Hutson Mason and the year of the running back

I’ve touched on it before and it’s been noted elsewhere that with the departure of so many talented quarterbacks from the SEC, the conference is likely to see many teams rely more on their running games.  But it’s worth keeping in mind that even during last season’s Year of the Quarterback, it’s not exactly as if the SEC was a pass-happy league.

SEC teams ran the ball on 57.3 percent of their plays from scrimmage last season. That marked the highest percentage from any of college football’s “Power 5” conferences, edging the Big Ten’s 56.8 percent.

Pac-12 teams ran least, keeping it on the ground only 51.9 percent of the time. SEC champion Auburn ran the ball 71.9 percent of the time. SEC teams ran the ball more than 55 percent of the time in each of the past six seasons.

So, it may be the contrarian in me, but I have this feeling that if we’re looking at a heavier dose of the run from some offenses, those that can still throw the ball with some effectiveness are going to have an advantage taking what defenses will be geared to try to stop.

And that leads me to something I heard Mark Richt say on Sports Center about an hour ago (here’s to the rewards of home recuperation).  Talking about Mason’s chances this year, Richt made a point about it not being simply that his quarterback had been patient and liked being at Georgia.  He stressed that Mason’s a fifth-year senior who’s benefitted from being in the same program, with the same position coach, the same offensive coordinator and the same offensive system the entire time.  There’s something to that, and outside of South Carolina’s Thompson, I’m not sure there’s another starting quarterback in the conference this season who could make the same claim.  Throw in Mason’s surrounding cast, and you may really have something other conference offenses will have a hard time matching.

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44 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

44 responses to “Hutson Mason and the year of the running back

  1. Chesterhighwater

    Bobo has said Mason is more comfortable in a spread look and with the depth at WR we should have 3 – 4 WRs on the field majority of the time. I’m fine with at but #3 is a beast and does his best work lined up behind the QB. The pistol formation provides the best of both worlds. Here’s to seeing a Bobo HUNH offense centered around the pistol.

  2. Cojones

    You bet! And those receivers we have will spice our Las Vegas bets when it comes to Bobo’s O.

  3. charlottedawg

    I’m not sure continuity is that big of a deal. The same could’ve been said for Cox and it’s not like qbs in their first year in a system haven’t had success, hell that’s what seems to be the secret sauce for auburn.

    I think mason can have a solid year but for that to happen A) he’s going to have to develop better chemistry with his receivers than we saw last year and B)the o line needs to be MUCH more consistent.

    There is going to be a drop off at quarterback. There’s a reason Murray was a 4 year starter, look at the stats. You don’t just replace that with a snap of the fingers, especially not with the guy who couldn’t take the starting job away from him. Again not to suggest mason can’t do well but he’s not as good as Murray, the guy who starts at qb for Richt and bobo is the starter for one reason, he’s the best guy on the roster.

    • If we go in expecting 3,500 yards and 30+ TDs, we are going to be disappointed. Mason is going to have to win a game somewhere along the line with his arm (I think it’s Arkansas), but your point is well taken that we can’t expect to plug in Mason and expect AM type of numbers.

    • It’s not that Georgia needs Mason to be as good as Murray. It’s that he needs to be better than most of his SEC peers. And that’s doable.

      Cox is proof of the point that there’s a difference from having the benefits of continuity and making something from those benefits.

      • It’s that (Mason) needs to be better than most of his SEC peers. And that’s doable.

        VERY.

        It’s not that Georgia needs Mason to be as good as Murray.

        Agree.

        But I think his overall effect on our team can be as good as Murray, if not better. I don’t care how many yards he throws for. His job is to win, to manage and direct the offense, and that involves so much more than throwing.

        He seems to have a little moxie about him. Mixed with a little experience, that’s a great thing to have on the field.
        ~~~

    • Cox had some very big games. His problem was a few too many interceptions. He actually makes the case for the point about continuity–we stole him from Duke, if I recall. He wasn’t any kind of elite recruit. We probably beat South Carolina and @Arkansas due to the games he had. He was probably never going to be a great quarterback, but five years in one system made him a pretty good one.

      • Dog in Fla

        “five years in one system made him a pretty good one.”

        Not only that, he may be the only QB with an adjective and a noun in the GTP Lexicon –

        Coxian (adj.)
        Ginger Ninja (n.)

      • Sanford222view

        I am pretty sure Cox was an Elite 11 QB coming out of HS. He put up big numbers in Charlotte with MoMass during high school.

        • He put up big numbers, but he wasn’t very heavily recruited. In this he was like Hutson Mason, the difference being that Mason really blew up during his senior year. Cox was good along, I think, but never thought to be an SEC-level franchise player.

      • Cox had some very big games … We probably beat South Carolina and @Arkansas due to the games he had.

        He also saved the Colorado game in Athens, when Stafford couldn’t get it done, IIRC.
        ~~~

        • WF Dawg

          That’s right. Those two games against Colorado were some of the worst UGA football a person could have to watch. Other than the AJ Green TD catch in Boulder, I’d like to forget they ever happened.

      • Saxon, if I remember correctly, Cox was an Elite 11 QB. He broke all of Chris Leak’s North Carolina passing records.

    • FarmerDawg

      Cox had a bum shoulder, young supporting cast around him and no stud running back. His problems did not start out of his own making, though as he began to force the issue all these things became evident as the season progressed. If Mason remains healthy and does not have mental lapses the offense around him should make up for any deficiencies he has.

    • RobG

      “Again not to suggest mason can’t do well but he’s not as good as Murray,”

      not many people are

  4. Beakerdawg

    A lot of “ifs” here but if 2nd-half-vs-Tech Mason is our QB in 2014, our 3rd Down D improves by .25 and our secondary isn’t doing jumping jacks before every play, then I will look forward to seeing everyone in Atlanta on Saturday, December 6th. Sorry I just can’t help but get excited for 2014 (as I haven’t felt this much anticipation since the LSU game in 2004). It scares me to death how confident I feel about the 2014 Dawgs and Pruitt’s D. Maybe I’ve just walked by the Bulldog Cafe to many times on my way to work.

    Fun 2004 facts –
    Nick Saban on his LSU ass-whoopin':
    LSU beat the Bulldogs twice on their way to No. 1, including a 34-13 rout in last year’s SEC championship game. Georgia avenged the worst loss of the Richt era with a replay of that December game, only it was the red and black dominating this one….
    By the end, LSU (3-2, 1-2) had given up its most points since a 56-13 loss to Florida in 1996….
    “This was a curveball to me,” Tigers coach Nick Saban said. “When things like this happen, you must dig deep down inside.”…
    “I didn’t see it coming,” said LSU cornerback Corey Webster, who also gave up a TD pass. “We made those plays last year.”…

    • WF Dawg

      The same offensive formula beat Saban both of those times. He loves to play man with his corners, and we killed him with perfectly thrown go routes (Gibson, Brown, S. Bailey x2).

      • Yep and then we ran it down their throats when he and Muschump had no answer on the outside. I remember Thomas Brown running over a Tiger defender at the goal line to complete our scoring. I had an LSU friend at the game with me, and he looked at me and said he had had enough. I graciously left early with him … didn’t help that he drove :)

  5. Macallanlover

    I agree Senator, most teams will still throw the ball a similar amount because of the defensive sets they will face. The name of the game is still, “hit’em where they ain’t”, the passes may be more swing plays to the running backs but we aren’t going to see runs 65% of the time, even with our talent at RB.

    The running plays at 51-57% may surprise some as being high but that is dramatically lower in the SEC than pre-Spurrier beginning in 1990 (which coincides with the birth of FU football.) The SEC and Big ?? have moved further than other conferences. My guess is Vince had to be above 80-85% in his era and Meechiugan and Ohio above that.

  6. Dog in Fla

    “outside of South Carolina’s Thompson, I’m not sure there’s another starting quarterback in the conference this season who could make the same claim.”

    I’ll take Richt and Bobo over Spurrier and G.A. Mangus any day

  7. Goat Balls

    Vince won the national championship with a great running game and an even better defense. Georgia is lucky to have CMR, he’s a good coach and an even better man, but he’s always been offensive minded. He comes from the whole state of Florida system of exciting throw another touchdown mentality. Trying to out score your opponent is exciting to a lot of people, but eventually you will run into a great defense and it won’t work anymore. 10-2 ho hum.

    Here’s to Coach Pruitt being what we hope he is. And I didn’t know those swamp people over at Auburn were able to run so much. Was their O line that good?

  8. SPace

    We have pretty much averaged @4000 yards passing, and @2350 rushing for a few years now.

    It’s not a championship formula for winning the SEC.

    Look at last 3 SEC Champs:
    Alabama in 2012 was almost deadeven balance @3000 passing, 3000 rushing.
    Alabama in 2011, 2800 passing, 2800 rushing.
    Auburn in 2013 was 4600 rushing and 2400 passing

    We need to lower the passing down to about 3000 yards, and increase the rushing up to 3000 yards, or we won’t win the SEC.

    Tow in the SEC, passing yards need to come down to

    • Tdawg89

      How much of that is the fact that when you’re winning towards the end of the game, you have the ability to run instead of pass?

      • SPace

        We finish in the top 3 in the conference in passing in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, 7th in the 1st qrtr, but finish 1st in passing yards in the 4th quarter.

        South Carolina, Auburn and Alabama, were all in the bottom 5 in the conference in passing yards in the 4th quarter.

        Having a lead going into the 4th would be nice, as long as Richt took advantage by running the ball.

        The SEC Champs do not pass the ball much ion the 4th quarter.

      • SPace

        We just don’t run the ball much, any quarter.

        Ranking in SEC in rush yards by quarter:
        1st quarter: 8 (Auburn No 1)
        2nd Quarter: 13 (Auburn No 1)
        3rd Quarter: 8th (Auburn No 1)
        4th quarter: 11th (Auburn No 1)

        Been like that since 2010.

  9. SPace

    a) Yards per carry need to finish in the top 2 in the conference, vs ranked teams, to win the SEC.

    Got close in 2012, and won 12 games.

    b) Look at runs per game:
    Last 4 SEC Big Teams:
    Aub ran it 48-58x a game vs ranked teams in 2010 & 2013.
    Alabama ran it 35- 39x a game vs ranked teams in 2011 & 2012.

  10. SPace

    I don’t know how I feel about Richt’s argument for Mason: the familiarity argument.

    DJ in 2005 seems to be proof.

    But, look closer.

    Wasn’t Joe Terishinki and Joe Cox familiar with the system and had a bunch of year’s in it before they both took over?

    Weren’t both Joe’s primarily passing Qb’s, not the dual-threat DJ was?

    Isn’t Hutson Mason more like a passing Qb, and if so, why should we expect Hutson to be much better than the 2 Joe’s?

    • Let me try to answer your questions:
      1) Our offensive mix of yardage has absolutely nothing to do with our record – we can run and throw when we need to. These comments sound like a lot of “I blame Bobo.” He’s one of the true bright offensive minds in the game today.
      2) The problem for the last 8 years has been primarily on the defensive side of the ball – with the exception of a 5 game run in 2007 and most of 2011, our defense has underperformed. I include the 2012 defense with all of those future NFL players as a group that underperformed. Yes, I blame Martinez and Grantham.
      3) Neither Cox nor Tereshinski had the talent of Mason – Mason has proved himself as a starter at the end of the season. He’s not Shockley as a dual threat player, but he throws a better short and intermediate ball than Shockley did at the same time.

      The bottom line is whether or not the defense improves will be the indicator whether we have a good year or not.

      • SPace

        Defense? Look at Auburn, they gave up 36 pts per game vs ranked teams in 2013. Definately not defense.

        And, Auburn ran for 4500 yards at 6.3 ypc and 52 runs per game.

        It’s offensive rushing, not defense.

        • I’m saying our problem the last few years has not been on offense. It’s defense. Would it be valuable to rush for a few more yards? Yes especially in the 4th quarter of the Alabama game in short yardage. Is that’s what is holding this team back from a championship? No.

          • SPace

            The numbers show if you can run the ball often enough and for enough yards per carry, you can win the SEC without a good defense like Auburn did.

            There is no denying the only way to win the SEC in the last 9 years is running the ball extremely well, particularly vs ranked teams.

            How do you explain Auburn in 2013 with your defense theory, 36 pts per game vs ranked teams? Seriously? You must be joking.

            • SPace

              I disagree about Joe Cox and Joe Tereshinski.

              Richt’s argument uin the article here isn’t that Hutson’s more talented than Cox or Tereshinski, it’s that he’s familiar with the system, and been in it a long time.

              Again, so was Joe T & Joe C, and both did poorly.

              So I don’t see Richt’s point here that it points to success when 2 out of 3 times (DJ was a dual-threat Qb, Mason is not), it has ended up a dismal failure.

              • Mayor

                I disagree that Joe Cox did poorly. His main problem was no D. He had to score lots of points to win games and that forced him to throw too much resulting in INTs.

                • SPace

                  Joe Cox finished 7th or 8th in the SEC in yards, accuracy, passer rating, and 13th in interceptions. If that’s not poor, I don’t know what poor is.

                  Ultimately, he went 8-5, his 61% win % as pretty low for one of our Qb’s under Mark Richt.

                • SPace

                  The problem with Joe Cox going 8-5 was same ole thing: lack of rushing productivity and offensive turnovers.

                  We were 9th in rush attempts in 2009, and finished 7th in rush yards.

                  And Joe turned the ball over a lot, we finished LAST IN TO Margin in 2009 in the conference.

          • SPace

            Offensive mix doesn’t matter? Ok,. list here all the SEC teams that won the conference with a 4000 pass, 2400 rush mix in the last 10 years?

            I couldn’t find one.

            • SPace

              Auburn was No 1 in the SEC in 4th quarter rush yards, and on ypc average on 3rd down and short.

              We were 11th in 4th qrtr rush yards, and last on 3rd and short rushing ypc

              It matters.

  11. SemperFiDawg

    Cut back on your Post Op narcotics. Their effects are easily discerned by your optimism. Not something you’re noted for.

  12. SemperFiDawg

    BTW. Hope your recovery is going well