I went back and picked up the statistics from every game since Bobo became the OC of record (GT 06) up through the bowl game against TA&M. I looked at the Rushing Yards, Passing Yards and Points scored by the offense and field goal units. Then, I compared those statistics to the annual statistical averages of every team we played. I threw out poll rankings, as I couldn't care any less about what the media or coaches think about the teams we play. I want to analyze our performance against the mean. I want to see where our offense stacks up against the other teams who are playing the teams we play. Also, I want to see where the defenses we play stack up on a national level, so I looked into the national defensive rankings of our opponents in each of those categories.
Now, I know many of you would be expecting a table here. BUT, I won't include a table. I won't include one because I really don't want to spend the hours that it would take for me to transfer all of the data I've compiled into a table on blogger. If I could nest an excel spreadsheet or copy-paste what I already did, I would...but so far, that appears to be an impossibility on Blogger. So, instead, I will summarize my findings.
Many UGA fans have been going after Bobo for years. They've been frustrated with his playcalling and with his lack of results in big football games. After the loss to USC two weeks ago, people blamed his lack of creativity in playcalling with our losing that game. I disagreed, because I saw distinct misses in execution which directly resulted in us not scoring points. But, after the Arkansas game, I felt I absolutely HAD to look into the issue more. The answer was non-execution in that game. The answer was that the coach didn't do a very good job of calling a game against a defense which wasn't as stout as we made it appear. Over the years I've heard the complaint that UGA beats only the teams we're supposed to beat, and fails to compete with the better teams on our schedule. I've been told we're not in the same league with Florida and Alabama. I've been told we have all the talent, and terrible coaching.
For years, the media praised Stacy Searels for "making the best of bad situations" when our offensive line was banged up. He rotated many players in attempts to find a working combination, and at times it looked like he'd done well. However, in 2010, we have a healthy offensive line, the same one that took over games at the end of the season, and we're terrible. So the question becomes - was Searels actually doing a good job of putting together a patchwork line - or was the play of stars like Moreno and Stafford really covering for a guy who didn't really have it all together?
Before the final whistle blew on UGA's 09 campaign, Richt had begun the process of fixing his defense. Many say he needs to to do the same this season for his offense, if he wants to bring a title of any kind to UGA. He has 3 seasons remaining on his contact, and at the moment he's in no danger of having that contract extended. If he doesn't right the ship, he'll be looking for work in 2013 at the latest. Is getting rid of Bobo/Searels the answer? Let's have a look:
In 2006, Bobo took over playcalling for the final two games - Georgia Tech, and the Chick Fil A bowl against Virginia Tech. He won both games. Against Georgia Tech, a defense that averaged a national rank of 31 in the four categories listed above, Bobo's offense performed below average in each category. But, we got the win. Bobo made some great playcalls at the end of the game to give us the win, and it wasn't a bad innaugural game. The next game, when Bobo had a month to create and install a gameplan, he faced a VA Tech team ranked #1 in scoring defense, #1 in Total defense, #1 in pass defense and #11 in Rushing defense. He bested the averages in 3/4 categories, with total yards being 19.46 yards shy and his offense's passing total only .7 yards greater than the average surrendered by VT throughout the year. UGA's offense scored 31 points, three touchdowns higher than VT's 11 point average. People felt good about Bobo as an OC.
Many people were very excited at the conclusion of the 2007 season, with the run the team went on to close the season. However, what people need to understand about 2007 was that it was a false season. UGA played only one team who, when all was said and done, had a top-15 type defense. That team was Auburn. The second-best defense we faced? Vanderbilt. Looking at the 12 games from that season, UGA scored lower than our opponent's average ppg four times. Only two of those games were losses. But, in those two losses, UGA was held to greater than two scores BELOW the opponent's average ppg surrendered. In our two sub-par victories, we were within 5 points of the opponent's season avg. Our Total Offense was held below par 5 times. Our rushing offense, 4 times..... and our passing offense was held in-check a whopping 7 times, with two others being right on-target with what the teams were surrendering on average. This was 2007. It was Matt Stafford's second season. He hadn't matured fully - but still, for 3/4 of the season our offense performed BELOW AVERAGE in the passing game? That's not what you want to hear. Also, that was the season with both Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown in the backfield. We had four games where we failed to hit par in the running game. Glaringly weak games against USC and TENN prevented an SEC E crown and possible national title berth. Against South Carolina, we were 81 yards shy of what they surrendered on average. Against TN, 105. This is with Stacy Searels, the offensive line coach who was said to be such the excellent tutor. By the way, USC finished the season ranked 110 against the run, giving up over 209 yards ON AVERAGE. We gained 128. Many UGA fans would like to beleive that in 2007 we should have had some kind of claim to the national title game. Negative. We faced one defense that was worth its salt. Now, to be fair - we DESTROYED that defense. Bobo's gameplan racked up 45 points against a defense that averaged 16.9 points surrendered. His yardage total was well over 100 yards higher than their average surrendered. Bobo's initial full season as an offensive coordinator put him at 12-2 all-time, and that looked pretty good. But again, the two games when our offense could do basically nothing were against two defenses which were ranked outside the top 40. That's not how you become a champion.
Then there was 2008. We were supposed to be all-world. Moreno, Stafford, Massaqoui, Green - the offensive weapons were there. Bobo had the kind talent at his disposal that seasoned offensive coordinators DREAM about. Then we lost Trinton Sturdivant, and the line had to be shuffled. People looked to Stacy Searels, hoping he could find the combination to bring success. We were told this schedule lined up much better for a title run than the previous year. In actuality, there were three defenses (FL, AL, TN) on the schedule in 2008 which would be top-10 defenses. There were two more (USC, AU) which were top-third as well. But, Stafford was a junior, and had weapons. Surely Bobo would do better. And in actuality, he did. Only three times did we score less than the average surrendered by the opposition, and only one of those was a loss. In total yards, we were sub-par only twice; in the pasing game, only once. But the running game - in five games, we were sub-par. Only one of those five was against the best competition (AL). In games against TN and FL, we did better running than the average team against them. Now, against GT when we picked up 40 yards less than their average, we also gained over 200 yards more than their average surrendered by passing. So, maybe we just stopped running....or maybe we had to pass because we COULDN'T run. Remember, they exploded for big points in the 2nd half, and we ended up losing that game. FL and AL dominated us, and we were never really in either game. 2008 became a season to forget as we were blown out twice, lost to Georgia Tech for the first time under Richt, and never really put it together fully on offense.
Massaquoi graduated. Stafford and Moreno were drafted. Our offense would have to find a new identity in 2009. We wouldn't have stars. We would have to adopt a team-first mentality and work together to get it done. 5th year Field General Joe Cox would have AJ Green at least, along with some top-flight young talent like Orson Charles and Washaun Ealy. Surely this team would have some success.
We were sub-par in scoring 4 times. Our total yardage was below average thrice, and only 8 yards above on another occassion. Our passing offense was sub-par 5 times. And, as I'm sure none will be surprised, the running game was sub-par 5 times and dead-on twice. Oh, and as for top-flight defenses, we really only faced one - Florida. None of the other teams on our schedule showed any kind of superior defensive ability. We finished with five losses. In three of those losses, we scored less than the average opponent did. Against FL, we scored 17, when the average opponent scored only 12.43 and against Kentucky we scored 27 when the average opponent scored 22.69. 8-5.
Now, people thought we would start this 2010 season being able to run the ball because of the way we finished. But, in our last four games, when we did so well running the ball, we faced the #78, #100, #68 and #90 rushing defenses. The sad part? Against #78 Auburn and #100 Kentucky, we only gained about 10 yards more than their average opponent.
Looking back over the entire Bobo OC career, I'm looking at 28-10 (I do not count wins over WCar, GSU and TTech). Against top defenses, Bobo is 3-3.
In 38 games, Bobo's offenses have scored significantly (at least a field goal) more than their opponent's average surrendered on 25 occasions, or 66% of the time.
In 38 games, Bobo's offenses have gained significantly (at least 10 yards) more than their opponent's average surrendered on 26 occasions, or 68% of the time.
In 38 games, Bobo's passing offenses have gained significantly (at least 10 yards) more than their opponent's average surrendered on 21 occasions, or 55% of the time.
In 38 games, Bobo's rushing offenses have gained significantly (at least 10 yards) more than their opponent's average surrendered on 18 occasions, or 47% of the time.
More importantly, for 12 straight games starting against FL in 2008 and lasting through Vandy in 2009, UGA failed to gain significantly more on the ground than our opponent's average surrendered.
Is Mike Bobo a passable offensive coordinator? It's hard to say he's gotten much better over the years. His defense hasn't helped him at times, but when you're scoring less than the opposition gives up on average, it ain't the defense's fault. If you score at least what the other team usually gives up, you should have a shot at victory. In fact, only 4 times in this period did UGA score greater than their opponent's average surrendered and lose the game. Those games were against AL in 2008, when UGA got into the game late but was scoring mostly garbage scores against reserves, GT in 2008, when the defense fell apart in the second half, FL in 2009 when we never had a chance, and Kentucky in 2009 when our offense turned the ball over too many times in the second half, giving Kentucky easy opportunities to score. In all other losses, our offense didn't even score what our opponents gave up ON AVERAGE. That means that in our losses, we weren't even an AVERAGE offense.
And we want to be champions?
In the SEC, you run to win. We all know it. Our running game is attrocious, and has been for some time. Even with Moreno in 2008, our running game was average to bad more often than it was good. Blame the offensive line injuries if you want, but that's what Searels is being paid for, right? He's being paid to put together guys who can block and create running lanes. He's being paid to be our RUNNING GAME COORDINATOR. That's a joke of a title.