Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Tough act to follow

Whew!  Talk about your deep dives, indeed.  Here’s over an hour digging into what Todd Monken pulled off last season.

tl;dl version?  He done good.  But, trust me, you should listen to the whole thing.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Will Mike Bobo remember the tight ends?

Seth Emerson ($$) suggests his recent history points to yes.

Auburn used multiple tight end sets 42.7 percent of the time in 2021, and South Carolina used them on 31.6 percent of plays in 2020. The last offense Bobo had at Colorado State in 2019 used double tight ends only 11.8 percent of the time, but that one tight end tended to be Trey McBride, who was the team’s third-leading receiver (45 catches, 560 yards, four touchdowns). McBride was a second-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in last year’s draft.

The production and usage totals for the past three offenses Bobo coordinated:

Well, if nothing else, I’d say Brock Bowers’ job is safe for now.



What’s your guess on this year’s percentage of 12 formation looks?



Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

The balance test

It seems to me there’s a pretty simple way to evaluate Mike Bobo’s chance for running a successful offense at Georgia this season, and it doesn’t involve looking at his previous record here, what he’s done in the intervening years or some elaborate analysis of scheme.

Just ask him for his current definition of balance on offense and compare it to this:


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The Smart offense

Graham Coffey has a useful post up that touches on something I raised before — the system that Mike Bobo is inheriting may have been implemented by Todd Monken, but its origin lies in what Kirby Smart wanted to do once he realized that continuing to run the same offense that got Georgia to the 2017 CFP title game was a dead end.

The change was not just about adjusting the run-pass ratio, either, although that certainly has evolved from Chaney to Monken.  Just as significant was a change in the running scheme.

The most defining characteristic of the Jim Chaney offense was his commitment to the Zone Run scheme. The 2018 Georgia offense ran Zone concepts on 88.1% of its rushing attempts. While Coley did commit to more passing plays in 2019, he also continued with his predecessor’s commitment to Zone. That year the Dawgs ran Zone concepts on 83.9% of their plays.

The reliance on Zone concepts meant UGA’s offensive line was designed to just go be big and move people straight downhill. In 2019 a very talented unit had a lot of missed assignments and a lot of games where it failed to effectively move people off the line of scrimmage. There were times that the passing game didn’t work because the run game wasn’t able to get enough of a push. There were others when the run game didn’t work because the passing game was ineffective. One could argue which phase of the game was the chicken versus the egg at the time, but the point is that UGA’s Zone concepts relied on RB’s who could properly read the full OL and find a crease. On a lot of plays they also needed all five linemen to move their men in order to be effective. If a defense had a defensive lineman who matched up favorably against one of Georgia’s linemen consistently then it could doom UGA’s run game for large spells. When it wasn’t working, Georgia did not have a release valve.

When Monken was hired he started to transform UGA’s run scheme. In 2020 the Bulldogs were 71.7% Zone Scheme. Then in 2021 he turned UGA into a team that was almost totally balanced between Zone vs Gap Scheme. The Bulldogs ran Zone on 51.7% of plays. That is something that is quite rare in football at any level. I believe it was his and Smart’s plan all along but it requires more nimble and athletic linemen to run the pulls that are part of the Gap Scheme run concepts.

As Graham points out, this didn’t happen overnight.  Smart hired Matt Luke (before Monken, remember) and Stacey Searels, both of whom have significant experience coaching gap blocking schemes.  It’s what he wants out of his offense.

This isn’t to say Mike Bobo won’t have any autonomy running Georgia’s offense, just that Kirby Smart isn’t handing over the keys to it and walking away.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“He was uniquely himself when it came to game planning.”

Mike Leach ($$) didn’t care what the defensive call was.

Hollingshead: He didn’t want all the different scenarios. He would be like: “I don’t care about any of that sh–. What if the safety does this? What if the corner does this?” He would always say: “Well, what if the cheerleader went to the 50-yard line and took a sh–?”



Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!, Strategery And Mechanics

If it ain’t broke…

Seth Emerson ($$) has an informative piece up about the once and future Mike Bobo.  We all know that late stage Bobo was able to direct some very productive offenses, as Seth lays out:

What ensued was what remains the most prolific three-year offensive run in Georgia history:

2012: Led the nation in yards per play.

2013: Set a program record with 4,085 passing yards despite myriad injuries to skill-position players.

2014: Set a program record (that still holds) with 41.3 points per game.

His old head coach spells out how Bobo made that happen.

“Everybody evolves, everybody grows into their role,” Richt said. “The key is to know a good idea when you see it and also to know your personnel and how to make the best use of your personnel. You have to be flexible enough to maybe do something a little different one year over the other maybe because you have a different skill set.”

Mike Bobo, flexible offensive coordinator.  So where does he go from here?  Richt has an answer for that, too.

“Here’s the deal,” Richt began to say, in answer to a question: How much might have Bobo learned under Monken the past year? “Nobody invented football, nobody invented certain schemes, everybody gets their information from somebody else, they learned it somewhere. There are a few creative ideas over the years that people have thought up obviously. But for the most part, everybody learned it somewhere. Mike already had a tremendous background in offensive football, then you add some of the thoughts that Monken had, I’m sure that helped his portfolio for ways to attack defenses.”

All of this sounds a lot like Georgia’s offensive philosophy under Monken.  Offensive success at a place like Georgia isn’t built on cutting edge schemes as much as it is designing schemes to take advantage of the existing talent.  Monken was as good at that as I’ve ever seen in Athens.  While I don’t predict that Bobo will operate on as high a level as that, there’s no reason to think that he can’t prosper, given the level of success he achieved from 2012-4, especially when you consider the biggest difference in Athens between then and now.

“What you’ve got to understand is there were times at Georgia I felt offensively we needed to do things to help our defense,” Richt said. “In doing so you might not get as many yards or as many points, but you secure victory. Playing a certain way when you get a lead, or things of that nature. Florida State, with Mickey Andrews, we could just go full speed ahead, go as fast as you wanna go, because we knew they were going to get a stop and that would be the end of it.”


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Of brain farts and great play calls

If there’s one thing that’s close to being a universal sentiment in the fan base about Mike Bobo, it’s this:

… Georgia’s 2014 squad went 10-3 and often needed every point it could scrounge. The three games it lost were to South Carolina 38-35, Florida 38-20 and Georgia Tech 30-24 in overtime.

It also was during that season that Bobo made the play call that lives on in infamy. In that loss to the Gamecocks in Columbia, he didn’t have Hutson Mason hand the ball to Todd Gurley on first-and-goal. He called a play-action pass instead, which failed miserably, resulted in a grounding call and contributed to a missed field-goal attempt.

No question it was a bad call.  In my Observations post following that game, I referred to it as a brain fart… er, sorry, a major brain fart.  But I also had this to say about Bobo — “No, Mike Bobo isn’t a moron. Nobody who opens a game with those two perfect play calls the way he did is a moron.”

If you’re still pissed about not handing off the ball to Gurley there, you really ought to go back and look at Georgia’s opening series, a two-play touchdown drive, for a little balance.  (Start at the 1:18 mark on this clip.)

Two things about that:  one, if Mason wasn’t noodle-armed, it’s a one-play scoring drive, and, two, if anything, the second play call was even better than the first.  (You can hear Danielson call touchdown before Sony Michel clears the blockers.)  Point being Bobo’s got play design and play calling skills, too.  Before you go there, I’m not saying he’s better than Monken, but I’m also not saying Monken’s got anything on Bobo when it comes to screen play design.

Bottom line, I don’t think that game is the one to hold up to account for Mike Bobo’s shortcomings as an OC.  The late-stage Bobo at Georgia game that I think provides a better example of that is an extremely painful one, the 2013 Auburn game.  Sure, we all remember the ending, which had nothing to do with Mike, but don’t forget that the first three quarters were marked by his stubborn insistence on establishing the run game with Gurley, despite Ellis Johnson selling out on defense to shut down the run game with Gurley.  It was only when the Dawgs found themselves down by twenty with about twelve minutes left in the game that Bobo realized he had to pull out the stops on offense for Georgia to get back in the game.

The thing is, once he got to that point, he called a brilliant game.  Georgia scored three touchdowns to take the lead with less than two minutes to go.  Bobo threw out a little of everything and seemed to have the answer to every defensive call Johnson made.  (Again, with regard to screens, check out the first play call on Georgia’s second scoring drive there; it’s as good a screen design as I’ve watched Georgia run.)

Bobo’s got it in him to be really good, maybe even great, at being an OC.  If there’s a valid knock, it’s consistency.  Hopefully, enough rubbed off on him over the last year as an analyst to elevate his game in that regard.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Is pace overrated?

Good post over at MGoBlog charting 2022 FBS Tempo Data (“I’ve removed Garbage Drives, using Fremeau’s definition, plus two-minute drill situations were excised. Punts are also removed, mostly (by the schools themselves)”).

In terms of running plays, Indiana was the fastest paced team in the country last season, knocking out 3.532 plays per minute, while Air Force, as you might expect, was the slowest, at 2.102.  (Kentucky was just ahead of them, for what that’s worth.)

Anyway, what I found interesting was where the CFP field finished.

  • Ohio State 2.612 (74th)
  • TCU  2.599 (78th)
  • Georgia 2.383 (114th)
  • Michigan 2.357 (118th)

Obviously, hurry up no huddle wasn’t a key to unlocking the playoff door in 2022.  Outlier, or nah?


Filed under Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

“The more guys you have who can play the star, the better you’ll be on defense.”

Good stuff from Glenn Schumann on what it takes to play the star position in Georgia’s secondary:

“Now, when you look at, you know, 80 percent of the NFL is playing nickel defense because you have to match up to all the 11 personnel and the slot receivers,” Georgia co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann said. “That’s carried over to college football and the way the game’s played.”

“What those guys have to do to be successful is they have to be able to impact the game as a blitzer, right?” Schumann said. “Javon and Tykee have done a great job of that.”

That’s not all.

“When they go to the perimeter screen game, they have to be able to hold up out there, which a lot of that, you’re right, those guys aren’t the guys with the most height, bulk, length,” Schumann said. “But what they do have is the tenacity and competitive toughness and leverage to be able to … if they strike people the right way, they get under them and play with good discipline and toughness, they can still leverage the ball on the perimeter.”

To be a successful star, the duties do not stop there. Along with the ability to blitz, leverage the ball, take on the screen, and serve in run support, Bullard and Smith are also expected to hold their own as pass defenders.

“They’ve got to be able to win in man-to-man coverage at the end of the day because slot receivers are so good. Slot receivers are not where you put your third best option now,” Schumann said. “In some offenses, slot receiver is the first- or second-best option. So, you have to be able to win there. And it’s a really unique position.”

Easy peasy, right?

With Christopher Smith’s departure, I’ll be curious to see if either of those two get shifted to safety this season.  I’ll also be curious to see where Smoke Bouie fits in the mix.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Back to the future in Tuscaloosa



I’m going to try and be as fair as possible here, but the data are what the data are. And analytically, the decision is beyond baffling: it’s downright awful.

At best, Rees has proven to be just a guy. For him to morph into some wunderkind will require Alabama to pay millions for a learning curve, and grow into an offensive mind that three years experience suggest do not exist. At worst, it’s a calamitous hire on paper, with a far worse CV than anyone Nick Saban has ever brought into Tuscaloosa to run the offense.

Yes, yes, Daboll. I know. But Brian Kelly is hardly Bill Belichick, the offense Notre Dame runs is is no way similar to what Alabama has had in place for over half a decade. It is a deliberative, slower paced one that does not move the ball vertically. It has little explosion beyond broken tackles by the running backs. It is a scheme that relies heavily on a powerful interior offensive line (that Alabama does not have), and game-breaking athletic tight ends (that Alabama also has not shown to possess — or at least do not employ). And it simply does not put world-class speed and skill into space.

Sounds promising, Erik.


Filed under Alabama, Strategery And Mechanics