ATHENS, Ga. – Jake Fromm wants to show his former mentor how well he learned his lessons.
Fromm, No. 3 Georgia’s quarterback, says Jim Chaney, the Bulldogs’ former offensive coordinator, “really kind of introduced me to this pro-style offense.”
Chaney left Georgia after the 2018 season to take control of Tennessee’s offense. The Bulldogs visit the Vols on Saturday night.
Fromm said he remains grateful for Chaney’s key role in his development.
“He did a great job of really kind of taking me in and teaching me the game of football and really seeing it from a different perspective,” Fromm said Monday.
“… I kind of got introduced to big-boy football in a pro-style offense and different terminologies and different passing concepts. I learned a lot of football under him and I really thank him for that.”
Georgia (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) will be looking to protect its unbeaten record when it visits Tennessee (1-3, 0-1). The Vols are rebuilding under Jeremy Pruitt, Georgia’s former defensive coordinator.
Fromm is flourishing in his third season as Georgia’s starter. He has completed almost 76 percent of his passes (62 of 82) for 788 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Bulldogs are still a run-first offense. Other quarterbacks have more flashy passing totals. Fromm has avoided mistakes while ranking eighth in the nation in completion percentage.
“To me, he does as good of a job as anybody in the country, and maybe as anybody I’ve ever coached against, as far as keeping their offense in a positive situation,” Pruitt said. “He takes care of the football, gets the ball out of his hand, controls protection, keeps them in positive run plays.”
Fromm’s fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Lawrence Cager gave the Bulldogs a 23-17 win over then-No. 7 Notre Dame two weeks ago in a matchup of top 10 teams.
Chaney’s familiarity with Georgia’s players and schemes provides a backdrop to the game.
Tennessee center Brandon Kennedy said Chaney’s insights have “had a lot of impact” on the Vols’ preparations.
“It’s been very helpful, just knowing like the game plan and what they’re going to do because he’s practiced against them for however long he’s been there,” Kennedy said. “It’s been a great tool.”
Similarly, Georgia coaches know Chaney’s scheme and play-calling tendencies.
“It’ll be interesting,” Fromm said. “It should be good for our defense because they know a lot about what he does in his system, but he also knows a lot about us and what we do in our system. … It’s going to be good for both sides.”
Tennessee gave Chaney a $1.5 million salary – more money than any offensive coordinator in the nation was paid in 2018 – to leave Georgia. Alabama’s Steve Sarkisian is making $1.55 million this year.
Chaney’s offense ranks last in the SEC in total yards and 12th in scoring. Led by Fromm, Georgia ranks third in each category.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart downplayed Chaney’s knowledge of the Bulldogs’ players and scheme.
“There’s no secrets,” Smart said. “I mean, we know what they do, they know what we do. But that’s the case every week. That’s what the tape’s for.”
Fromm is 2-0 in the rivalry. He led Georgia to a 41-0 win in Knoxville in 2017 and a 38-12 home win last season.
Smart said Fromm biggest improvement this season has come in his leadership.
“Has has kind of always been a leader, but … I guess it’s more tangible to me,” Smart said. “I see him affecting other people. I can see him going and talking and communicating to young wideouts, to helping get guys lined up, challenging guys to play with more energy and effort and toughness, and he’s not afraid to confront and demand.”
AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee contributed to this report.
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