Georgia’s offense: fun with numbers

While I was putting together this week’s Dawg stat watch, I came across some numbers that tell an interesting tale about Georgia’s offense this season.

If you’ll recall, one notable thing that Mike Bobo accomplished last season was to speed up Georgia when it had the ball.  It took a little while to get things going, but his strategy worked.  Georgia led the conference in total number of offensive plays, averaging 72.57 plays per game.  That helped the Dawgs finish third in the SEC in total offense.

In 2012, the Dawgs are again third in total offense, but they’ve gotten there by a different route.  Given the influx of fast-paced spread offenses into the conference, it was logical to expect Georgia to slide some in total plays ranking, but it turns out the Dawgs are down to a pretty lowly ninth.   Even LSU has run more plays than Georgia has.

But where the offense has made up for that is yards per play.  And it’s done that with a vengeance:  Georgia is first in the SEC, at nearly seven yards per play.  That’s an improvement from 2011 of about 1.3 yards per play.  It’s hardly insignificant.

It’s even more eye-popping when you look at things from a national perspective.  Georgia ranks fifth in the country in yards per play.  It’s averaging more yards per play than Oregon.  That’s pretty freakin’ remarkable.  In fact, behind an offensive line that could be described as a work in progress, it’s downright astounding.

Some of that’s attributable to Aaron Murray’s progress at becoming a more efficient quarterback.  And some of that’s attributable to a running game that’s been more consistent than last year’s.  But it’s also due to Georgia’s penchant for hitting the big play – the Dawgs are now third in the country in plays from scrimmage of 20 yards or more.

In other words, this really may the year that Mike Bobo deserves some slack from Georgia fans.

69 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

69 responses to “Georgia’s offense: fun with numbers

  1. And when you consider that the stats from the South Carolina game are factored in there, it becomes even more remarkable.

  2. gastr1

    If Murray does happen to return next year the offense is going to be unbelievable, especially if we get Tunsil to take over left tackle.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Murray returning next year is a near certainty. He is in the first year of a 2 year graduate program and has plenty of question marks as a NFL QB to want to come back and finish his doctorate.

      This issue is whether our defense will be able to keep up next year. We are going to be green as grass.

      • Ginny

        Kids like Jordan Jenkins, Damian Swann and Garrison Smith give me hope for our defense next year.

        • Joe Schmoe

          Not saying we won’t have any talent but we sure won’t have a lot of experience.

        • Macallanlover

          I am also feeling less concern about the defense next year. We certainly will not return as many marquis names, nor as many starters, but between injuries and suspensions we have worked several underclassmen into the mix with satisfactory results. We entered 2012 onfident in our defense and with major concerns about the offense due to the OL questions and inexperience at RB. While the defense has improved of late, the offense has definitiely carried us to where we are. Who knows, the offense looks to be top dawg going into 2013, but the defense may be the big surprise. LB is my key concern at this point and we always need to improve our pass coverage.

          • Gravidy

            Continuing your point… most years it seems UGA’s preseason perceptions regarding strengths and weaknesses are dead wrong. That alone is enough to give me hope for next year’s defense. You KNOW the meme for the entire off season will be hand-wringing over the huge loss of talent and experience on defense.

            • Macallanlover

              It has been true several times. When was it we had the #1 ranked OL and could make a 3rd and inches against anyone all year long (including 1AA teams)? I am willing to be surprised next year with a standout defense. I have been impressed the last two weeks with 2-3 up and comers on defense, it has given me hope for next year. And there are a couple of highly rated young defenders that may be developing better than we might know. Maybe….please.

              • Joe Schmoe

                2-3 up and comers doesn’t create the ability field a competitive group of 11 on defense… not to mention depth.

                • Macallanlover

                  But it is a nucleus to build from with other players who were forced into playing time this year. Add a developing player or two and the defense might not be “shut down” good (like this one was supposed to be) but it may be good enough that a very good offense could provide cover. Oregon, WVU, Clemson, Arkansas, etc. have been doing things that way for years. My point is a defense that loses 10 starters might not be as bad as that sounds since we have several players who have gotten a handful of starts and shown some development.

      • The other Doug

        x2 There is almost no chance Murray leaves after this year.

        • W Cobb Dawg

          Agree. AM has extreme difficulty against good college teams, not to mention being height-challenged. I don’t believe the NFL is an option for him unless he has a growth spurt and sheds his deer-in-the-headlights problems.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Murray was the preseason #5 rated QB in the nation by Bleacher Report after Matt Barkley, Geno Smith, Tyler Wilson and Landry Jones. Murray’s performance thus far this season hasn’t hurt his standing. I think he actually has passed Jones and Wilson and maybe Geno has dropped behind him based on WVa’s last 3 games. Are those other guys going to get drafted? If the answer to that question is “yes” it is logical to assume that Murray would also be drafted if he came out. First pick of the draft–no way! First rounder? Probably not. Second round? More likely. How much are they paying to high second round draft picks these days? Several million dollars you say? Hmmmmm…..I wouldn’t bet the ranch on Murray coming back next year.

    • JasonC

      I want Tunsil bad too, but if you look at how Theus has struggled at RT, don’t expect Tunsil to come in and dominate at LT (a harder position).

      To the Senator’s note about the ppg, last week Seth E incorrectly said UGA plays a hurry-up offense. That isn’t true this year. As Tyler D has noted, we play no huddle, but there is no hurry in our O. Often we snap it with :02 on the play clock.

  3. Honey Bobo…give him some slack!

  4. DugLite

    I blame Bobo……..uhhhhhh…….I mean Todd Gratham.

  5. Krautdawg

    Not to throw cold water on the party, but beyond SC and UF we haven’t really played a team with a defense this year. This isn’t to say I’m complaining about the numbers — these are the kinds of numbers we were *supposed* to have against the same types of teams in ’04 and ’08. I simply fear one specific thing: if teams take away our big plays, can we still compete? The answer thus far appears to be “if something makes us angry, yes.” Here’s to Saban saying we’re soft.

  6. reipar

    Great now Richt has lost control of the Senator. Give Bobo some slack…please.

  7. We’re leading the conference in yards per play because we understand what offensive balance really is – the confidence to run any play in the game plan in most down/distance combinations. Tailbacks that run downhill and receivers who provide match-up problems don’t hurt either. A QB who can get the ball to his playmakers certainly helps as well.

  8. ChicagoDawg

    “Georgia ranks fifth in the country in yards per play. It’s averaging more yards per play than Oregon.” That is shocking to be sure. I can’t recall a GA team with more +30yd plays than this one has produced.

    • Macallanlover

      Me too. I don’t care whose defense you have played, to be ahead of Oregon in any offensive category is impressive. That said, the OL performance against SC still gives me nightmares. Penetration like that will shut down any team’s offense. It has to be shored up for us to win in Atlanta or we could have another Columbia on our hands. I think that was solely responsible for the loss, we had no answer that night for what they brought. Just have to tip your hat to them, but this game is much bigger and we need to have learned our lesson. Pretty sure the pygmy has seen the film, he may not have the talent at DE but he will bring the heat up front all night.

      • AusDawg85

        And this will be the true measure of CMB. An offense with big weapons hitting big plays is great for wins and stats, but when things go wrong, what have been the adjustments? True..a LOT of failed player execution can’t be hung on the coaching scheme.

        I just wish he’d call a game like last week more often. Much more often.

        P.S. Little Nicky hates the true hurry-up…maybe we really ought to work on that some the next 3 weeks?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          +1. In spite of what I said on the thread above this one, if Saban doesn’t like the hurry-up we ought to give him a REALLY big dose of the hurry-up.

  9. DawgPhan

    If Murray returns next year he will finish as the most prolific passer in SEC history, but I overheard someone in line this AM to vote complaining about Murray being an average QB..

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Stupidity is rampant when it comes to CFB. The other night Mrs. Mayor and I had dinner with a friend of hers who went to college at Auburn who made a disparaging comment about CMR. I pointed out that CMR’s UGA teams had beaten Auburn 5 out of the last 6 times that they played. Her reply: “So what? I can’t remember back that far.”

  10. Slaw Dawg

    With output like this, Mike Bobo won’t be around much longer. When he’s earning his head coaching chops at, say, a Furman or maybe even a UTEP, the blame Bobo bellyachers will be asking why UGA didn’t pony up enough $ to keep him in Athens.

    • DawgPhan

      Most dawg fans need another school to come after Bobo to confirm that he is actually a great OC. Seeing points scored in buckets isnt enough. They need someone to pony up some cash to prove he is a boss.

      • I heard Auburn is looking at our Honey Bobo.

        • James Stephenson

          And he would be a great get for them. Good recruiter, can run an offense so he could get a special teams coach and D coach. We will lose him soon, unless people think he is waiting on the Georgia job, which is a possibility.

    • I am on record over the years as being a Bobo Backer & Fan.
      I believe he has done a better job than Richt did when he was his own OC.
      Bobo is on track to becoming a very successful BCS Team HC.
      He will be missed if he leaves.

  11. Corbindawg

    Senator, I have been astonished for a long time that fans keep harping on Bobo. The offense has improved leaps and bounds since Richt was calling plays.

    But, the naysayers will point out that the talent is making up for bad coaching. When the unit (or team) is playing poorly, it is the coach’s fault. When the team is doing well, it is becuase the talented players are making plays.

    • Debby Balcer

      +1 and some fans are ready to boo at the drop a hat. You didn’t hear them majing any noise Saturday except to boo .

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      As a former Bobo naysayer at OC (I’ve always thought he was a good QB coach), let me say in defense that today’s Bobo is not the same Bobo that he used to be. He’s learned through on-the-job training. In 2010 Bobo made more bad calls that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory than I have ever seen one coach make in one season–ever. But he’s learned from his mistakes. Now he is a damn good OC.

      • Corbindawg

        Please humor me…how many bad calls did Mike Bobo make in 2010 that snatched defeat from the jaws from victory? How were Ealey’s fumbles on the goal line against South Carolina and Mississippi State his fault? How was King’s fumble against Colorado his fault? How was an asinine NCAA suspension to the best WR in school history that left them shorthanded 4 games his fault? And finally, how can you blame an OC whose offense scored 32 ppg?

        • Carolinadawg

          Bobo’s maddening propensity in years past to suddenly stop going with what was working, and shift to what didn’t work, and then stubbornly keep trying to make it work, has been well documented. He (and/or Richt) has clearly grown as an play caller.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I posted extensively about the coaching blunders that occurred in the 2010 Colorado game, the 2010 Arkansas game and the 2010 Florida game, among others. I will not repeat those extensive posts here but I believe you can find them on this site and commend them to you in answer to your questions posed above.

  12. Dawg19

    Just uploaded this…enjoy…

  13. Cojones

    OK, I’ll say it: Bobo is the best O coach in the best conference in CFB. His O has done well and sufficient to win most games we have played. The D takes responsibility for some of our losses, not Bobo.

    The naysayers were chagrined that they couldn’t bring up anything else concerning Richt, lost the “Fire Richt” argument and promptly switched to Bobo, creating their own brand of enmity while running him down. Then, thanks to the same stats that many were using to lambast Bobo, the stats were viewed/compared nationally and the idiocy of the downers’s remarks became apparent for all to see (and a few to never see) when skewering Bobo. Many got caught up in the fever of pugnacious remarks and piled on.

    Bobo was never in the picture that many painted , but felt they had to support it as followers of their own pome ‘d rue rationalizations.. Bobo was a victim of remarks about his imperfections turned to eviscerative “Fire Bobo” shouts. Until many just began making fun of the meme whenever it was brought up, those people had a fieldday. After the Senator picked up on national comparisons of O coaches and Bobo listed in the top 5 of the country, things gradually slowed to a reasonable crawl. Those numbers keep growing in Bobo’s favor, but he should never have been placed under the false microscope to begin with.

    He’s a great O coach and we are lucky to have him, Richt and Grantham.

  14. Cosmic Dawg

    Ah…well, dadgum, I don’t want to be Mr. Negative, here, and I think Bobo has done a fine job this year. But when you sort those CFB Stats to show offense against teams with winning records, for instance, or in other ways, I think you begin to see that our strength of schedule has inflated our numbers. I’m happy to have those numbers, and do not begrudge us our schedule, but I’m not convinced we can discount the fact that Boise State alone could have skewed these numbers somewhat, even when we compare ourselves to ourselves…

    But yes, am personally very proud of the way the offensive line has stepped up – they are playing to their potential better than last year’s line played to theirs, I believe.

    Also, my takeaway from paragraph #2 and #3 is that in this tiny statistical sample, I wonder if we find the seeds of what I have wondered/argued on here before – is there any reason to believe that running more plays = higher output? We rank third in offense both years, with dramatically different numbers of plays run.

    I think we have the causality backwards. An offense that scores a lot of points or has a high ypp average is likely to run more plays because they are more efficient (fewer punts). But an offense that sets out to run more plays by moving quickly may simply succeed in punting more quickly, so that both teams actually run more plays without any proof of efficiency.

    And if it is true that you can score more by running more plays, I’d like to see a study on whether or not teams that increase points for by running more plays also see increased points by their opponents because both teams run more plays when the tempo of the game is increased.

    • On SOS, Sagarin ranks Georgia’s 39th and Oregon’s 47th.

      • Joe Schmoe

        This whole “well, our stats aren’t as good against teams with winning records” crap is silly. Is there a single team in the FBS that has played teams with winning records every week? Every team has padded their stats against bad teams.

          • Cosmic Dawg

            No, it’s not crap, because some teams play more bad teams than others. You think it’s unfair to give Alabama’s numbers against Michigan more weight than our numbers against Buffalo?

            The whole question of comparisons in cfb is difficult, even year over year for the same team. And it is certainly hard to figure is how much better one winning team may be than another winning team, and teams are even in flux during a season, so you may catch a great team on a down day. I’m not saying the stat is the end-all be-all.

            But the “vs winning teams” stats are on the same website The Senator uses to make the other arguments, and I think they are interesting and at least reduce the number of variables a little, bringing you an eyelash closer to what you’re hoping to figure out.

            So if you take any of the stats we’re looking at as useful, given all the variables, then kicking this one out because it says something you don’t like isn’t cricket.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        Yeah, I’m not arguing the comparison between Georgia and Oregon. For what it’s worth, I think Georgia would edge Oregon in a game, so my point and your Bobo appreciation are both validated by the SOS..

        I’m not saying I know how to properly weigh all the variables, but I do think strength of schedule is something to consider when talking about any stats, and ought to inform our opinions without dampening our enthusiasm. How’s that?

    • Cojones

      Your thinking is spot on, Cos. It’s always refreshing to see a diff take on a subject and that it stands up as good reasoning.

      This blog gets funner and funner.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Good point Cosmic. This years O has definitely focused more on TDs, whereas I felt previous years we were just running plays for the sake of running plays. The good thing is CMB may be more confident and adjusting better than he has in past years. However, in the last few games I believe we’re considerably less aggressive on O than we were earlier in the season. We’ve seen several 3rd & longs, where we’ve sent our receivers just a few yards down field (far short of the first down marker) – this infuriating tradition of ours has lead to many a punt instead of first downs.

      • Joe Schmoe

        Like when we called that ball fake on 3rd and 1 down 10? Or when we threw for the end zone on 3rd and 25 instead of playing for the FG?

      • Cosmic Dawg

        “The good thing is CMB may be more confident and adjusting better than he has in past years.”

        Yes, agree with this for sure.

  15. The Lone Stranger

    When your top two tailbacks average better than 6 yards-per-pop, an offense can do some things. Then, sprinkle in 1st Down play-action and an opponent will be on their collective heels until the cows come home.

  16. Macallanlover

    Boy this group has gone full circle on CMB (and will again if, and when, UGA loses again). Two things from the above, 1) Johnny Football would never be allowed to free wheel at UGA the way he does at A&M and 2), I don’t want to play Oregon. Give me K State, ND, USC, tosu, but not Oregon this year. Our defense would have their tongues hanging on the grass before mid-3rd Qtr.