“I’d like for us to have enough flexibility to feel like our talent level on our offense is able to do whatever the hell I want to do,”
New Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney’s offensive philosophy has run counter to the bulk of the college football world over the last two decades. While the spread philosophy has grown and smash mouth, physical, run-first offenses are seen less and less, Chaney’s philosophical approach has gone in the opposite direction.
Chaney, who blossomed as Joe Tiller’s offensive coordinator at Purdue from 1997-2005, was notorious for his spread attack that was nicknamed “basketball on grass” and was powered by point guard/quarterback Drew Brees and later Kyle Orton.
Chaney then moved to the NFL, where he learned an appreciation for the more physical pro-style philosophy.
When he returned to the college game at Tennessee in 2009, he blended the two styles and leaned to one style or another based on his teams’ personnel, mixing passes out of the gun with runs out of the I-formation, pistol and various heavy packages.
With Jonathan Crompton at quarterback, Chaney crafted an offense built on bootlegs, shifting the pocket and rolling Crompton out to pass downfield. That style torched Georgia, as Crompton threw for 310 yards and four scores against the Bulldogs that season.
However, as Tyler Bray developed and took over at quarterback in Knoxville, Chaney went back to more spread concepts, utilizing Bray’s strong arm and future NFL receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson.
In 2013, Chaney moved to Arkansas, where he was tasked with employing a power run-oriented offense for Brett Bielema. Chaney adapted to the style, and in his second season, Arkansas QB Brandon Allen threw 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions, while a pair of Razorback rushers produced 1,100+ seasons each on the ground.
Chaney's offenses at both Tennessee and Arkansas utilized the tight ends heavily. In 2012, Tennessee’s Mychal Rivera caught 36 passes for 562 yards and five touchdowns. In 2013, Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry caught 28 passes for 409 yards and four scores as a freshman. Henry, who just capped his junior season by winning the John Mackey Award which honors the top tight end in the country, caught 37 passes for 513 yards in his sophomore season.
His melting pot of styles is not only what makes Chaney unique, but it’s also what makes him successful. Because of his knowledge and experience in a number of schemes, Chaney has the background and versatility to run any type of scheme against any team on any given week. Most importantly, he lets the talent on his roster dictate his personnel packages and his play calls.
Chaney spent last season at Pittsburgh, and just after taking that position, he had this to say about his offensive mentality:
“I’d like for us to have enough flexibility to feel like our talent level on our offense is able to do whatever the hell I want to do.”
Expect him to do just that at Georgia.