Mike Bobo steps up.

One of the keys that most people pointed to for Georgia to have a chance against Georgia Tech was time of possession.  Georgia wound up achieving its goal of holding Tech under its season average.  Interestingly, while there was certainly a measurable effect on the number of plays the Jackets ran, the stats show that there was more to the end result than that.

Going into the game, Georgia Tech was averaging ten more plays on offense (69.36) than it was allowing on defense (59.36).  Georgia actually allowed roughly four more plays per game on defense (64.72) in its first eleven games than it ran on offense (60.64).  Tech wound up running six more plays Saturday night (64) than did Georgia (58).  As you can see, Georgia really didn’t do more than narrow the margins; the seasonal trends still played out.

What else made the difference, then?  Two things:  turnover margin and yards per play.  For only the second time all year, Georgia won the turnover battle.  The Dawgs also enjoyed a significant edge in yards per play, gaining 7.2 ypp to Tech’s 5.3 ypp.  And if you look at the Jackets’ seasonal stats, all of that mattered.

The Tech defense yielded similar or worse ypp numbers in four other games this year, all of them wins:  7. 2 against Mississippi State; 8.2 against FSU; 7.4 against Virginia Tech; and 7.5 against Vanderbilt.  Tech didn’t have an advantage in ypp in any of those games.  But Tech was +4 in turnover margin against MSU and had significant possession advantages against Virginia Tech (70-45) and Vanderbilt (82-53).  The FSU game was the (slight) puzzler, statistically speaking, as the Seminoles had one more possession on offense than Georgia Tech, went +1 in turnover margin and were even on ypp.  (FSU did have 65 yards in penalties compared to Tech’s 9, though.)

What all these numbers suggest is that Mike Bobo called a great game.  (Georgia’s ypp number against Tech was 1.3 ypp above its season average going into the game.)  Georgia needed to control the game throughout and Bobo made sure that happened.   As I said in the wake of the Auburn game, if you’re a good offensive coordinator, taking what the other guy gives you until he stops it is where you start.  Tech never had an answer for the Georgia running game and Bobo resisted any urge he might have had to get cute with the playcalling.  Tech had nothing else to counter with.  And that, in the end, was your ball game.

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51 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Stats Geek!

51 responses to “Mike Bobo steps up.

  1. JoeE

    The offense was great…and somehow still frustrating. It was obvious by the half that Bobo’s game plan was brilliant and was going to win us the game, but MAN some of those third and short calls killed me.

    Also, perhaps someone with more inside knowledge on the program could tell me whether or not it’s right to laud Bryan McClendon as a solid young position coach. Caleb King has improved every game this season, and Ealey has improved by leaps and bounds in a very short amount of time. A lot of it had to do with the O-line having its best game of the year, but it seems like someone is doing something right with our talent at RB right now.

    • D.N. Nation

      Not to dismiss McClendon, but I think you’re just seeing King finally perform up to his potential.

      • I know, right? When they play well it’s on the players, but when they play poorly it’s on the coaches.

        • D.N. Nation

          Actually, King’s semi-stunted growth can be attributed to injuries. I’d never blame the coaches for King not being an automatic beast.

          • JaxDawg

            Caleb is finally and completely over his high school knee injury as well as the other nagging stuff he experienced during fall camp and the season. It’s atypical to see RB’s get stronger as the season progresses but that’s exactly what’s happened with King (and Ealey).

  2. Rusi

    Not to be Debbie Downer …. but the shotgun formation with the legs even = run and legs spread = pass….. that was still there this game…. and it made us have to settle for a field goal at one point on a 3rd down….legs spread….and sure enough….a pass play ensued….

    Bobo definitely did a great job and I liked seeing him on the sideline….but that shotgun mess needs to be corrected.

    • I didn’t look closely for that, but how many times did we run the ball out of the shotgun? Couldn’t have been more than once or twice, could it?

    • Joe Cox

      Eh, I’m graduating. Old dog, new tricks, etc.

    • Normaltown Mike

      Don’t know about his legs or how many times we ran from the gun, regardless (or irregardless as many Bama fans say) Cox looks uncomfortable throwing from the gun. He’s at his best on play action to the TE on a post or some type of crossing pattern to his WR’s.

      Considering Tech went cover zero for much of the game, I’m surprised we didn’t see any of that.

      Its a gradual process w/ these guys (it took CMR late into the ’06 campaign to realize the value of power ground control in the SEC) but at least we’re seeing improvement.

      The one thing Bobo hasn’t used as much as CMR did (but should and would’ve been useful on those 3rd and shorts) is the 2 FB + RB stack formation. Thank God he deleted the stretch play.

  3. Bob

    Quentin Banks sure played good for 3rd string talent. As good as Bobo was, Martinez was better. I wonder how much better our secondary would have been this year had Banks and Rambo been starting with Ray-shod on the bench next to Evans.

    Best play of the game was the Thomas reception over Jones’ fingertips (almost an incredible PBU) where Thomas steps out of bounds. Rather than even considering making a tackle, Evans starts to point at the boundary to tell the official that Thomas was OOB. The lack of aggressiveness is sickening.

    Can’t wait to see Willie gone.

    • aristoggle

      To be fair, if he’d tackled him out of bounds, we’d have probably been penalized. I suppose I’d be gun shy, too.

      I hope we can find a good, make that great, replacement for Martinez!

  4. BeerMoney

    The only complete head scratcher to me all night was the ridiculous call to pitch it to Branden Smith where his fumble just barely trickled out of bounds. That could have been a killer. If he was taking a direct snap in Wildcat formation, then maybe it would work. But when Ealey and King are shoving it down their throats, why get away from it? And what happened the very next play? Big gain up the middle for a first down.

    As you said Sen., until the defense stops what you are doing effectively, keep on keeping on. And please DON’T get cute and try something just for gimmick’s sake. Sportscenter would have shown our upset no matter how it happened.

    Overall, this was vintage Georgia football…hard running, great blocking, angry defense yielding very little on the ground to a good rushing attack, smart playcalling, and playing/coaching with a chip on your shoulder. I will take that effort from our guys and staff every week. On to the bowl!

    • rbubp

      We were very lucky on that and the Shaun Chapas kickoff miscue. Considering that we never actually stopped GT until the final drive, those fumbles could have been very costly. Got to get over this ball control problem. C’mon, man!

  5. RC

    Two head-scratchers to me:

    1- why no more downfield shots, as some have already questioned, and

    2- why on earth you don’t run the ball on 3rd and 4 on that last drive to set up Walsh in better position and distance. A screen pass? Please. if you’re going to throw the ball there, why not take that opportunity to play-action something to the endzone, or bootleg it to White or Charles. In either case it’s a safer play than putting the ball up into traffic in the middle, where it very easily could’ve been intercepted, and if it’s incomplete then at the very least you don’t lose yardage, which the play called ultimately did.

    If we had found a way to lose that game, that play would have been all we talked about for the next 9 months.

  6. LawDawg

    Bobo did cute when the game was at critical moments. Twice on 3rd and less than 5 he had the O come out in the shotgun. This doesn’t follow the “don’t change anything until the other guy can show you he can stop it” theory you gave in your post.

  7. NRBQ

    I still believe the pivotal call was made before the clock ever started – winning the coin-flip and taking the ball on offense.

    Coach’s frustrating habit of electing to start on defense is one I’ve never understood.

    UGA won this one with the opening drive – right down the insects’ throats.

  8. D.N. Nation

    On an unrelated note, I flipped the switch to 790 AM this morning with such anticipation, only to find Steak and Whoever The Other Guy is talking Tebow, Tiger, and the Falcons. “Ignore completely”…such a cute strategy, fellas.

    And no output from Adam Krohn this week, either!

  9. Alex

    Respectfully, I have to disagree. There’s nothing genius about Bobo’s play-calling when you rush for 300+ yards in a single game. The offensive line dominated that game and every break went our way – those are the reasons we won the game.

    I might even go as far to say we won the game in spite of Bobo’s play-calling. I think Richt and his staff lack the killer instinct. Just look at the Tennessee Tech game; they are content with a 38-0 game. What would Saban, Meyer or Carroll have done? Blow them out 68-0. And what would those guys have done against Tech Saturday night? Aggressively attack their opponent by throwing the ball down the field. They don’t worry about protecting their lead; they worry about increasing it.

    A better called game by Bobo would’ve yielded a 44-24 final score. Instead we had to rely on Tech self-destructing to capture the win.

    I’m just not convinced this coaching staff has what it takes to take the Dogs to the next level – a National Championship.

    • D.N. Nation

      “Just look at the Tennessee Tech game; they are content with a 38-0 game. What would Saban, Meyer or Carroll have done?”

      WGAS? Mercy.

      Additionally, one of the low moments for the guy who was fired before Saban showed up in Tuscvegas was leaving his QB in to get hurt in a meaningless game. Seriously, you’re actually complaining we played the scrubs against a cupcake?

      And you’re bringing USC into the equation? It’s 2009; that team sucks.

      “And what would those guys have done against Tech Saturday night? Aggressively attack their opponent by throwing the ball down the field. They don’t worry about protecting their lead; they worry about increasing it.”

      In what universe would Florida throw the ball down the field against Tech? The Gators would have run it about 90% of the time.

      “A better called game by Bobo would’ve yielded a 44-24 final score. Instead we had to rely on Tech self-destructing to capture the win.”

      Kentucky, LSU, and UT had to rely on Georgia self-destruction to capture their wins, but I’m sure they’re OK with ‘em.

      “I’m just not convinced this coaching staff has what it takes to take the Dogs to the next level – a National Championship.”

      Nor am I. I just don’t see proof to that assumption in a win on the road against a Top 10 team and a 38-point laugher against some nobody.

      • Alex

        “Seriously, you’re actually complaining we played the scrubs against a cupcake?”

        No, I’m complaining that our scrubs didn’t score more points against a high school football team and they didn’t because Richt/Bobo/Martinez all lack the killer instinct. Winning is enough for them and that’s what separates Richt from a coach like Meyer or Saban. That’s precisely what we saw Saturday night – risk mitigation.

        And let’s be honest with ourselves – if Tech doesn’t turn the ball over and self-destruct, we don’t win that game. Georgia has more talent at every position on their roster than 99% of the college football country and yet we have to back our way into a victory against an inferior opponent?

        That’s not acceptable to me; I’ll take the win but in my heart I know we didn’t completely earn it.

        • D.N. Nation

          “No, I’m complaining that our scrubs didn’t score more points against a high school football team and they didn’t because Richt/Bobo/Martinez all lack the killer instinct.”

          Screw you, Bobo! You should have been throwing bombs against Tennessee Tech!

          TTU was a glorified scrimmage. You’re batty.

          “And let’s be honest with ourselves – if Tech doesn’t turn the ball over and self-destruct, we don’t win that game.”

          If Arkansas doesn’t miss a FG and get screwed by Marky Marc Curles, then Florida doesn’t win *that* game. I’m sure Urban’s losing sleep over it.

        • D.N. Nation

          Hell, I forgot to mention…

          “No, I’m complaining that our scrubs didn’t score more points against a high school football team and they didn’t because Richt/Bobo/Martinez all lack the killer instinct.”

          Willie’s defense *shut TTU out*. What more did you want? Negative points?

          • Alex

            Willie’s defense *shut TTU out*. What more did you want? Negative points?

            My referencing TTU was about Bobo, not Martinez. It’s a casual reference anyway and not meant to book-end my broader comment about Bobo and Martinez lacking a killer instinct. There is plenty of evidence throughout the year to speak to that point.

            “If Arkansas doesn’t miss a FG and get screwed by Marky Marc Curles, then Florida doesn’t win *that* game. I’m sure Urban’s losing sleep over it.”

            Certainly that happens every year and if it were a one or even two-time thing for Georgia, I’d turn a blind eye to it, but there is a systemic problem with our football team and we’re not being honest if we’re not talking about it.

            • D.N. Nation

              I agree that there are still serious problems with the program, but…

              – It was a hell of a win, and
              – In complaining about a blowout win over a patsy, you’re being ridiculous.

              • Puffdawg

                I would add that it is even more ridiculous to complain about a win on the road against a one-loss top ten team especially when they are a hated rival…

              • JTK

                I would also ask Alex this question. Lets look at Georgia’s last two games. They are up by 14 at the half in both games. Within the first 1-2 minutes of the third qtr that lead is down to only 7. In the KY game, GA started throwing the ball downfield and it caused turn-overs and eventually cost GA the game. Against GT, they stayed with the game plan and continued what was working, running the ball. They came away with the win. I think I like their conservative win over a killer instinct resulting in a loss, but hey, thats just me :)

                • JTK,

                  “In the KY game, GA started throwing the ball downfield and it caused turn-overs and eventually cost GA the game”

                  –You mean like the INT on a screen pass, and the INT on a 5-yard pass over the middle to the TB, the kickoff fumble at the 16 yard line, and the toss sweep to the TB fumbled at the one? Those are the “throws downfield” that cost UGA the game versus continuing “what was working, running the ball”?

                  • JTK

                    Starting out on first down with an empty backfield in the shotgun and coming away with incomplete passes 1st and 2nd down. Now your in 3rd and long and have to pass. Why did we get away from the run in the second halve against KY is all I’m saying? No need to start out throwing the ball on 1st and 2nd down.

                    • Ok, good to know.
                      Versus UK, 2nd half first down plays:

                      3 inc; 1 INT
                      1 37 yard gain
                      1 38 yard gain
                      1 43 yard TD

                      6 plays
                      *INT was with 1:52 left in the 4th.
                      Total: 118 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 19.7 ypp.

                      Rushes on first down:
                      9- 22 yards

                      9 plays
                      2.4 ypp

                      This might be closer to why we passed a few times on 1st down in the 2nd half.

                    • I’m not trying to pick on you. I just think a lot of people just want to play it safe and run the ball no matter what even though sometimes it actually makes sense to pass early in the series. That’s all.
                      It was unforced errors that lost the UK game, pure and simple. :)

                    • JTK

                      Not sure if this will show up in the right spot, after your last post of not picking on me but here it goes. I’m glad you threw to stats out there cause it made me waste an hour of work :). I did some research and found that anytime GA had an incomplete pass on first down in the 2nd half, GA punted 3 plays later. What I also noticed is GA had 4 runs on 1st down with the lead and gained 23 yards(5+ per play). Once they gave up the lead(tied or behind) they gained 1 yard on 5 1st down carries. It seems like any 1st or 2nd down incomplete pass(wether on Cox or the receiver) killed the drive.
                      The fumble on 3rd and 1 from the toss sweep is a different debate all together, WTF was that?

  10. rbubp

    Kinda can’t believe how much negativity there is on the board today after such a big win. I get that we’re still 7-5 and the macro problems still exist, but don’t you guys feel a little relieved, at least? Just a little bit good that some new players stepped up and played really well, and that the team showed real fight, etc. etc. etc.?

    Give it a week or so anyway, huh?

    • rbubp

      I mean, good grief, I’m no Pollyanna, but even I feel a little more love toward Texas_Dawg today.

      • Russ

        It was a beautiful, beautiful win! I hope it was a blue print for our team next year in terms of lining up and running the ball down the opponent’s throat.

        Defense was much better (granted we still need to improve) and played with good discipline for the most part. Something to build on for next season.

        • Russ

          Oh, and how about my job as mascot? Damn good dawg!

          • Dog in Fla

            Okay, okay Russ…You’re almost as bad as Sluggo wanting to go the vet all the time.

            Russ gets elevated from a late substitution interim to the the full-time job. Walter Sobchak says so:

            “That’s right, Dude CPJ, Russ peed on your ****ing rug.”

  11. Dawg N Suds

    We finally found the right personnel combination on the line and in the backfield to gain repetition and consistency in the run game.

    Unfortunately, it took us eight games to do it.

    Hopefully, we will do a better job of evaluating our talent next of season and give more opportunities to underclassmen who have earned it.

  12. Dawg N Suds

    It was great to see Coach Richt showing emotion and interacting with the players during the game.

    Players and coaches fed off of it and players knew they would get an earful if they loafed or made a foolish mistake.

    Hopefully, Coach Richt and our staff will show more of this from our first offseason workout to the last game of the season.

  13. tech sucks

    In other words Bobo did his job right for a game ?It was after all only tech.UGA doesn’t need to trick those type teams.Bobo finally wised up and used his athletes.The o-line playing their first game helped too. 30-24 hahahaha… Another over rated acc team falling is no reason to throw a party.

  14. “As good as Bobo was, Martinez was better”

    Better at what? Failing?

    We did not force a single punt the entire game and still gave up 24 points.

  15. keith

    NRBQ, if you didn’t noticei would have to say the % is very high of the coaches defer to the second half for the reason of a possible back to back possessions, ending 1st half with the ball starting 2nd half with the ball.

  16. NRBQ

    What does ending the first half with the ball accomplish, Keith? Kumbaya at halftime?

    I can’t cite stats, but I’m pretty sure that scoring first is indicative of winning. I want Richt to GATA at every opportunity.

    • Along those lines, it has always bothered me that we don’t always call a timeout when the other team has the ball and force them to punt on 4th down when the occasion arises; the punting game presents an opportunity for a quick score without any real cost.

      For example, I once saw a game, cannot recall which one, where the other team punted with less than 15 seconds in the half from inside their own 15 yard line. I thought, Why are we not putting all 11 up there and trying to block this? What is the worst case scenario of trying to block it and missing–we get a penalty and they get another play from their 30?

      Seems like that could work all the way to the 40 yard line…

  17. keith

    NRBQ…

    How much college football do you watch? If you are watching then you must not be paying attention cause most coaches defer to the second half for the reason i just mentioned. I didn’t think I would have to explain what having the ball at the end of the 1st half can possibly mean……you can score. WOW! Imagine that, possession of the ball leads to scoring. So, that means that if you have the ball to start the 2nd half also, you can score again. Thus the two TD swing. I can’t tell you how often it happens but it is too big of a swing for coaches not to try it.

    If you pay attention to the coin flip and listen, you will hear them say defer to the 2nd half. Have you ever wondered why? Now you know.

    • Puffdawg

      I would add that a lot of teams defer because you don’t want to be put in bad field position to start the game. Or, said differently, you want to be put into good field position by kicking off, having them start at or around the 20, forcing a 3 and out and punt, then starting your first offensive drive of the game around your own 35 instead of around your own 20. There’s also something to be said for momentum if you go out, stone the other offense, and then drive down for a score. I think there’s less urgency for the defense to make that first stop if they are up by a score than if it’s 0-0. This was not a bad philosophy back when our kickoff team was strong and our defense was even stronger.

      The problem now is that our coaches have appeared to become passive and could argue this same philosophy in the wrong direction, meaning they are scared that our offense will get the ball and go 3 and out and the defense will be put in a worse situation than if we kicked off first. I understand both schools of thought, just trying to put a little perspective out there for both sides. If our defense and kickoff teams hadn’t become so lousy recently, I’d prefer to defer every single time, personally. I think it’s better football strategy.