and Bama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. While Georgia scored its second-most points ever last season, and loses four of its top five pass catchers and half of the running duo, its power back, hope abounds in Athens. Swift wasn’t healthy when 2018 started.
He had a dynamite freshman year per amount of touches and played amazingly down the stretch last year. His game at Kentucky, when Georgia needed it, I was there, truly dominant. Then, he somehow played even better against Bama in Atlanta, more diverse game.
The Sugar Bowl was easily his worst career game, with a couple key fumbles and no real production. Perhaps that lone bad game can be used as a personal motivator for the uber-talented Philadelphian, with the most amazing cutback ability I’ve seen at Georgia since Garrison Hearst. When Swift plants that long foot, he goes any direction he feels after.
Will the love be too divided? Fromm. I love Fromm. What a winner. And the running back by committee standards will continue to be implemented over the early tenure of newly-promoted from within offensive coordinator James Coley, but honestly folks nobody is exactly sure how Coley will call plays.
Chaney’s inflexibility in-game of game plan modifications and player rotations, and his unwillingness to effectively use notable key weapons like (outgoing) TE Isaac Nauta much, did cost Georgia some games. Such that Georgia could actually net gain on offense, especially by throwing it to the running backs more in space and regularly connecting with the tight ends, where big speedster Charlie Woerner returns. Completing higher percentage, yet in-motion plays would soften the box. Swift cutting through a soft box just isn’t fair.
Yet when the team point production has been that numerically high, it is statistically unlikely to be able to fully maintain while absorbing a changeout of both coordinators. The key will be no big dip in point production, with the defense more mature.
Make no mistake about it, for the Georgia offense to ultimately succeed, pass catchers, too, at wideout, will have to emerge and shine. The talent cupboard appears fine, but on-field production is limited to JJ, coming off three drops in the Sugar Bowl.
I see Georgia running the football a whole lot and using Swift in the passing offense way more than can be stopped by defenses. This, Swift’s third campaign, I predict to be his final in college football. He could easily be heading to the pros.
GEORGIA SPORTS TALK – DEBUTS FRI 4/19 7p:
Han Vance live podcasting his fabled sports talk, with simulcast and in front of a live studio audience, from the lobby of The Georgia Gameday Center on Broad Street in Athens, Georgia. We are launching the Friday night before the G-Day game and will broadcast on Fridays before college football games, covering all college football in the state of Georgia.