Blame Bobo? Not Mark Richt.

For any of you laboring under the illusion that one day Mark Richt is going to wake up, see the light, escort Mike Bobo out of Athens and hire A Real Offensive Coordinator, this article is going to come as a body blow of a reality check.

“The bottom line is we still believe in having a fullback in the game, running the ball and having the play-action pass that comes along with it,” Richt said.

Richt is never going to apply for admission to HP’s Gang of Six, sports fans.

“I’ve coached offensive football long enough to know that whatever you do, if you execute it well, then you’re going to move the ball and you’re going to score points. You’ve got to do what you believe in, and you’ve got to do what you think best suits your personnel. That’s really the main reason why we do it that way.

“It’s sound, fundamental football, and I think the more that people spread the field, the less that they’re able to handle some of the power running game that some people will bring.”

That is the sound of a man who’s awfully sure of what he wants to do on offense.  Regardless of who his coordinator may be.


UPDATE:  Jon Gruden and Matt Stafford don’t blame Bobo either.

“Our system here is similar to what we did at Georgia; a lot of the same concepts and just how we go about it,” Stafford said. “Being under center and being able to play in a pro-style offense in college benefited me a lot. That was a big part of my decision to come to Georgia.”

Stafford said he stays in close touch with Bobo, exchanging text messages weekly and talking football over the phone.

“I love him as a play-caller and as a coach,” Stafford said. “I had him in his first couple of years [as play-caller] and I think he’s gotten better every year. I watched them last year and I thought they were moving the ball great. Obviously Aaron had a great year. I’m excited to see what they can do this year.”


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

73 responses to “Blame Bobo? Not Mark Richt.

  1. gastr1

    The Vertical Game, baby. Can we just win?

  2. Doug

    As long as we execute it well, I don’t care whether we run the Dana Holgorsen spread option or the wing-T.

  3. Sounds like Paul Johnson’s philosophy….on the surface. The winning difference is Richt’s offense is multi-diminsional. It’s a little tougher to do a lot of things well than just one or two….but if you can manage it, you’ll win most of the time.
    Can’t wait to see how we use Gurley against MO. ( He didn’t look like an old man to me !).

  4. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    “if you execute it well, then you’re going to move the ball and you’re going to score points” … In contrast, I’d say Bama’s offense is more vanillar than ours … think it’s worked OK for them.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      I don’t know much about x’s and o’s (or history, either.) but Bama’s offense sure looks similar to me…and works fairly well (ask Brady Hoke) when it is executed with precision, which at Bama means most of the time. Bama’s offense makes our look wild and wooly.

  5. Brandon

    I’m not sure there has ever been another UGA coordinator who skewered the perception of another UGA coordinator as bad as Willie Martinez scewered the perception of Mike Bobo. Bobo is way better at running Richt’s offense than Richt himself was. For Bobo’s own sake I almost wish he’d go somewhere where he’d be appreciated for the good coach he is, I am just worried that we’d get an OC that actually sucked or that Richt would go back to calling plays and then all the Bobo haters would get their comeuppance, but I would take no pleasure in saying I told you so.

    • Good thoughts, Brandon.

    • Krautdawg

      Right on. A lot of people don’t remember the offense from 2001-2006. 30 points was a blowout, we failed to execute for entire games, and the red zone was a disaster. Remember how many times we intercepted Boise in the first half in 2005? We turned it into 24 whole points.

      The only thing I think Richt did better than Bobo does: sustain a long, grinding drive. But give Bobo an O line like Richt had anytime besides 2003, and I think we’ll see an explosive offense.

    • hassan

      If you go back to some of the key losses we had, the offense put up enough points. The SEC is supposed to be a defensive league. If you score 28 points, you should win in most (albeit not all) cases in my opinion.

  6. If Will Friend develops an offensive line of the quality of our skilled people, we’ll be ok regardless of scheme, game plan, or coordinator. Our issues for the last few years at their root have been about offensive line recruiting and development. We run an NFL-style offense with components of power running, play action, and spread looks. We have the same (or better) quality at the skilled positions than Bama, but they have the best offensive line in the college game. We develop that and everything else takes care of itself.

    • Dboy

      Completely agree

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Sure would seem that way….again, ask Brady Hoke. For all the conversation about Bobo’s play calling, the real Mystery of Athens to me is the apparent inability to develop a process (sigh) for the development of a consistent offensive line. Considering the importance of this to our offense, it is surprising this is not picked at more when criticizing Richt as head coach. I’d guess Bobo’s play calling assistance from the tv broadcast booth has something to do with this.

        • Joe Schmoe

          I’m not sure what you mean. From what I see and hear, Richt gets a TON of criticism for not developing a consistently good OL.

    • James Stephenson

      Amen brother, amen.

  7. frowertr

    I like that Richt wants to continue running the ball and isn’t caught up in these new spread offenses. Especially now that we have three/four good backs I would think that staying with a power run formed offense is a “no brainer”.

    Now of course, we need to be able to win and just doing something for the sake of doing something isn’t acceptable. The results need to be there to justify the means. But I would think that with Malcome, Marshall, Gurley in at RB and Samuel in at FB that is a pretty impressive backfield. Can’t imagine too many D lines would want to tackle all 4 of the guys on a regular basis. I’m exicted with what we can do this year on the ground…

  8. fuelk2

    Count me in as being excited to see the full bag of tricks on Saturday. There’s no doubt in my mind we held back last Saturday, particularly on offense. I love knowing that we have multiple running backs we can count on to know their assignments. Gurley missed a block on Saturday, but at least he knew he was supposed to make it. That also kept it from being an abosolute free shot on AM.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Right…and the play only lost 2 yards. Bad that Murray was hit, but he has had practice evading the clean shots in the past. With a body like Gurley’s he could be a fantastic pass blocker. That may not be so true with Marshall.

    • Joe Schmoe

      And in Gurley’s defense, the play action on that play took him closer to the line and made it hard for him to get back to block the edge rusher. And as has been mentioned, he did realize that he was supposed to block the guy and made an attempt. I think he will learn to break out of the play action quicker in those situations.

    • G

      I’m not sure how much we held back on offense. It looked pretty familiar to me. I believe it was the defense that held back, alot. Did we blitz at all on Saturday? Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Merk

        We did very little short passing. Pretty much everything was run or bomb.

        • James Stephenson

          Well Bobo is setting em up see, he figures that the Mizzou coaches checked the fan sites to see what we do, so he had to give 1st and bomb a lot. Surprised we did not see more 3rd and draw calls, just to throw em off some.

      • RocketDawg

        We blitzed maybe 3 or 4 times total. We brought the CB (Swann) a couple of times on run blitzes and then we did a double ILB blitz once that I can remember and it got to the QB. No Safety blitzes and no combination MLB/SS or CB/OLB blitzes that you know are going to come on Saturday.

        • The Lone Stranger

          Good Gawd — a safety blitz while rollin’ with Norman at FS would have been like a lite version of suicide.

      • The Lone Stranger

        I believe you are correct, sir; the blitz package was minimal.

  9. Irishdawg

    ‘but they have the best offensive line in the college game.”

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Georgia has had more bad luck at the OL positions than any team I can think of, and it’s hurt our offensive production immeasurably. I love I-formation, power football, but it has to have strong, consistent OL play. We’ve had to assemble a MASH unit the last few years, and it’s killing our power running game.

  10. Dog in Fla

    It’s clear that Bobo has too many friends in high places. This week’s blame will have to go to David Yost

  11. Brandon

    Nice to see Bobo getting some credit from Stafford and Gruden but what do those two bozo’s know compared to the Dawg Sports and AJC commenter brain trusts?

    • James Stephenson

      Now that right there was funny.

      • Cojones

        It’s funny and you both are in charge of bringing their egos to earth and helping them find the way this season.

        You might want to roll a few so that you can smoke’em when you need’em.

    • 81Dog

      amen, brother. Why would you want to take the word of a Super Bowl coach and a number 1 NFL draft pick who’s looking at a long Pro Bowl run as a QB over some meatheads who either played in high school or didnt even play in high school but watch lots of football (It’s a simple game, right?) as to Bobo’s ability to call plays.

  12. heyberto

    I’m pretty sick of the whole meme.. not because I’m a Bobo apologist.. but if you want Bobo gone, then just come out and say you want Richt gone.. Bobo is his protege, and if you don’t like the style of offense, the way he calls plays then you obviously want something completely different. I don’t see much difference in play calling between Richt and Bobo.

    • Dog in Fla

      “I’m pretty sick of the whole meme..” Not me. It took me awhile but I’m just catching onto it now and would hate to see it leave so soon

      • heyberto

        Meh.. it’s only good unless blogs are making fun of it. Otherwise, I just have to roll my eyes.

        • Dog in Fla

          Good point. CMR and Bobo are not going anywhere soon unless and until they choose to do so. Bobo would be an even better OC if CMR would unleash him and I think that he will be a very good head coach whenever he gets the opportunity.

        • Cojones

          Don’t get your eyes locked in the up position, like mine, heyberto. Are we cousins?

    • Brandon

      Damn straight, Richt is just a lot worse in the red zone.

  13. I blame Bobo for not getting more knowledgable football people to advocate for him…..Hell, Charlie Weiss never said he liked Bobo play calling and he knows almost as much as Schultz and Dawg Sports

  14. Brian

    Coach does realize what other spread teams do on offense has no bearing on how they would defend us, right? His comment about spreading it out limiting their ability to stop a power run game is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.

    • I think what he means is that as the spread becomes more prevalent, it leads defenses to adjust their personnel and schemes accordingly, which in turn makes it harder for them to defend traditional power football.

    • I think coach knows what the hell he’s talking about. Love how some readers here think they are in a position to criticize remarks made by people with an infinitely higher football IQ than them. It’s Jon f’ing Gruden, dude. If you think the comment was dumb, then it probably went over your head.

  15. Bobby

    UGA’s scheme is not the problem. Having a true pro-style offense is not the problem. While it’s certainly not a strength, I don’t think the predictability of the offense is such a problem.

    I don’t think you have to be offensive genius, though, to recognize that our offensive play calling has 2 glaring weaknesses: (1) placing too great of a premium on balance and (2) taking our foot off the gas.

    To be clear, a balanced offense is a virtue. It takes an otherwise predictable offense and forces a defense to remain honest. With rare exception, we almost always finish a game w/ nearly a 50/50 balance b/w rushing and passing plays. But, at some point, there is no sense in continuing to try to set up the play action if the running game has become ineffective (see LSU in the SECCG last season). Why not passing to backs out of the backfield more? If our tailback’s blocking is suspect, why not turn it into a strength and run more tailback screens? Or just don’t even ask them to block, and send them on a route out of the backfield? To be fair, I’m only generalizing. There was actually some pretty creative play-calling against Buff, but we failed to execute. For what it’s worth, I definitely think Bobo has gotten better each year.

    As for the second point, we let too many teams linger around when we should just twist the knife. Mich St is a perfect example. It’s been said thousands of times by hundreds of fans, but we take our foot off the gas. Unless we are 4 TDs up at the end of the 3d quarter, there is no reason to abandon the pass. Don’t play not to lose; continue playing to win. Yes, running the ball can reduce the risk of turnovers. Yes, running ball can eat up the clock, thus keeping the opposing offense off the field. Yes, running the ball can help us steadily move the chains. But, it’s a lot less effective against heavy gap blitzes and/or 8 guys in the box. If that safety has become a 4th linebacker, why not make them pay for it?

    Let’s call a spade a spade. UGA has rarely had the personnel to impose its will on an opponent the way the scheme/play-calling calls for. We don’t have the OLs and TEs that Stanford and Bama have. We’re much more of a finesse offense; that’s not a bad thing, but we should play to our strengths and minimize the impact of our weaknesses. In other words, even when we’re trying to kill the clock, we should not abandon the pass. And in earlier phases of the game, we should not become one dimensional for the sake of achieving perfectly balanced play-calling. Balance is a means to an end, not the end itself.

    Our play-calling may work in theory, but it’s clear that it doesn’t always work in practice.

    • Macallanlover

      Hard to argue with any of that, good post. I don’t mind the occasional bomb to stretch the field, I think it is a good strategy to open up other areas to be explored. But I do think we overuse it and play at the two extremes with too little gray area (crossing patterns, throws to the TE and FB. All in all, UGA’s offense is pretty damned potent in a league known for defense. We are not as open as Arky, and not as conservative as Bama, the middle ground is OK with me but we don’t seem to play there as often as we should.

      One of your strongest points is about not abandoning the pass when trying to kill the clock. We have really good receivers and a talented QB, trust them with high percentage throws to make the run effective in killing the clock and putting teams away.

  16. Will Trane

    Pro-style, veer, I formation, pistol, wing-t, spread…it gets down to solid blocking and execution for the offense. If Aaron Murray had made a few of those first half passes, he changes Buffs game plan. That would have forced them to pick up the pace and possibly thrown more. Last week the Wall Street Journal had an article about the type of players Nick Saban and Bama recruit. They look for a kid at least 6’1″. Then other skills. Alabama simply man-handled Michigan in addition to out coaching them on both sides of the ball. Michigan had no clue where Bama was wheh they had the ball. Their O line and QB play was always on the same page. Bama’s O line is tops. Georgia has a way to go, but Friend is putting in the players. Stacy Searels, a good coach, but he never recruited solid lineman and depth. He did not talk to the press, so why would you think he could talk to high school coaches and players. Friend is different. And Mark Richt has always had a management issue about rosters. If you think otherwise, explain the numbers now. Look at the QBs in fold vs the TEs, WRs, and secondary, and the O line depth last year. Richt is out of the “old Miami offense”. That is what he trusts in. It served him well at FSU [because they just more and better players than any team in the ACC].
    Fans like teams that win and that score alot…so do the polls. Can Georgia do that with a no-huddle, pro-style offense. I think so. Whether you use the spread, I, or pro-style, it gets down to whether you run the ball successfully. Boise State ran the ball real well, and in their scheme is was hard to tell if they were going to run or to throw. Their O line was always good. Their record in recent years proved that. I think Will Friend knows what an O line looks like, and is on pace to get their. How many guys did he play Saturday vs the opener last year. Understand the heat. Missouri wil be a strong indicator where he and the O line is at. But I think they can play.

  17. As outsiders, its really hard for us to know how good a coach Mike Bobo really is. In broad principle, the point that Stafford and Gruden make is a vaild one. UGA’s schemes more closely mirror a pro style NFL offense than a spread based offense. In some senses, that is a very good thing. They dont run the spread in the NFL because it can be defended with great athletes and speed. Thus, NFL offenses are some version of West Coast (timing passing game) or running/play action pass. the closest thing to the spread in the NFL is probably New England or New Orleans with all their multi-receiver sets, but neither is predicated on a QB running game or some type of run/pass option. More broadly, “the spread” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. there is the mike leach “air raid” spread that essentially is a current day version of the original lavell edwards byu passing scheme from the 70s/80s. there is the urban meyer/mullen spread which is more similar to what oregon runs, which is really more of an option offense. The bottom line is that it is path that Richt and Bobo have opted not to take, and I think all of us understand why.

    My issue with Bobo are fourfold.

    First, he often seems to undervalue possession of the football. This was particularly egregious against Buffalo when we threw long on a couple third downs instead of trying a higher percentage pass play. That has broad implications for our overall chances of winning games, as our defense does not benefit from facing fewer snaps.

    Second, he seems to view all the players interchangeably and rarely seems to utilize them for plays that suit their skills particularly well. Hence, it seems like we rarely fit together efficiently and consistently. Additionally, we have players that show flashes of potential through their careers, but often are disappointments because we choose not to use them right.

    Third, for all the talk of interacting with Gruden or others, it seems like there is neither a lot of proprietary innovation OR “leading edge” research on things like packaged plays.

    fourth, it seems he calls plays like a kid playing a video game. there seems to be no rhyme or reason the way he mixes series in terms of running and passing. At times, I wonder if the play he called reflects any relationship to the prior play. Of course there are examples like Saturday, where he called the same WR pass three straight times.
    Obviously, he was setting that up for the double pass, but again, that is a lot of repetition to run a relatively low percentage play where you ask a WR to make a QB throw and a RB to make a WR catch. Now maybe he hopes to back Missouri’s corners up so he can run that play a lot this week without attempting the double pass….who knows?

    • Cojones

      Will, you had me by my namesake(s) until “First…..”.

    • RocketDawg

      Let me offer a rebuttal of sorts to your points about Bobo. Don’t get me wrong I think he has his short comings as well, but don’t we all in some way?

      1) He doesn’t value possession of the football- You cite the long throws on 3rd down (i.e. low percentage throws) as an example. Depending on the look that the defense gives going to the deep route may be the correct read for the QB or Aaron may have just felt like chucking it deep. The point is that Bobo didn’t send in the play as “throw it deep and let’s see what happens” . On 3rd and short or 3rd and medium the defense might flatten out (the safeties come up closer to the line) so short dump offs aren’t going to work, where if you get a T. King singled up on a CB with no help deep from the Safety you almost have to throw that pass. This is more of an execution issue than a playcalling one.

      2) I disagree with the notion that he views players interchageably to a degree. That bubble screen play that we ran on Saturday was one we used to run to AJ all the time to get the ball in our best players hands. In this case he ran it primarily to T. King and a couple of times to Wooten who also has great speed and the shake to make a man miss. As a coach though you have to expect your players to be somewhat interchangeable or you telegraph what you are doing to the defense by your personnel packages.

      3) Does there really have to be any “innovation” for an offense to work? Alabama didn’t do anything flashy at all, they ran the ball and threw off play action which is pretty much what we do as well. I could care less if our offense looks like Oregons or Auburns circa 2010 as long as we move the ball and score points. Both of which have been at an all time high with Bobo as OC.

      I used to howl in the early 2000’s for CMR to hire an OC and not do it himself, if you want to see some predictable offense go back and watch those tapes. The thing that set him apart was all the talent on the Offensive line (except ’03) and the talent at the QB position in knowing how to get out of a bad play and into a good one.

    • 81Dog

      no offense, but if I’m choosing between a. your concerns or b. Gruden and Stafford, I’m going with b.

      Clearly, Mike Bobo doesnt understand football if he undervalues possession of the ball and cant/wont differentiate between what skills different players have. That seems like a ridiculous premise to me.

      I’m not sure what your third concern means. Should Bobo install the A-11 offense? Should we be running more end around passes, or flea flickers? What exactly IS “proprietary innovation” or “leading ege research on…pacakaged plays”? Is that something Apple is going to sue UGA over?

      your fourth concern sounds snarky but makes no sense. I hear complaints all the time that “Everyone in my section could call every play Bobo calls before the play.” Your complaint seems to be that no one, especially Bobo, has any idea what play he’ll call next. You cant figure out his pattern, or his plan. Isn’t that a good thing?

    • Dawgaholic

      You let us all know the extent of your football knowledge by claiming the screens were to set up the WR pass – not the case at all. WR pass was a wrinkle off a staple play to keep other defenses honest this year.

      • First of all, the passes to King and wooten were not screen passes, as there was no OL action of letting defenders get penetration and lead blocking.

        Second, look at the action on all three plays, Bennett the inside WR lead blocks the play. He ran the play three times to draw the safety up for the double pass. While running the double pass could have a positive effect on how teams try to defend the more staple play, it is still a low percentage play.

  18. OKDawg

    I have not been a Bobo apologistover the years, but I admit that has more to do with my personal interactions with him when we were at UGA together. I also admit that I have matured quite a bit since my college days, so I owe him some grace in expecting he has done the same (rather than assuming he has not). I do appreciate hearing Gruden and Stafford’s comments in support and admiration of him, considering they are in the arena.