Ah, yes. The “B” word. Mike Bobo’s mantra.
Except I’m not sure that word means what he says it means. Here’s the full quote:
“I always think you’ve got to be – I say it all the time – balanced. And you’ve got to be able to run the ball in this league. Just going back every year and kind of doing a self-study, the years that we had over 500 carries as an offense we were always pretty successful and ending the season very well in a higher bowl with more wins. So our goal going into this year was to rush it for over 500 attempts. We’ve maybe rushed it a little more than I thought we would. [Emphasis added.] But we’re always going to run the ball. We’re always going to give the element of getting in a two-back set and make guys fit those runs and play those runs, which is a little bit different than what guys are seeing, and then still give the ability to spread out. I think that’s what makes us hard to defend. We’re not your traditional two-back team and that’s all we’re going to do. We’ll get in spread. We’ll go hurry-up and run a lot of different things. But we still always want to let guys know we’re at the ballpark by being physical.”
“A little more”? Actually, Georgia is on pace to set a record for highest percentage of running plays in the last decade. And it’s not really even close.
2014 — 63.6 percent runs
2013 — 51.4 percent runs
2012 — 56.8 percent runs
2011 — 57.2 percent runs
2010 — 55.9 percent runs
2009 — 56.4 percent runs
2008 — 51.6 percent runs
2007 — 58.4 percent runs
2006 — 55.4 percent runs
2005 — 55.6 percent runs
Note that prior to this season, the three years above with the high percentage of running attempts (’07, ’11 and ’12) resulted in a 33-8 record, two SEC title game appearances and a BCS bowl game for Georgia’s teams.
That’s where the talent is this season. It’s an enormous swing from 2013, which makes sense when you think about it, because after the first half of the Tennessee game, Georgia was playing only true freshmen at tailback until Florida and even after that, played them when Gurley needed a blow. (And Gurley was hurt prior to Tennessee.) Aaron Murray was by far Mike Bobo’s best bet as the horse to ride. This year, with Murray’s departure, even with Georgia again playing true freshmen tailbacks, the talent has swung from the quarterback position to running back. Bobo’s just following the talent.
But there’s more to it than that, though. Bobo’s been able to rely on the running game as much as he has because the course of most of Georgia’s games this season have let him do so. As he describes it,
On whether there have been games this season he planned to throw it more …
BOBO: “There’s no question. Even in this game (against Auburn), I thought we’d have to throw it a little bit more. But the defense was playing well, and we got the lead, and we were just trying to keep the ball away from that offense. And grinding out first downs was the way to go. Each game kind of dictates how we go. There’s a mindset we want with into each game of what we’re trying to do, but sometimes if you have success running the ball early and are keeping the defense off the field, we’ll stick with what works.”
I would suggest that’s exactly what you want out of your offensive coordinator. Let him sing all the praises to balance he wants. Me, I’ll hum “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” all day long. Just keep doing what you’re doing, Coach.