Analyzing Mike Bobo - 2007 - 2011

Bobo took over as Georgia's OC in 2007

Mike Bobo is, for all intents and purposes, Georgia's scapegoat. After the last few down years and Georgia's losses this year, Bobo was continually questioned on philosophy, scheme, and playcalling.

Having been an offensive coordinator, I can completely see the other side of the argument. Bobo, in my opinion, has definitely grown as an OC. We have many more spread philosophy than we ever had with Richt. Our QB's are putting up record numbers and our offense is putting up better yards and number of plays than anytime under Richt.

However, the fact remains than since 2007, when Georgia went on a tear - going 11-2 and winning the Sugar Bowl, Georgia has struggled. In 2008, the Dawgs finished 10-3, but didn't show up to any big games. In 2009, Georgia went 8-5 - the first 7-5 season in the Richt Era. In 2010, Georgia had their first losing season since before Mark Richt became the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Even though this year the Dawgs went 10-4, there were times that Georgia just did not show up to play.

So, I decided to look into the objective statistics of Mike Bobo's reign of the Georgia offense. I wanted to see if he has grown as a coordinator or gone backwards. Here is the breakdown of every major offensive category for Georgia football since 2007:

Georgia Offensive Stats - 2007-2011

Instead of trying to have you interpret everything, I though we'd go section by section through the main areas:

Scoring Offense

Since Bobo took over, Georgia has not averaged more than 32.62 points per game. In fact, outside of the 2009 season when Joe Cox was our QB, Georgia has scored right at 32 points per game. Now, in the SEC, if your defense cannot hold opponents to less than 32/game - there are going to be losses. After seeing how Grantham did in 2011, if Bobo can keep the scoring pace going or higher, 2012 should be a good year.

1st Downs

First downs are key in offensive game plans. If you can stay in front of the chains and continue to work the clock, you will have more success. In the two years in Mike Bobo's reign that Georgia did not have 10 wins, you can see a big drop off in 1st downs. In 2008 and 2009, Georgia was way behind the chains, which means their offense was not on the field enough, and the offense was not successful.

Rushing Offense

In my opinion, in the SEC, it doesn't matter how good your QB is if you don't have a great rushing attack. 2007 was obviously a big year with Knowshon and Thomas playing a big role in the team's 32 TD's that season. However, outside of that year, Georgia's offensive production from it's backfield has been weak. The most rushing TD's scored in one season since 2007 has been 21, which is not good enough in the SEC. You need to be scoring 30+ rushing TD's a year to be a big time contender in the SEC. Since that 2007 season, we just have not had that rushing ability - and I can guarantee you, its not the play calls - its the talent and execution by the OL and RB positions.

Passing Offense

There is one thing you can't say about Bobo and that is that he is bad at developing QB's. As Stafford grew over the 2006-2008 seasons, you can see the improvement from his sophomore season to junior season. Stafford had a jump of over 1000 yards, set a school record in passing TD's, and completed over 60% of his throws. Now, Stafford is a legit #1 QB - as seen by his season in Detroit this year. As for Aaron Murray, I will not say that he is as polished as Stafford, but, he also does not have a Knowshon Moreno in the backfield. Since Murray has taken over, he has passed for over 6,000 yards, thrown over 60 TD's, and only has 22 INT's - about a 3:1 ratio. Murray, however, is still young and needs to develop into a QB that makes better decisions. If he shows the growth Stafford did between his SO-JR year, then Murray could have a big year (if Georgia can find a RB).

Total Offense

This, in my opinion, is the tell-tale sign of growth as a coordinator. How many plays are you getting in in the game? How many yards are you getting? Is your offense evolving to the game today and becoming better? Outside of the 2009 season with Joe Cox - the answer is abundantly, YES! During Stafford's final two years, the offense grew and had over 5,500 yards and averaged 6.7 yards/play. In the two years Aaron Murray has ran the offense, Georgia has had over 5,000 yards both years, and, this year, Georgia ran an amazing 1,016 plays from scrimmage. Those are numbers of an offense that is working and grinding out play after play to get more and more out of the offense.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!

In my opinion, I really do believe Mike Bobo is a very good offensive coordinator. He does a good job of running our system and, generally, has a pulse for the game. The question that I am sure all of you want answered is why has Georgia fallen off since 2007? I think the answer is actually quite simple - we have lacked the necessary talent on the offensive line and the backfield for the offense to take the next step.

In 2008, Georgia's OL was soft and weak. Moreno was not nearly as good as he was in 2007 - as seen in the TD production. In 2009 and 2010, Georgia's backfield and offensive lines were terrible. In 2011, Georgia's line was even worse and the running back situation was comical. 

The Michigan State game was a perfect example of how we need to take that next step in the OL development and RB talent in order to be in the elite group of the SEC. When you are up in the 4th quarter and your coach calls for you to pound the rock, it used to be a time to impose your will onto the other team. It was a chance to let the hogs loose and let them do what they do best. Running backs are supposed to get better as the game winds down - not get worse.

What we need to do is not look at our offensive coordinator and question him, we need to look at our guys and challenge them to be man enough to take on the challenge of grinding out the clock in the 4th. That is what good teams do. Just look at Bama in the 4th quarter against LSU. Their run game sputtered for 8 quarters against them, but they still grind and grind until they break one.

Georgia fans, it isn't the X's and O's right now... its the Johnny and Joes. Our scheme works. Our offensive philosophy is sound. We need better players and tougher players to man up in the 4th quarter. The good news is... we started last year with some amazing talent. This year, the additions of Theus, Beard, Marshall, and, hopefully, Gurley will give us the ability to do those things and make us a complete team.

Comments

Not going to lie, interesting perspective!

I think that this evaluation should take into consideration of who we were playing. Remove the outliers (cupcake teams) by taking out the the 63 and 59 points scored on CC and NMS the average goes down to 28.6 for this years regular season. That's against teams that went a combined 70-57 (0.551 win percentage). Most of those games were against SEC teams with SEC defenses, but let's get real with the quality of Tennessee and Florida this year. We didn't exactly play the best teams in the conference, and when we did, we put up 17 points (even though we should have had 21 points in the first quarter!). We were outscored or matched in points forced in games with like opponents by LSU and Alabama in all but two games this regular season. The 45 we dropped on Auburn was more than what Alabama put on them, by 3 points, and the 24 points we scored on Miss St. was 5 points more that what LSU scored. If we want to be were these elite teams are, you need offense, defense, and special teams. And I only have confidence in one of those units right now.

Will, you can't throw those out because every other season, you have teams that will bring your average up - that's why its an average. If you throw out this year's, you have to throw out all of them, and you'd have similar stats to the outcomes you see above. As for what you're saying, overall, again, my point is that the scheme works, we just need execution. Like you said, against LSU, if we have execution, we score 21 in that first quarter. We need better execution.

I do agree about the offensive line though. That is were the games are won. I remember watching the Liberty Bowl against UCF and saying multiple times "they didn't even get a hand on that guy!?!". And even when they did, there weren't many sustained blocks across the line. It has been that way since 2007. A dominant offensive line can carry a team just as far as a dominant defense. Especially when you give up points on special teams and turn overs.

Agree 100%. We need execution and we need sustained blocks. If guys can't get to the second level in their blocks, we'll never be able to move the ball - and it won't matter who is calling the plays. As I said earlier, I feel like we will be in a better situation with the OL - not in experience, but in having guys in the right position.

Cory, you bring up some good points but many continue to realize that ANY offensive line and RB group would look bad if the other defense knows what's coming. Just watch the film. Defenses have learned to press our WRs, and blitz the MLB on every play. They know what they will either (1) stuff the run in the backfield...due to Bobo not going outside enought or (2) sack Murray due to Bobo calling playaction on every passing play from under center with NO safety valve. I 100% agree our OL was flat out bad but when we worked out of the shotgun, it protected Murray and made took tons of pressure off the OL. As an OC, you have to work to the strengths of your available players. Yes, we were playing with 5 guards on OL this year and they did seem to be standing around with their hands on their hips while looking down at Murray and the rest of the backfield...but Bobo is just as much to blame. Short routes force the LBs to back out or the safeties up....Bobo never makes that adjustment and that's why I'm still in shock. Bama did it to LSU and it worked to perfection. We SHOULD have done it to Michigan State yet didn't. We continued to run WR screens...WHEN THE DEFENSE WAS PLAYING PRESS/MAN-TO-MAN then continued to do it all game long. Now that's the definition of stubborn (nice talk)or just plain insanity. Our best runs were by Malcome....TO THE OUTSIDE yet only did it three times that I recall against MSU. Those are the things that drive most of the fans up the wall. No adjustments and not playing to you strengths. I thought Bobo was "getting it" when he ran more of a spread/wide set against NMS then it disappeared only to resurface against Auburn....then disappear again...FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON. What it shows me is that we have the plays, we have the players, Bobo just needs to learn to adjust on the fly when his gameplan is not working. I would love for UGA to dictate the flow of the game and not react to others. Those two previously mentioned games were the ONLY two that I felt good about our offense only to have that warm fuzzy feeling snatched away against UK or Vandy, etc.

Dawg2FarSouth, thanks for the quality response. As for the outside runs, we run what is called an outside zone. The keys for the RB's is to press the inside hip of the tackle, if it is not there, the RB is to get on the "waterfall" - the flow of the zone blocking - and get outside. The key is that the FB HAS to seal the end man on the line of scrimmage. We did not get good enough blocking from our FB to do that, and our RB's vision - outside of Isaiah early - was not good enough to bounce it. When we did (like in the MSU game late, the Auburn game, and the USC game) it went for big yards. In my opinion, we did try to play to our strengths this year... we just did not have enough strengths. We had more pass attempts than any other year, had more yards through the air, and more passing TD's. We also had many more INT's, but that is a product of throwing more. Short answer is this - yes, when things go bad, we really need to get more creative and not go into a shell. However, statistically based, the ideas are working - we just need to take over games. And, that means the OL and the RB need to execute and impose their will in games.

I agree with Dawg2FS. What can you say about the Michigan State game where we ran it up the middle (which hadn't worked all day) to try to run the clock out? It never would have went into OT if we had played to win, and not played not to lose. It worked against Auburn when we burned the clock because their OL was ghastly, but Michigan State knew our scheme and Bobo kept to his comfort zone. He doesn't adjust to the other team, and doesn't call unique enough plays. In the first half of the LSU game we were tearing them apart with the playcalling because they didn't know where to turn next. I definitely agree that we should keep Bobo for his QB recruiting/training talent, but we need someone new to call plays for the Nation.

There's one thing that never get mentioned and that is the level of talent @uga oppose to the level of talent on teams in the sec. Between 2002 and 2010, uga had the #1 recruiting class in the sec but failed to dominate our opponents with them. Would Irvin Meyer, Nick Saban, and Les Miles have won championships without their top recruits? NO! ___________________________________________________________________ Basketball: Would Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun and Rick Pitino have championships without their top recruits? NO! ____________________________________________________________________ You win championships with top recruits and a very good coach. You can't win championships with one without the other. UGA failed to even play for a championship because their hc is average at best. I don't blame Mike Bobo at all because it's the hc responsibility to entervene when things aren't going well. Turnovers, selective plays and not utilizing players properly have hurt this team more than anything. In the Boise St game they ran the ball very well in the power-I formation but they would not keep the ball on the ground long enough for for Crowell to get into a rhythm. Same thing in the SC game....Crowell and even RS were moving the ball very well on the groung but they would not keep it on the ground at least long enough for SC to prove that they could stop us. Look at how effective we ran the football against AU....so enough of this negative talk about how bad our o-line is. No one can convince me that RS is a better rb than Ken Malcome because he's not. Malcome can run between the tackles better that any rb on the team so why did they keep him on the bench against Boise St and SC? Aaron Murray showed that he is turnover prone against quality teams in 2010 and against against Boise St this season so why let him throw the football when it's safer to run the football? RUN THE FOOTBALl!

I truly believe with a stacked offense bobo can run it with the best if them! However, my problem lies in the fact that bobo is HORRIBLE at two things: one is in game adjustments and the other is the ability to work your offense around the players that you do have. The dawgs havent really had a good o-line since '07 but bobo seems to want to give murray lenghthy dropbacks to continously throw bombs downfield. Wouldnt you think he'd have more 3 step drops, screens, and slants. Also, bobo refuses to stay with what is working for the sole purpose of balance. And im always curious as to why under bobo every run is a draw play!... With this said, I do agree bobo has grown and also been the scapegoat for much bigger problems in athens. I just think you can do better or bobo has to do more than take baby steps and take the job by the throat!