About that scoring streak…

Richt told the media yesterday that he doesn’t anticipate making any changes to his staff in the offseason.  In response to a pointed question about Mike Bobo, Richt had this to say:

“All I can say, if I’m not mistaken, we broke some kind of school record of consecutive games of over 30 points and a lot of really good things happened offensively,” Richt said. “The bottom line is whoever calls plays is going to get critiqued, they’re going to get criticized. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

In fairness, there’s some truth to that.  The Dawgs finished the season scoring 30 or more points in seven straight games.  That’s not exactly chopped liver; no other SEC team, including the high-powered outfits at Auburn and Arkansas, can make a similar claim.  It’s particularly impressive when you consider that Georgia is still doing things primarily out of pro sets, as opposed to the newfangled spread.

But it’s not the whole truth.  Georgia dropped two of those seven games, including one to a Florida team which offense was borderline pathetic over the second half of the season.  Bobo’s responsibility isn’t simply to make sure his offense scores a bunch of points.  It’s to make sure that it scores more points than the other team does.  And there lies the rub about his success as a coordinator.  Context is a bitch when your team goes 6-6.

Context in this case is supplied in this Ben Dukes post about Georgia’s defense.  Blame it on a coordinator whose NFL experience left him ill-prepared for the college spread attack, or blame it on personnel shortcomings which arose as a natural result of a scheme change, but the fact is that Georgia’s defense had a hard time all season with offenses that ran the ball out of spread/option schemes.  If you’re Bobo, maybe you can tell yourself mid-year that your defense will get better as it climbs the learning curve, but by the time the last two games of the year rolled around, it should have been obvious that wasn’t going to happen.  Georgia’s defense needed every bit of help it could get from their offensive mates.

Bobo’s pulling in the reins against Auburn was a dumb decision, because Auburn’s offense had proven itself to be explosive all season and it was wishful thinking to believe that the Dawg defense would succeed where so many other schools failed.  But if that call was dumb, doing the same thing against Georgia Tech was even dumber, because Bobo had just seen that exact strategy flop.  Against the Jackets, by the time Georgia got the ball back in the second half clinging to a seven-point lead, it was plain that neither team’s defense could stop the other’s offense.  Based on what was taking place on the field, Bobo had no justification for taking his foot off the gas, but he did it anyway.

And staying aggressive against Tech and pushing that lead back out to fourteen would have made a difference.  For all Mark Bradley’s chirping about it, Paul Johnson’s decision to wave Washaun Ealey into the end zone wasn’t that big a deal because the Tech offense was going to have to go the length of the field in a very short time to get a shot at a tie game.  Which meant they were going to have to throw the ball, which is about as far out of their comfort zone as you can get them.  (ESPN had an interesting stat about Tech’s undefeated record under Johnson when it scores 30 or more points in a game.  I would like to see Johnson’s record in games where Tech trailed by a touchdown or more with less than two minutes to play.)

Getting Tech’s offense out of its comfort zone got Georgia’s defense in its.  Todd Grantham may not be that familiar with the triple option, but he knows what to do when the other team is down by eight with a minute to go.  The most striking thing I saw watching the replay was the body language of Georgia’s defense on their last two series of the game – “finally, something we can handle!”  It’s no surprise that after floundering around for the better part of three quarters, they came around with newfound energy and two solid stops with the game on the line.

And that’s my point.  Bobo, had he pushed the offense at 35-28 and gotten the game out to 42-28, would have forced Johnson’s hand much earlier and made Grantham’s job that much easier.  That’s the lesson Bobo hasn’t learned yet, or won’t admit to himself.

For all the talk we’ve heard over the years about how Urban Meyer’s offense was going to change the SEC, I’m wondering if we’ve finally hit that new era (ironic, if that’s true, given the state of Florida’s offense this season).  The two highest ranked teams in the conference, including the one which will play in the BCS title game if it wins this Saturday in Atlanta, finished sixth and ninth in total defense.  The winner of the SEC East did little better, finishing fifth.  The top four teams in total defense, including the last two national champions, combined for fourteen conference losses.

Maybe it’s not your father’s SEC anymore.  Now the goal on defense may not be to be good, but merely good enough.  And the better the offense, the greater the margin of error on defense.  It’s something Mike Bobo and Mark Richt need to ponder this winter.

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113 Comments

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113 responses to “About that scoring streak…

  1. heyberto

    Regarding Grantham and not being prepared for the spread offense schemes, I go with Personnel… Alabama runs the 3-4 and has done pretty well against spread offenses. Not saying Grantham can’t better adapt. I’ve said before, I’m not a great x’s and o’s guy.. but I don’t really see that Grantham wasn’t scheming well.. we had a bad secondary and the defensive line isn’t running with the players he needs to run this scheme effectively (or so I’ve read). Maybe it’s a combination of both, but obviously we’ll see how the recruiting goes. I’d say that nose tackle is his top priority.

    • I would have completely agreed with you, until I watched Grantham’s wide-split alignment of the d-line against Tech. It didn’t explain everything about the success Tech had running the dive play, but it sure looked like it didn’t do much to stop it, either.

      • heyberto

        Interesting. The one game we wish we had Martinez back, huh?

      • Normaltown Mike

        Didn’t he go away from this? Davie kept describing the change as a “pinch” by our DE’s so that there was less space in the middle.

        • Russ

          I heard Davie say that, but we still lined up the same. I think it was more that the DEs were crashing to the middle (too late, usually) to try to clog the dive play.

      • Macallanlover

        Senator, it does explain everything when you add the NG and ILBs technique/alignment. Spread DTs with NG on center and both ILBs waiting 4 yards off the ball to see what GT runs so they can react (as if that is a mystery) is a formula to give up 400+ yards. Stunning to see that even attempted.

        Perhaps I misunderstood the discussion before the season about the “gap 3-4″ UGA was going to employ. I interpreted that (wrongly) to mean the NG would slant left or right on every play into a gap while one of the ILBs would come like a locomotive in the other center gap to perhaps get penetration/sacks, but at the very least to shore up the middle against the straight dive and not depend on one defensive player. I saw none of that, in fact, I saw little of the so-called aggressiveness we were led to believe about the 3-4. Standing 4 guys up further away from the ball and having them sit on their haunches isn’t what I thought this defense would look like.

        I get it, we didn’t have personnel for the perfect fit on campus before CTG arrived, and I am admittedly not a defensive guru, but I can tell you after 2 weeks of preparation, the one play that would not have beat me was the A dive. The entire fricking offense revolves around that, you have to sell out on that or you will see it all night and it is guaranteed to work. There is no pitch to make, no route to be run, no throw to be made, no catch to be secured. Just hand the ball off and run straight ahead. Out first contact on most plays was 3-4 yards from the line of scrimmage, they had to make 5 yards because we conceded that. Sorry, I know that is over stated, but it is my lasting impression of how we addressed the challenge.

        • The one thing I can say in defense of Grantham here is that he obviously didn’t want to give up the huge play by committing the ILBs to aggressively shutting down the dive play. And he was successful at preventing that. The price he paid for that was 92 plays by the Tech offense.

          • devildawg

            Yup. Tech didn’t hit any home runs, and they’ve hit a lot of home runs. But they hit loads and loads of singles.

        • Spence

          Cmr said we would line up in a 2 gap against tech on the radio allegedly this was to disguise what we were doing. This is not what we usually do. We try to push single gaps all year, with some success.

          Ctg saw Branden smith get pinker repeatedly and replaced him with a safety. That helped slow techs offense down some.

          My bigger issue was with the Lbs playing so deep. The Clemson blog folks addressed that issue well.

      • Chuck

        Should have gone back in the history books and pulled out Russels Junkyard DAWG D. That would have been the most appropiate D to use for the option.

    • Bryant Denny

      Although I have no idea what I’m talking about, apparently the spread type offenses force teams into a four man front, so it’s sort of a misnomer say “Saban’s 3-4 against the spread.”

      • heyberto

        I guess I just mean that Bama’s defense is built around a 3-4 philosophy, , as ours now is.. but they haven’t had a lot of trouble defending the spread when they need to. . Obviously they vary and adjust it at times when necessary, and I haven’t watched enough Bama games to try and analyze how they defend the spread.. but they didn’t win a national championship without being able to effectively defend spread attacks, even if they scheme differently, adopt 4-3 principles at times with players recruited for a 3-4…. they’ve managed fine and I surmise Grantham will be able to handle things in a similar fashion as he gets the prototypical players he needs.

        • We don’t have a Marcel Dareus on our team. That’s a big issue. Bama has had some monsters on its DL in the past few years, and that has led to success for them. When Saban was at LSU, it was the DL that got all the hype there, too. The 3-4 DEMANDS excellent line play. We lost 3 DTs to the NFL Draft this year, and weren’t able to fill the void. Apparently Grantham believes that the guys who are on campus now won’t be able to fill it next year, either. I’m all for going for some JUCO kids. Gotta fix these holes immediately. I think our defense is set at LB next season…an embarassment of riches if we can get Houston back, but solid even without him. But, the DL has to be better. No penetration by the DL left blockers free to block our LBs as well. Can’t have that and have success.

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    A partial repeat post, but more appropriate here, and a possible answer to at least a part of your puzzle Senator?

    Carver-Columbus 40, Thomasville 14: Isaiah Crowell rushed for 305 yards and five touchdowns on 20 carries for Carver, which led 13-6 at halftime and broke the game open with Crowell TD runs of 84 and 55 yards in the third quarter.

    But can he block?

    • Bryant Denny

      You forgot the part about being Richardson’s backup. :)

      [Although I don't see that happening after Black Friday.]

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        I sure hope you are right about Black Friday.

        BTW….I still think the hat Crowell was wearing was an Atlanta Braves’ hat. Saw Marcus Dupree in the same hat…doubt he would wear a Bama hat.
        Boy, did Barry Switzer ever blow that one.

        • King Jericho

          Unfortunately, it was 100% a Alabama hat. The tail on the top of the “A” differentiates them. Although, maybe he also is under the impression it was a Braves hat.

  3. Normaltown Mike

    Not sure I understand the Bobo punching going around.

    On our first possession of the 3rd QTR, Caleb ran for 27 then 11 yards before fumbling. When Georgia went up 28-21, we had 5 consecutive runs from w/in the 20. The one in the most space (from the 16) was a 10 yard gain for Ealey.

    We get our next opportunity in the 4th (after a defensive TD) when Bobo runs on 1st, Murray checks to a run on 2nd and sacked on 3rd. Based on the two series of the 3rd, why is it so absurd to call a run for Ealey?

    Further, look at our next offensive series in the 4th: Ealey runs for 29, 3 and 3. The reason that drive stalled is b/c Murray fumbled the snap. Obviously our “dumbass” coaches could see that Tech was going to be susceptible to runs. Otherwise Ealey & King wouldn’t have gotten the big runs he had.

    It’s been well documented this season that if Ealey, King and now Murray don’t have some of the fumbles at key moments, the season is entirely different.

    • We get our next opportunity in the 4th (after a defensive TD) when Bobo runs on 1st, Murray checks to a run on 2nd and sacked on 3rd. Based on the two series of the 3rd, why is it so absurd to call a run for Ealey?

      Because on the night Georgia averaged about 5 yards per rush (including Ealey’s gift) and over 14 yards per pass attempt.

      • DawgPhan

        Regardless of the play calling 30+ points should win SEC games. Regardless of the DC, that hasnt been the case @ UGA. Of course letting Tech run 90+ plays doesnt help your defense at all.

        • With all due respect, you guys are missing the point.

          Yes, 30 plus a game should be enough. But this year it wasn’t. And Bobo, in my opinion, didn’t adapt to that.

          And it’s not just that. It’s also the pressure that a team with an aggressive offense puts on the opponent to keep up. Just ask Auburn.

          • Husky Jeans

            So, you acknowledge that this team’s main problem is the D’s inability to get off the field and stop other teams from scoring, but the thing you choose to post about is how poor Bobo’s playcalling is?

            Senator, love the blog and usually agree with you, but I just can’t come out of this game, or the season for that matter, upset with Bobo. There are so many other problems that held this team back this year. How many more points would we have scored if the D could get off the field and give the ball back to the offense? I don’t have the stats in front of me, but it sure seems like this is the best offensive production we’ve had in the Richt era. No, Bobo doesn’t call a perfect game, and there have been plenty of times that I’ve scratched my head over a call he’s made in a particular situation, but I just don’t think we can expect perfection.

            It just seems like this is complaining that a tire is flat when the engine is blown out.

            • I’m not upset with Bobo. I simply think he can take his game to a higher level.

            • Macallanlover

              Exactly, if we had any defensive success at all this year (except against Vandy and Idaho State) we would have broken the all-time SEC scoring record. We stopped no one all year. The next to the last drive GT had Saturday night is the FIRST I can remember where we stopped any team at a critical point in the season. (It helps to be facing a back-up QB that had no completions against Duke the week before.) And it didn’t matter how many third and longs they had to overcome…..we simply didn’t know how to get off the field.

              • Will (the other one)

                Break the all-time record?
                Maybe the UGA mark, but not the conference.

                But that’s part of the point I think: we see that 30+ seven games in a row and think it’s great. But when we’re not that many years removed from the Gators averaging over 40/game, it isn’t.

                • Macallanlover

                  Some hyperbole to be sure but if you give the UGA offense the same number of plays the opponents had all year, apply the UGA scoring rate per play, and add those points to our total,we may not be as far off as you think. And that is with a woefully underachieving OLine. The defense not able to get off the field was a more significant factor than not having AJ, imo.

          • DawgPhan

            I do see your point, I just think that if Bobo keeps his foot on the gas and puts the ball in the air, Tech runs 125+ plays in that game and no way in hell are we stopping them twice at the end of the game to seal the win. UGA scored nearly as many points as they ran plays.

            We didnt have the defense for the offense to keep their foot on the gas. At some point you have to have a 10 play 7 minute drive for points just to give the D a blow.

            • At some time, with the right lead, Paul Johnson is the one who would have had to change what he was doing. At that point, game over. So I disagree with your point about not having “the defense for the offense to keep their foot on the gas”.

  4. Russ

    So 7 games in a row of 30+ ppg isn’t enough? Bobo should’ve had 40 ppg during that streak? Aren’t we being a little unreasonable?

    The only reason this is coming up is because the defense still isn’t up to snuff. And with Tech running 92 plays, I’m pretty sure Bobo’s direction was to help eat some clock and give the defense a rest. Yeah, scoring every time we get the ball would be nice, but that’s a little unrealistic.

    Fix the defense, score 30+ ppg and everyone will be happy.

    • Yeah, scoring every time we get the ball would be nice, but that’s a little unrealistic.

      Against Tech, when your QB is putting up a passer rating better than 250? How so?

      • Russ

        Regression to the mean. ;) One of those passes gets tipped, a receiver suddenly gets cold hands, anything.

        Someone pointed out that there are “safe” passes that are almost like runs. I could see the argument that we could try that.

        I get your point, but my point is that blaming Bobo for the ills of this team is about like blaming Hannibal Lechter’s cannibalism on his mother’s bad cooking.

        • Again, I’m not blaming Bobo for the ills of the team.

          But you guys are pretending that he operates in the abstract completely separate from what’s going on on the field. It’s nice to talk about how Georgia should win when it scores at least 30 points in a game… but that’s not what happened this season.

          By the way, as far as your point about “safe” plays, how many fumbles did Georgia have Saturday night?

          • Russ

            “By the way, as far as your point about “safe” plays, how many fumbles did Georgia have Saturday night?”

            Touche’.

            BTW, I’m not saying Bobo operates in the abstract completely separate from what’s going on on the field. In fact, I’m saying the exact opposite and that’s why he tried to run/slow it down, so he could help the defense with a long, sustained drive.

    • bort

      Wrong.

      The reason is the perceived complacency that has permeated this program for going on 5 years now.

    • MinnesotaDawg

      “Fix the defense, score 30+ ppg and everyone will be happy.”

      The problem is that if we do ultimately fix the defense, we’re not likely to be scoring 30+ ppg given Richt’s game management tendencies. See my post below.

      • Russ

        Yeah, I saw that, I can see where you’re coming from. Hopefully, he’ll learn and we’ll have the best of both worlds. However, those tendencies can die hard. Let’s get a good defense and find out.

  5. Irishdawg

    I agree with Russ here, and I’ve been hard on Bobo some this season. I think Mike wanted to run some clock and give the D a breather, which is what it desperately needed. Both UGA tailbacks had broken long runs all night, so it isn’t that baffling a decision.

    Having said that, the tendency in the last few years for UGA’s offense to start the season slow has to be addressed. Bad playcalling and bad execution (and shitty luck) cost us games with SC and MSU, and that is something that has to be dealt with.

    • I think Mike wanted to run some clock and give the D a breather, which is what it desperately needed.

      You can do that just as easily throwing the ball for first downs as you can rushing it. It’s not like Murray was throwing a bunch of incompletions.

      • King Jericho

        I feel like this is a “hindsight 20/20″ thing. If we’re averaging 5 ypc and 14 yppa, statistically, we’re going to get into the endzone either way. Why not try to eat some clock and let that defense rest? I’d have to rewatch the game because I can’t recall it perfectly, but after King fumbled it away, we pretty sparingly ran the ball with Ealey (though still effectively), right? Giving those averages, isn’t it kind of nitpicking to criticize running the ball even if it’s working (aside from the fumble)?

        • It wasn’t hindsight for me. I was yelling about what Bobo was getting ready to call as the offense walked back on the field when it was 35-28.

          The point to continuing to throw the ball is that it was a surer way to move the ball and score. The goal should have been to shorten the game and force Johnson to throw to keep up. That’s a win for Georgia.

        • MinnesotaDawg

          Also, the 5 yard per rush is a little misleading, too–as if we had some type of consistent attack. We did have 154 yds on 29 carries–but 90 of those yards came on 4 carries (including the 20 yard TD where Tech let us score). Sure, you can’t take the big gains away from our running attack, but it was far from consistent or reliable or effective (if your goal is to eat play clock). As the Senator has pointed out, you can eat clock by completing short passes, too, and our passing game was much more effective in producing yards, moving the chains, and scoring points. Our ONE incompletion in the second half, certainly didn’t stall the game clock.

      • DawgPhan

        Throwing safe passes and underneath stuff isn’t exactly “pushing the pedal to the floor” now is it?

        • Man, you guys are stubborn. ;)

          Saturday night, Georgia averaged 14.3 yards per pass attempt. Obviously the downfield game was clicking and Tech couldn’t stop it. “Keeping your foot on the gas” means nothing more than continuing to call the plays that work until the defense stops them.

    • Gary

      The reason for the slow starts by the offense this season is you are breaking in a freshmen QB who was still learning the playbook. Once Murray got things down and Bobo turned him loose, the offense took off.

      I see what the Senator is saying about Bobo taking his foot off the gas and I have myself muttered the same things over the last couple of games. The more pressure you put on the opposing teams offense, the more likely you are to get a turnover on defense. That helps defenses out and the big reason why Florida was so good under Tebow and why Auburn has been so good this year with Cam.

  6. hodgie

    I don’t get the arguement that the OC is responsible for the DC giving up pts. The jobs are simple. Offense=score defense=stop em from scoring. Please don’t hold Bobo responsible for Grantham’s Defense not getting the job done. I’m not buying it. That’s like saying if there were playoffs, it would devalue the regular season. Ha!

    • Please don’t hold Bobo responsible for Grantham’s Defense not getting the job done.

      That’s not the argument I’m making.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        If I understand your point, which appears to be is that offenses in the conference are evolving faster than defenses, then I certainly agree there is evidence of this.
        And I have no doubt Richt and co. will ponder all this over the winter, although there is also evidence a sophisticated pro-style offense still works very well with the right players (See Arkansas and Florida State).

        On the other hand, the spread offense that has worked at the highest level is Auburn. Saying Auburn’s spread is evolutionary in the larger sense is like saying the I formation with Herschel was evolutionary.

        Auburn without Newton is more like Mississippi State, and clearly beatable.

        And while Auburn’s offense, a power-running spread, is certainly creative especially in the way Malzahn uses all of the talent he has available and in the way he calls plays to do that, Auburn’s defense, for all its “problems” is still pretty damn good when it has to be.

        This may be a reach, but it seems to me Grantham’s defense has come quite a ways from early in the season, for the first time in a long time the Georgia defense, despite giving up mind-numbing yardage all over the field was able to find a way to come up with stops when the game really was on the line.

        Which is, I believe, the Erk Russell school of defense.

        I see your point about the possibility of Bobo (or whoever) taking their foot off the gas, however.

        Wouldn’t you love to sit around with Mark and Mike in a pick brains session…..I know I sure would.

        • Auburn without Newton is more like Mississippi State, and clearly beatable.

          No argument there. Unfortunately that wasn’t the team Georgia got to play.

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            Yep, I noticed that…and with Awbun it ain’t JUST Newton, Malzahn really uses what he got. Which, to me, is where his real genius lies.

    • J

      The job of both the OC and DC is to put their team in position to win. The DC or the defense was not putting us in a position to win, Bobo should have taken note and keep calling a good game, not say ” if we had a good defense, 14 point lead would be enough so I’ll chew clock.” This strategy was only good enough to win because of blind luck. All year it’s like the Offense and Defense have purposely worked together to ensure that we lose by just a little bit because our D can’t stop shizz and our OC won’t realize that.

  7. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    I think ultimately it’s Richt’s responsibility to dicate in-game strategy and tempo. He should be telling Bobo to keep the pressure on by throwing the ball. Obviously, he’s not doing that. Which begs the question of what Richt is doing during a game.

  8. MinnesotaDawg

    As usual, nice analysis that hits upon something that I’ve considered during the offensive 30+ streak–the relationship between offensive and defensive success (in terms of points scored/allowed especially) and Richt’s game “management” philosophy. What I have in mind is that on the offensive side, Richt’s Georgia teams generally seem to be as productive as they NEED to be in light of their defensive performance at the time–not usually more productive and, before the last few years, not usually less.

    One can’t help notice that our once often dominant defense (2002-04 especially) was often coupled with a rather pedestrian point-producing offense (despite the talent on that side of the ball). This seeming tendency to apply/let off the gas as needed during a ballgame has led to much personal frustration as a fan, not only because of its inherent danger (letting inferior opponents hang around, letting unlucky/bad officiating or untimely turnovers be fatal, failing to put away equal or superior opponents based on their own bad breaks, getting offense out of sync, etc.–remember that 2004 Capital One Bowl against Purdue!), but also because it seemed we were always seeing the “potential” of our offense during stages of games, rather than a complete performance. Could/should we have seen this level of point production in the past? Almost certainly–especially given the number of offensive possessions that a good defense will afford an offense (something that THIS Georgia offense hasn’t had the luxury of).

    This trip down memory lane only serves as a comparison to what is going on now. Richt no longer has a great defense to rely on, so I think he understands that old offensive point production is not going to get it done–as a result we’re seeing the unprecedented offensive output and an offense that seems to play with more urgency than in previous years. However….I believe we STILL see the old Richt tendency to let up, get away from what’s working, and try to “manage” the game away–especially when we have any type of second half lead. Old habits seem to die hard despite the fact that our defense is far from solid or reliable and recent Georgia teams seem to habit of imploding with self-inflicted mistakes in late, tight game situations.

    In former times, Richt would defend such strategies by pointing out his record and the team’s overall successes. Anxious wins and the occasional, close loss could be forgiven. However, I think we can all agree that times have changed.

    I understand that there is a lot more that goes into how many points Georgia scores per game and our game time coaching decisions–not the least of which are the trends in scoring, the particulars of a game, opponent’s offense and defense, etc…but I think my observation is worth consideration.

  9. Will Trane

    Thanks for hammering this home Senator. Exactly what I’ve tried to say all year. Do not let up on this. Somewhere it will register with this coaching staff. Football is different today. More emphasis on the O at high school level. Not as many star D players along the D line. You would think the Dawgs coaching would figure this out. They have enough O line to run almost two rotations per set of downs. Please keep this conversation and observation alive!

  10. Bryant Denny

    Senator, I think I get your point and experienced it first hand Friday afternoon.

    It seems – at least for a bit – that the paradigm has shifted in the SEC.

    Bama and Georgia had two options in their last ballgames: 1) Get up by a couple of touchdowns and turn on the road graders or 2) mash the gas pedal to the floor board. Instead, they did something in the middle and made blowout wins become close calls or losses (darn it).

    The problem for both of these teams, it seems, is that they either don’t know what kind of team they are or don’t have the personality to do what they need to do.

    Bama also had a very similar situation in 2007 (a 7-6 Independence Bowl season). First year in a switch to a 3-4 and the D couldn’t get off the field. Meanwhile, the O couldn’t stay on the field. (Although Uga’s 2010 O is much better than the 2007 Bama version.) [Sorry for the incessant Bama references. I don't mean to offend.]

    BD

  11. Mark Badley

    First!?!?

  12. Ahead by 7 points late in the game you have to try to run the ball & use up some clock. The fact that we could not do that is not Bobo’s fault. The Dawgs should be able to do that.
    Before saturday Tech & CPJ were 15 & 0 when thay scored 30 or more. The Dawgs should have similar results , not losses due to the defense giving up more points than we can score.
    Again, If I am Richt & I am competing to keep my job, or going to Miami, I want the coach I trained & who runs the Offense the way I want It run to be my QB coach & my OC. ( Or do more play calling myself – certainly nobody New).

    • Ahead by 7 points late in the game you have to try to run the ball & use up some clock. The fact that we could not do that is not Bobo’s fault. The Dawgs should be able to do that.

      But they weren’t successful running the ball when Tech was expecting the run all night. Why would you expect them to be able to do so then?

      • MinnesotaDawg

        Exactly. This apparent need of our coaches (and some of our fans) to apply conventional wisdom from a different era, different Georgia team, different Georgia Tech team, different ballgame, etc drives me crazy.

    • Bryant Denny

      I think most folks would argue that the run game is the OC’s responsibility.

  13. The Watergirl

    Bobo’s biggest problem is he is to worried about a balanced playcalling, if one think is working run it until that stop it. Nerds couldn’t stop Murray, but for some reason Bobo decides we need to get the running game going!? !?
    I understand we scored a bunch of points this year, but it was against mediocre defenses, against better defenses Bobo got outcoached everytime!! Any dawg fan can tell you what we are about to run every tiime and Bobo can’t keep defensive coaches on their heels and guessing!!
    Put Bobo at QB coach again and go out and get a real Coord

  14. Dog in Fla

    From the “Stats are for losers and eight point winners” lightning round category:

    “All I can say, if I’m not mistaken, we broke some kind of school record of consecutive games of over 30 points” said one Mark while the other OC’ed us to 29.0 ppg in 2010 SEC games (3-5/6-6/2-8/3-18) for third place

    http://www.cfbstats.com/2010/leader/911/team/offense/split07/category09/sort01.html

    almost but not quite the same as the 29.3 ppg in 2009 SEC games (4-4/8-5/2-7/3-17) for a tie with Petrino for first place

    http://www.cfbstats.com/2009/leader/911/team/offense/split07/category09/sort01.html

  15. slive sux

    Why not score all you can? It is not the job of CMB or CMR to stop UGA.I do feel the “let’s not embarass anyone “, holds the O back. Coach to win games, not friends.

  16. Bryant Denny

    Look at the bright side, though.

    You guys did this with a RS freshman QB. You most likely have him for 3 more years and he’s going to get better and better.

    I know you lose AJ, but I think having the ball in Murray’s hands every play will offset that.

    Seems like he may be a good bet for preseason all conference, along with Jefferson or Garcia.

    BD

  17. We all agree to disagree. The Dawgs have a deserved reputation of not being able to close out games. Until thay can have late game clock eating drives featuring the running game they will never be as successful as we want. It has to be as frustrating to the coaches as it is to me when they can’t do that. If you have to keep passing with a late game lead, you do have a problem. Still think the Defense is the real problem, not the play calling. We agree to disagree.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      I’d say it, like so much else, is a combination of the two, neither side plays in in vacuum, but I tend to agree that a stifling defense sho do make the OC look like a genius. For instance, Bama last year.

    • Otto

      Bobo does score points but does not produce the clock killing 4th qtr drives that CMR did calling plays that takes pressure off the defense. Bobo does not score often enough to win quick strike outright shoot outs like Auburn does. I can see the time of possesion relpies coming but I want to see the average length of time per possesion and drives over 4 minutes in length compared to CMR.

      I also agree that Bobo does not use his weapons to their full potential and often stumbles early in the season or big games.

      I also want to see player only meetings and team leadership which has been on the slide since the staff started to change after Shockley, BVG, and Bobo’s promotion. CMR must solve those problems.

  18. Josh

    The “jump out to a two touchdown lead and then pound them into submission” game plan is clearly Richt’s preferred MO. Which is great, provided you’ve got the consistent running game and dominant defense to do that. If you don’t, you better figure out some other way to get it done… find your strength and lean on that, no matter how uncomfortable or “against your preferred strategy” it might be.

    It doesn’t matter what you *want* to do… it matters what you *can* do. Aaron Murray proved he can move the ball through the air, consistently. There was nothing consistent about our running game or our defense… but the bulk of Richt’s game-planning and strategy are built upon the twin foundations of running game and defense. Any surprise we’re 6-6?

    This is the issue with Richt and Bobo. By the last game of the season, it was obvious to everyone that both our running game and our defense were going to sprinkle occasional competence amongst various stretches of sub-par play. And yet there we were, getting a lead on Tech and then trying to grind out the clock, thinking we had all the points we needed and would stuff them the rest of the game. Just like Auburn two weeks ago.

    That strategy worked great when Pollack, Sullivan, T. Davis, etc. were wearing red and black. We even sorta kinda pulled it off when the defense was in decline, but we had Moreno to do his thing. But does Richt honestly think we have that kind of defensive talent (or RB talent) right now? He can’t have that kind of tunnel vision, can he?

    Once or twice, you can chalk it up to situational decision-making, personnel things, other team having their day, whatever. But this is a consistent philosophy of “this is what we want to be, therefore this is how we call the game” as opposed to “this is what we ARE, therefore this is our best shot to score more points than the other guy and win”.

    It doesn’t excuse the defensive shortcomings. But it is an indictment of the coaches not being honest with themselves about those shortcomings, and not playing to our obvious strengths for a whole ballgame.

    • MinnesotaDawg

      Terrific post!

    • SSB Charley

      Solid post. +1

    • Josh

      For additional context, consider what Malzhan’s done with Newton in 2010, vs. Chris Todd (!) in 2009. Same coach, VERY different QBs, different playcalling strategies, lots of success in both cases.

      Auburn wouldn’t have won 3 games last year if Malzhan said “we’re gonna run single-wing off-tackle and fly sweeps 70% of the time, son!”

      Play to your strengths.

      • Normaltown Mike

        And that 100 to 180K will get you from 7 wins to 12 in a hurry.

      • DawgPhan

        I would hardly say that Todd and Auburn had lots of success in 2009.

        • Josh

          Chris Todd was not Joe Montana, but Auburn’s problem in 2009 was not their offense.

          Didn’t mean to imply they were gangbusters… but main point is still valid. An OC should adjust his playcalling to his circumstances (offensive talent, whether his team’s defense is any good, etc.).

          How did Brantley in the spread work out this year? Think Meyer might have wanted to try something else, in hindsight?

          • DawgPhan

            While that might be your point, I hardly think that your example supported that point. I seriously doubt that Bobo is thinking, well I just want to hold onto the ball and not score. He is calling plays to score points. King fumbling, turns a great drive into a “bobo is an idiot” drive, just like Ingram’s fumble and McElroy’s fumbles turned those drives into disasters.

            Also the notion that defense and running the ball can’t win anymore is more than dumb. Florida and Bama both did just that to win a title. This year is the exception and not the rule.

            • Josh

              Um… see my post below where I unequivocally state that old-school power football is fine by me… as long as you have the horses to do it.

              WE DO NOT. WE HAVE NOT FOR GOING ON 5 YEARS. FAILURE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS AND EITHER A) FIX IT, OR B) CHANGE THE APPROACH IS PRECISELY THE ISSUE.

              Our defensive talent has been steadily declining since 2005-ish. We haven’t had a workhorse back since Moreno, and even he couldn’t help us in 2008. Something seems amiss with S&C, but I’m out of my element there. We simply don’t have the pieces necessary to win consistently with the head coach’s desired strategy.

              You’re 100% right, you can absolutely win today with a pro-style offense and great (not good, GREAT) defense. But just like Florida ain’t gonna win with Brantley running the spread, we’re not going to win (consistently) with a conservative, run-and-play-defense approach relying on average running backs, a mysteriously underwhelming offensive line, and an undersized defensive line.

              That’s not to say there aren’t other approaches that could work, given our resources. We’re not Sister Mary, Home of the Poor.

              I’ll hang up and listen to what everyone has to say.

              • Comin' Down The Track

                Thanks for bringing up the”… mysteriously underwhelming offensive line…” These guys are, for long stretches, just terrible run blockers and merely adequate pass blockers. Furthermore, why does is take half of the season lately for the line to gel/get the right personnel in place? Coach Searels, I’m looking in your direction…

    • Will (the other one)

      And for crap’s sake, it was Tech, at the end of a horrible season. There should never have been “enough points”. We let off the gas a bit in 2002 as well, but we were up by 35 first, not 14.

  19. WFdawg

    A little off-topic, but I’m questioning the wisdom of Richt bringing in a guy as DC who would need at least a year to install his scheme/recruit his personnel. How many years of grace does Richt think he has? In hindsight after a 6-6 year, maybe this offseason wasn’t the time to install a new defensive scheme. Surely, there were qualified 4-3 guys out there.

  20. Go Dawgs!

    Senator, I agree with your point about Bobo not adapting to the fact that our defense wasn’t going to stop our opponent. Clearly, the offense doesn’t deserve to shoulder all of the blame for Tech making it a close game or losing to Auburn, certainly, the defense deserves to shoulder a lot of that burden. Still, it goes back further beyond just this season. Georgia needs to adopt the Alabama/Florida/Oregon/USC (west) philosophy that you need to score every time you possess the football. Even late. Georgia teams under Richt have seldom stepped on the other team’s throat, especially in the games against big-time opposition. It’s almost a given that when Georgia jumps ahead early on a team, they’re going to go into a little box and get conservative and let the other team back into the game. It’s the EXACT same philosophy that gave us Logan Gray: Punt Fair Catcher and Richt Field Goal Fetish and the Final Minutes of the First Half Kneel Down. It’s a fear of what COULD happen. We MIGHT screw up if we throw another pass when we’re up by 14 and get the ball intercepted. We COULD fumble a punt if we try the return. Well, we COULD lose the freaking game, too. Georgia’s offense works great when the hammer is down, and that’s been the case all year. As soon as Bobo takes off his “Win” helmet and puts on the “Don’t Lose” hat, that’s when we have problems.

  21. dboy

    I am still trying two understand why we can’t consistently run block. That would help the defense and lead to scores, you just wouldn’t need as many to win. We have a dynamic passing game w/ AJ and O Charles et al. Why can’t this veteran offensive line and a pair of solid backs consistently run the ball? This seems to be the weakness of Bobo’s offenses to date. Dynamic passing game, veteran offensive line and yet an erratic run game. Only the talented Knowshon made the Oline look good but even he wasn’t dominant! I am surprised more people aren’t howling about this!

  22. Krautdawg

    I had an argument with several boosters before the game and experienced that the old SEC paradigm is still alive. Mistrust of the passing game, “put 24 on the board and give the ball to the defense,” “at Georgia we run the football.” Sometimes I wonder if we’d be happier going 6-6 running Dooley’s offense than 11-1 with Leach’s air raid. The point, however, is that “30 points should be enough to win” seems almost to be a generational argument. The old Dawgs I talked to certainly couldn’t fathom having to put up 35-40 points simply to be competitive in league play. They almost seemed to find the idea rude.

    Second, I like the new paradigm argument, which is what makes the generation gap a dangerous thing. Defense is the SEC’s housing bubble; a generation of fans has bought in and we hype it constantly. Which is ridiculous — SEC talent is elite talent on both sides of the ball. The only shift waiting to happen is the realization that, with the right players, SEC defenses can be outschemed and outplayed. Malzahn and Petrino have made the shift — once they have an opportunity to adjust to your defense, they will score on you. This is a new reality, not a new paradigm. What’s holding back our record is, ironically, a failure to depart from the old SEC paradigm in the face of reality.

    And before we start acting as if we “put up” 42 against Tech, let’s remember that we intercepted 7 of those points and that Tech spotted us 7 at the end. Thus, our offense only put up 28, 14 of which came when Murray scrambled away from the play and saved us. In comparison, Tom O’Brien’s eat-your-fiber-every-day offense, run by a future baseball player, hung 38 honest points on Tech. When (a) you have Aaron Murray and AJ Green and (b) Dana Bible outperforms you without an elite receiver or tailback, are you doing an SEC-caliber job?

    We’ve got a long ways to go before 10 wins is a possibility. In any event, we should probably go ahead and add TGAM (Thank God for Aaron Murray) to the Lexicon.

    • Krautdawg

      I apologize for the excessive italics. My second HTML tag apparently failed to get off his block, and I can’t find Jakar Hamilton.

      • Dog in Fla

        Keine Angst. Es ist nichts.

        • Krautdawg

          Danke Dir, DoginFla, und schoen zu wissen, dass noch ein anderer die Sprache des Feindes kann. Und mit Sprache des Feindes meine ich diesmal nicht die Mundart des suedlichen Okeefenokees …

          • Dog in Fla

            Aber seien Sie vorsichtig mit der Sprache des Feindes Wenn Sie sich jemals beim Fahren eines bimmer südlich des okeefenokee Sumpf und stellen Sie sicher, Aufenthalt abseits der Florida Highway Patrol speedtraps.

    • Josh

      Chalk me up as a believer in the “old school” approach, even against spread attacks with SEC-caliber talent. I don’t think the spread changes football fundamentals so much as it blunts the impact of attacking defenses that were all the rage circa 1995-2005. If you’ve got elite defensive talent (UGA in early 2000s, Bama last few years, etc.) I think you can be successful against the spread.

      And a pro-style offense designed to sit on a 14 point lead and bludgeon to death all those smallish defensive front 7s otherwise designed to stop the spread passing game is my idea of offense, let me tell you.

      But wanting to do that is a lot different than having the horses to pull it off.

      Find some more David Pollacks, or score more points. Or, go 6-6 again next year.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Even an old school icon and epitomy of defensive guru Erk Russell scored all the points he could once he became a head coach. But you’re right Josh, if we don’t have the horses on D we have to score all we possibly can on O.

        • Krautdawg

          Totally agree with both of you. Running directly into SEC defenses that know your tendencies is the equivalent of sending more WWI soldiers over the top. Even Bama with Ingram, Richardson, and its beast of a line can’t pull it off consistently, much less our guys, for whatever reason. Ironically, if we want to stay true to the possession spirit of the traditional approach, the sweep and the iso will have to become the surprise, not the bread-n-butter.

  23. W Cobb Dawg

    I agree Senator. Why settle for 42 points (and a relatively close 8 point win) when you can just as easily score 50 or 60 – and thereby put the game far out of reach.

    If spread offenses are so much of a threat OR if CTG simply doesn’t know how to stop the spread – either way, Dawgs have to acknowledge this and try to score as much as possible. Turning conservative with our poor running game in a half-ass effort to eat clock is a recipe for disaster against fast scoring opponents.

  24. devildawg

    “Based on what was taking place on the field, Bobo had no justification for taking his foot off the gas, but he did it anyway.”

    Nailed it!

    Early in the season he looked incompetent, or more likely, overly cautious, due to injured/suspended running backs, suspended Green, and a fresh Aaron Murray, who likely surprised Bobo as much as he surprised everyone else.

    Mid-season onwards, it seems that Bobo was able, with the weapons at our disposal, to put together good play calls and scoring drives at a really high success rate. But something in his decision-making apparatus seems to tell him not to do that, and work to preserve the lead, at crucial times when it shouldn’t be doing that. Question is: can he correct that?

  25. Paul

    I would like to see Johnson’s record in games where Tech trailed by a touchdown or more with less than two minutes to play.

    I would think most coaches post poor ledgers in those circumstances. Maybe a more realistic way to look at it would be under 2 minutes trailing 4-8 points. FG does you no good but you have a realistic shot of actually winning the game on merit versus fluke, which is what a 2 or 3 score comeback normally requires with so little time. I’d also be interested in seeing the effect of increasing the upper bound to 10 and then 14 points.

  26. Scorpio Jones, III

    So, after reading all this, more than once in some cases, what we are saying we observe is the Georgia offense taking the foot off the go pedal, and that is is a conscious decision to stop scoring and run the clock….a four-corners as someone said.

    And, that this decision has nothing to do with the productivity of the defense, but is a dumb thing our offensive staff decides to do because of its conservative, old school priorities.

    And, in passing, it is noted the older fans among us can’t adjust to the idea that “new” offenses are scoring more points, ergo, we have to score more points, too. (As, for instance, the “point-a-minute” teams my father used to talk about did. In 1942.

    One thing is for dead cert, it was not a particularly good year, even factoring in the typically unrealistic expectations of some of us.

    Hopefully our coaching staff will spend the winter trying to make things buttah and trying their best to adapt to the new dawn of scoring in the SEC.

    I am also pretty sure that but for some terribly untimely turnovers, and a blown assignment or two on defense, and Old Lady Luck pissing in our hats, we would have won at least three more games, and the offensive staff would have been a whole lot smarter and in tune with the times.

    • Krautdawg

      Scorpio, I don’t think anyone here can disagree that a couple terrible turnovers doomed at least two games this season. Still, what I think those of us of the ‘new-school’ (or ‘pre-D-Day’) persuasion are trying to say is that aggressive, points-oriented offense prevents a safety’s mistake or a fumble’s bounce from deciding our fate. For example, if we’re up by 14 instead of tied at halftime at Auburn, the return team’s failure to look out for the on-side kick doesn’t create a game-changing momentum shift that has us playing catch-up.

      Besides, I think most of us would settle for the 1942 team.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        “pre-D-Day”….ah laks me suma that.

        “For example, if we’re up by 14 instead of tied at halftime at Auburn, the return team’s failure to look out for the on-side kick doesn’t create a game-changing momentum shift that has us playing catch-up.”

        So, Auburn had nothing to do with being tied?

        Sorry, Kraut, but the offensive expertise here today is just overwhelming me.

  27. shane#1

    ” College football is personnel driven. All schemes are designed to score points, if you have the right players in the right posistions to suit your scheme.”- Urban Meyer. I know the power I can work, we see it work every Sunday against the best defensive players in the world. I am not sure UGA has what it takes to run the power I. Other than Glenn, the starting O line is rather small, and doesn’t seem to be able to blow people off the ball. Murray is listed at 6’1″, but I doubt it. UGA doesn’t have a real power runner in the 230 to 240 class, though Ealey can run with power. Some kind of spread run from the shotgun and Murray rolling out would seem to suit the people UGA has. Why not try it and see if some running lanes don’t open up?

  28. Ausdawg85

    After 100+ posts, its all pretty clear now…

    We sucked. 2010 Season RIP.

  29. thewhiteshark

    I have to agree. Murray threw the ball 5 times in the second half. I want to see Bobo go for the throat. Watched the same thing against Auburn. The defense was being gashed but it’s amazing what a two TD lead can do. The thing I find most frustrating in those situations is that we reach a point where I can predict what Bobo is going to call. If I can the DC of the other team can. I wish I couldn’t but watched it for too long.Get on top, get conservative — just what the other teams needed. i know the argument about the defense being worn out but I’ve played the game and it’s amazing what can happen to a tired defense when the offense puts up big points — it does energize them — a whole lot more than going back out there with a tight lead even if the offense killed a little more time by running the ball.

  30. NRBQ

    The whole run-the-ball-to-eat-clock argument holds no water.

    As someone on an AJC blog said (sorta), clock time and real time are not the same. Defensive players breathe in real time.

    If you’re successful passing, the clock stops temporarily with every first down, and on each incompletion, and out of bounds play. The game clock needn’t be running for your defense to recover.

    Meanwhile, as Shark said above, getting more points by running your most successful options will energize the D, anyway.

    • MinnesotaDawg

      +1 Exactly. I tried to make the same point on this blog yesterday. If you’re talking about giving the D a rest, the best option is to have a successful drive consisting of plays that allow you to keep the ball. If they’re running plays great…if they’re passing plays great. In terms of a real time break for the defense it makes no difference. There is a 40 second play clock between each play (run or pass), so the length of real time “rest” for the D is solely dependent upon the number of plays in the drive, NOT the type of plays a team uses to make the drive.

  31. NRBQ

    Actually, that point was made by First and Thom over at DawgSports.