So, the question becomes “who in the SEC is going to take the first plunge into packaged plays?”…
From a local perspective, do any of us have faith that Mark Richt and Mike Bobo are going to start using packaged plays? The easy answer is to say “no” and then to break out laughing. However, there are a couple reasons why packaged plays would make sense for the Dawgs. First, Brown points out that the concept works best with a no-huddle approach:
The rise of “packaged plays” is important on its own, but it becomes essential when combined with the other trend in football – the up-tempo no-huddle. The no-huddle, especially when operated by quarterbacks like Rodgers or Tom Brady, is an invaluable weapon when combating modern defenses that rely on constant movement to maximize confusion. “In the no-huddle context, the advantage of packaged plays becomes particularly acute,” says Grabowski, adding, “An offense that can run these packaged plays at the fastest tempos can get a vanilla look that further simplifies the read on a key defender.” If you’re going to go fast-paced no-huddle to prevent defenses from substituting or setting up in something exotic, you have to do it, well, fast, and slow audibles with lots of words and gyrations at the line are not that.
Georgia is the best-equipped team in the conference to implement this part of the strategy. Second, Richt and Bobo have an experienced quarterback this year. If anyone in the league can be trusted to be a point guard on grass, it ought to be Aaron Murray. The logic will be even stronger next year when Georgia has the benefit of a four-year starter under center. Richt and Bobo managed to stick to their guns during the spread craze. Now, offensive innovation has come around in a form that jibes with their preferred style. Will they take advantage?
There is a lot to that, the only caveat being that Bobo tends to run the version of the no-huddle that Grabowski says is incompatible with a packaged plays concept. But there’s a caveat to my caveat:
Well, Murray is entering his third year as a starter now, so we shall see. Richt has said that Murray will have the freedom to change plays on his own this year.
“Murray’s to the point in his career where he can change just about any play or protection if he wants to,” Richt said in June.
If Richt really means that – and if somebody should know when his quarterback is ready for the responsibility, it’s Richt – there’s no reason this couldn’t work. I wouldn’t trot it out against Buffalo, though. Save that surprise for our new conference brothers in Columbia.
(By the way, reading the first part of Michael’s piece will drive you crazy thinking back to the Outback Bowl. Georgia had the perfect answer to Michigan State’s aggressive defense – deep passes out of a max-protect formation – and used it effectively to help build a 16-0 first half lead. Then it was abandoned until late in regulation, when it worked again. You know who I blame for that.)