Strategy makes me bitchy.

Again, if you’re looking for a preview for the Colorado game, look elsewhere around the Dawgosphere for plenty of good examples.  Besides, is the bottom line for tomorrow any different that what is was last Saturday – play up-to-your-potential, focused ball for sixty minutes, Dawgs, and you’ll win?

Nah.  Instead I think I’ll spend the rest of this post riffing off Jody’s latest observation about the playcalling:

Play action…Figured I’d follow back up on that.  We threw a LOT more from the shotgun this week.  We called a passing play from shotgun 29 times Saturday, including penalty plays that were lost, sacks, scrambles, etc. and according to my charting, just one used play action.  Under center play calls was a different story.  Of the 10 pass plays called under center, all utilized play action. [Emphasis added.] 3 ended in scrambles and Murray was 4 of 7 on the plays he actually got a pass off.  So in 2 weeks we’ve had 34 pass plays called under center and 31 of them were play action.  I’ve felt for years that it seemed like we never did straight drops but I didn’t expect it to be this stark.

This is the kind of stuff that belongs in Fabris Country, i.e., a stubborn insistence bordering on insanity for doing things in a certain way for reasons which have little to do with success.  And it’s starting to drive me up the wall in the same manner that directional kicking did last year.

Consider that in the opinion of the always brilliant Chris Brown, college offenses have entered

… the age of the tinkerer, where subtle tweaks instead of wholesale changes to offensive or defensive schemes, will be what decide games. The hero coaches will be more Thomas Edison than Albert Einstein, putting spare parts from football’s extensive history to new use…

Tinkering in Athens these days seems to be little more than waiting to see if A.J. Green’s return provides an offensive spark.  (Part of me is going to be pissed off if we suddenly see a fully functional offense tomorrow night.)

Some of the problem may be due to an inability to identify what the coaches have to work with.

“I think Aaron has surpassed our expectations of playing under the pressure, of being a confident young man, (handling) every situation with poise,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “And his ability to make plays probably surprised us more than we thought he’d do.”

Gee, that makes you wonder if Bobo was even watching the Louisiana game while he was standing on the sideline.

But some of it seems to be a genuine inability to engage in the kind of tinkering Chris alludes to.  Consider the formation du jourthe pistol.

… Invented in Nevada, the short shotgun setup – hence pistol – that places the quarterback about 4 yards behind center and a running back 3 yards behind the QB is now being used in varying amounts at Alabama, Arkansas, Duke, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and UCLA, just to name a few.

Now the point here isn’t that the pistol is some magic formula to revive a moribund Georgia offense.  As the article notes, the formation hasn’t been an unbridled success everywhere it’s been deployed.  But it’s had enough success that a variety of schools running a variety of offenses have taken steps to incorporate it into their gameplanning.  Enough so that HeismanPundit has gotten all excited about it:

… The Wildcat is soooo 2008.   The Pistol is the new craze in college football… The benefits are clear:  It provides a shot gun look while still allowing for downhill running without telegraphing the direction of the run, as in a normal shotgun with an offset back.  Unlike the Wildcat, the quarterback gets his hands on the ball first, allowing for more passing options.  And preparing for the Pistol is difficult–not many teams run it, so most defensive players haven’t absorbed its concepts yet.

“The Wildcat is so 2008” observation is a bit of an exaggeration in that it’s still a successful formation which has a different purpose – getting an extra blocker on the field for the runner taking the direct snap – than does the pistol, which is more about deception.  But it’s a mature strategy (fifth year in the SEC) that we’re finally seeing Bobo add to the arsenal.  By that timeline, we can probably expect to see Murray line up in the pistol sometime during 2013.  And run play action out of it.

One last thing.  Watch the Florida-Alabama game, not just because of its importance, but also to see how successful the 5-2 defensive alignment the Gators will deploy is at slowing down Alabama’s power offense.  I’m obviously not putting Georgia’s offense in the same class as Alabama’s, but the underlying philosophies are similar.  Except ‘Bama tinkers more…


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

29 responses to “Strategy makes me bitchy.

  1. UFTimmy

    Wait, was that a compliment towards our DC?

    I guess that depends on how well it works Saturday.


  2. Russell

    It’s sad to see how we’re always behind the eight ball…about virtually every aspect of the game. I’m hoping against hope that someone figures this thing out. I’m not even embarrassed anymore. Just sad to see it come to this.
    I remember predicting after the 2005 SECC that it was just a matter of time before Mark Richt would lead us to a MNC…does anyone believe that can still happen? I guess anything is possible.


  3. Spence

    Look, if all college football playcalling trends are cicular then bobo is just WAY ahead of the next big thing… Play action!


  4. Richt-Flair

    Some strategery befuddlements from my perspective

    1) If Cartlon Thomas gets one more carry up the middle, then Bobo needs to be benched. It nearly got him killed in his first collegiate game, and it’s not his style of running. Why he’s not being utilized on toss sweeps, halfback screens, ANYTHING on the outside is sheer insanity.
    2) Wooten … this guy could be a Damien Gary type player for us. Remember the Hobnail boot drive? It started with Gary coming out of the backfield for a short pass. So many different ways we could get him the ball in space, but the only play Bobo seems to want to call is a reverse.
    3) Rollouts. Why aren’t we doing this more, with a mobile QB? If our receivers and TE aren’t doing a good job of getting open, rollouts create space and create those opportunities … and if they don’t, Murray’s shown a penchant for getting a first down with his legs.
    4) As you’ve stated, the play-action from under center ain’t working. You wonder how much SEC defenses are able to tee off on us because of our predictability. Feels very much similar to our defense last year. The philosophy seems to be too much on forcing the players to learn the system, rather than developing the offense to fit the players. I’m thinking McCalister at Ole Miss, Lattimore this year at USC, what we did with Verron Haynes in 2001 … it can be done. But this insistence that our players fit our archaic, predictable system is insane.


    • Scorpio Jones, III

      what we did with Verron Haynes in 2001 … it can be done.

      Was this before Bobo came back from Jax State?

      Sorry, man, could not resist.


    • Puffdawg

      Wow. Totally missed your post before I posted below. Sounds like we agree on 1, 3, and 4. Love your point about Wooten. He is too dynamic not to see the ball more often.


    • Will (the other one)

      Point #3 is doubly baffling in light of our OLine’s decreasing skill at pass-blocking against SEC defenses.


  5. Kevin

    (Part of me is going to be pissed off if we suddenly see a fully functional offense tomorrow night.)



  6. Scorpio Jones, III

    As I mentioned earlier, I think if we all work on curing snakebite, we will all be much happier with everything.

    Everything red I own is now in the washing machine, I even added Clorox.

    And I am off to the hat store.


  7. Puffdawg

    I don’t have stats to back this up, but it seems to me Murray seems most comfortable out on the edge on the move. This is a simplistic solution, but why not roll him out and just have a two or three tier route pattern and if none are open let him tuck it. He just seems uncomfortable with the timing on straight (PA) drops to me.

    Also, in regards to playcalling, I still don’t understand why we run Carlton Thomas between the tackles 8 times in a game. That just seems like a wasted play. The guy is talented, but he isn’t the Goal Line Stalker. Get him out on the edge.

    Back to Murray. I am probably one of the most conservative football fans out there, meaning I’m prefectly content with three yards and a cloud of dust (as long as we’re actually picking up THREE YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST). That said, I would actually be thrilled to see us go out and let murray throw it 40 times tomorrow. I really believe he is going to be special if he isn’t already. Not to mention a little success passing early would get the other team out of the same gameplan we’ve played against the first 4 games: stacking the box. Which might open up the running game.


    • Not to mention a little success passing early would get the other team out of the same gameplan we’ve played against the first 4 games: stacking the box. Which might open up the running game.

      That’s crazy talk. We all know you can’t use the pass to set up the run, it only works the other way around.

      /sarcasm mode off
      //dies a little inside


      • The Realist

        Ironically, the NCAA 2011 game describes Georgia’s pro-style offense as using the pass to set up the run. Video game programmers know how to run Georgia’s offense, but apparently Bobo didn’t get the memo.


        • Ausdawg85

          This brings up something that has been bugging the hell out of me lately…does anyone else thing the influence of video games is showing-up on the field with the way some players (you know who you be, Washaun) try moves that only Knowshon and games can replicate? It’s like running and thinking they can do the ol’ up/up/down/x/y/up twist and roll to avoid a tackle…when the real linebacking is smacking them right in the mouth for a loss.

          Just saying…


        • Will (the other one)

          Backed up by his rather painful interview with Buck Belue on 680 yesterday.
          (Not that Buck was going to come at him with anything other than softballs…)


    • W Cobb Dawg

      I agree on the Murray comment – he has skill and moxie. But he is a wee bit height-challenged. You would think rolling him out on a run/pass option and/or moving the pocket around (once in a while) would mesh with his size and skillset.

      But I’ve never been in the arena, so my suggestion should be discounted as a crackpot idea. Just ’cause it worked for a shrimp like Flutie doesn’t mean it’ll work in 2010. We all know QB’s don’t roll out or run these days. They’re all pocket passers (after the mandatory fake handoff).


  8. Josh

    “Part of me is going to be pissed off if we suddenly see a fully functional offense tomorrow night”

    Wow… had exactly the same thought the other day. All it will do is justify Bobo’s lack of creativity.

    Why we can’t find ways to deploy our TEs in interesting ways, I’ll simply never understand. Marlon Brown at fullback? How about lining up Aron White in an H-back type role, where he can provide a bit of blocking in absence of Chapas, and also get mismatches on a LB in the flat? How about flexing Orson out on a consistent basis, sending him downfield to clear safeties and maybe get better run blocking matchups in the box? Or (heaven help us) throw him the damn ball?

    Oh I forgot… we call plays for him 30 times a game, he’s just never open. Because he’s so slow and un-athletic and all.


  9. King Jericho

    That 5-2 package sounds like an interesting scheme. I can’t wait to see Carlton Thomas try to run straight into it!

    But seriously, if I see that happen, I might be picking fights I know I’ll lose just to subdue the pain.

    “But King Jericho, how else are you suppose to run the ball with a smaller, quicker back?”

    Like this:


  10. 81Dog

    If it’s a closer form of the shotgun, shouldnt it be the sawed off shotgun instead of the pistol?

    regardless, I just hope we score some &$*#&%(# touchdowns. I don’t care if we line up in the pistol, the shotgun, or the Ginsu Knife. Just get the freaking ball in the end zone!!!!


    • Puffdawg

      I feel the Chicken Little Flea Flicker coming tomorrow. Johnny to be played by Carlton Thomas. Center to be played by Ben Jones.

      We’ll follow that up with the Annexation of Puerto Rico on the next drive.


  11. 69Dawg

    We don’t have a head coach or a OC that want to change the O. CMR is every bit as stubborn about this as Fabris was about directional kicking. In case you have not noticed we have a very laid back O staff. They have their priorities straight, God, God , family, hobbies and apparently last but not quit least football. Doing something different requires extra effort. The coaches might have to study and travel to see how successful teams run the Pistol, that takes away from Me time. This O staff is the laziest bunch of poor coaches ever at UGA. We are doomed to run the play action pass throughout eternity just like the Ghost Riders in the Sky run cattle.


  12. Biggity Ben

    I don’t know if someone said this, because I stopped reading the comments halfway down, but to Richt-Flair’s point about Wooten, might we start losing quality explosive type players because they see they won’t ever get a chance to show what they can do?


  13. Will Trane

    Florida will drop Bama from top spot with their speed on both sides of the ball. Flordia can line up in a 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, or wide tackle six [Erik Russells scheme] and shut down a team. Watch how quick they get to the ball. Georgia is slowwww.

    Bobo is not an OC, a QB coach, maybe. Explain how this staff has never had a productive, high scoring offense. Watched Texas A&M and OSU last evening, two teams Dawgs played last year. Do you think we come anywhere close to what their offensives can do. Thought ESPN stated the top 6 teams in the top 10 average 40+ per game. Dawgs?

    If Mark Richt is smart he will can Bobo. Lilly, and McClendon…find an OC that can run the spread. Mullen at MSU said Florida recruited Murray. That says their is a QB in fold that can run the spread. Most QBs get dropped due to lack of timing and quickness. Best not to run sets where Murray turns his back to the LOS…not experienced and comfortable yet.

    Repeat the complaint since 2007…no productive, high scoring offense.

    Watch the difference in O line blocking in the spread and I.


  14. Chuck

    Run the wishbone. Some many different options and know one see’s it except the ones that play Air Force.


  15. W Cobb Dawg

    People are just noticing the slavery to play action fakes? Hell, they’ve always done the fakes under Richt – even in obvious passing situations when the game is on the line with seconds rapidly ticking off the clock. That’s CMR and Bobo’s m.o.


  16. Will (the other one)

    We’re running the late 90s FSU offense, only it’s 2010 (and we didn’t get any of the awesome Peter Warrick plays.)


  17. Threads like this are very interesting, but also very depressing.

    Fire Mike Bobo.

    If Richt can’t find a creative, elite OC, fire Mark Richt.

    I’m sorry, it has come to this. I miss our program having national relevance: