Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Big Game Bobo"

A challenge was placed in front of me by someone who calls me a homer, insisting that I simply have a case of "Former Coach Love" for Mike Bobo. I guess I should first say that yeah, Mike was a grad assist while I was a player at UGA...but I don't know how that would create "Former Coach Love" from me. If anything, I should be dedicating this blog to Rodney Garner (my coach) and talking about what a wonderful job he's done putting guys into the NFL over the past decade.

Nah, I just look at the games.

Anyway, he challenged me to look at what Bobo's offenses have done in "Big Games"


UGA v VT, Bowl game...VT's Scoring defense ranked 1st in the nation. We scored 31 points...nearly 3 full touchdowns more than their average of 11.

Hard to really pick the "big games" in this one...I mean, we opened with OKSt, and put 35 on them...beat AL in overtime with 26 points, smacked AU to the tune of 45 (I think only 31 were by the offense) I'd say the Sugar Bowl was kind of a big game. 34 points in that one. (Admittedly, Hawaii wasn't a great defense). In hindsight, most people would call South Carolina and Tennessee the "biggest" games on the schedule, primarily because winning either of those games would have put us in the SEC title game. We did not perform well in either game.

Alabama was a pretty big game. We didn't win. We did score nearly 10 points more than the average surrendered by their defense. TN had a top-10 defense in 2008...and we bested their average surrendered by nearly 10 as well. We fell short in the FL game...and despite hanging 42 points on Georgia Tech, we lost that "big game" due to the inability of our defense to stop the option (or the inability of Reshad Jones to knock someone out of bounds - take your pick).

The 2009 offense could be called the "Awfulfense". Honestly, it was garbage. It is worth noting that we faced only one top-10 defense (FL), and we bettered their average points surrendered by 4.5 points. However, we also failed to do that four times (OSU-L, ASU-W, LSU-L, TN-L). I think many would agree, on the other hand, that when your Quarterback consistently makes bad decisions (as evidenced by 17 interceptions), it is tough for any system to be effective.

I do not have the data on all the defenses as I write this post, but I'll take a quick look at the games...We were definitely dogged out against South Carolina. Against Arkansas, we scored 24 and lost. Against Colorado, we scored 27 and lost. Against Florida, we scored 31 and lost. Against Auburn, we scored 31 and lost. Against Georgia Tech, a game we HAD to win in order to reach a bowl game, we scored 42 points.

Ok...which ones are we calling the "big" games this year? Surely Boise is a big game. We only scored 21. Their opponents are averaging 16.8. Exactly one opponent has scored more than us against them. South Carolina is a big game. We scored 42 points and lost because our players made too many mistakes. Want to hang that one on Bobo? I'd say the Florida game was a big one. We scored 24. They average giving up around 19.

So, I'd say that in retrospect, Bobo's offenses really haven't done that poorly in the big games.

But what do I know? I'm just a homer, with a bunch of data to support what I say.

Go Dawgs.


Andy Coleman said...

Was Bobo OC in 2006? My biggest complaint is his play calling in certain situations, like the AU game last year (among many others). He often outsmarts himself instead of "going with what brought ya". When something is working, run it again, and again, until it gets stopped. Screw the element of surprise. I always revert back to that time in Jax when Spurrier ran 1,000 freakin quick screens. Or, when Lattimore ran how many off tackle dives last year? Bobo is the missing link when it comes to a run of national dominance for the Dawgs.

Andy Coleman said...

The Chic Fil A bowl in 2006, Google it!

Ben Dukes said...

Andy -

Long time no talk.

Your comment here and on the other topic, "Beat Bobo" contradict one another. Here, you say "run it til they stop it" there, you say "Think outside the box."

So...which is it? For my money, I find there to be nothing as confounding to a defense than when they know EXACTLY what you're going to do, and you do it, and they can't stop it. Man, that's awesome.

I've really never been one for the whole "Gotta keep 'em guessing" way of thinking. That's what teams like Nevada have to do, because they will never have a pure physical advantage over premiere teams. Georgia CAN have that advantage. We don't need to have 20 trick plays in our bag. We don't need to pass when you think run, and run when you think pass.

You say you can call Bobo's plays. Interesting. How in-depth is it? Do you call OFfset I-Form, Twins left, FB Wing-Motion HB Power?

Is that what you call?

Or do you call "HB Run"

I know you're knowledgable about football, so I'm not insulting your intelligence. I'm asking the question quite honestly. Because, really, most people can say "HB Run" or "Play-Action Pass" And say they're calling the offense.

But, do they know the motions? The blocking schemes? The route combinations?

Do they know what Murray is going to need to do on a 3rd and 7 when he has a strong-side post and curl and backslide slant called, and makes a pre-snap Cover 4 read?

Most people don't. But, they know that when Murray hands the ball off to Thomas on the draw, that Bobo is an idiot. That's what they know.

You know better.

I've looked into the playcalling angle, and time and time again what I have seen is that Bobo is a good playcaller. He designs good plays, and calls good plays. When we fail, it is generally an execution factor, not a gameplan issue.

Every Offensive Coordinator in the country is going to have his problems. Would anyone say Charlie Weiss doesn't know what he's doing as an OC? I doubt it. Still, look at the Gators' offense.

What Georgia fans need to do is top worrying about the "greener pastures" out there, and actually look at the job this guy is doing. He's putting up more points than we've ever scored. He is coaching a kid who was two TDs away from the single-season record as a Freshman, and will claim it as a Sophomore.

Now that his offense is coupled with a solid defense, I believe people will have a chance to see what he's really capable of. If they can take their hate-filled blinders long enough, that is.

Andy Coleman said...

There's no contradiction. As far as I stand as a play caller/ play designer, I can't think outside of the box and still stick with something when it's working. The game has evolved, and a lot of success in today's game revolves around dynamic offenses. Can you still win with old school power football? Of course. It's just a matter of philsophies, and mine just happens to be that I would always adapt to my players, opponent, and what is happening in real time. I feel like Bobo, and Richt for that matter, stick to their specific game plan just because that's the way it's going to be.

I can predict our zone draw plays most of the time. Lord knows the draw works great, when called in certain situations, but not when the whole stadium knows it's coming. It's become comical to my friends because they all say "why did you quit coaching" when you can call all of our plays. I say, my family got in the way, and thank God for it every day. Now, I can just play armchair qb on the internet instead! lol

As far as me calling "hb run", I'd put my x's and o's knowledge against Bobo any day of the week. I've spent 1000 of what most would call "wasted hours" study game films because I love it, and it is a science that I truly understand.

All this is really pointless, but I will stick to my guns that Bobo is not the guy for the job at UGA. Hopefully we will win with him anyways and go 10-2 this season!

Keep in mind that Bobo is probably my 4th favorite UGA qb ever, behind Tarkenton, Green, and Zeier. There's no "hater" mentality, I just don't think he's proven his worth as an OC.

As far as "statistics" lord knows we can all make them say what we want them to. On this topic, I'll just stick with my football gut.

Go Dawgs!

Ben Dukes said...

Hey Brother, you're welcome to you opinion just as I am to mine. And to be honest, "He's not the right guy for UGA" isn't a statement that really fires me up. It's people like the Sports and Grits idiots who disrespect him and act like he doesn't have a clue that really bother me.

However, I ask you this: What exactly does he have to do to "Earn" your approval? If the Dawgs win the SEC this season, will that be enough? Do we need to go 12-2 with an SEC Title and a BCS game win...

or will you just then contend that we did that in spite of Bobo, and in no way due to his abilities as an OC?

Andy Coleman said...

At this point, 5+ years in, Bobo probably couldn't win me over. For him to do so, I would have to see a major shift in the way he adapts to situations during games. I'm also a guy that has killer instinct when it comes to offense. I think you've said your peace before on here about calling conservitively when we have the lead, but I look at it the same way as I do going to a prevent defense too early in a game. All is does is "prevent" you from winning a game. If you're running up and down the field on a team in the first half, do it again in the second half until you KNOW they can't come back (Auburn last year). Everything about that game just burns me from last year.

I can't wait til Saturday! I feel confident that even Bobo can muster up qutie a showing with a well rested Crowell, a healthy Mitchell, the up and coming stars (Bennett & Conley), Orson Charles, Aaron Murrary....DANG we have some potential on offense!

I often wonder, what would Spurrier do with that talent? Were his 90's UF teams that loaded? No one knows, and only time will tell if this bunch pans out.

Andy Coleman said...

One thing to note too, in case you're interested. I think Malzhan is a genius, and he's probably my favorite OC in the game today. Although, I modeled myslef after the 90's era Spurrier when I coached.

If you haven't read Malzhan's stuff, it's all great!


Ben Dukes said...

Funny you should mention that...have you been reading the other commentary that he's "borrowed" much of his philosophy from Pop Warner? I'm reserving judgment on the "Malzahn is a genius" theory. He looked great with Cam last year. His year 1 offense wasn't great, and his year 3 offense isn't great. We'll see how it shakes out.

FYI - It was pretty easy to call Malzahn's plays from my couch last year.

Andy Coleman said...

The fact that AU is ranked 20th in the nation right now with nothing but a couple of good running backs is proof enough for me. Give him another weapon like sCam to work with, and he'll terrorize the SEC again. Most people predicted a sub .500 Tiger team this year, and God willing, they'll be 6-4 after Saturday with only 1 real game left to play. I'm guessing they finish at 7-5, and honest AU fans didn't think that would be possible this season.

People do say that Malzahn created the "wildcat" based on good ol' Pop!

Ben Dukes said...

Have you watched Auburn's games this year? They're fortunate to not be 3-6.

Andy Coleman said...

I've watched, and am convinced that Gene has sold his soul to the Devil! They remind me of the Ohio State teams of old when it comes to pulling wins out of their rear.

jferg said...

I will jump in here late on this. I think what a lot of people want from Bobo is for his Offense to have the same fear/respect as Coach Grantham's D. Grantham took Willie's mess and has our D back to early 2000's dominance.

The problem with Bobo's past 5-6 years is for the most part, he did not have a defense that could win games for the Dawgs. Now that he does, and has the confidence that if he goes 3 and out on this drive by testing the opposing D, it's ok because Grantham's Junkyard Dawgs will hold 'em and get them the ball back.

I too have hated Bobo. But, now that I realize what a handicap our defense was for so many years, I am giving him a clean slate starting THIS year. Moving forward, he has no excuse. If we have a dominant offense (as we generally do right now) for the upcoming seasons...Bobo will have earned my trust (not that he cares) and probably the trust of the rest of the fans.