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Film Study: Schottenheimer is just what the doctor ordered for Georgia football

Film analyst Murf Baldwin breaks down new Georgia OC Brian Schottenheimer's entire scheme complete with a ton of opinions and in-depth analysis.


Some people are just too difficult to please.

With the reported hire of now former St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer (props to Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph), the sentiment and tone of the University of Georgia fan base is one of complete disappointment, which is a far cry from the jubilation expressed from most when former OC Mike Bobo was hired to be the head coach of Colorado State University.

For years we've had to witness fans complain about Bobo's every move, from situational play-calling, to scheme and philosophy.

Nevermind the fact that the Bulldogs were perennially one of the most stacked programs in terms of offensive personnel, and they consistently performed at an output that would make even Chip Kelly proud.

Fans wanted more. Actually, fans wanted a scapegoat.

Head coach Mark Richt has been able to survive for what seems like three or four decades despite being the overseer of a program that hasn't really sniffed a national championship despite possessing, in my humble opinion, the best rosters of the past 10 years. (Yes, even over the three-time champion Alabama Crimson Tide.)

While many may say any offensive success should point toward Richt, which to a certain degree is true, Bobo was a major influence as the scheme evolved away from a "21 personnel," pro-style attack to one that resembled a high-powered spread -- at least in former quarterback Aaron Murray's last couple of seasons.

But once former defensive coordinators Willie Martinez and Todd Grantham were ousted -- although the latter claimed to have made a step up -- Bobo became the primary scapegoat for, yet, another disappointing 10-3 season.

However with the hiring of one of the brightest defensive minds in college football in Jeremy Pruitt, whose defense showed a marked improvement in a few areas,  and now the addition of one of the more underrated offensive minds in football (yeah I said it), the time is now for the Richt era.

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I know the first thing you, the UGA fan, did upon hearing about the hiring of Schottenheimer, you immediately Googled (or Bing'd) what the media and fans of his former employers thought of him.

First of all, that's not a wise move (you hear that, CSU fans?).

It's rare that a fan base will give an unbiased opinion of any assistant whose team failed to deliver the "big one" (no, not like Fred Sanford would tell Elizabeth). And especially with one whose opposite unit overshadowed his -- which would most certainly the case in Schottenheimer's most prominent stop.

From 2006-11, Schottenheimer was the OC for the New York Jets under head coaches Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan. I followed his tenure closely as I'm an admitted huge admirer of both Mangini and Ryan for their respective defensive prowesses.

Usually when you have first-time HC's who have deep experience with one side of the ball, the opposite unit's coordinator receives full carte blanche over his unit. But considering Schottenheimer was a first-time OC, it always felt as though he wasn't able to spread his wings -- at least under Mangini.

He was eased into the job by being provided with heady veteran QB Chad Pennington initially under Mangini. In fact, the QB won the Comeback Player of the Year award in Schottenheimer's QB-friendly system -- despite limitations with his arm strength due to a previous rotator cuff tear that required season-ending injury two seasons prior.

And while the Jets' subsequent season was a disappointment at 4-12, the following season saw Schottenheimer finally receive a QB with top-notch skills in former Green Bay Packers legend Brett Favre.

But after starting out 8-3, which included a thrilling 34-31 overtime victory over the New England Patriots, things fell off the rails and the Jets finished 9-7. While Favre started out alright, an undisclosed shoulder injury caused him to play about as poor as one could on his way to a 22-interception season.

That's when Mangini was fired and Ryan was brought in; Schottenheimer was surprisingly retained.

But Ryan proved to be clairvoyant as Schottenheimer had his most success to date with an extremely raw rookie QB in Mark Sanchez.

Twice to start Sanchez's career the Jets made it to the AFC Championship game behind a ground-and-pound offensive attack and one of the most creative, attacking defenses the league had ever seen.

And while most will point to Ryan's defensive unit as the culprit, and rightfully so, it shouldn't be glossed over that the Jets also led the league in rushing in 2009 while finishing fourth in 2010.

And to me it's a simple recipe: If you can establish both lines of scrimmage you have a great chance at beating anyone. This is witnessed by the Jets' road playoff wins over the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and New England.

And when it seemed as though Sanchez would be the ultimate Achilles' heel for the Jets, Schottenheimer found ways to put him in the best position to move the ball and manufacture first downs.

Although Sanchez progressed to the point of being a pretty decent player in his third season under Schottenheimer, the run game regressed to being the 22nd-ranked attack behind Shonn Greene and old LaDainian Tomlinson, so Ryan and Schottenheimer decided to move in separate directions.

This is when "Coach Schott" received a chance to work with the most talented QB at any of his stops when he was brought on as the St. Louis Rams OC -- working with former No. 1-overall pick Sam Bradford.

Schottenheimer's scheme proved to be just what the doctor ordered as Bradford had his best season by far with 21 touchdowns opposed to just 13 interceptions, completing 60 percent of his passes -- despite being in the toughest division in all of sports.

Bradford looked to finally reach his potential the next season with 14 TDs and 4 INTs (61 percent completion) before tearing his acl in just the seventh game. From there Schottenheimer was provided with an also-ran at QB in Kellen Clemens, but he leaned on rookie running back Zac Stacy to make the Rams one of the hottest teams heading into this season.

After drafting two SEC studs in running back Tre Mason (Auburn) and offensive lineman Greg Robinson, the Rams would finally have a two-headed monster at running back along with, perhaps, the league's next best QB.

That is, until Bradford tore his acl again in the preseason, deflating any hope Rams' supporters may have had in a division with the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

But after being dealt a bad hand, Schottenheimer will now be provided the chance to develop young, talented QBs while also being provided with a nasty offensive line and more running backs than he'll know what to do with.

His presence, and scheme, will be just what the doctor ordered for in the great town of Athens.

Scheme Breakdown

While most refer to the Schottenheimer's scheme as a pure West Coast offense, that's only partly true.

While many of the concepts are derived from a 3- and 5-step drop, rhythm-and-timing offense, Schottenheimer has installed plenty of digit-based, pure-vertical concepts in his scheme. (I bet it's hard to display that with a QB like Austin Davis at the helm).

In fact, the West Coast offensive legend Favre said the verbiage was a lot different than what he was used to in Green Bay.

Schottenheimer does great with the move-the-pocket game which takes advantage of his preferred mobility in QBs. This also cuts the reads in half for younger, inexperienced QBs like UGA will have next season after the graduation of fifth-year senior Hutson Mason.

He also makes use of "11," "12," "21," and "22 personnel." For all the flak he took from Rams fans about the "misuse" of the hybrid player Tavon Austin, he must be applauded for his usage of tight ends Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks.

Both are "flex" tight ends, but Schottenheimer found ways to deploy both at the same time, which creates mismatches with the opposition's base defense. I'm a big proponent of "12 personnel," especially when one of the "Y's" has some semblance of blocking ability.


When Schottenheimer goes to this personnel grouping, there's not a defense equipped to stop it. (The Patriots ran through defenses like poop through a goose when it utilized "22" and "12 personnel" with TE's Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.)

Cook was a pure receiver; Kendricks had the ability to be an in-line or lead blocker. My money is on UGA TE Jeb Blazevich becoming an absolute monster in Schottenheimer's scheme.

The 6'5", 232-pound move "Y" may be lined up all over the formation in attempt to force the defense's hand; this could spell trouble for safeties and linebackers alike. If the original monster at TE, rising senior Jay Rome (6'6", 248 lbs), can come back healthy, expect one of the most physical offenses in the nation to be even more difficult to defend.


Usually when a defense lines up in a two-tight set it's because some type of power package is coming out of it. But when you have versatile athletes like Blazevich, Rome and H-back Quayvon Hicks (6'2", 257 lbs), you can oscillate between power and finesse without even substituting. (As seen in the above sequence.)

These type of formations are perfect for breaking in young QBs, which is something Schottenheimer will be doing starting next season.

But make no mistake about it; Schottenheimer likes to empty his roster and will formation a defense to death. Players have to love playing for him as they will undoubtedly get a chance to shine. There's nothing worse than busting your butt in practice only to collect splinters in it during the game.

UGA will be losing two of its best receivers to graduation in Michael Bennett and Chris Conley, but will return an ace-in-the-hole athlete, senior Malcolm Mitchell. Now here's where St. Louis fans will complain about its ace, Tavon Austin, not being utilized correctly.

First off all, don't believe everything you read (with the exception of this article, of course)! Schottenheimer provided Austin with endless opportunities to impact the game: swings, screens, reverses, between-the-tackles runs out of the backfield, tosses, sweeps, 9's, 7's, and a partridge in a pear tree.

If anything, it may be time to admit that there's a difference between the Big 12 conference, where Austin shined at West Virginia University, and the NFL.

At 5'8", 170 pounds, Austin hasn't had the type of impact at running back like he did in college, which is his natural position, and he hasn't progressed to be a top-flight receiver, yet.

But the 6'1", 195-pound Mitchell has similar athleticism in a much more appropriate frame. You can bet your bottom dollar Schottenheimer will find a plethora of ways to get him the ball.


Here's Austin on a "reverse toss sweep," equipped with two lead blockers. Schottenheimer had a "wildcard" player with the Jets in Brad Smith (a former college QB), and he used him on plays just like this.

Can you imagine Mitchell navigating this type of play?

When defenses start cheating up to stop the short-to-intermediate game, Mitchell will be sent vertical; he will be hard to contain. Additionally, expect the diminutive Isaiah McKenzie to be used in a similar manner to Austin; watch out for Jonathon Rumph.

But ultimately the offense will be run through future Heisman Trophy finalist, running back Nick Chubb -- much to the chagrin of the rest of the SEC. His build, power, agility, vision and versatility is very similar to Rams' rookie Tre Mason -- who dominated defenses (including Georgia's) at Auburn University on his way to a second-place finish for the Heisman.

Schottenheimer has a vast rushing attack, and will have one of the best offensive lines in the country to support it.


This reminds me so much of Georgia football: A hat on a hat and excellent execution. In addition to Chubb, UGA will return a homerun threat in fellow sophomore Sony Michel. And a back with Michel-like speed and a Chubb-like build, the oft-injured Keith Marshall.

But the QB position is where Schottenheimer will be judged the most. Bobo developed the best QB in UGA history in Aaron Murray (Kansas City Chiefs), and he did a fantastic job with Mason -- not to mention former No. 1-overall pick Matthew Stafford -- but Schottenheimer may have to break in a QB with little-to-no experience.

Sophomore Brice Ramsey seems to have the inside track after gaining some experience behind Mason this season and performing admirably. He's accurate and has adequate arm strength; he's perfect for a rhythm-and-timing offense.

But the player I find most intriguing is freshman Jacob Park (6'4" 202 lbs); he's a great athlete with explosive arm talent. I'd love to see how Schottenheimer would keep defenses off balance by utilizing Park's dynamic skill-set.

Ultimately this is Richt's offense, and his fingerprints will be all over the construction of it. But you don't convince an assistant coach to drop down a level to run your scheme. Schottenheimer will utilize a ton of the things from the Richt-Bobo era, but he will have a ton of fresh ideas that will put UGA at the forefront of the College Football Playoff race.

This is a significant hire for a program built on continuity...Schottenheimer will only enrich it.

The future is bright for them 'Dawgs.