Looks like he picked the wrong week to quit running the I-formation.

At least it did to this jaundiced, never been in the arena eye.  The math doesn’t lie, either.

… 78% of all offensive plays in Saturday’s game were out of the shotgun formation.  Does that sound like UGA football to you?

Honestly, the stat by itself doesn’t really matter that much.  Sure, Georgia is traditionally a power-I team that runs the ball with a lead fullback and then passes from under center, usually with a play-action fake.  But it isn’t necessarily bad to try new things more often… as long as they work.  The problem isn’t that 78% of plays were out of shotgun; the problem is that when good old fashion play-action passes and under center plays actually worked, we abandoned them and returned to the flashy deep snap.  The problem is that our offensive play calling has recently had a tendency to stick to things that don’t work, and abandon things that have success.

By the way, all six sacks came on plays run out of shotgun formations.

But give Richt credit for the courage of his convictions.  Mike Bobo insists he’s all in this week with the new order of things.

… Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said the Bulldogs plan to stick with the no-huddle offense they unveiled in the Georgia Dome. He said the decision to switch in the offseason was an attempt to run more offensive plays. But the Bulldogs ran just 60 plays last Saturday to Boise State’s 71.

“We wanted to get more plays, which we didn’t do on Satuday,” Bobo said. “But we’re committed to doing it. More plays equals more opportunities, more chances to score. Last year we just didn’t think we had as many opportunities as some other teams.”

I’m not being facetious.  This represents a sea change in offensive philosophy for Georgia in the Richt era.  Everything used to be keyed on controlling the game flow on offense by slowing the game down.  That had the benefit of making the defense’s work easier.  But it also meant that Georgia faced tougher sledding keeping up with more dynamic offenses, as we saw in last year’s Auburn game.

Given what’s at stake for Richt this season, I have to admit to some admiration for him sticking to his guns here.  Because it’s obvious from last Saturday night that Georgia’s offense has some growing pains to go through.

“No matter how you operate offensively, the bottom like is you’ve got to execute,” Richt said. “And you execute well whether you no-huddle or you don’t no huddle. We didn’t have much trouble as far as the operation of it. The problem was once the ball was snapped. That’s when we had problems.”

Okay, fine.  The problem for Richt is that if he has to repeat the same comment for the next three or four games, it’s likely this will be the last season he’ll be saying it in Athens.

Helluva gamble, Coach.

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54 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

54 responses to “Looks like he picked the wrong week to quit running the I-formation.

  1. ChicagoDawg

    Being able to run more offensive plays will come as result of getting more first downs, not by having ton of really quick ‘4 and out’ series.

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    • Jason

      ^^^ Gets It ^^^ – That’s what my stepdad and I want to scream at Bobo. It’s all about moving the chains. In the first half against Boise, the offense had more 3&outs (5) than first downs (4). I don’t care how fast paced you are, if you don’t move the chains it’s all a mute point.

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      • heyberto

        There’s no question that execution figured heavily into why that didn’t work.. but when you find something that does work, why not go to that? Everyone wants to blame Bobo, but that is as much Richt’s fault for not recognizing what’s wrong and not telling Bobo to adjust.

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    • ZDawg

      Um, that was the EXACT thing that passed through my head when I read that. Its like we’ve driven into a ditch and Richt has decided more gas on the accelerator is going to fix things.

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      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I am taking back everything I said in my post the other day about how we need to wait until the end of the season, evaluate carefully and then make an intelligent, considered decision on CMR and this staff. FIRE CMR AND BOBO NOW!!! MAKE GRANTHAM THE INTERIM HC.

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  2. heyberto

    I’ve been a big defender of Richt’s. I want him to succeed and be our coach for the long haul. But is he losing his mind? Maybe there’s something I’m missing, or perhaps this is a little misdirection thrown Spurrier’s way (I don’t think that’s the case, but I’ll be happy to eat my words), but I just don’t get it.

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  3. One Sad 'Dog

    Love the Airplane! reference!

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  4. baltimore dawg

    just when i think it’s not possible for our coaches to be dumber they manage to surprise me to the downside. so you want to stick with an offensive plan that not only didn’t work against recent competition but which your own players clearly were not very comfortable in or competent executing. fine. that’s your call. but why not make sc at least *guess* that you might go with something different instead of announcing it in the press (and if you think for half a second that this is richt being cagey and deceptive, well, then you grossly overestimate the man).

    it’s over, people. there is absolutely no compelling reason to believe this is going to get better with current management. i don’t expect us to win on saturday (truth be told, i expected us to win convincingly last week and lose to sc); i just wonder how bad we’re going to look.

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  5. Haywood Jablome

    How will they get more plays in when their version of the no-huddle consists of waiting around until the play clock reaches the low single digits? Bobo is a real innovator just like Kelly and Malzahn, he has created CFB’s slowest version of hurry up offense.

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  6. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    “We didn’t have much trouble as far as the operation of it. The problem was once the ball was snapped. That’s when we had problems.”

    So how is it a hurry up offense when the team stands around looking toward the sideline for a play and then snaps the ball inside of 10 seconds on the play clock? Based on Richt’s statement that was what they intended though.

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  7. Prov

    Does such a drastic change make anyone else think Richt has already been told he will get another year?

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    • Nate Dawg

      I think I may buy that…or the opposite. He seems to be trying to run himself out. No wonder Murray looked like a freshman all over again at times. Why would you put this in, figuring you’d have some kinks to work out at game speed, in a season where your toughest two games are the first two?

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      • Why would you put this in, figuring you’d have some kinks to work out at game speed, in a season where your toughest two games are the first two?

        This.

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      • zdub

        Maybe because of the outcry over how “predictable” and “vanilla” our offense has been for most of the past 5-6 years?

        Most fans wanted a modification of the offensive philosophy this season. Well, they got what they asked for and it’s obvious that it will take some time to work out the kinks. But just imagine if we had come out running 40 play actions and 0 yard gains up the middle and lost the game. The fans would be screaming that Richt is stubborn and doesn’t want to change his offense, etc etc. I’m not defending him, I’m just offering a different point of view.

        Still, I’m encouraged that the coaches actually are trying to change things up, trying to not run the same stuff we (and the rest of the SEC) have seen forever. That, to me, is the sign of a staff that knows it’s their last chance.

        It can all be cured with wins and an offense that looks like it at least kind of knows what it’s doing out there. But I think we may have to wait until Coastal Carolina to see this.

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        • Spence

          “Most fans wanted a modification of the offensive philosophy this season.”

          Not true. We want an offensive philosophy period, and want one other than “balance” for balance sake. In the early 2000s, UGA ran most of its plays from Shotgun, with a lot of zone read runs and play action off of that. They got good at it. Now I thought we did lots of I-formation and play-action, which actually works pretty damn well a lot of the time. Then we got away from that. What we saw Saturday was a mixture of the old and new with no recognition of the other team taking away strengths. We ran two sweeps that I recall, one to Boykin and the other to Crowell, and both were successful. Then we went back up the middle, despite the o-line being unable to complete an assignment.

          Offensive philisophies are more than a formation or a hurry-up. You do one thing well until the D adjusts, if they ever do, and then you have a counter punch. Running in the I until they stack the box and then going play-action is a basic philosophy that we could have stuck with, and it was working Saturday. Lining up in the shotgun and doing zone reads and quick passes would be another options. We did neither, and instead kept pounding inside out of the shotgun, to no avail.

          Bobo’s issue is that he comes up with a gameplan, not a working philosophy, and sticks with it no matter what. I for one would like us to implement a gameplan that could counter what the other team does, and one that plays to our strengths. You know, like the I formation and play-action.

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          • zdub

            What I said is true. Go back and look at the scores of message board posts, topics, and call-in transcripts that addressed how Richt and Bobo needed to mix it up, stop running “the same old play that every SEC defensive coordinator knows is coming” (paraphrased, of course), and stop running the archaic 90s FSU offense. There were tons of them. The fans wanted to see something different. They were tired of watching us play-action for half the game and not fool a single defender. They were tired of the 170 pound RB being run up the middle time and again for 1-2 yard gains, if that. They were tired of deep bombs to WRs who couldn’t get separation (with the exception of AJ, naturally).

            The fans wanted to see something different. You cannot dispute that. It is fact. They wanted to see something that also WORKED. Well, they got to see something new (78% of offensive plays run out of the shotgun), but it didn’t work. Maybe Boise’s D was that good, but I don’t think so. I think it was pretty obvious that we didn’t attack their weaknesses and were poorly coached with regard to making offensive adjustments. We came in with a plan, it didn’t work, but we kept doing it anyway.

            No time to go back to the drawing board now, at least not this week against a good SC team. If this weekend doesn’t work out then put something new in against CC and see if that works. I’m really at a loss for what to do and, sadly, I think the coaches might be too.

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            • Spence

              Perhaps it’s semantics, but what you described is the fans’ issues with playcalling in specific situations. Most of those frustrations are born out of watching Bobo do inexplicable things repeatedly with disregard for what got us there. That is not a “philosophy” problem like we saw vs Boise.

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  8. Turd Ferguson

    How many times has it been said of Bobo’s playcalling in the past few years that once something seems to be working, he switches to something else? Or that once a certain player makes a couple plays, he’s immediately removed from the game? I just don’t understand this at all. Meanwhile, as soon as Maryland realized that the Canes were basically just going to give them quick passes to the sidelines, they pretty much did nothing else until Miami made adjustments. At one point, I actually think they ran the exact same WR screen 2 or 3 times in a row. And of course, once Miami adjusted, Maryland could then look for their TE open in the middle of the field, etc. Seems pretty straightforward to me. And what’d’ya know … it worked.

    And why does it seem as if the offensive coaches (from Richt all the way down to Friend) are either unwilling or unable to make in-game adjustments? Did you catch Ben Jones’ diagnosis of the OL’s struggles? Essentially, “We came in prepared for Boise to do one thing, but then they did something else.” Umm … okay. Maybe it’d help if we just sent memos to each opponent before the games requesting that they play exactly as we’ve prepared for them to play.

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  9. TennesseeDawg

    Probably the most glaring WTF moment was the play where Murray pumped faked on a blitz only to get sacked.

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  10. Normaltown Mike

    Anybody remember the car mechanic commercial where it shows a toddler beating a square peg into a round hole and he grows up to be a mechanic beating a square peg into a round hole?

    Yeah.

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  11. GoonerDawg

    CMR and Bobo just don’t get it. They are obsessed with execution without recognizing that their system is too hard to consistently execute. That is silly strategy in college. Things should be simplified to the point where the team knows the system so well that the execution is commonplace. Hopefully the next coach will understand that.

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  12. Juan

    It drives me crazy that the coaches, Bobo and Richt especially, continue to point to execution as the problem. And they act as though it is the players problem.

    LACK OF EXECUTION IS A PRODUCT OF PISS POOR COACHING. QUIT BLAMING THE KIDS AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY YOU CHICKEN SHIT COWARDS.

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  13. Dante

    I get not running the I-formation towards the end. Who (besides Tennessee) falls for a play action in an obvious pass situation? What I didn’t get was that early 2nd half drive where we were picking them apart with the play action in the I-formation and then just completely abandoned it. Yeah, I got a little tired of right-sweep-Donnan, but let’s at least wait until the horse dies before we stop beating it.

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    • Paul

      “…let’s at least wait until the horse dies before we stop beating it.”

      This is hilarious. And apt.

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    • Coach Donnan

      WELL SINCE YOU’RE SO SMART, WHY DON’T YOU COME DOWN TO THE BUTTS-MEHRE AND DRAW UP SOME PLAYS FOR US?!?

      /By the way, if you’re interested in doubling your investment every 6 weeks, I’ve got a great investment for you.

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  14. Otto

    78% out of the shotgun? penalties setting them back on the possesion? Coming back late but not having enough to pull it off?

    Sounds like Goff is coaching again.

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  15. Otto

    *1st possesion

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  16. Go Dawgs!

    Surely Richt realizes that we at least need a little more of our traditional pro-set offense in the gameplan to move the ball. Surely he realizes that our best drive of the night came from the I and then fizzled once we got back in the gun and went back to what wasn’t working. Surely Richt realizes that “once the ball is snapped” is really all that matters, since it’s impossible to score a point before the ball is snapped.

    And also, don’t call me Shirley.

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  17. Bulldog Joe

    Well, for this to be logical, a few things must have happened:

    1. We had a few young offensive linemen grow up real quick, finding the depth and stamina to run such an offense.

    2. We found a running back who can pass block AND be a threat to break off long runs inside and in space (without the help of a fullback).

    3. We found a way to incorporate more than one tight end into the no huddle spread.

    4. We gave Murray the green light to run when appropriate.

    5. We are no longer concerned with “cutting the field in half”.

    6. We changed some jersey numbers, allowing Branden Smith to get involved in the offense.

    7. Our head coach is getting involved in calling the plays.

    -or-

    * This is all smoke for Spurrier and Ellis Johnson and we are actually going to attack Clowney and the corners of their defense out of a two back set with our best blockers (Aron White and Figgins) and speed (Crowell, Murray/Lemay, Smith, and Boykin) then exploit their weak defensive backfield with play action passes when they cheat up to stop the run.

    One can dream…

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    • Junkyard Dawg '00

      I’ll be floored if that one happens… I just don’t see it out of this coaching staff. I am on record with several on this blog hoping for a 3TE version of the hurry up offense with giving Murray the green light to run the ball as well. I think that is the best use of our athletes on this team… But I’ve never been in the Arena.

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  18. Russ

    Hmmm…lessee….we have a 270 lb fullback, one tailback that’s 240 another that’s 215 and three outstanding tight ends. Yep, this is a great time to abandon the I.

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    • Bevo

      Nailed it.

      Sad yet slightly comical.

      Richt slowly marches into the sunset.

      The band plays a slow tune.

      Que vaya con Dios, Coach.

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    • Faulkner

      You nailed it. Clear, concise and to the point. If our line can’t block in the spread shotgun, then why not give them some help/max protect.

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  19. Ray Goff

    I once thought that installing the wishbone in three days for the Alabama game was “cutting edge football”, too.

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  20. Dog in Fla

    “the bottom line is you’ve got to execute,” Richt said.

    Mark keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means:

    Following a Tampa Bay Buccaneers loss in their early seasons, head coach John McKay was asked what he thought of his team’s “execution.” He replied, “I’m all for it.”

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  21. And all this after McGarity took responsibilities of CMR’s plate, so he could go after the X’s and O’s and get back to the “cutting edge of football.”

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  22. Darrren Rovelll

    Perhaps I am an idiot (indeed I am) but did the coaching staff watch film from the game on Saturday night. I could be mistaken but I believe that Boise spent the better part of the second half running a version of the no-huddle that included large elements of the I-formation/pro-set with a lead blocker for their RB & significant involvement of TE’s. This totally befuddled our Defense and defensive staff and Boise rolled up a big win.

    Where in the football handbook does it say that in order to run a no-huddle, it is required that we put the QB in the shotgun, use just 1 RB and spread the field by putting 3 or 4 receivers out wide?

    Why cannot we not just run the offense that plays to our personnel strengths and covers our weaknesses AND use a no-huddle? It seems to me that when we finally decided to involve White & Charles and put Figgins in the backfield our offense play improved.

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  23. Will Trane

    I noticed this morning the blogs are about the formations. Want to see more of the 2 TEs , I-formation, and FB, I back set. Deemed the power running, ball control game. And I guess the clock management tool.

    Not sure you can do that 70-75% of the time in today’s game. Maybe so if your defense is very good and can stop a Boise from running 71 plays from the spread or spread option. The article was critical of the sets the Dawgs used…78% shotgun and 22% I formation. The article took one drive of 7 plays lasting 3:40. The front end of the drive was I for 4 snaps and was successful in gaining yards and then the switch to the shotgun for 3 where the drive in essence stalled or collapsed. What the article does not cite [based on their numerous replays] was the D Boise was using and may have changed / adjusted in that drive. Think this was a 2nd half drive that netted 49 yards in 7 plays.
    Shows 13 plays ran from under center…6 for 30 in 1st and 7 for 30 in the 2nd. Not sure about the production. But in essence those 4 I’s before the switch points out that CME and MB should have stayed in the I all night.
    From the same article the it shows zero TDs and zero INTs from the I. Whereas from the shotgun there were 2 TDs and 1 INT [remember the Ben Duke article thinks this is where AM is trying to throw away the ball.after the first read was not there because of the TE miss play…think this is why the cry for 2 TEs in that situation]. Now the article points out 3/6 from the I for the 54-o-o 18 yds per play. And the SG has 13/23 for the 182 – 2- 1 14yds per play. I not sure, but if those are the number. Well I’m in the shotgun.

    And here is why I might take that route. Just maybe it allows me to stay with Boise. I understand the I may give you time killing drives…good if you have a lead, don’t turn the ball over, stop the opponent, and can add via FG and TD. The essence is time and I have a star RB to pound with. But let’s get out of the box for awhile.

    The Dawgs run the shotgun with basically a 1 TE 3 WRs. The shotgun may suit the personnel better [speed backs+RB Fr with good running visions]. The shotgun allows them to use running plays for Crowell’s [not built like Lattimore and different running style] skills. Sets like a triple option right, sweep right, Iso left and ace stetch right, or even from a “pistol”/shotgun. I can see where MB and CMR at this point in the season think this would be best for a featured back to get comfortble from running and seeing the D’s. Against Boise a couple of the right blocks and he has a 100. Go back and read the Dukes article. If Crowell is set behind Murray in the shotgun and you are dragging LBs out of position and back, Crowell has a chance to light up a D. He is not a Lattimore or a Walker. But he is one hellava back. The shotgun in built for him. Now back to Boise, remember Neveda took them down last year from the shotgun option or pistol. Don’t think those boys run the I.

    Now for the no huddle and up tempo re the shotgun. You are running your WRs and TE in and out. You have a speed back [Crowell, Thomas, Boykin, or Smith] and in Crowell a guy you want quickly in many gaps and in space. Murray is would be more prductive in my view when not a under center. Not turning his back to the line. And his size re the LOS. Even on an option or roll out. He is suited for the shotgun. 2 reasons [ I go back to those quick TDs…Mitchell and Charles]. He hit those guys in stride. Remember what CMR said about “holding the ball” and letting it go while in stride.

    My thoughts. And I have been critical of Bobo for awhile. You can have a running game and clock management from the shotgun. You put up points on the board, well you change the clock big time. Welcome yours Senator.

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  24. Pingback: All part of the plan « Year of the Dawg

  25. BeerMoney

    Rememeber when we used to take what the D was giving and play very smart?

    ’02 Ole Miss, we slow the game down to a crawl and drain the last 8-10 minutes off the clock without even scoring. Just running the football, passing when necessary and keeping the chains and clock moving.

    ’04 LSU/’07 Alabama: exploits Saban’s blitz happy Safety, LBs and line and one on one coverage with their corners. Green picks apart their corners all day long to Brown and Gibson.

    ’05 Tennessee: we run the ball on about 8-10 consecutive plays on the last TD drive of the game to seal a victory. WHY? Because they could not stop us at all running the football and were ready to quit.

    Can anybody see us doing ANY of this logical methodical playcalling today?

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    • Otto

      Beermoney good point, I also remember the change:

      S. Car ’07 running a play action that had been run before just to get Stafford sacked killing a drive when UGA was coming back.

      UT ’07 sticking with the ground game far to long.

      I fear that no matter what is called the team is in no condition to execute and win their one on one battles regularly. Samuel looked gasses just before the half when he was shown on TV. The OL was not blowing anyone off the ball.

      Like

  26. Keystone Dawg

    For what it’s worth, I’ve felt that since Richt handed the offense over to Bobo moving into the ’07 season we’ve seen a substantial “drift” in the general offensive strategy. So much so, that the offense of the last couple years doesn’t even resemble the offense that we ran when CMR was calling the shots (at least to me). I believe that what we’re seeing now is at least in part an attempt to gravitate back toward the offensive strategy of the early 00’s. I’m sure we all remember Greene and the Dawgs running a lot more no huddle shotgun formation back then, especially to start games. I also recall on more than one occasion in the early years Richt stressing that the # of plays was more important in his book than time of possesion when he was asked about his hurry up offense. So it’s interesting to see that exact quote pop-up again. It may be just a coach under pressure trying to go back to what he remembers working early on. I’m not saying this is good or bad – I could give a damn as long as move the ball – but I do think Bobo’s offense of the last few years had become stagnant and I’ve been actually longing for the offensive of old. Too bad it went over like a fart in church against BSU.

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  27. Will Trane

    Boykin’s 80+ TD run did not come from an I formation.
    Look at the set and the play. They are in the shotgun. Boykin comes in motion and sets for a moment to the left of Murray. There is no pitchout just a hand off to him. That set in the backfield froze Boise for a moment. Thanks Mike Leach.

    Thus the 41 yards would be wrong as well as the 3.72 yds per carry.
    Shotgun. 1 TD by ground and 2 by air.

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  28. Dboy

    Did anyone else interpret the sudden transition from I-formation to shotgun as a heavy influence of RIcht (rather than Bobo) trying to institue his FSU charlie ward era offense at UGA? Perhaps this sudden change is a reaction to the high scoring spread offenses of our competitors (as mentioned by a commenter above.) and our need to compete with that as we clearly haven’t been able to defend the spread teams (see past debacles against UF, AU, Boise, WVU etc). Perhaps Richt is un-happy with our inconsistent offenses over the past 4-5 years. Maybe he thinks we need to start running up the score to stop the likes of Boise, AU, Arkansas, Oregon etc? The score 17 points and let the Defense take care of the rest hasn’t worked for us for some time.

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  29. October 8, 2005. UGA at Tenn.

    We BROKE their back with the drive information I am about to post. Tenn NEVER recovered. This is the drive that basically destroyed their team, crushed their souls, eventually cost Fulmer his job, and sent their whole program into a tailspin:

    Score: UGA 20 – Tenn 7

    Georgia on GA 27, 6:16 to go.

    1st and 10 at GA 27 Thomas Brown rush for 4 yards to the UGA 31.
    2nd and 6 at GA 31 Thomas Brown rush for 10 yards to the UGA 41. 1ST down.
    1st and 10 at GA 41 Thomas Brown rush for 5 yards to the UGA 46.
    2nd and 5 at GA 46 Thomas Brown rush for 6 yards to the Tenn 48. 1ST down.
    1st and 10 at TENN 48 Thomas Brown rush for 7 yards to the Tenn 41.
    2nd and 3 at TENN 41 Thomas Brown rush for 7 yards to the Tenn 34. 1ST down.
    1st and 10 at TENN 34 Thomas Brown rush for 16 yards to the Tenn 18.1ST down.
    1st and 10 at TENN 18 Thomas Brown rush for no gain to the Tenn 18.
    2nd and 10 at TENN 18 Timeout TENNESSEE, clock 01:52.
    2nd and 10 at TENN 18 Thomas Brown rush for 18 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.

    Score: UGA 26 – Tenn 7
    Brandon Coutu extra point GOOD.
    Score: UGA 27 – Tenn 7

    Notice anything?

    We ran the same damn thing over and over until they could stop it. They couldn’t.

    WE KILLED THEIR PROGRAM with this drive. That is how we used to play football before Bobo was calling the plays.

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  30. Dboy

    Check out drive against old miss Eli manning’s senior year. Started on our own 10 yard line at the start of the 4th quarter and the drive ended on the Old Miss 5 yard line as time ran out. One pass on that drive, as I recollect, keeping a powerful offense off the field. Problems is that you need A DOMINANT OFFENSIVE LINE to play that way. We have not had an offensive
    Line like that in Bobo’s reign.

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