It seemed like a bad idea at the time.

As someone who was critical of the implementation of the no-huddle offense in the Boise State game, it seems only fair for me to admit that after nine games, Richt and Bobo are on to something.

If you’ll recall, both of them defended its use after the season opener, citing a need for Georgia to run more plays on offense.

“Well we wanted to get more plays, which we didn’t do on Saturday,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “But we’re committed to doing it, and more plays equals more opportunities, and more chances to score.”

Guess what – it’s doing just that.  Take this comparison of plays per game with Auburn, a fair one I think, given Malzahn’s reputation for running up the play count on offense (all stats via cfbstats.com):

2011 PPG 2010 PPG
Georgia 72.67 62.62
Auburn 65.44 67.71

Georgia in 2011 is running ten plays more per game than a year ago.  And Bobo is calling seven plays a game more than Malzahn is this season.  Georgia, in fact, leads the SEC in offensive plays run.

Before you say so what, consider that Georgia is outscoring Auburn by more than a touchdown a game in 2011.  Last year, that stat was in favor of Auburn by more than 9 points per game.  Some of that is personnel driven, no doubt, particularly with regard to the absence of Cam Newton, but let’s not forget that Georgia’s success is coming in the absence of A.J. Green.

It’s fair to say that Georgia’s offense is far from a finished product this season.  It’s more accurate to call it a work in progress.  But you’d also have to say it’s heading in the direction that Bobo and Richt planned for it before the season started.

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79 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

79 responses to “It seemed like a bad idea at the time.

  1. Juan

    I’d say our improvement on defense has effected this number just as much if not more so than us running the no huddle from time to time.

    Our biggest area of improvement defensively has been 3rd down defense. Getting the other team off the field = far more plays for our offense.

    • Maybe. But Alabama’s third-down conversion rate on defense is better than Georgia’s. And the Tide have run 52 less plays on offense than the Dawgs have.

      • Indeed. And add to the mix that UGA and Bama are virtually tied in first downs and time of possession. I suppose that’s due to Bama being much more run-first on offense, whereas Georgia’s offense is more box-of-chocolates.

        • Joe

          We also run Carlton Thomas up the middle more than Bama does their smallest player necessitating another play and eating clock. Brilliant I say!!

          • CT is averaging 4.5 yards per carry this year. By comparison IC is averaging 4.7 ypc.

            That said I will grant you that 4.5 ypc doesn’t do much good when running on 3rd and 62.

          • Brandon

            This whole Carlton Thomas up the middle criticism seems a little short sighted to me. I’m no expert but it would seem to be a poor strategy to have one tailback you never ran to the middle of the field no matter what, wouldn’t that basically be like announcing he’s going to the corner and make that type of run that much easier to stop? It seems in the same category as a team doing a play action pass on every play but never actually running the ball, in that situation the defense would know that the play action fake was BS and just focus on the QB. You have to run sometimes to keep them honest. If you’re going to play a tailback you’ve got to be willing to send him to all parts of the field.

            • James Stephenson

              Do not bring logic into a conversation about Bobo. A lot of people think they know offense, but actually do not.

              • Brandon

                True. It would probably do no good to point out that Barry Sanders was what 5’8”? It’s not like he ever ran between the tackles, either.

          • Running Carlton Thomas up the middle works. It has all season. A good play to call on second & long. Harton wpuld be a good choice there too.

            • Macallanlover

              True, and how big is Stacy at Vandy? Guy scares me everytime he touches the ball. Our Energy vampires need to get off this, of course that would require them missing an opportunity to bash the program in every possible way. My only criticsm of CT is the stupidity from a couple of weeks ago. He pulls that again, jettison him for a legit reason.

      • dawgs2

        But that might also be explained by the fact that they’re scoring more often on offense. They’re outgaining us per play, yet time of possession is essentially equal (we lead 32:59 to 32:26 per game).

    • X-Dawg

      My thought is that the more confidence we have in our Defense, the more chances we have taken on Offense, e.g. the late game Conley pass on 3rd & 10 against FL. This has also added to the extra Offensive plays per game.

  2. dawgs2

    Our improved defense surely has a large role in the amount of plays the offense runs as well. It makes sense that the O would run more plays if our D was forcing more 3 and outs.

  3. dawgs2

    Snaked by juan minute.

    • Russ

      I agree with both of you, though. Improved D makes the whole team (well, except for our “special” teams) look better.

  4. Zdawg

    Senator, I am disappointed you would ever dare question any critisism of Bobo. Isn’t that what Georgia blogs are for? ;)

  5. Go Dawgs!

    I was fiercely opposed to the change after the first game because it looked like our guys had no idea how to run the system. It would have been VERY nice to have a tune up game before basically changing offenses, and it would have also been nice if the staff had incorporated more I-Formation stuff into the game plan in case the new ideas didn’t work, which they didn’t in the first game.

    That said, it’s worked brilliantly since then. If you take the team we have now and put them into that first game again, things may look slightly better. The emergence of players like Bennett, Mitchell, and Conley really make this offense work. And it works well, I’m pleased.

    • Go Dawgs!

      There are a few things that drive me crazy, though. At times it looks like Murray still doesn’t have the authority to take advantage when the defense isn’t set. The other guys are trying to line up, and instead of just snapping it and going for a hot read, everyone’s looking at the sideline. I don’t like that particular play.

      The quick-to-the-line quick snap that they tried to get off on that 4th down conversion early against Tennessee was pretty sweet, though. I hope that’s still in our bag of tricks for Auburn or Tech.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      In honor of your handle, I just emailed the son of the author of Go, Dog, Go! to see if he’d do a version called Go, Dawg, Go! for charity. The son is an animator…and it’s the 50th anniversary of the original publication of that book.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        My comment got hung up before I was finished editing. As a red-blooded American capitalist, I only mentioned charity after suggesting he make a gazillion dollars selling it to GA Bulldog grandparents…:)

  6. Brandon

    Having a defense is making Bobo/Richt look smarter just like not having one made them look dumber.

  7. JasonC

    Didn’t Smart Football address the issue of running more plays last year?

    If I remember correct, really good teams with a lot of talent (see Bama) would try to reduce the total number of plays to keep the odds in their favor, but teams that are weaker would try to run more plays to increase the probability of breaking one.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      That seems counter-intuitive to me. If you have a really good offense and are gaining yardage (Georgia) wouldn’t you want to run as many plays as possible to gain as much yardage as possible? Alternatively, if you have a run oriented ball control offense (Bama) you want to possess the ball for as long as possible thereby keeping the other team’s offense off the field. Therefore you take as much time as possible between plays to use up clock leading to fewer plays being run.

  8. wnc dawg

    Kudos for the look in the mirror, Senator. I’d have to put myself in the same boat. I was not only worried about the hurry up, but also really fearful when I saw all the spread shotgun stuff. I thought we were catering the entire offense around Crowell, and figured we were sunk if that was the case (more so due to the true freshman nature of things). But sitting in the stands in Jax, I commented on how many plays we were running and it was obvious it helped us a great deal. I also think the coaches on O deserve credit for providing more guys the opportunity to produce. I don’t remember the last time we saw this many new faces contributing significantly. Obviously, more plays makes more chances, and the strategy has provided them.

    • bad m

      I think the kids get more comfortable when they can go out their and just play. I think that’s a big part of the hurry up. We’ve all seen an offense just start to click. They feel more comfortable. The defense can’t make reads or adjust. The offense isn’t overthinking things. These are still kids. You don’t have to beat their best cover guy…just their third or fourth best. Stop standing up over the line looking to the sidelines.

  9. RandallPinkFloyd

    Not sure of your reference, JasonC. HOWEVAH, it seems like logic would be just the opposite. The less talented you are, the more you want to shorten the game. As a game goes on, the more likely it is the talented team will break through. Kind of like what NFL teams are trying to do to the Packers, shorten the game by being run heavy and limits how many time Rodgers touches the ball.

    • NCT

      See also Paul Johnson.

    • 81Dog

      exactly, Randall. I heard it explained this way once, as far as the wisdom of shortening the game by playing slow:

      if you play 18 holes of golf with Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods, you dont stand a chance. If you play 5 holes, you’re still at a disadvantage, but you could get lucky quick and hang on. The longer talent matches up with lesser talent, the more likely talent prevails. In a small sample, anomalies can happen.

      • Comin' Down The Track

        I’m pretty sure that I would be at the same disadvantage with those guys regardless of how long or short the round was, and damn the probabilities. ;)

  10. charlottedawg

    Boise state withstanding generating offense or more specifically moving the ball has not been the issue. Red zone offense and taking care of the football has been an issue. I think bobo has actually done a good job calling plays but execution has been inconsistent which is a responsibility of all the coaches bobo included.

  11. Bobo’s offensive plan is making the the Senator eat his words. I for one will not stand for it …FIRE BOBO, As to the is it the offense or is it the defense question ,I’m pretty sure Mr Gump nailed this one when he said”maybe its both”

    • Cojones

      Finally, someone who can write sarcasm as it deserves to be written. Good point on your last three words. The Senator has given us a true Richt/Bobo lollipop and some still don’t want to credit the obvious. Agenda hangover?

  12. Bryant Denny

    Though Malzahn’s reputation is for a fast-paced offense, the numbers just don’t bear it out.
    Way back when, he trumpeted a goal of 80 plays per game (ala Chad Morris). But even with Newton, it never materialized.
    This year, they’ve made no bones about it, things have slowed down.
    Which makes me ask these questions: 1) if the offense is so genius-based, why aren’t they hitting their ppg numbers? or 2) Can this genius-based offense can only be run at a high level if you have a Cam Newton or Tajh Boyd?

    • Macallanlover

      No question, point #2 is the answer, just like Herschel made Vince a success, and Vince Young made Mack look like a really good coach (actually both were fairly average, imo.) There are just too many variables to consider when evaluating an issue like this. Defense is huge, as is the talent composition of the players: are the key guys rbs, passers or receivers? Leach got a lot more plays with a gunslinging passing attack than a Bama will ever get with Richardson or Ingram as their playmakers.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Correct. The real reason for Leach getting more more plays is that when his QB would throw the ball and it was incomplete the clock would stop. If the pass was completed for a first down the clock would stop. Only when the pass was completed for less than first down yardage or a running play was called for less than a first down would the clock run.

        • W Cobb Dawg

          And it worked. Leach accomplished what he intended to do – increase the number of plays, score more, and win more.

          • Cosmic Dawg

            There is also an argument that having an offense that can move the football and score more = more plays. More plays are probably the result of a good offense, not the cause of it.

    • Cojones

      Their excuse for lack of plays has been the absence of O receivers since three games ago. Now that they are coming back for this game, their fan base is welcoming them like vanquishing heroes. Moseley hasn’t yet gelled with them to belie that thought and hope he still hasn’t this weekend. Either way, the D can take care of it, but it may take a halftime adjustment.

    • Biggus Rickus

      They 430 yards per game when Malzahn took over with Chris Todd at QB. Obviously, having a great QB improves the offense, however I think he has shown he can be pretty successful with just an adequate one. Nobody can succeed with the shit he’s trotting (no pun intended) out there this year.

  13. 81Dog

    Senator, besides the absence of AJ Green, we are also missing our top 2 runnning backs from last year, our top 2 fullbacks, we’ve had a bunch of injured WRs, and our OL is not exactly the deepest.

    Plus, if you want to be really precise, our running game up to last week consisted of a freshman, a converted LB, and an elf. Last week, in the absence of the Doobie Brothers, it was an even smaller elf, an undersized white kid, and a cornerback. Bobo may not be the second coming of Don Coryell, but I think it’s fair to give him some credit for the production the offense has amassed this year. You can also credit the D with keeping the other team’s O off the field pretty well, but it’s a team game, right?

    • Cojones

      Give this fan a kewpie doll! Your name goes into my starry ledger. Not only fair to give him credit, but anyone who can self-analyze their reasoning should hang their head right now. Bobo has done a great job with the inconsistent availability of players with longevity in the system who are familiar with the most plays and their practiced execution. Cancerous attitudes are so named because they are silent and hard to detect. When they were detected (mostly by player ‘s overt behavior) damage had been done and due to fan misunderstanding, the fault was assigned to Bobo. He now has more than proven he is our O flag carrier. I give him high marks for weathering the unfair criticism of his coaching ability. His offenses have consistently put points on the board sufficient to win games. That point is now proven by the D showing up to limit points against us. We saw how far the cancer had progressed in our bowl game when Ealey wouldn’t even block for his QB. The staff addressed that during the summer and through the S&C program. Operation successful. The patient continues to progress through rehab of each game played. Bobo’s cancer Bozos haven’t returned.

      Fire is returning to the Dawgs’s belly after a courageous QB has kept the flame alive. Others would have wilted in the face of hard times, but Murray didn’t. They will go after Auburn with a confident vengence, thanks to Bobo’s game planning and hurryup offense.

      GO DAWGS!!

    • PatinDC

      Elf. Tee Hee.

      • Santa Claus

        When is the college football season going to be over? I need Thomas and Harton back by Christmas Eve at minimum.

  14. Bryant Denny

    Since we’re having fun with numbers, take out the 92 plays AU ran at USC and you get only 62.12 ppg.

    • Cojones

      Now that’s what I like to see! A Bama fan not only cheering for us , but furnishing the ammo. Thanks, BD.

  15. Darrron Rovelll

    I have no issues with running a no huddle, but I still think that we need work on maximizing our personnel and position strengths. When Samuel got rolling running the ball late in the UF game, we had TE’s and FB’s in the game. Power football to set up the pass has been the core value of the UGA including Richt’s tenure.

    Moving to a no-huddle spread simply to run more plays does not play to personnel strengths of our team.

    It did make sense last week with a depleted running back core and it worked well. But I think to beat Auburn this week, we need to pound the ball to set up the pass – just continue to do it using the no-huddle.

    • NRBQ

      This.

      Samuel got his yards as a tailback in the I formation.

      If you watched this week, the new guys enjoyed much of the same.

      Bobo has essentially used IC as an H-back, two-three yards deep with no fullback. I want to see what he can do with 20 carries from the historical Georgia tailback position.

      • Hayduke

        True. I’d also like to see what he can do at true tailback. Throw in there a couple of pulling guards and tackles (why don’t we do this more?) and you’ve got yourself a scary run game. Heck, in this scenario I believe even the elves could have a 1000 yrd season.

        • You think we don’t pull guards and tackles often?

          WATCH THE FRIKKING GAMES!

          • Russ

            You’re right, of course. We do pull guards and tackles. But I’d like to see us do more of the old style toss sweeps. From my view outside the arena, it seems like running wide these days is more about stretching out the defense and looking for gaps. I felt like the old toss sweep was more about overloading our guys against their guys on one side of the line and overpowering the opposition, hence the toss to the short side of the field.

            I just think if we lined up in the I, pulled a guard and tackle, had Figgins leading IC, and Artie Lynch compacting the corner, we could make make some hay.

  16. charlottedawg

    @ cojones, (sry phone won’t just let me reply) i’m a happily married guy living in charlotte nc. and to your point yes it is the players that execute the plays but my point is since at the college level coaches evaluate, recruit, develop, and deploy the players ultimately the coaches are responsible for the success and failure of those players. obviously this is not the case on each individual play but i believe in the aggregate the success or failure of a program (especially a program with plentiful resources which i think uga qualifies) is the direct result of the abilities of its coaches. example: bama’s good because saban and his staff are good, georgia sucked in the 90′s because ray goff and his coaches sucked.

    • Cojones

      The reason I asked about your sex is because I posted the othr day that your name reminded me of performers in the San Francisco nightclub (early 70s) , The Purple Onion, whose leadin song was “Charlotte , the Harlot, the Cowboy’s Whore”. Didn’t want to offend your name if you were a woman. Hilarious verses included a cattle drive orgy with the entire crew, falling asleep with her legs apart and a rattlesnake crawling in. From then on she had a sex organ “that would rattle and bite!”.

      • Russ

        Heh heh! I used to tend bar at a place called “The Purple Onion” on Stewart Avenue in Atlanta back in the day. Not the kind of place you’d take a date, unless it was a “date” that you purchased outside before coming in. I had a Purple Onion t-shirt somewhere, but it’s long gone. Plus, I don’t want to have to explain it to my daughter. :)

        • Cojones

          Old farts with bar experience. The unsung psychiatrists of our era. I used to go to the Purple Peacock in Atlanta with a date because it was the cheapest entertainment in the South with the biggest names. Fro Bo Diddley to Mr. “Chances Are” himself. The only catch was that it was a black club and the whites had to sit in the balcony. 1961-62. Knotty Pines was the next favorite place. Mac Davis, an honorary frat brother, played for the frat some weekends with his 4-man band for $40 ($10 ea) and played at Knotty Pines behind chicken wire(aka, Rodehouse) on Weds and every other weekend. Them were truly “the good ole days”.

  17. Irishdawg

    It’s important to note Richt and Bobo’s coaching job this season. They’ve made aggressive changes and it’s starting to pay off. They made those changes with a lot of turnover in skill positions, and with a QB who can be brilliant in one game and miss wide open guys the next. I’m impressed with the fact that they have even attempted to be more innovative and bold on offense, and with our improved D, it’s bound to get better.

    • The Alpha Male

      It’s called being backed into a corner. Richt and Bobo had nothing to lose because their jobs were already in peril. Grantham has saved their backsides.

      • Cojones

        ….”has saved their backsides”…..By lowering the score of opponents such that Bobo’s scoring machine points now win the game. You have to be ingenuous not to see or admit that.

      • UGLYDAWG

        I think they have done a good job under adverse conditions, but I have previously qualified my opinion with the fact that Walsh saved the day by nullifying himself in Jax.
        But missing wide open recievers for scores isn’t coaching, it’s execution, just like kicking fg’s is execution (as Saban can testify)
        Just be glad it’s all working out. I sure am!

  18. The Alpha Male

    Lies, damn lies and then statistics….. Bobo may be running more plays, but the play book has essentially not changed in 5 years. That’s my criticism of Bobo. He still hasn’t figured out the art of consistently putting the ball in the hands of the best playmakers and giving multiple looks on offense. I will concede that he has used Boykin and Smith effectively at times, but it’s just sad that he had to be on the cusp of unemployment before he figured it out.

    • Siskey

      Alpha Male you may be correct about the plays but who or what team runs plays that are different form what the have had success running? Did Corch stop running the QB sweep or draw with Tebow? Would Bama be undefeated if they kept running Richardson? Was Richt an indiot for running Shotgun runs to Warrick Dunn and sprinting out with Charlie Ward?
      It can probably be argued that doing the same over and over in this case is not the definition of insanity but is instead the recipe for success.
      Go DAWGS!

    • Cojones

      Totally disagree. YOUR cusp of unemployment, not the majority of our fanbase. Does anyone else get the feeling of smaller Dawgs running and yapping at the heels of success? Not crediting this staff for our better circumstances is just stubborn and defensive of fuzzy thinking. It is baseless for you to criticize play calling from a play book conceived , written and executed by our coaching staff. Not changing it has resulted in wins or haven’t you noticed? It is arrogant for you to think you know more about our playbook or game plan than the coaches. Hope they keep on executing and winning with these “old” plays that opposing coaches know, but cannot stop.

  19. Siskey

    meant idiot

  20. W Cobb Dawg

    Something had to be done with our offense. A repeat of 2010 was unacceptable. The switch to no huddle has helped – and it’s been greatly aided by a much better D and an easy schedule. I agree with others that we still don’t utilize our strengths (TEs, power attack, AM mobility) as much as we should.

    • UGLYDAWG

      I wonder if Bama fans are saying the same thing about their offense after scoring a might 6 against LSU.
      I’d be willing to be that if Ga gets to ATL, they score more than 6 against LSU…and with a young offense.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        You are right about that UGLY (I hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first name). Bama and LSU basically lack a sophisticated passing attack both in scheme and personnel. Damn good defenses, though, and the defenses may be enough to carry them each through to the BCSNCG. I see a set-up (intentional or coincidental, I don’t know which) for a re-match in the BCSNCG. Look for Slime..er..Slive and his minions to do every thing in their power to make that happen, particularly through the now notoriously crooked SEC refs. (It seems that every person I talk to about football now knows that the SEC refs are crooked–where is the NCAA about that?) If Penn Wagers shows up for the SECCG look out. That is absolute proof that the fix is in.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Ug, I actually think we have some pretty good offensive weapons. Mitchell seems to be a terrific deep threat. Charles and our TEs are as good as any in the nation. WHEN we get to the secc next month we can definitely make it a good game. Whenever UGA brings our ‘A’ game we are very tough to beat.

  21. Cosmic Dawg

    Of all the mysteries of footbaw, the whole time of possession / run more plays thing has always mystified me. I get that if you make more first downs, you will naturally run more plays. I also get that if your D is stout, and your offense is working well, you will naturally win the time of possession battle.

    But I don’t really get “running more plays” as a goal…unless it’s just that you will naturally have a better chance of holding the ball at the expiration of time at the half and at the end of the 4th quarter. I don’t see how running 40 plays for an average of 4 yards is better than running 20 plays for 8 yards each. Okay, it keeps your defense off the field, but we’re talking about the difference in 10 snaps per game, is that really such a consideration that you want to make it a goal? And playing “hurry up offense” is not the same as “running more plays”, necessarily…

    Not trying to be dense, here – but I would think the goal would be to increase your yards per play, period.

    Anybody wants to explain it to me, I’m genuinely interested….

    • Biggus Rickus

      Time of possession is usually a useless stat. Running more plays gives you more opportunities, and running a hurry-up offense clearly allows you run more plays than you would have otherwise. It also makes life harder on defenses. There’s a reason Richt came in with a desire to run the no-huddle that the SEC quickly quashed. Thank God the enforcement of the rules isn’t running through Fulmer anymore.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        Yeah, I guess where I get lost is that running more plays necessarily gives you more opportunities. Again, if you run 40 plays at 5 yards per play average versus 80 plays at 2.5 yards per play average, then you will likely score more points at 40 – with fewer plays – because you’ll make more first downs and be able to sustain a few drives.

        The hurry up offense allows you to run each individual play more quickly, and so means more plays per game for both you and your opponent, but going 3 and out quickly does not strike me as better as going 3 and out slowly.

        I get that the no-huddle is great for keeping defenses off rhythm – but the reason it works should be because it allows you more yards per play because they are not ready, not more plays per game for its own sake.

        The best argument I can see for running more plays is keeping their D on the field, and running 6 plays in two minutes requires a lot more running around than running 3 plays in two minutes, so you wear their guys out – assuming yards per play is equal in both scenarios.

        • Cojones

          Why does running more plays mean less yards per play in your reasoning? And you are correct about wearing out their D, as Biggass Rick stated.

          • Cosmic Dawg

            It doesn’t, but neither does running more plays = more total offense. My point is that if you start a drive on your own 20 yard line, it doesn’t matter how many plays it takes to get to the other guy’s end zone, unless you want to design your offense around grinding it out against the other guy’s defense. That can be a great side effect of a solid ground game, but if 15 yard passes are your bread and butter, pass the ball. The whole idea of “we want to run more plays this year” makes no real sense to me. I think the idea ought to be “we want to score more touchdowns this year.” The two ideas are not exclusive, but neither are they related. Whatever the most efficient way of scoring more points may be is what you ought to shoot for. Running more plays is an arbitrary, random goal that may or may not increase your point total.

  22. Cosmic Dawg

    Senator – last word and I’ll shut up on this subject…

    I think the big question here is whether or not sustained drives = scoring more points = more plays run or if more plays run = more points.

    I think we are confusing the cause and the effect. Setting out to run more plays does not equal success. Running an efficient, successful offense creates more first downs and so more plays as a side effect. So I believe your stats are positively correlated, but believe it’s the ability to make first downs that gives you the increase in the plays per game, not the other way around.

    Okay. How’s that for beating something into the ground?