Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Curious Case Of Bobo

This week, I stumbled across some old VHS tapes from my speech class at The University of Georgia dating back to 2001. In those archives, I had written a speech about the firing of former coach Jim Donnan. Aside from the "off the field problems", I highlighted Donnan's abismal record agaisnt rivals Florida, Tennessee, GaTech, and Auburn, along with the poor performance of the offense. As I listened to my own speech, I began to think "dang, am I ever satisfied with the offensive of my team?".

The short answer to that question is this: No, I am the type of personality that is always looking for a way to make things I love better (just ask my wife and kids). Some may say it's a major flaw of mine, but others say it is why they love me. On second thought, I'm an Atlanta Falcons fan, and I tend to like the offensive coordinating of Mike Mularkey; so, there I can be satisfied! :)
I write this blog post today mostly as an answer to a question posed by The Senator over at Get The Picture . This is in response to some comments that went on in one of his post game threads after last Saturday's loss to the LSU Tigers. Linked Here is the article I commented on, and a small portion of the comment thread went a little something like this:

Andy Coleman

Senator, you’re right on about that series being the pivotal point in the game. That series was followed by 3 more just like it, even into the 3rd quarter. Bobo stalled, and the crap hit the fan.

Senator Blutarsky
If you think I’m pinning the loss on Bobo, you’re overstating my point.

Andy Coleman

I know you’re not on the new OC train like I have been for the past four years, I’m just amazed that you admit how crucial it was when we nutted up on that series. Do you recognize that there may be a direct correlation between play calling changing all of the sudden during a game, and Murray going all bankers mid game?

Senator Blutarsky
Both Bobo and Murray were dealing with an offensive line physically challenged all night, running backs who had trouble hitting the holes faster than LSU’s linebackers closed them and receivers who couldn’t hold on to passes to save their lives. I really doubt Murray was thinking to himself on that third down play, “I gotta do something here… Bobo’s playcalling is killing us.” He was just a kid in a pressure situation trying to make a play to help his team. It blew up. Hopefully he’ll learn from his mistake. That’s all I recognize.

Andy Coleman
I bet Murray wondered why he was handing it off up the gut on 1st and 2nd down for the 4th possession in a row, only to have Crowell/Thomas run into a wall. There are ways to neutralize D-lines, and off tackle dives and draws on 1st and 2nd down are not them.

Senator Blutarsky
“There are ways to neutralize D-lines”? How closely were you watching the game? It wasn’t just LSU’s d-line that was an issue. Those linebackers were obscenely fast closing down the gaps. It was clear that Georgia’s running backs weren’t prepared for that. Although to be fair, until you play against them, I’m not sure how you could be prepared.

Andy Coleman
Ok, let me change my post to “neutralize fronts”. Either way, same point. Please understand that I think LSU was a better team than the Dawgs. But, I don’t want that to be the case in a few years. I want what is best for this team, and in my (I’m a virtual nobody, but a loyal alum/fan none-the-less) opinion, Bobo ain’t it! Bobo makes top dollar, and we have proven (Grantham) that top dollar can get you a whole lot more if you pick wisely.
From that point on, there were literally almost 100's of other comments from me, people that think I'm a moron who know's nothing about football, people that agree with me (this fellow "Adam" had some GREAT insight), and even a few more comments here and there from The Senator. If your interested, the comment thread is up to 194 at this time, and there is some fairly great conversation if you pick through the trolls.

It's not posted above, but soon thereafter in the conversation, The Senator called me out and asked "Who’s a “balls out” OC in your mind?", and then several of his blog readers back him up in that notion and dared me to name a possible replacement for Mike Bobo if I am such a genius.

Before I tell you my answer to that challenge, let me take a second to give my true stance on Mike Bobo as the offensive coordinator at The University of Georgia. I sit here today and proclaim that Mike Bobo is not the worst possible choice of OC that we could be graced with at this time, and admittedly so, the man can seemingly call plays with exceptional success from time to time, even for the course of entire games! Take the 2011 Auburn game for example; need I say more? That was a thing of beauty from where I was sitting in the end zone of Sanford Stadium. It's documented in probably 5-10 forums on various blogs that I was stunned at how on fire our offense was coming out of the gate against LSU last Saturday, minus the dropped touchdown passes.

To sum up my thoughts from the SECCG, I'll just post a comment from my ever so popular post after the game:
I did a poor job of fully explaining my qualms with Bobo's play calling on this particular blog because I forget that all readers haven't read all of my posts on UGABlog, where, many times I've given specific analysis of why I think this team deserves a better coordinator. I know that people who get on here and anonymously call me names have not (nor are they going to) read everything I have ever written about Bobo. Those who know me have heard my criticism of Bobo's Gameday coaching for 4 years. Those people also know that Mike Bobo is my 3rd favorite UGA quarterback of all time.

As far as "fault" is concerned, where have I ever said that it was Bobo's fault that we lost. I know why we lost to LSU. They were a much more well-rounded football team that didn't make mistakes or drop touchdown passes.


What I do believe about the SECCG is this: the offensive game plan took a drastic turn late in the first half. At one point, there were 4 straight possessions where we ran it between the tackles on 1st & 2nd down, only to get stuffed and then put Murray's head on a platter on 3rd and long against a pissed off defense full of future NFLers. We had them on the ropes the whole first half, then the script ran out, Bobo got nervous and saw that our defense was playing lights out....then, The Shit Hit The Fan. The only chance in hell the Dawgs had at winning that game was to play balls out on offense until our defense had the game in hand. After our offense and special teams wet the bed, the defense said WTF!
After writing that post, the boys over at DawgSports.com put up an article that explained things better than I could ever dream of, and here is that link in case you're interested; "Improving the Georgia Offense for 2012: a Tough Call".


WHO WOULD BE A POSSIBLE REPLACEMENT FOR OUR NEW OC?

I can honestly say that I have toiled over this question more in the past 3 days than I am proud to admit. It's been to the point that my wife politely requested I stop researching and spend some quality time with the family. It was at that point that I realized I would be wasting my time trying to spit out actual names of who I think would be viable candidates for the OC job at UGA.

The actual conclusion I came to is simple. If I were Mark Richt & Greg McGarity, I would conduct a search for my new OC in the following way. First, I would put the word out on the street that I was looking for a young (sub 50), energetic candidate that has a coaching philosophy similar to that of Steve Spurrier and/or Sean Payton. I'm not saying that my new OC has to run the same offensive scheme as those guys because I tend to love the pro-set (with spread undertones) that we currently run at Georgia. What I'm saying is that I want a guy who is cut in that mold. The kind of guy that lives and breathes offensive adaptation. Adapting to your personell; adapting to your opponent; adapting to the flow of the game; mostly, not set on doing something one way just because that's the way I do it by God.

Now I know for a fact, that after some of my deerest fans read this post, they are going to call me out on some sort of contradiction they feel that is embedded within this post. To that I say, bring it on! Let's just hope that we can get some honest debate instead of all the "douchebag, moron, a$$hole, idiot, etc...". It's not that I can't handle those comments (I am actually genuinely amused by most of them), it's just that I love a good debate better than anything in the world. Especially when it is something I am so passionate about, The Georgia Bulldawgs! So, to all of you that have it in your heads that I am not a "real UGA fan", I wish you could peer in my heart brother because there ain't much I love more in the land than the Dawgs, Bobo or no Bobo!

GATA

19 comments:

  1. I just happen to disagree . Everybody has their own opinion. I agree with the Senator.
    In fact I could find nothing in your blog or comments that I truly agreed with.
    I have no Dawg in this fight but I certainly hope that Bobo will continue to be the OC for a very long time. I too watch & rewatch the games & I do not find the faults that you do.
    In fact I am satisfied with the entire Dawg Coaching Staff. Time will tell who is right.
    That concludes any comments or replies from me. GO DAWGS.

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  2. Andy,

    You are right. Bobo needs to at the very least, be demoted to QB coach. He just doesn't get SEC football. In the SEC today, you win with great defense, and running the ball. Alabama, LSU, Florida, all won the SEC by being the top rushing team in the SEC.

    This requires a big, deep offensive line, a big deep defensive line, and depth at running back.

    You do not need a great QB, great receivers, Bobo is simply wrong.

    Any game where your QB throws the ball as many times as Murray did against LSU, you were not prepared to win and got outcoached.

    Bobo's gameplan against LSU was wrong. It assumed inexperienced receivers would stay alert on every play where they wern't the primary receiver for their 1 or 2 catches a game and make plays that 1 or 2 times they were thrown to. They didn't.

    It assumed Murray would be cool in a big game and not turn the ball over throwing @40 passes. He had 3 turnovers.

    It assumed we were better off having Carlton Thomas run than Branden Smith or Boykin. We wern't.

    It assumed Murray could run the ball without fumbling. He couldn't.

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  3. The last 5 SEC Champs all finished #1 in rushing yards per game against ranked teams.

    2011-LSU
    2010-Auburn
    2009-Alabama
    2008-Florida
    2007-LSU

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  4. I couldn't agree with u more. I think Bobo has his moments both good and bad. I would love to have some one who can adapt. I think that we are one of the worst teams in the world at adjusting our scheme to fit certain players that don't fit the mold. It kills me to watch Bobo call the same plays with thomas in the backfield as he would with crowell or samuel. I sure hope im wrong but I have my doubts about how well Keith marshall will do at UGA. The reason I say this is because I dont think that bobo has the ability to implement plays that will utilize marshalls speed. Maybe some screens, wheel routes, or stretch plays. I just see him run draws straight up the middle. We need to get him in space like UF did with harvin, rainey and demps. I sure hope im wrong though. And to all those who say we are not true DAWGS for thinking like this are crazy. I am not trying to bash Bobo. I am just offering an evaluation. I make a lot less than Bobo, and I get evaluated at work. If they dont like something I am doing or not doing they are quick to let me know.

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  5. Bobo, against ranked teams, finished 1st in the SEC in number of pass plays called per game. LSU finished LAST in number of pass plays called per game, and 1st in number of run plays called per game, against ranked teams.

    Bobo's STRATEGY/Offensive philosophy, especially in big games against ranked teams, is WRONG.

    We should call 2 runs for every pass play.

    That requires depth at O-Line, and RB. And a great defense.

    Then it requires a COMMITMENT to the run.

    Hard for a former QB like Richt/Bobo to change from pass orientation to run, like Spurrier did.

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  6. I said no more comments from me but I have to make one.
    Bobo is on track to becoming a very sucessful D-1 (BCS) HC; probably in the SEC. You are wrong.

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  7. As long as Richt continues trying to win the SEC East with a pass orientation, Spurrier's new SEC West style run orientation/stop run on defense strategy will result in wins for South Carolina. Look at the last 2 match ups there. Spurrier ran the ball, dared Bobo to pass, counted on his great d-line, counted on winning turnovers. 2-0 against Bobo in last 2.

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  8. Andy,

    How would you handle Richt's point of view, which is that you can win the SEC with a heavy passing attack, Richt says since Spurrier did at Florida, he can at Georgia?

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  9. I am really really confused with these posts.

    Bobo can either adapt to the personnel on hand by calling more passing plays than running plays, which he did for most of the year.

    Or he can ignore our personnel issues and play away from our strengths by running the ball.

    He can not have done both.

    Which argument are you guys making?

    If he was unable to adapt to the players on his team we would have done exactly as you guys seem to want and run the ball all year regardless of success. He would have then been crucified by the blogosphere because he is trying to rely on our 5th-7th string RB's to pound the rock rather than playing to our strengths/defensive weakness.

    If; however, he played to our strengths and threw the ball the majority of the time mixing the run in to keep defenses honest, he would have been abandoning the run game and not playing SEC football and obviously we could never have won championships with that strategy...

    If by some miracle he maintained offensive balance, the entire UGA nation would simply second guess him every time something did not work because obviously that run didn't work so he should have called a pass. Which is pretty much where we are at.

    This is what I know. We have 3 gaurds and 2 centers on the offensive line, with no OL depth behind that. We were also implementing a new blocking system. We played our preseason 3rd-7th RB's the entire year, and at no time were they really consistently healthy. 2-3 of our top 5 WR's are freshman, and we have a sophomore QB. Our only truly elite offensive weapon that was not a freshman is a TE. That is it.

    Add to this the fact that we played the # 2, 4, 9, 16, 19, 28, 43, 45 ranked defenses in the country over the course of the year (for comparison Ok St. played one top 50 defense the en tire year: Texas at 14)

    What in that description tells you we should have been dominating anyone on offense, much less the #2 defense in the country. Despite this we still finished #1 in yardage and #4 in scoring in the SEC. We had the second most rushing yards in the Richt era.

    Add to this, we scored more points on offense on LSU than any team in the SEC and we should have scored at least 7 more and more likely 14 more if our WR could catch passes that hit them squarely in the hands.

    and somehow the off season chatter is that we should fire this guy?

    I don't get it. I just don't get it. The last 3 years I would hear this argument and say it held some water, but this year Bobo coached his butt off, and did more with less than anyone else in the conference. He was the best OC in the SEC this year and it ain't really close.

    So, other than some subjective hunch that he isn't perfect, I just don't see how you can harp on his numbers.

    where is your objective data to support your argument? our offense consistently scored more against defenses than other teams.

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  10. There's nothing like a team that can just bulldoze their way over opponents with a good running game. We just weren't cut out for it this year. But, all things offensive fall under the OC's watch, right?

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  11. Quite frankly will, if I was in the business of spending hours manipulating statistics to prove my "opinions", I have to be making money off of this blog. I do analyze stats from time to time, and all I usually prove is that statistics in football can be worked to prove just about anything. Case in point, those 5 TDs Murray threw in a 10 minute span versus NMSU.

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  12. Bobo is an idiot. What was his major and GPA? In games against veteran DCs, he sucks. Against New Mexico State he runs up the score. In the Boise game we really only scored 7 points. The last two touchdowns were made when the game was already over and they were just killing time. Does any one remember the Alabama game a few years ago. He was out coached and we only scored when the game was already over.

    If we want to continue to lose to the good teams, then keep Bobo. If we want to win the conference, then get a new OC. At least one that can learn.

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  13. I agree, I would love to have a dominating running game. Bobo is not my hero, I am kind of uncomfortable being his champion. But, objectively looking at what we have and what we accomplished I can't do anything but give him props for this year.

    Boise is the only game I felt we significantly underperformed on offense, and I remember thinking crap another year of offensive ineptitude.

    But then we laid the wood to a great USC defense and proceeded to play Richt ball for 10 straight wins. We averaged 4.1 yards per carry with a freshman RB and a make shift OL. I just can't muster up much to complain about...

    I just feel like the arrow is trending straight up and we led the league in yardage and were 4th in scoring this year. Maybe I am just easily pleased, but I think if we shore up ST's we are squarely in the MNC hunt next year with what we have plus Marshal and Theus...

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  14. he put up 42 against a top 10 defense at USC, so I guess that kind of invalidates your whole Bobo can't score against a good defense point.

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  15. wE PUT UP 14 ON bOISE, 10 ON lsu, AND 42 ON sc. tHOSE WERE THE ONLY 3 GAMES AGAINST RANKED TEAMS. Bobo coached 1 good game, SC, from a points perspective, but then committed 3 turnovers on offense to lose the game, including an int return for td, and a fumble returned for td, and another fumble returned inside the 10 yard line. Anyone saying Bobo called a good game against LSU is nuts--10 points + 3 turnovers (1 for td return, other in red zone). Bobo is a defensive coordinator's worst nightmare, that is UGA's defensive coordinator.

    So he scored a lot on New Mexico State and a few of the other 9 cupcakes on the schedule, big deal.

    Didn't score much on 2 out of 3 of the games that mattered this year, what's new?

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  16. I can't believe this is even a conversation about bobo running it more that's the reason people don't like him he is stubborn and wont quit running it between the tackles. I can't be the only one who sees it. We came out passing with a little bit of running and most games we dominated. Then when bobo swapped to his bullcrap conservative play calling (run run pass punt for those who couldn't see it)the other team made a come back and even beat us in some cases (that's including this year and the past 3 most notably lsu this year). If bobo stays on the gas and doesn't let up no matter what the scoreboard says I say keep him if not he's gotta go if we are ever going to reach the big game

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  17. i will give bobo credit for 4 things that are significant.

    1- he improved scoring against ranked teams form 15 points to 24 a game this year. Far short, 40% short, of the 35 points a game against ranked teams it takes to win the SEC, but at least he showed a 60% improvement in scoring vs ranked teams.

    2- he did a terrific job recruiting this off season, landing some of the biggest recruits in years. he owned south georgia.

    3- we beat florida.

    4- offense had a great game against a pretty good auburn team.

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  18. Auburn had 9 first downs. 195 yards and turned the ball over three times. The Defense won that game. Not Bobo. Rambo had a pick 6.

    Fla had 11 first downs. 226 yards and one turnover. Again the defense won this game. Our special teams gave up a touchdown.

    Bobo is still an idiot. He always will be. I was impressed with the first quarter of the LSU game but when the scripted plays ran out, we reverted to the same old play calling. So who wrote the scripted plays? It could not have been the guy in the box calling the plays as he could have just started over with the scriped plays.

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  19. If you find yourself agreeing with Bluto over at get the picture, you know you are wrong. After all this time, you certainly should know you are wrong.

    # 52 Total Offense is what Mark Richt has averaged all 11 years, this season included.

    We have recruited an average # 7 recruiting class every year for all 11 years as well.

    The problem isn't the talent.

    Pass-happy offenses, if they are ultra-successful will end up about the # 5th-ranked SEC team in the final polls. That about sums it up for us. We're a pass-happy offense and have been.

    If you break-down the offense, as I did when I played defense, what we do offensively is to actually not teach our players how to be a back on this team. We didn't; we don't; we haven't; we probably won't. Our running backs don't even know how to hold a football. They haven't for some time now. Our quarterbacks seem more intent on their own statistics than they seem intent on winning vs the better teams.

    We've played 9 games, including Michigan State now over the last several years versus teams who end that season in the top 25. We've lost every game. In each case, the opposing team has done a better job than us offensively - typically much more efficient. We're poor in the red zone; we freeze up under pressure on offense; and we rely upon settling for our special teams and defense to bail us out offensively.

    There is no justification for keeping Mike Bobo in any capacity - especially not as Quarterbacks' coach given the lack of development of our best player on our entire roster last year and his sophomore slump this season. You could go back to choices such as Matthew Stafford 4th string in 2006. You could go back to 2005 when DJ got hurt and they told us how great Joe Tereshinski III would be, when had anyone else started 2005 vs Florida, we win that game. 2009 Joe Cox has the chronic shoulder and the flu and we didn't put Zach Mettenberger in for even 1 play vs Okie State who did not even end up in the AP Poll Top 25, even with their win over us ? Rip redshirt off offensive players in game 6 of the season, or game 5 of the season, or redshirt the best running back we've had around here for 30 years so we only get to see him 2 years then # 12 draft pick in the world.

    No.

    Our problems remain on the offensive side of the ball. Clean house.

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