Richt's 2003 offense only underperformed in two games - against UAB and Vandy. This was bizzare. These were two teams who didn't rank incredibly high on the defensive side of the ball. Still, we didn't get it done like we should against them. Ours was a team who had just gone 13-1 and didn't lose a truckload of talent going into 2003. We were pretty good, but in two games against eventual National Champion LSU, we performed ON PAR with their average competition in terms of scoring. That's just not how you win titles. A division crown? Maybe...but we won that because the other teams in the East couldn't leg it out. Flordia beat us, but had three losses in the SEC. Still, overall, the offense performed pretty well. We outperformed the average against two elite defenses, and were on-par with the average against the best defense in the country, LSU.
2004 - Dissappointments abound
David Greene, senior QB. David Pollack, Senior DE. This was going to be the end of an era in Georgia football, and we all fully expected a title. We'd won the east twice in a row, and had been within fifteen minutes of going undefeated two years earlier. In the fourth week of the season, UGA faced the first of three elite defenses in reigning national champion LSU, and beat the pants off them. Then, the unexplainable - we fell completely apart in a game against middle-of the pack Tennessee. UGA carried a four-year winning streak into that game, and pissed away a chance at a title with that loss. Somehow, our offense simply never got clicking. We wouldn't underperfom again until running into a stout Auburn team on their way to a 14-0 season, and NO SHOT at the title. We outpaced a good Wisconsin team in our bowl game to claim a 10-2 season, but it was far less than we imagined coming into that year.
2005 - Unimpressive Champions
After the year that wasn't, there was excitement with a redshirt senior returning for his time in the spotlight. DJ Shockley was ever the foil to David Greene, with his athletic ability surpassing his pure quarterbacking skills. I expected our offense to go very much to the option, but it did not. We became a shotgun-read type offense. We ran alot of split-back, and we won games against some good defenses. Points, though, did not flow freely from the offense once again. We did beat up on some of the worst teams we faced, but we defintely didn't crush mid-level teams like Mississippi State and Arkansas. We lost to Auburn for a second straight year, and due to an injury to starting QB DJ Shockley, dipped back into the L column against FL once more. The offense went through a five-game stretch at the end of the season which had four poor offensive performances, and was only able to win three games. We rebounded by dismantling a great LSU defense in the SEC title game, but it took us nearly three quarters to catch fire against WVU in the Sugar Bowl, a game we lost when our special teams failed to stop a fake punt late in the fourth. Despite winning his second SEC title in his first five seasons, Richt heard clamoring among UGA supporters who complained about his playcalling. Many suggested that the duties of an HC and an OC are too much for one man to handle. The next season, it appears that point may have been proven.
2006 - a New Beginning
In 2006 Richt was faced with something he hadn't dealt with since 2001. He had no real experience at Quarterback. He had three options - 1)Joe Tereshinski, a backup who had been serviceable in some situations, but never spectacular. Joe had done everything UGA had ever asked of him, was a legacy player, and was as selfless as they come. 2) Joe Cox, a redshirt freshman who had a ridiculous highschool record, tossed 60+ touchdowns in his senior year, and had been absorbing Richt's system for a year. 3)Matt Stafford, a true freshman ESPN Top 150 recruit who drew comparisons to NFL QBs while still in high school. Richt had no clear-cut winner of the job after fall camp (which,when that's true, I think you bench the senior. If he can't clearly beat two freshmen, you sit him) and tested all three in game situations over the first few weeks of the season. Georgia was 5-0 when Tennessee came calling, but the offense had been anything but inspirational. We had squeeked by too long, and the wheels came off against the Volunteers. The offense never found its footing. Georgia lost four of five starting with that game, and only performed significantly better than average against one defense, Mississippi State, who was awful. Richt's next game would be his final as the signal caller for UGA. In the 2006 game against Auburn, a team that boasted a top-20 defense, Richt's offense piled up 30 points, over 16 more than the average team against picked up against Auburn. The offense fired on all cylinders, and some questioned whether or not Richt actually called that game. The next week, Mike Bobo was announced as the playcaller for the Georgia Tech game, leading folks to believe that perhaps Bobo was behind the playcalling that dismantled Auburn as well.
So, that's nearly six years of playcalls by Mark Richt. He had some good seasons, and he had some bad ones. What I don't understand is how people believe his playcalling to be significantly better than Bobo's. When I look at my humble numbers, I find the following:
Richt's offenses failed to outperform the average offense 28% of the time.
Richt's offenses failed to outperform in SCORING 55% of the time.
Richt's offenses failed to outperform in Total Yards 38% of the time.
Richt's offenses failed to outperform in Passing Yards 38% of the time.
Richt's offenses failed to outperform in Rushing Yards 52% of the time.
Now, this DOES NOT take into account any kind of situational differences such as not rushing the ball often because passing was working so well, or playing on a short field. BUT, all statistical analyses are limited in some way.
If you ask me, there are two glaring areas in which Richt's offenses failed to perform. We didn't run the ball particularly well, and we weren't great at scoring touchdowns. If you ask any SEC fan the two things that win titles on offense, they'll say running the football, and scoring touchdowns.
Maybe Richt was right to hand the playcalling over to Bobo. We'll see in the next blog.
Nice work on the blog. One nitpick...we beat Clemson something like 31-28 to open the 2002 champ season. Went for it on fourth and short to seal the win. Richt took a similar Sabanesque risk against UT to seal a win that only a one armed Casey Claussen could have prevented (this, according to Claussen, of course). We blanked Clemson 31-0 to start the next season.
Thanks for the note, Pat! I don't remember EVERYTHING and should have researched that little tidbit before including it.
And please, don't call 4th down "go for it" calls "Sabanesque." It's been around for FAR longer than Nick Saban has been a premiere coach.
Post a Comment