So plenty of room for debate on the anatomy of a tough loss such as today. We all have our knee jerk reactions and have probably all called for the occasional pink slip for a coach.
Good thing that amid this sound and fury we have the professional well reasoned writing of the AJC, to set the tone of these debates. No matter what side of this you fall on we can all rest easy that we are better informed for having read the efforts of our good friend Bill King....without further adieu:
Mike Bobo’s playcalling didn’t do his young QB any favors
We talked here earlier this week about Georgia’s game against Arkansas as something of a test for Dogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
I suppose it was something of a test for Mike Bobo; UGA was facing one of the top units in the Southeastern Conference in Arkansas's Defense and Mike Bobo would be the coach directly responsible for stopping....wait you say that Arkansas's defense isn't the good unit? It's actually their offense that is the top unit in the SEC? Oh, ok nevermind.
Well, it was.
And he failed.
OK, I guess, it looked like after 59 minutes and 45 seconds Georgia's offense had scored as many points as Arkansas, but continue.....
Yes, there were defensive lapses Saturday that the Razorbacks capitalized on, including biting on that play fake on Arkansas’ first score,
That's true, also missing between two and three very interceptable passes, allowing the conversion of a fourth down after a bad snap on a punt, and allowing 380 passing yards.
but thanks to too many three-and-outs again this week the Georgia D was on the field entirely too long to try and keep a high-powered offense led by a talented QB like Ryan Mallett in check.
Hold on there slick let's take a look: First downs by the University of Arkansas 18, First downs by the University of Georgia 19. Time of Possession University of Arkansas 25:58 Time of Possession University of Georgia 34:02. I guess I don't know how many three and outs UGA had, but it looks like the Arkansas defense has a better claim on this argument.
And showing a lot of grit the Dogs did battle back from a 24-10 deficit to tie it up 24-24 with 3:55 left in the game.
Any of those points scored by the defense or special teams? No? Just checking. Ok so we've established that Georgia's offense coordinator was being tested even though Arkansas's offense is generally thought of as the best in the SEC, Georgia's defense missed one key coverage and several other crucial plays, and Georgia lead in time of possession and first downs. Got it. And as a result with 3:55 left in the game Georgia's tested offense had scored as many points as Arkansas's.
But after a fine defensive series got the ball back for Georgia and the Dogs had moved to midfield thanks to runs by Washaun Ealey and Carlton Thomas, the bizarre playcalling by Bobo that had plagued them all day reared its ugly head again.
At time of the third down in question: total yards of offense by UGA: 392 (their total for the day) total points for UGA: 24 total yards of offense Arkansas 360 (their total of 433 minus their last drive of 73 yards). So Bobo's bizarre play calling without his starting tailback or best offensive player and a freshman quarterback achieve more or less identical results to Bobby Petrino's with Ryan Mallet and his eight foot tall receivers.
Third and 4 and rather than a quick slant pass across the middle, or sending Ealey or Thomas wide, or rolling Aaron Murray out with the option to pass or run, instead Bobo sends all the receivers at least 20 yards downfield and has his QB standing back there way too long. The result is a sack that took Murray’s helmet (and nearly his head) off and the Dogs let a chance to win the game get away from them.
OK I agree it's a little bit of a head scratcher. But to be fair they weren't just trying to get a first down, they were also trying to get into field goal range. Had they completed that 20 yard pass, they could have run out the clock, and let an excellent kicker end the game. I imagine that part of Bobo's reasoning was that he wanted to avoid giving the ball back to Mallet in regulation or overtime. Still quibble if you will. You could just as easily make the argument that it's a gutsy call to ice the game.
I’ll grant Bobo that Murray has a tendency to hold on to the ball too long in some situations. As Bobo said after the game, “We need to work on getting rid of the ball a little bit quicker.” But that’s to be expected of a redshirt freshman and Bobo knows that. So why put Murray into those situations?
And the play of Georgia’s offensive line continued to fall short, with run blocking up the middle virtually nonexistent and Murray’s protection falling apart too often.
OK I guess. The play of the offensive line was good enough to match Arkansas's production for 99% of the game. Run blocking virtually non existent is a bit of a stretch. UGA outrushed Arkansas by almost a 3 to 1 ratio. Bobo coaches those guys right? Oh. Ok then.
But time and time again Saturday, Bobo showed a lack of a short-yardage game outside the red zone. On an earlier third and 1, Murray was sacked waiting on receivers to get open on long routes. All they needed was 1 yard and he’s looking to throw long??!!
So to summarize there are two plays on which you disagree with Bobo's playcalling, both of which contained Aaron Murray, as is his tendency you say, holding the ball too long. Perhaps this article should have focused on the young quarterback and his need to throw the ball faster on third down? What else you got?
This wasn’t a great defense the Dogs were facing in Arkansas, but at times Georgia made them look that way.
Those two times or were there more? I have a suggestion for a new version of this sentence: This was a great offense the Dogs were facing in Arkansas, and at times Georgia made them look that way.
Yes, the Dogs missed suspended ace receiver A.J. Green on some plays, but especially in the second half Dogs receivers, including Kris Durham, Tavares King and the little-used Israel Troupe, came up with clutch receptions.
Are they missing AJ Green because of a coaching decision made by Mike Bobo? So you say that prior to Bobo's call of a passing play with routes going twenty yards down field, on third and four, when UGA was twenty yards out of field goal range, with a minute left in the game, several receivers had made clutch plays earlier in the half. You're right, his decision to call that play doesn't make much sense.
And because of the poor line play, the running game was inconsistent, though it occasionally showed flashes of what we had expected.
This seems like a pretty good argument for passing on a crucial down to win the game. I agree.
I’ll also give Bobo credit for at least loosening the reins on Murray and allowing him to take off with the ball, which resulted in Georgia’s first touchdown.
Whoa skin it back Wendell. I agree that they scored on a one yard run by Murray on their first touchdown, but wasn't there a little matter of a sixty yard pass to Tavarres King earlier in that drive? How's about a little credit for taking the reins off and allowIng Murray to make a play throwing the ball. You know....like in the fourth quarter.
But where were the tight ends for most of the day? Why didn’t Georgia make more use of the screen and quick hits over the middle?
I don't know, because they clearly weren't having any success in throwing to wide receivers. I'm just guessing on this one, but do you suppose that with the young quarterback's tendency to hold the ball a bit too long and Arkansas blitzing him, they might have been blocking? I got know beef with throwing to tight ends, but it isn't like their was a shortage of open guys to throw to.
And there was the predictability factor again in Bobo’s playcalling. When fans in the stands are consistently calling out what the Georgia play is going to be before the snap, you know your offense has a problem.
So you're saying that Bobo's playcalling is a) bizzare and b) predictable? 1996 Nebraska fan 1: "he's going to run the option," 1996 Nebraska fan 2: "our offense has a problem." Just repeat that pair of sentences with the following - 2008 Florida Fans, Tebow running left, 1980 UGA fans, toss sweep to #34. And you're going to sit here and tell me that none of these chuckleheads in the stands called out "slant over the middle," or "screen?" Isn't this exactly what people were asking to avoid with "taking the reins off Murray?"
And I hate to say it, but I think that problem is
The best receiver in football selling his jersey to a coke mule? Playing the second coming of Peyton Manning with a new defensive scheme? Missing two interceptions and allowing a converted fourth down on a bad snap punt? It's one of those right?
Christ in a cartoon he scored 28 per game with Joe Cox too. I mean that isn't lighting it up but my God...Joe Cox. Hell Alabama averaged 32 - they did all right. All this and all you get to is "rather pedestrian?" I mean call him an asshole or something.
I’ll have more on Sunday, but for now, have at it. …
I can hardly wait.