Is Mike Bobo reaching for a new box of crayons?

If there are still questions surrounding Hutson Mason – and there seem to be (“Georgia certainly holds promise, but quarterback Hutson Mason still needs to show he can carry an offense…”) – you’d have to think that’s a bit unfair in that he’s missing a couple of his most potent weapons in Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley.  Richt is still a little closed-mouth about their health, but Mark Schlabach sheds a little light on their current status:

Mitchell, a junior who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, is still recovering from preseason surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. He watched the Clemson game from the sideline and wasn’t using crutches or wearing a brace. Mitchell, who is probably UGA’s most explosive receiver, isn’t expected back for the South Carolina game, but might be ready to play against Tennessee on Sept. 27. Scott-Wesley, who had 16 catches for 311 yards with two touchdowns last season, might be ready to return from a high ankle sprain in time to play the Gamecocks.

One is better than none, of course, but that’s still a little disappointing, even if you’re somebody like me that thought it was going to be a slow return for the two.

That begs the question of whether the injuries to them are a controlling factor in the way Bobo is directing the offense, or if there’s something bigger going on.

A healthy Todd Gurley and a talented trio of running backs behind him showed Saturday against Clemson that pounding the ball with a potent ground game could give the Bulldogs’ a different identity on offense this season.

“We’ll see,” center David Andrews said. “I like it and I think the running backs like it. We’ve got enough of them where we can do it and keep them fresh.”

… Georgia still scored 45 against Clemson with quarterback Mason going 18 of 26 for 131 yards.

Mason didn’t need to put up big numbers through the air this time with the way the running backs were going and the room the offensive line provided.

That last sentence is the key.  Mason threw for a lot more yardage in his earlier starts, but passing yards weren’t needed to put down the Tigers.  So I don’t know that Saturday night signals a big philosophical change in Georgia’s offense as much as it shows Bobo’s maturity in fashioning a successful game plan against a specific opponent.  Let’s wait and see what he has up his sleeve for South Carolina.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

65 responses to “Is Mike Bobo reaching for a new box of crayons?

  1. Jim

    I am assuming that once jsw is ready to play he will have to serve his suspension, no?

    • That’s not the way Schlabach makes it sound.

      • Jim

        Hope he’s right but that would seem unusual/contrary to our approach to discipline.

        • Not exactly the same situation, and I don’t remember all the details, but in 2009 Bruce Figgins had received like a 6 game suspension or something like that. However, he had also had shoulder surgery during the offseason, and he ended up just taking a redshirt for the whole year. But the determination was made by Richt and the administration that they could count Figgins’ suspension as having been served during 2009, even though he redshirted. So he arguably didn’t really lose any playing time due to the suspension. A more strict interpretation would have been “Well, you redshirted anyway, so you still need to serve a suspension”, and made him sit out the first 6 games of 2010.

          Those things are a gray area. Again, not EXACTLY the same situation as JSW, but not entirely different either. Out due to injury, but perhaps could have played, so we will allow that to serve as the suspension. That’s why I’m not too worked up about Muschamp’s decision reinstating those guys. Again, some gray areas in those situations.

      • Cojones

        Right, Senator, but he didn’t seem to get the word that the suspension was there without us knowing he would be injured. Why should there be a double penalty (injured and can’t play anyway) where punishment is meted out after he’s well? We have known about this for some time and not a ripple of dissent or mixed messages sent. It ain’t anywhere near the subterfuge of kicking off and not playing a down and then saying a player has been punished on a technicality. That’s plain confusing horseshit.

  2. The other Doug

    What’s going to happen when Gurkey and Co don’t have a few huge runs? We are going to have to drive the field. That’s the part that makes me nervous. Maybe I just worry too much. 🙂

  3. fuelk2

    I personally don’t think JSW makes a big difference this year anyway. Mitchell is much more of a “take a short pass the distance” type of guy, while JSW is a true deep threat. I know the sample size is small and you don’t have to complete every attempt to be an effective downfield passer, but pushing the ball downfield is not Mason’s strength. Both of those downfield passes that drew PI calls should have been TDs.

    • Doggoned

      Agreed. I don’t see us completing a lot of bombs this year. Better chance of throwing short and breaking something. Mason isn’t going to grow an arm overnight.

      • JG Shellnutt

        Doesn’t have to be completed, though. Just need a speedy downfield threat to get the safety’s attention and position changed. Presumably we can use any of our speed demons to accomplish this. Need that safety out of the way for other routes and for less congestion on runs.

      • Cojones

        He didn’t grow an arm overnight. It was “OK” last year, but with tutelage from Bobo’s father over the summer, his accuracy speed and length of pass showed well in fall practice. I have no doubt he can sling it, when necessary, with the arm that grew this summer.

        I hope like everything that opponents start cheating up in the secondary because he will burn their ass with a long one. All he needs is that bullet racing downfield to get under it. They will be back soon and in the meantime we have a few speedsters (who have been under wraps so far) who can come in for a play to keep Ds honest. Yall gotta stop worrying about what ain’t.

    • Sh3rl0ck

      A big component of having a deep threat is to keep the safeties back and reduce the amount of press coverage. This opens up the running game and the short to intermediate passing game. Then, when they bring the safeties down to stop the run and the screen game, you have a play-making deep threat for play-actioning over their heads. All of the components of Bobo’s offense are needed to be truely effective. They all exist in balance.

  4. Bulldog Joe

    We can still do this, if needed…

  5. Macallanlover

    I am not panicked about the passing numbers…yet, but we will have to get better when we face defenses capable of slowing our running game. The biggest concerns to me was the receivers and Mason not being on the same page with adjustments, and no sign that we have a red zone attack. Of course the latter RZ concern was minimized by us scoring from long distance but you have to wonder about what we will be like. Murray was really good at find people and finishing drives when we got in close.

    • Cojones

      What about Hutson’s score? Wasn’t that RZ?

      • Macallanlover

        Yes, on a QB sneak. I was speaking of a passing game in tight confines. I felt confident that AM was going to get it in the end zone with a pass if they stuffed the running lanes, I didn’t have that feel based on the timing/connectivity I saw between Mason and the receivers; passes have to be very precise in that area and being on the same page is doubly significant because so many defenders are nearby.

  6. Normaltown Mike

    Glass half-empty: Mason can’t throw the deep ball
    Glass half-full: Mason threw for three TD’s on Saturday (3 toss sweeps)

  7. Michael

    I don’t think that the game balance changed from last year. In this game, like last year, approximately 70 plays were run. Murray had games where he threw many fewer than Mason’s 26 attempts – that is overlooked because last year’s available pieces made it much more likely that Murray had substantially more yards per completion. Difference in arm strength could be a legitimate reason in conjunction with other personnel, such as green TEs. Don’t let the fact that we were overly successful running at the end obscure the fact that we were just running the clock out. This is the same CMR and Bono offense as last year. Given their record of success, we shouldn’t expect change from balanced, I-formation with pistol, SEC-esque football. Go Dawgs!

  8. DB
    1. You’re implying Mason could have put up big numbers if he wanted, there’s no reason to believe that since he didn’t.
    2. You’re assuming we will suddenly become a dominant rushing team based off one game, that’s been the case over a season since Bobo’s been in charge–ever.
    3. People are misjudging what the loss of JSW and MM mean to the offense, it is devastating, just look at the loss to Vanderbilt last year, and look at some of Murray’s passer ratings without those 2 guys
    4. You’re really basing a whole season of projected rushing prowess based on one outstanding rushing quarter, talk about small sample size
    5. I do not believe we will see JSW or MM for the South Carolina game. Will be interesting to see how Spurrier’s defense schemes.

    Cool the jets folks, it was a quarter of outstanding ball on both sides, but hardly enough to be going this crazy. Talk to me after we play Spurrier, Mizzou, Muschamp, and Auburn.

    It’s a long season.

    • Cojones

      You are correct, but we’re going to run around crazy like Dawg puppies at play until somthin’ bad happens. If you haven’t noticed we are in good shape physically after beating a damn good opponent and have two weeks to game a mouthy coach who requires gagging. One gag coming up.

      • DB

        bad advice. If we get to up and full of ourselves, the season is done.

      • DB

        We’re still down the top 2 wr’s to injuries, and Marshall did not look sharp and he’s our #2 RB, so that’s not good as far as health goes.

        • Cojones

          Good Lord! We have at least 4 more players to throw in for long shots (much like Boykin was used) and if you pin your pessimism to Marshall not having a good night and overlook the 3 RBs who had a good night plus other RBs used sparingly, but successfully, then you gotta be a troll.

          • DB

            No, what I’m saying is when Chubb & Michel are in, we are more vulnerable in Pass Pro than when Marshall is in and pretty much telegraph it’s a running play. Marshall gives you more options on offense because he can run, he can catch, and he can block, at least when he’s healthy.

    • I’m not implying anything.

      You need to work on your reading comprehension skills, assuming you’re not simply trolling.

      • DB

        Not trying to be negative, just need to temper this, to help our team.

        Spurrier is trying to get us too cocky, that’s why he said he didn’t feel like anyone could tackle Gurley and bragged on our defense.

        You said in your article:
        “That last sentence is the key. Mason threw for a lot more yardage in his earlier starts, but passing yards weren’t needed to put down the Tigers.”

        Since you said it was the key, I assumed you meant it was more important.

        Just thought it was a poor assumption to assume because Mason threw for “a lot more yardage in his earlier starts”, that he could have just turned it on against Clemson. I believe he tried,
        and even threw a long one to Bennett that should have been picked off, but it was just not there considering the injuries to MM & JSW.

        You might be right, but for whatever reason, he didn’t have a big passing day, but I was pleased with Hutson Mason’s leadership, poise, and results.

        • I don’t really care if you’re negative.

          I do care that you either don’t understand the meaning of the word “if”, or just conveniently ignore it.

          • DB

            I appreciate that.

            I just want us all to try and help our boys get ready for the next game, and although it’s hard to not gloat after a big win, we need to correct our weaknesses and get better to keep the streak going.

            We need to look ahead.

            • Out of curiosity, how exactly are “you” or “we” going to help our boys get ready for a win?

              • Rickdawg

                BDB rightty there. Ain’t 1 damn thang “we” can do to help these players on a friggin blog, da playas dont’s reads the internets anymore, shoot, they prob jus watch espn perty much.

  9. Charles

    As a fan base, it’ll take us a while to ween ourselves off of Aaron Murray. Hutson Mason is NOT Aaron Murray. But, the redeeming thing is that Hutson doesn’t have to be in order for him to be successful.

    Here’s what I suspect:
    1.) The main imperative is for Hutson to take care of the ball. Don’t put our defense (that young secondary, in particular) in bad spots. Aaron had so much balls and moxie (and the guy was so studied in the film room) that he tried to force some things. Don’t do that, brah. (BTW, those true freshman backs will fumble sometimes. It’s just the way it is.)

    2.) A lot of the carping about special teams was warranted. But, I can see the rationale for PUNT SAFE, Y’ALL!!! Last year we had a buzzsaw for an offense. Why risk it when we know that our QB can march right down the field on anyone? Welp, until Hutson can prove otherwise, those days are over. This team can’t take an inch for granted. And I think we saw that attitude on Saturday not only in the aggressiveness of the special teams, but in how well the O-line played. Productive special teams. Solid o-line play. Sound defense. A bruising stable of backs. These things will allow Hutson to be Hutson, without putting toooo much on his shoulders as he develops early on.

    3.) Once MM and JSW are back, I see our passing game going peddle to the metal – lots of intermediate routes and bubble screens (those physical backs can pass block, baby!). Hutson by no means has a bad arm. Most anyone will be a step down from the laser-guided pigskin missiles that Aaron Murray slung all over the field. But, I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised at how deadly Hutson will be in bootlegs, quick outs, etc.

    With the aforementioned in mind, I’m really, really high on this team. I get the sense that there’s much more individual accountability on the field. Last year, the players/coaches seemed to put everything on Aaron’s shoulders to bail us out. That tells you everything you need to know about what a rare leader and talent the guy is. This time around, there will be strength in numbers. I hope.

    • DB

      What if MM and JSW don’t come back or get hurt again? You;re left with Reggie Davis & Rumph, largely unproductive, and Isaiah McKenzie, untested and undersized?

    • DB

      Hutson got us off to a good start with an early win over a top ranked team, was rare to win the first game against a ranked team in the AM era. Very refreshing. We needed a change.

    • Cojones

      Char’, you need to research Hutson some more. Doubt all you want, but please, quit selling him short. He not only had a great first game, but most here know he has more than was shown in the first game. Deliberate throwaways would have placed him in the high 70 % completions, probably. What’s not to like and get plumb excited about? He can run, pass and protect the ball with the best of them.

      My only worry was that he would be nervous. Didn’t appear so,and, with the added confidence under his belt, I think we have a lot more to see that will make us even more giddy.

      • Charles

        “I come not to Dawgrade Hutson Mason, but to praise Aaron Murray.”

        Brother, I think we’re on the same page here. My intention isn’t to sell Hutson short. But, I do think we have to acknowledge the reality that we’re going to see a drop off in pass production this year. You’d expect that when replacing, what, one of the leading passers in SEC history?

        I think there’s a lot of upside here. Bobo (and Richt) are amongst the best in the business in developing QBs. I hope we see Hutson do some great things!

    • JCDAWG83

      I guess I remember the Murray that could be counted on for three turnovers, usually one a pick six, in a big game. I also remember the Murray that, until last season, couldn’t seem to win a game against a ranked opponent. Murray was a DGD, but he was not a superstar qb in my opinion.

      Mason reminds me of Greene. He seems to be a good game manager and won’t beat us with dumb plays or trying to force a ball. He had 320 yards passing in the bowl game, so I know he can throw the ball. The pass to Bennett in the back of the end zone had plenty of speed on it and was placed perfectly, Bennett just missed catching it.

      • DB

        I too got sick of losing games against ranked teams with AM.

        Hutson, for one game, reminded me of McElroy at Bama, and that’s high praise. He could have cared less about his stats, and did what was best for the team.

        He led like a Champion.

        Hopefully, his chemistry and poise will continue to result in big wins.

        But right now, it’s just one game.

        • Olddawg 55

          One game at a time, DB. Settle in for the long haul..I think you’ll enjoy it. We have a competent QB who is used to winning and has lon studied for this job. We have an outstanding HC and a very good OC with a cast of dozens ready to perform. Sit back, have a Rip Van Winkle, relax…we’re off to the races..but one game at a time.

          • Rickdawg

            OD 55, we is 1-0, that’s the only number dat counts, rightty there. I don’t really keer bout no other Qb stats, that’s the one Saban looks at, and he got bout 4 rings.

      • Dawgfan Will

        I remember the Murray that had to overcome a shitty defense his last two years here. I remember the Murray who holds pretty much every SEC passing record. That shit don’t happen in a vacuum.

        • Rickdawg

          Rightty there DW. Murray set records for yards and touchdowns I do declare. Sure, we didn’t win a ring, or beat many ranked teams, but he tried pretty dang hard. Can’t fault the effort.

        • Rickdawg

          DW, I liked our defense in 2012′, hell we finished in the top 20 in scoring and forcing turnovers, bout all we could ask fer.

  10. DB

    Reggie Davis should not have been returning punts. It was the safe route. Isaiah McKenzie is better, was 3x more productive, so hopefully that will change.

    • Cojones

      Yeah, you confirmed your trolling. Stay around, we have some shanks for your butt.

      • DB

        What the hell are you talking about? I want the punt return to be a threat again, we finished 113th in punt return. I McKen got 24 yards on his return, Davis averaged maybe 7 yards?

        • 69Dawg

          Hey Thomas Brown, Coach Richt said that was the plan to get IM in the game but he did not want a true freshman to field the punts early in this game. Do yourself a favor and know what the hell you are talking about once in a while.

  11. Macallanlover

    No one has mentioned the dramatic play calling change from series #1 and #2. That first series was pure, old school UGA that anyone could have predicted (and Clemson did) but the 2nd time we had the ball looked like something out of Oregon’s play book in the beginning. Opened everything up for an offense that got totally stuffed in the beginning. Just wonder how much more of that new coloring box we will see in coming weeks.

    • No one has mentioned the dramatic play calling change from series #1 and #2.


      Bobo was patient and flexible. The first series yielded nothing, so he got creative with Michel and McKenzie and that got the offense moving.

      • Macallanlover

        OK, I do recall that. Maybe I was expecting more euphoria because it was especially memorable to me as I was still cleaning up the puke from the first three selections. Funny though, that opened it up but we never went that “extreme” again. That is fine with me as it turned out but I don’t see us churning out that many yards per carry against many defenses. I was pleased to see us bring back the toss sweep though; with the more mobile OL we seem to have, a strong lead blocker at FB, and the stable of backs we have that is a nightmare for DCs and cornerbacks to think about.

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    We have plenty of speed and talent at WR even without MM and JSW. I would like to see more intermediate passes – but Bluto’s already said that. And I’d like to see Marshall outside where he’s most dangerous. Mason doesn’t have to throw the bomb. Just getting it 20 yards downfield and letting the WR (or TE, or RB) break it the rest of the way is sufficient to keep the opposing D honest. I’m no fan of ‘dinking’ it downfield. IF CMB has a weakness, I’d say it’s overemphasis on very short passes. That’s low yardage and higher chances of a turnover IMHO.

    Having said all that, CMB has shown himself to be a top OC. So all our worries may be for naught.

    • DB

      I think we need to prepare like they are going to be out, MM & JSW.

      1. More Qb draws to keep the defense honest
      2. Double moves with extra protection
      3. More protection for the Qb like A & M did
      4. Trick plays
      5. Double moves, set it up early, then fake the lateral screen, go deep
      6. Legal pick plays (my fav)
      7. Some 3rd down and short plays with Bauta at Qb
      8. Fake Punt or onside kick early in the game
      9. HBack
      10. Stack 3 wide with speedsters McKen, Davis and Rumph with Michel in the slot.

  13. 69Dawg

    One of the biggest keys to the toss sweep was the WR’s blocking. They were taking out the off side DB’s like the grim reaper.

  14. DB

    I’d like to unleash Jay Rome and Jeb on South Carolina.

    Hutson loves his tight ends.

  15. DawgByte

    Sherlock Holmes wants to know the disposition of Jonathan Rumph… he seems to be residing again in the black hole of our bench!

    I think McKenzie made the case on Saturday that he’s worthy of receiving more passes.

  16. hot12dog


    • Macallanlover

      That is what you get when you put on that Yellow Jersey with the bulls eye on the back. Let them chase us for a while. If we prevail in Columbia there will be a strong welcome home for the young warriors. We kind of owe TN for spoiling a few seasons, time to start making them pay for it.

  17. FWIW, I don’t think our lack of a vertical passing game Saturday had anything to do with Mason. That’s No.1. But without JSW, it does take part of our game away, as it did last year when he went down. And we weren’t solid enough to overcome it, losing to Mizzou and Vandy.

    That might not be the case this year. We can stretch the field with Davis and Isaiah, and could have Saturday. But Bobo chose not to that. Which doesn’t mean he doesn’t think we can. Isaiah was still solid green, and besides we had other attack options.

    We’re just thin at WR right now, both experience and numbers-wise. For whatever reason, Rumph didn’t play at all. We’ll likely need JSW to finish the second half of the schedule, and have to hope he gets back to 100% fast, once he’s cleared. But just getting our newer guys more experience will help a lot, too, in terms of what we can do.

    For now, we’ll see what Bobo comes up with for SC. I have a feeling it’ll include a heavy dose of Gurley & Co. – duh. But the passing-game plan is what I want to see. It might also include some Gurley & Co., and could be part of the reason we didn’t see much of that Saturday.

  18. Mike Cooley

    Has anyone considered that Richt and Bobo might have known exactly what the running game was capable of and chose to beat Clemson that way because they didn’t want to show all of their cards to the Old Ball Sack. Yes, I realize that he knows what we do already in general terms. But isn’t it possible that Richt and Bobo have known for a while when they can expect JSW and MM back have figured out how to best deploy their available personnel and wanted to show the Old Ball Sack as little of it as possible?

  19. Rickdawg

    perty funny if ya thank bout it. All the injries for those receivers perty much forced CMB to run the damn ball, and lo and bhold, it worked.

    JSW, MM, and CC, top 3 pass targets all injred.

    CMB is a smart guy now.

    By accident.