Mike Bobo’s lesson learned

I have to admit that this Mike Bobo interview with Dean Legge is a bit of a head scratcher.  Right from the get-go:

Players.

A year of Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno followed by a season without them will make you realize things.

“I think I have learned, too, you have to have good players,” he said. “I think good players help you win football games.”

As Legge points out immediately afterwards, Bobo ain’t dumb and he’s been one of the better recruiters on the staff over the past few years.  So I have a hard time taking that statement literally in the sense that the light bulb about having good players just went off for him.

Besides that – and I guess here’s where I disagree with the words Legge tries to put in Bobo’s mouth – I don’t think the problem with Georgia football over the past two seasons has been one of inadequate talent.  It’s been about preparing and deploying that talent on the field.  And it’s been about getting that talent to believe that it’s being prepared and deployed in the best possible way.  I presume that’s why Mark Richt made the offseason changes on the coaching staff that he did.

This is pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if what we’re hearing from Bobo is more about coaching humility.  Stafford, Moreno and Massaquoi could make a competent offensive coordinator look (and feel) awfully good.  Perhaps the reality of 2009, particularly the middle part of the season, snapped Bobo back into focus.  It’s not as if he’s the only SEC offensive coordinator who’s been expected to regroup after watching a bunch of early round draft talent exit for the pros.  Remember Al Borges, who went from genius to canned in a few short seasons?  The good news for Bobo is that he has much better talent to coach this year than Borges did at the end of his run in Auburn.  The question we wait to see answered is if he knows what to do with it.

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29 Comments

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29 responses to “Mike Bobo’s lesson learned

  1. gatriguy

    I think Bobo realized last year that great players can save a bad call. Last year, bad calls resulted in bad plays, period, whereas maybe with Stafford and Moreno it would just go for no gain.

    I like Bobo and for the most part think he’s a good OC. I remember how craptastic some of Richt’s offenses were, ESPECIALLY in the red zone. This will be an important year for Bobo.

    • Bulldog Bry

      So true. Everyone’s forgotten about the red zone issues that Richt had. Dropsies, too for that matter.

    • Regular Guy

      I think a lot of people forget how much better we have been in the red zone under Bobo than we were under Richt. We’ve gone through a redzone dry spell here and there under Bobo, but we went through about a 4 year dry spell in the redzone when Richt was calling the plays – and I’m not exaggerating.

      I agree with you on “for the most part think he’s a good OC”, he definitely leaves you scratching your head on occasion, but I doubt there’s many college level OC’s that don’t. I’d probably score Bobo a B+ playcaller……and you won’t find many guys I would score as an A- or higher as a playcaller who aren’t already head coaches.

    • D.N. Nation

      I remember how craptastic some of Richt’s offenses were, ESPECIALLY in the red zone.

      Thank you. The whole movement to make Richt call the plays again from the Dawgosphere rivaled VanGorder for HC/Pollack for DC in its lunacy. “FGJ” existed as a meme for a reason.

      • Will

        People turn on coaches so quickly, and for so few reasons. My friends were psyched when Bobo was made Coordinator, considering how much they complained about Richt’s vanilla playcalling. Now? Bobo’s an idiot and Richt should take playcalling over again.

        Yeah. The guy who managed to coordinate the offense to 2nd in the league behind the (probable) #1 draft pick’s offense using The Ginger Assassin. He’s the problem.

      • Pardon the ignorance

        What does FGJ stand for?

        • I was wondering that as well.

          • 12-2

            Federal Grand Jury that we settled for Billy Bennett Field Goals NCAA Record Number with Coach Richt conservative play calls on Offense.

            Billy Bennett was asked to and made 6 field goals vs Georgia tek 2001.

            Billy Bennett was asked to make 33 in 2002 and made 26.

            Billy Bennett was asked to make 38 in 2003 and made 31.

            Despite being asked to kick only 14 field goals, making 13 by Jim Donnan in 2000, Billy Bennett ended up being asked to kick 110.

            32 Field Goals per Year Coach Richt asked Billy Bennett to kick.

            These are ALL RECORDS.

            See page 123 of the 2010 Georgia Football Media Guide and page 126

            Page 118 also shows that the

            31 converted field goals by Billy Bennett in 2003 sets SEC and NCAA Record

            Billy Bennett also had 26 converted field goals in 2002.

            87 made field goals, despite being asked to kick only 14 making 13 in 2000 before Coach Richt’s Lousy Average # 52 Total Offense got here, is the

            All-Time NCAA Record in the history of history

            38 Field Goals Attempted in 2003 as well is

            All-Time NCAA Record in the history of history

            110 Field Goals Attempted Career (despite only 14 attempts year prior to Coach Richt) also is

            All-Time NCAA Record in the history of history

            Blair Walsh made 20 Field Goals last season 2009, so I don’t know what this B.S. is here on this blog that we didn’t settle for Field Goals last year.

            We do every year.

            Brandon Coutu had 23 in 2005

            Brandon Coutu had 18 in 2007

            One last 1 from page 119 :

            Billy Bennett

            MOST GAMES KICKING AT LEAST 1 FIELD GOAL IN A CAREER

            43 NCAA RECORD

            It was totally incredible, and then I come in here and there is not a soul here who can remember it.

            Maybe this will help you have it all come back to you ?

            Then, again, maybe not.

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    I have no idea what Bobo’s comments really mean…”Its better to have good players than to not have good players??????”

    I hope Mike’s developing skill at picking apart a defense is as good as his skill at deflecting media questions.

    The question I would like to ask Mike is whether we would have been better off this year if we had played some of the younger players, Murray and Mettenberger (sigh) last year. (Assuming they were not hurt.)

    Much as I would like to believe our running game improved dramatically toward the end of the season, it is also true the teams we ran on were teams with weakness against the run we exploited very well.

  3. ChicagoDawg

    My sense is that this is one of those quotes that reads worse than it sounds or was meant to sound. I would like to think that he meant this….at the end of the day, no matter the scheme and no matter the coaching, players and talent matter. Schemes and preparation only go so far and will not make Joe Cox, Logan Gray, et al into something they are not. My sense is that he has some regret in not getting Murray or Mett on the field last year, even if that meant pushing them out there before either were ready. I think the staff thought that they could get by/survive with Cox in ’09 while getting Murry/Mett ready for the future.

    What they obviously did not account for was the continued underperformance of CWM & staff or the fact that Cox would be a prolific interception thrower. To the contrary, they banked on good decision making and low risk passing from Joe C. So, I think this was an expression of regret about not getting one of the true freshmen QBs on the field last year when it was obvious that things were not going to be as they had hoped.

  4. Macallanlover

    I agree with Chicago Dawg, that comment in isolation is being taken out of context. Whether you like Bobo as an OC, or not, he isn’t a dummy.

    The entire “playcalling versus execution/talent” is just impossible to separate. We see the result and either assign blame, or celebrate with high fives. Did Borges or The Fridge become idiots in the next seasons after their successful years? We all tend to forget there is a DC on the other sideline capable of making some great guesses in this chess match as well.

    The only definite “blame call” I can attribute to Richt is the running play on the goal line against Auburn in the early years that reduced our chances to score from two plays to one. Even that would be irrelevant had it been executed better.

    • gatriguy

      I’d also add the call to throw to Jeremy Thomas on 3rd and goal late in the 03 Cocktail Party after we’d gone down the field ripping off 5 yard runs like clockwork, or trying the QB sweep with Joe T on 3rd and long in 05 for the 4th time that half.

  5. 69Dawg

    Was that interview of Mike or his evil twin. The evil twin is the one that makes Mike change his play calling in order to achieve balance even when he does not need to. He was able to suppress his evil twin last year late (see “We run this State”). Mike has a tendency to get too cute with his play calling and he does not have good timing on his trick plays. When you put Smith in and immediately try a reverse, after the first success in the SCU game the DC’s were ready. If he will just stay with what works until their D stops us he will be fine.

    On a side note I’m still not sure our O line is as mean as they need to be. Ben Jones excluded the rest of them don’t seem to be able to handle a good D’s slap in the face. UF won the last two years by just dominating our O line early and often.

  6. jferg

    I think what Bobo is saying is that on his side of the ball you have to have good players–plural–not a good player–singular. AJ can’t win a game by himself (which was the strategy early in 2009). Stafford had Moreno and MoMass and vice versa. Before Ealey and King emerged….AJ was basically it. I think it’s an admission by Bobo that we just didn’t have the players ready early in 2009 to win like we should.

    2010 has good playerS–plural– on offense and they will win more games because of that.

  7. Derek

    We went from having a qb who was the first player taken in the draft to a guy who couldn’t get a free agent contract. We also went from having Moreno to a bunch of unproven backs. That is not a recipe for success I don’t care how good the coaching is. You can’t win consistently with mediocre talent and that’s what we opened the season with last year. There is no telling how bad we would have been had we not had AJ. We don’t beat USC, Ark. or ASU without him.

    I think the coaches, much like the fans, thought that the talent drop off could be overcome via game planning, better leadership etc…. Personally, I thought we’d struggle and we did.

    You can fool yourself and say that a Meyer or a Saban or whoever would have won big with our 2009 roster, but its not true. Getting 8 wins was under the circumstances a real good result. That was a 6-6 team on paper that came very close to getting 10.

  8. AthensHomerDawg

    There was a game shortly after Bobo was promoted to the OC when we rained down praise on his play calling… I wanna say the Auburn game when we were the underdog- yet won big. We were at a XX meet in Carrollton,Ga and listened to it on the radio on the way back to Athens. Great win!!!
    When Bobo was a player, I watched him bring the Dogs back in the rain with Hines against TT and their soon to be Falcon RB. The boo-birds had left by the 3rd quarter. He showed a lot of heart. Call me a homer…. but I really gotta pull for this guy.

    • D.N. Nation

      That Auburn game was actually the last time Richt was OC.

      And to be fair, that win hinged a lot on 1) The defense getting pick-happy and 2) Stafford finally getting it.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Work with me… what game after Bobo became full time OC that we all sang his praises for calling a credible game plan???

        • Regular Guy

          If I remember right, the Ga Tech game was the first game Bobo called plays, but we didn’t know about it until after the game. The 2nd game was the bowl game against Va Tech, so I’m guessing you’re referring to one of those two games.

  9. Derek

    I’d also like to add that if college football results were based more upon coaching acumen than talent then explain Les Miles’ National Championship ring. We all know why he won. It was because the team was loaded with talent. We also know why Bobby Johnson, very likely a better coach than Les Miles, has no ring: no talent. At least not near enough talent.

    Ask yourself this question: You can have Ray Goff as the coach, but you get the 25 HS players you want every year OR you can have Vince Lombardi as coach but your roster is the same as Vandy’s. Which would you choose?

    • AthensHomerDawg

      ouch! Good post!

    • Regular Guy

      Your point stands……To be fair though, if LSU had had that exact same season (2 losses) any other year this past decade, they would not have been in the nat’l championship game. Losing two games that year with the talent he had was darn near criminal. He just happened to do it in the one year that you could still play for the title despite having 2 losses.

  10. Howlnwoof

    Derek, you are spot on in my opinion. Bobo was just saying that losing key players can’t be underestimated…duh! It was an obvious statement with no hidden meanings. We were not as good last year because we lost two HIGH impact players and did not compensate for their loss. Our offensive line did not improve and our defense seemed to take a take a mysterious step backward.

    This year should be when our OL steps up again. It will make a huge difference. NOTHING is more important than a dominating OL! There ARE going to be games that are decided on the last couple of drives. There ARE going to be times when we are going to need to run time off the clock. Without a dominating OL, the odds of doing so are a crap-shoot.

    I’m feeling pretty good…it seems like we are getting smarter about getting our players back on the field.

    Woof

  11. shane#1

    I am not a Bobo basher and I do not understand the venom being spewed his way by some fans. He will rely heavily on the run when his offensive line is bigger and stronger than the defensive line. That is as it should be. Richt sometimes got too cute with his playcalling against lesser teams. However, no team will run the ball down the throat of a defense like Alabama’s. Bobo took a lot of heat for not running enough against ‘Bama in 2008. Oh really? You are expected to get Knowshon 150 yds on 25 carries against Mt. Cody and Co.? With a true sophmore and 2 true freshmen on the line? Not to mention the 31 to 0 halftime deficit. Nothing like being behind by 31 at the half to take you out of your running game.

  12. This kind of makes my point in how UF won’t be as good this year as last year. We suffered through losing Stafford, Moreno, and MoMass last year and UF will suffer through losing Baby Jesus and all of the Defensive talent they had leave this year.

  13. 12-2

    Mike Bobo Play Calls

    2007

    12 points vs South Carolina LOSS

    14 points vs Tennessee LOSS

    20 points vs Vandie

    2008

    14 points vs South Carolina

    31 unanswered points 0-31 at halftime vs Alabama LOSS

    42 unanswered points 10 points total vs Florida LOSS

    17 points vs Auburn

    26 unanswered points vs Georgia tek LOSS

    2009

    10 points vs Okie State LOSS

    20 points vs Lousy Arizona State team

    13 points vs LSU LOSS

    19 points vs Tennessee vols LOSS

    17 points vs Florida LOSS

    .

    So, in the last 3 years Mike Bobo has led our Offense to

    11 games of no more than 2 touchdowns

    We LOST 10 games.

    .

    .

    Mike Bobo had a great senior season for us 1997. He wasn’t good any other year. Coach Richt brought Mike Bobo in to begin with. Since 2001, Mike Bobo and Coach Richt have averaged the # 52 Total Offense in NCAA Ranking.

    That is NOT good.

    Mike Bobo failed to prepare a QB for 2006 and we Lost 4 games; he also failed to prepare a QB for 2009 and we Lost 5 games; now, he has failed as is pointed out above in this blog to get Zach Mettenberger on the field last season – so once again Mike Bobo failed to prepare a QB for 2010.

    You can make up all the excuses you want about 31 to nothing at halftime vs Alabama 2008 along with 42 unanswered points vs Florida 2008 and 26 unanswered points vs Georgia Tech 2008, but the fact remains that with Knowshon Moreno, Mike Bobo gave him an AVERAGE of 14 carries per game in those 3 LOSSES.

    It has DAMN little to do with the talent provided Mike Bobo. Anyway, Mike Bobo recruited Zach Mettenberger and Mike Bobo recruited Christian LeMay – who committed the same offense as Michael Grant UGA Admissions would not let in.

    Mike Bobo has Knowshon Moreno 2008 and we are number 56 in the nation running the football with Knowshon Moreno. # 56.

    Mike Bobo has Matthew Stafford 2007 and we are number 84 Passing offense in the nation and # 74 Total Offense.

    8th worst in The SEC 2007 Passing Offense with Matthew Stafford.

    8th SEC 2007 Passing.

    2009 Mike Bobo had the # 13 Running Back in the nation, Washaun Ealey. He ripped off his redshirt in the 3rd quarter of the 5th game – by then the entire season already shot. Even though he was our Leading Rusher last season given this game 5 rip his redshirt off in the 3rd quarter B.S., Mike Bobo had him start only 2 games, and they not even the last 2 games.

    2009 Mike Bobo had Marlon Brown the # 2 best WR in the nation and threw him 2 passes all season long. He also had Branden Smith who had 1085 yard receiving the year before Mike Bobo and Mike Bobo threw him exactly only 2 passes all season long as well.

    2009 Mike Bobo had Orson Charles. Instead, Mike Bobo – because Aron White had 3 catches his freshman season – started Aron White until the 12th game of the 13-game season. Pardon me, Orson Charles had 23 catches this 2009 freshman season by direct contrast.

    Mike Bobo has not established, as described above as well, the run against ANY good run defense.

    Mike Bobo does NOT evaluate talent very well at all.

    2006 as QB Coach Mike Bobo told Coach Richt Joe Tereshinski III is the # 1 on the depth chart, Joe Cox # 2 and Matthew Stafford # 3.

    Mike Bobo has Knowshon Moreno 2008 and we are number 56 in the nation running the football with Knowshon Moreno. # 56.

    There aren’t any more excuses.

    Which team is it that said they are going to steal Mike Bobo from us ?

    I missed that, too.

    We lead the nation on offense for 4 years in a row now in Interceptions, Fumbles and Penalties.

    10-10 vs SEC East teams the entire last 4 years now because we cannot even line-up and run a play without a penalty, and when we finally do, it is an interception or fumble.

    You cannot say, sans the mistakes.

    14 losses the last 4 years and most of those against The SEC East. 10 of the 14 losses.

    National Stage ?

    We cannot even get out of our own Division.

    Let alone our Conference.

    To get on any National Stage.

    Worst of all, now 2010 with all the All-Stars on OFFENSE in this great state, and we get NONE OF THEM.

    None.

    What does that tell you that the recruits in this state want to play Defense here but NOT OFFENSE.

    This crap about sans the mistakes…

    Excuse me, that is the issue with the Offense.

    Mistakes.

    Can’t line up and run a play without a penalty.

    When we do run a play, it’s to the wrong players.

    When we do run a play, it’s a fumble

    Or, an interception.

  14. 12-2

    I really only have 1 comment on the Dean Legge Interview :

    “I think we have a good (talent) state here (in Georgia). I touch on that because I think I have learned how important players are,” Bobo admitted.

    If that is true that he has learned his lesson, then why in the name of hell did he go out for this 2010 Recruiting Class as Dean Legge points out, and WHIFF in this great state of Georgia in Recruiting 2010 Signing Class on Offense ?