Interesting observation at DawgSports:
… I personally think that you create a problem on a team by holding one unit, the defense to a standard of excellence, and another, the offense, to a standard of less than excellence. It’s a disservice to the players on the defensive side of the ball who have to shoulder more of the burden to win a game, and a disservice to the offensive players who don’t realize their potential.
I bet if I ran a poll on the subject, most readers here would agree with that. Funny thing, though – I bet LSU’s players and coaches wouldn’t after winning the SECCG running a Neanderthal offense straight out of the eighties. (Don’t forget which offense in that game finished the first half with less than 20 yards and zero first downs.)
When you get down to it, this season’s critique about overly conservative playcalling boils down to a dislike of winning ugly. Should that matter? How many games can you point to in 2011 that Georgia lost because Bobo pulled in the reins? By comparison, how many did Georgia lose because of poor special teams play?
Over the years, I’ve been as frustrated as anyone over the mysterious way Bobo approaches playcalling. This year, though, not so much. The emergence of a first-rate defense under Todd Grantham has let Mark Richt go back to what’s comfortable for him – getting a lead and controlling the game with field position and defense. What’s complicated things and made that strategy dicey at times has been abysmal special teams play and the occasional untimely turnover. (If anything, that tends to make Richt pull the reins in even tighter. Notice how much punt safe Georgia played in the second half of the season?) But that’s not Bobo’s fault.
This is what Richt wants and this is what Bobo is charged with carrying out. The idea that Richt – an offensive guy who’s been used to adding his input on that side of the ball for twenty-plus years now – would suddenly be open to going hands off with that side of the program and hiring an offensive coordinator with a different philosophy to run the offense as he sees fit makes no sense to me. If Mike Bobo didn’t exist, Mark Richt would have to invent him.
There’s no question that Bobo’s still got a ways to go, although it’s hard to say how much he was hampered by personnel issues this year. There were times he managed to rise above it in a fairly spectacular manner; let’s not forget that as ugly as Saturday’s game got, Georgia’s offense, which lacked any depth on the offensive line and was a complete mess at tailback, managed to score more points against LSU in a half than Arkansas’ or Alabama’s did in a game. No doubt the glimpses we see of what Bobo is capable of make the misfires all the more frustrating, but he’s not the guy dictating strategy, just the guy implementing it, with whatever resources (and however well those are functioning) he has at his disposal.
I’m not married to the guy. Dumping him (which I don’t think is within the realm of possibility, honestly) isn’t going to upset me. But the idea that if such were to happen we’d see a new era of offensive strategy is a fans’ daydream. If the last eleven seasons have told us anything, it’s that Richt expects very different things from his offensive coordinator than he does from his defensive coordinator. That ain’t changing.
And that’s why I’m snarky about the blame game, at least when it comes to the offense.
On the other hand, if you want to talk blame for the disastrous fall off in special teams this season (Georgia beats South Carolina and plays a very different game against LSU if the special teams had lived up to preseason expectations)… yeah, now that’s a discussion worth having.