Of course, most of them aren’t carrying around 350 pounds like Max Jean-Gilles. The No. 14 Bulldogs’ senior guard played all 67 offensive snaps Saturday against Auburn as Georgia went back to an offense it hadn’t used so liberally since Mark Richt’s first year.
“There was one point I was like, ‘Whew, TV timeout,’ but it’s all good,” Jean-Gilles said. “You could say that you get tired, but you’ve got to live off adrenaline. When you see a defensive lineman bending over holding his hips, and (tapping his head) for a substitution, that’s when you get excited.”
Georgia (7-2, 5-2 SEC), which plays Kentucky (3-6, 2-4) and its SEC-worst defense, got 446 yards from the no-huddle against Auburn, which matches its best offensive output of the SEC season. It worked sowell that Coach Mark Richt has indicated it will be the team’s base offense for the rest of the year.
“I like it a lot better,” Richt said. “I’ve always liked it better.”
It’s the offense Richt wanted to run when he arrived in Athens five years ago, but he gave up on it after less than a season.
“It seemed like there was a concerted effort to slow it down by the officials,” he said.
Several coaches in the league complained about the offense, saying that defenses weren’t being given the proper amount of time to make adjustments. And Richt more than once found himself defending his offense in the annual league coaches’ meeting in the spring.
Eventually, he just gave up. Then, earlier this year, he began to notice that officials were spotting the ball after each play more quickly and not being as deliberate in forcing his team to wait.
Against Auburn, he felt he had enough healthy players to run the offense the way he wanted and gave it the go ahead. The switch was easy for the Bulldogs, who use the no-huddle during all their practice sessions in order to get more repetitions.
“It wasn’t that big of a difference,” said tackle Dennis Roland. “The intensity was more, but the coaches do a good job of keeping us in shape during the season.”
Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley said Saturday reminded him of watching Charlie Ward run the old FSU offense.
“It felt like it last week because every time you looked up we were moving,” he said.
Shockley looked nearly as comfortable as Ward. He completed 20 of 36 pass for 304 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs also were a hit in the red zone. They scored four times on four trips, including three touchdowns. Coming into the game, they had scored a touchdown on fewer than 50 percent of their trips inside an opponent’s 20-yard line.
“We felt like we just needed to cut loose and see what happened,” Richt said. “We’ll continue to do it.”