Monday, September 20, 2010

Hair of the Dawg: Mike Bobo, Hapless Wizard and Play-Action Apologist

At about the 2:00 mark in the second quarter, a buddy of mine and I were talking. I'll be frank and tell you the conversation started with, "Well, basketball season starts in a month-and-a-half." Don't get me wrong, I'm probably more excited than any Dawg for basketball season, but let's be honest, UGA is a football first school. If you were at Duke Saturday that would be an OK thing to say, but not in Athens, GA on a warm, beautiful September afternoon. No more than 5 minutes later I got a text from Tesla, "So our first basketball game is November 5, right?" The irony was priceless.

Saturday was ugly for Dawg fans for a number of reasons, most of which I'll divulge in a bit. There are things to be concerned about and some things for which to be hopeful. What is most concerning at this point is the 1-2 that stands before UGA this week. Right now it looks as though we won't have the chance to play in Atlanta and our chances at a 10-win season look about like a rubber-nosed woodpecker's in a petrified forest. Things are frustrating; whether it's the arrests, suspensions, lackadaisical play, questionable actions, etc. ad nauseum, the Dawgs can't seem to right the ship.

I can understand why people are calling for Mike Bobo's head by now. I GET it. He's the easiest one, sans the guys wearing the jerseys, to place the blame on. He isn't a kid or new coach and we all pay his salary, in one way or another, so he should be the best guy around, right? Well, one can easily argue he hasn't been. One can also easily argue a variety of other things are wrong, most of which I'm sure you already know about.

From a aggravation index perspective I wanted to take a look at what Mike Bobo brought to the table a few days ago. I thought it would be useful to go through our playcalls and really try to figure out what CMB was thinking and look for incongruencies. I'll preface this by saying I have no idea how to run a college or even high school offensive scheme. I don't know what these guys think, all I know is what I've learned in my years of watching the game. Now that you've been duly warned, I'll show you what I came up with (with a little help from ESPN):

If you noticed, we ran more than twice as many plays from the shotgun in the 4th quarter than we did the entire game. In the first half, we only ran 3 plays from the shotgun. Call me crazy bu this looks to be very few on a team that is struggling with pass pro and a freshman quarterback. The shotgun is designed to keep the game in front of the QB and also helps the QB's reads to be quicker. My only criticism of AM thus far is his slow march through his progressions. Time will help improve that, however.

On at least two plays, we ran play-action when it was an obvious passing down. Play-action doesn't do you any favors on 3rd and long. I'm sure it's happened before, but that is a really, really good way to get your QB decapitated and guess what, we didn't convert. On one of those plays Aaron did almost get beheaded.

There was no change in our offensive philosophy until the fourth quarter, which was at least one quarter too late. Tesla and I had a long conversation about this change in philosophy on Saturday and someone pointed out a very curious observation they made during the game. His observation and some other facts lead us to theorize that Richt was actually calling plays in the fourth quarter, not Bobo. Richt had the play sheet, not Bobo, and was covering his face with it while talking into his hand covered headset mic during the fourth quarter. Our transition to the shotgun as well as the formation, and route that TK ran on the touchdown were eerily similiar to goal line plays from CMR's FSU days. Have you seen us run that since Bobo has been calling the plays? Not me. I certainly don't know if this was the case, or if being down necessitated a more shotgun-oriented scheme, but it isn't something I would completely rule out.

We targeted tight ends exactly two times during the game. We have the best trio of TE's in the country and they had one catch for five yards. This has to improve. Orson is probably the biggest receiving threat at TE in the conference and he was not targeted in the game. Any color guy will tell you "You gotta get the ball to your playmakers."

Our receivers did not get off the press very well and every route they run is deeeeeeeeep. We very rarely run slants, drags, curls, etc. For some reason our receivers run 9's all the time. At least two of the sacks Arky had were due to the fact AM had no checkdown within 20 yards of the line. I wish someone smarter than me could explain this.

On the plus side, despite a horrid performance by the o-line, Aaron looks like he will be a star. If they pick up the slack I still think we have a chance to go to Jacksonville and be competitive, as Florida looks as beatable as they have in 15 years.

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