Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Just throw the damned ball.

Mike Bobo wants an improved passing attack for the South Carolina game.

Hutson Mason invites the Gamecocks to load the box to force him to throw.

I’m detecting a theme emerging.

I think too much is being made about Mason’s anemic passing stats against Clemson.  As Chris Conley puts it, “Unfortunately when you have talented backs like we do, sometimes when you run the ball, you have success…”  Georgia’s offense in the second half wasn’t broke, so why fix it?

Mason has enough game to be a contributing factor in Columbia, if that’s what’s needed.  Texas A&M’s shredded the South Carolina defense for 511 passing yards without a single pass going for more than 33 yards.  Hill played a great game, but his passer rating was a fairly modest 161.37, because his yards per attempt were just 8.5.  (Just a reminder – Aaron Murray’s passer rating against SC last season was 244.15.)

The point is that the Gamecocks were vulnerable to a passing attack that wasn’t based on bombing them deep, but rather on finding ways to slice and dice them with precise routes and accurate throws.  (Take a look at Bruce Feldman’s analysis of one of those ways TAMU went after the Carolina defense successfully.)

There’s no reason to think Mason can’t hold up his end of the deal with that kind of approach to moving the ball.  And Georgia’s got plenty of talent on the receiving end of things.  The key to winning in Columbia is going to be whether the offensive line can build on its second half against Clemson.

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“I believe one defense can stop everything; I believe we could play an entire football game in our base defense.”

This week’s big game is Michigan State-Oregon, so make sure you don’t miss Chris Brown’s “one defense to rule them all; one defense to bind them” analysis of makes Dantonio and Narduzzi so good at what they do.

This is a lesson for every defensive coordinator:

What’s more, they know that great D isn’t the function of a magical scheme; it’s about mastering fundamentals and playing with discipline and effort. The scheme is there merely to channel the players’ energy and help them play fast and without hesitation.

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Mike Bobo’s crayon box has many colors in it.

Most of us probably think, as the announcing crew certainly did, that Georgia’s fourth quarter running dominance was largely due to conditioning.  Hutson Mason hinted that something else was at work.

Mason didn’t want to get too specific about the adjustments that the coaches made as the game got deep into the third quarter, but he said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and line coach Will Friend noticed something Clemson was doing to thwart the Bulldogs’ power game and they adjusted Georgia’s blocking schemes to take advantage of it.

“Those plays were toss sweeps, but systematically they weren’t schemed up like we planned,” Mason said after Georgia’s 45-21 win Saturday night. “Coach Bobo and Coach Friend did a phenomenal job over there of seeing it and they said, ‘hey, this is what we’re going to do: We’re going to change (the blocking scheme) and declare here.’ And we gashed them. For those guys to see that over on the sideline and change that up real quick is something people don’t see and they don’t get enough credit for it.”

Georgia had scoring runs of 18 (Gurley), 47 (Nick Chubb) and 51 yards (Gurley) on toss sweeps to the right side in the fourth quarter. In each case, the Bulldogs were pulling center David Andrews into the running lane and getting fullback Taylor Maxey downfield to block the Tigers’ safety.

“We kind of figured out how they were playing it a little different and we said ‘let’s declare here compared to where we were doing, let’s put another guy on the safety and get some better angles,’” Mason said.

As I posted earlier, I don’t want to read too much into this year’s offensive philosophy based on one game.  But it’s worth noting that Georgia’s coordinators did a better job with their adjustments than their Clemson counterparts did.  When you consider how much more Chad Morris makes than Mike Bobo, that’s kind of embarrassing.

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Is Mike Bobo reaching for a new box of crayons?

If there are still questions surrounding Hutson Mason – and there seem to be (“Georgia certainly holds promise, but quarterback Hutson Mason still needs to show he can carry an offense…”) – you’d have to think that’s a bit unfair in that he’s missing a couple of his most potent weapons in Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley.  Richt is still a little closed-mouth about their health, but Mark Schlabach sheds a little light on their current status:

Mitchell, a junior who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, is still recovering from preseason surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. He watched the Clemson game from the sideline and wasn’t using crutches or wearing a brace. Mitchell, who is probably UGA’s most explosive receiver, isn’t expected back for the South Carolina game, but might be ready to play against Tennessee on Sept. 27. Scott-Wesley, who had 16 catches for 311 yards with two touchdowns last season, might be ready to return from a high ankle sprain in time to play the Gamecocks.

One is better than none, of course, but that’s still a little disappointing, even if you’re somebody like me that thought it was going to be a slow return for the two.

That begs the question of whether the injuries to them are a controlling factor in the way Bobo is directing the offense, or if there’s something bigger going on.

A healthy Todd Gurley and a talented trio of running backs behind him showed Saturday against Clemson that pounding the ball with a potent ground game could give the Bulldogs’ a different identity on offense this season.

“We’ll see,” center David Andrews said. “I like it and I think the running backs like it. We’ve got enough of them where we can do it and keep them fresh.”

… Georgia still scored 45 against Clemson with quarterback Mason going 18 of 26 for 131 yards.

Mason didn’t need to put up big numbers through the air this time with the way the running backs were going and the room the offensive line provided.

That last sentence is the key.  Mason threw for a lot more yardage in his earlier starts, but passing yards weren’t needed to put down the Tigers.  So I don’t know that Saturday night signals a big philosophical change in Georgia’s offense as much as it shows Bobo’s maturity in fashioning a successful game plan against a specific opponent.  Let’s wait and see what he has up his sleeve for South Carolina.

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How do you solve a problem like the hurry up no huddle?

Ellis Johnson has four rules to live by.  I’ll be thinking about this one today in particular, watching Pruitt’s defense:

3. Teach defensive players to make calls on the fly.

Hurry-up teams snap the ball so fast that it’s impossible at times for a defensive coordinator to get the call from the sideline to the field and the players lined up before the snap. In response, a defensive coordinator has to simplify his calls and teach his players to make them on the field and get into position before the snap.

“Everything is a read; nothing is a set play,” Auburn linebacker Kris Frost said. “You get the play call, and you look at the offense, and you adjust to how the offense is lined up and adjust to the play. … Anything can change.”

That was not exactly what we saw last year.

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“They’re going to be who they are, we’re going to be who we are.”

Chad Morris is burning the candle at both ends trying to figure out what he’s going to see in Athens in five days.

One thing Clemson is expecting is lots of press coverage.

“With a new quarterback (Stoudt), we’re expecting them to bring pressure and press us on the outside,” Morris said. “It’s not going to be anything that is going to be revolutionary, that we haven’t seen before.”

“The way we look at it is, if they press us, then they don’t think we can get off of it,” Clemson receiver Charone Peake said. “We have to go out there and prove it to them.”

If that’s the case, there’s really no point in reviewing last year’s Georgia defensive tape.  That was an alien concept.

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Speed vs. power

Just like the team, I’m thinking that Georgia’s emphasis on slimming down the defense will pay dividends this season in terms of being better able to play with high tempo spread attacks, but there is a price to pay for that, as Brandon Kublanow notes.

“They’re a lot quicker than they were in the spring, not as powerful but more speed and quick, but they’ve definitely been a lot better,” Kublanow said. “It’s almost like a new D-line.”  [Emphasis added.]

You go to war against the offenses you have, I know, and it’s a good thing that Georgia will face very few power attacks this season (at least if we take Boom’s word about Roper’s offense).  But when that day comes – I’m thinking Arkansas – I hope Pruitt’s got enough scheme to work around having less power.

Then, again, remembering how exhausted Jenkins and Geathers got being overworked, maybe it’ll be enough in the fourth quarter that they keep rotating fresh bodies in on the line.

 

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