For two games that had identical results, it was fascinating to see how differently in one aspect the Arkansas games against Georgia and Mississippi played out. Not on defense – the blitzing Bulldogs gave up the same number of points and slightly more yardage than did their “we’ve never seen a wheel route we could cover” counterparts in Athens despite racking up an even bigger advantage in time of possession, something Blackledge hammered on last night.
Nah, it was on the other side of the ball where I found the contrast between Mullen and Bobo worth comparing. Mullen’s plus is his ruthlessness with his playbook. You get the feeling there are few wasted plays. Relf threw as much last night as Murray did, but Mullen did much of his pass play calling on first down to keep Arkansas’ defense honest playing the run (it worked, too, as MSU wound up with two 100-yard rushers on the night). He stayed with the counter (again, as Blackledge reminded us repeatedly) because it worked in getting his offense the key yardage he needed to keep his team moving the sticks. In the end, it was about control.
Bobo, however, attacked the Arkansas defense with success. All three Georgia drives that lead to touchdowns involved at least one pass completion of more than 35 yards. But when he didn’t get results being aggressive with the deep pass, the offense tended to stall.
I can’t say it’s all about talent driving the two approaches. Bobo, remember, coached his game without his best player and didn’t get the line play that Mullen did.
I’m also not saying one approach was necessarily superior to the other. After all, both wound up in the same place when the dust settled. (And both tossed in a random Wildcat play call.) But the different journeys to get there make for an interesting comparison.