Cap One Bowl, view from the other side

Here’s how the bowl game sets up in the eyes of an Omaha World-Herald writer:

The game within the game as we run headlong into bowl week is this: Pelini’s complex, match-read defense — excellent one game, befuddling the next — against Georgia coach Mark Richt’s complex, pro-style offense. Richt — every bit the offensive coordinator at Florida State that Pelini was the defensive coordinator at LSU — likes young coaches on his side of the ball as much as Pelini does.

Richt has former Bulldog quarterback Mike Bobo calling the plays. Bobo, 38, is essentially a wunderkind, a full-time assistant by age 27, a Georgia lifer, perhaps Richt’s successor. The Bulldogs’ offensive line coach is 37 and was a four-year starter at Alabama. Running backs coach Bryan McClendon — who coached up true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall this year — just turned 29.

You know how Pelini rolls. There might not be a younger defensive staff in the country. But they’re all on same page — Bo’s page. That’s why, after the 70-31 debacle against Wisconsin, they were all equally stunned by the meltdown.

There are no easy answers for Bo in this game.

Georgia is comfortable spreading out and running into an emptied-out defensive box. It’s comfortable throwing downfield to lanky wide receivers. It’s comfortable testing safeties up the seam. It’s comfortable getting the ball in space to Gurley and Marshall, two explosive athletes who combined for more than 2,000 total yards, and letting them work. It’s comfortable working corners in the slot.

All the things an offense could do to exploit the weaknesses of NU’s defense, the Bulldogs can, except one — Murray doesn’t run the zone read. Murray’s second nationally in passing efficiency, though. That makes up for it.

I admit that’s the first time I’ve seen “Bobo” and “wunderkind” used in the same sentence.

And here’s your stat matchup for the day:

>> 21: Fumbles lost for Nebraska. Tied for last in the nation with Memphis. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck cited a “high-risk offense” for some of the turnovers, and frankly I agree — NU needs more takeaways. But ball security is a learned skill. The Huskers — especially Martinez — need to learn it better.

>> 20: Forced fumbles by Georgia. That’s No. 3 in the country. The Bulldogs recovered 16 of them. That’s No. 2 nationally. Linebacker Jarvis Jones, just another guy, has seven forced fumbles by himself. That’s No. 1 among defensive players. Makes you feel a lot better, right?

You give me a +2 in turnover margin for Georgia in that game and I’m liking the Dawgs’ chances a lot.

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28 Comments

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28 responses to “Cap One Bowl, view from the other side

  1. Baitstand

    The three most disturbing words in this article are “perhaps Richt’s successor.”

  2. Lrgk9

    At long last, Bobo, 38, is now seasoned enough to have earned the job in the first place.

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    If we lose to a team that just gave up 70, oy.

  4. Cojones

    Final vindication of Bobo’s defense on blogs. Outside objective eyes can see the product clearly whereas Monday Morning QBs stir the bottom mud too often. Just go to national comparative football stats, and block the names of O coordinators. I dare the bunch of you to try and be objective, double blind the names and just look at records , year in and year out. Help yourself to the O coor you would want then unblind your review.

    I don’t just defend him, I admire the guy. You might enjoy your game more by cheering with him. Hadn’t even thought about the heir apparent, but admit there was a block toward thinking in that direction. Not a bad idea!

    • Baitstand

      If stats actually won big games, we would be the happiest Monday morning quarterbacks in the country.

      • Cojones

        Things may get better for you MM QBers next year if Kublanow, Tunsil and Theus form a Trifecta on that line. Subbing will be a cinch. Then we will be in the Bog Boy O lines group. These are quick and agile players, not Beef O’Brady’ss. If Bobo has that crowd ploughing the furrows there will be a lot of Dawg prints up and down a few stadiums. Bobo has quietly built a machine to compete offensively anywhere. The trick has been to get that to happen throughout the O at the same time. He is within a Dawghair of accomplishing that. Just take a look at what has jelled at the various segments of the O.

        Bobo is building a three-headed gorilla to threaten our neighbors with. Well…….OK.

        What I like best is the way we fans have managed to divert attention away from all the good things that Bobo has quietly accomplished by hammering at some fantasy of him as an “average” coach while he has been putting this together. It’s great when a well-oiled plan comes together! Thanks you guys and gals, whichever you prefer. :)

        • Baitstand

          What? I’m really having a hard time understanding you. Maybe that’s why I can’t understand Bobo’s game plans and play calling, either.

      • Patrick

        Alabama is 1st in country with a 2.46 yards/rush against.

        UGA is 62nd in the country with a 4.10 yards/rush against.

        Stats do win big games.

        If you’re looking to place blame, you’re looking at the wrong side of the ball.

        • Baitstand

          Sure, we can talk about defense, too. Our inability to stop the run combined with our inability to sustain clock-eating offensive drives – not score points or run up offensive stats – has been our undoing. Like every other Georgia fan, I’ve been encouraged by our improvement this year, but we’re still not where we need to be. And I find it disconcerting that Grantham thinks our run defense is doing well. The Cap One Bowl will be a good test in determining if we’ve actually turned the corner. i hope we have. Merry Christmas to all.

    • Finally, someone who realizes how blessed we are to have a off cord like Bobo. I have never understood all these people who criticize Bobo, although we field one of the most potent and balanced attacks anywhere in the nation. I agree with you Cojones, and thanks for having the gumption to go against what these other misguided folks are saying.

  5. rugbydawg79

    +1 Cojones—by the way if CMB takes over in 8 to ten years it will mean things have gone Quite smoothly–I said here over a year ago CMB a Coaches son HS Star -UGA Star-Outstanding Coach–Loves UGA—I got his back. Merry Christmas–Go Dawgs

  6. Cojones

    Of course, you saw the “just another guy” reference to the Neb QB relegating Jarvis to “just another player”. May be some surprises for somebody’s ass when Neb is taking a snap behind their 20, a blur from the left snatches that ball from your surprised hands and makes little marks up your chest on the way to a TD. But don’t worry; stay down long enough and a “just another” D player will return and help you to your feet. He is being thankful to you. Now you will have to excuse him while he heads for the sideline and that big ole hug waiting for his big ole dreadlocks ass.

  7. Rebar

    Bobo should have earned any fans admiration by now; if not, he never will; there are none so blind as those that will not see.

    • WF dawg

      That’s why I wonder about his chances to succeed Richt as head coach. I’m having trouble remembering a more polarizing figure in UGA football than Bobo.

  8. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Someone else posted this the other day but it is still true: “90% of success is showing up.”–Woody Allen. All you have to see is the score in the Hawaii Bowl where 6-6 SMU trounced 9-3 Fresno State to wake you up about the Capital One Bowl. Will the Dawgs show up? That is the question.