Archive for December, 2014

Adios Vaya Con Dios Mike Bobo

First off, Mike Bobo should be given hearty “Thank you” from every UGA fan for nearly a 20 year commitment to the University of Georgia.  Secondly, he should be congratulated for making the next step in his career, and nearly tripling his current salary.  I am disappointed he is leaving, but I understand.   You should, too.  If anyone offered any of us at our current position a promotion and triple whatever your salary is, you’d take it.

But it probably isn’t about the money.  I do think that if UGA had ponied up the cash to make Bobo’s pay equal to what he deserved, he’d probably stay.  Or at least stay until something bigger or closer than Colorado State came open.

Despite what any message board comments may say, the coaches are competitive people, starting with Coach Richt.  It is an ego filled, testosterone fueled business.  He is an ambitious, young coach.  He wants to be a head man.  There aren’t many Bud Fosters or John Chavises out there.  Bobo wanted his chance, and he took it.  Good for him and his family.

I had always said that whenever Coach Richt decides to leave, or the time comes for the University to ask him to leave (and it is not yet), I’d want Mike Bobo to be the head coach.  I think Bobo probably wants that, too.  Going away is the best way for him to come back when momma calls.

Some fans will say “good riddance”, and to them I say, shut up.  If that is your mindset today, you abso-freaking-lutely have no idea what in the hell you are talking about.

Let’s take a look at UGA’s point production during the Richt era of calling plays, and then the Bobo era in calling plays:

2002: 32.1
2003: 26.5
2004: 27.9
2005: 29.5
2006: 25.2
2007: 32.6
2008: 31.5
2009: 28.9
2010: 32.1
2011: 32.0
2012: 37.8
2013: 36.7
2014: 41.7

The Bobo years are highlighted in bold.   Sure, ignorant people will say the talent was better, but that doesn’t take into effect who brought the talent in, who is coaching the talent, and who puts the talent in position to make plays.

And 2014 might be his best year yet.  With the exception of Nick Chubb/Todd Gurley, I would say there probably isn’t one offensive player from last year you would replace with someone from say, 2002-2005, 2008, 2012.  His best deep threat receivers were hurt basically half the year, the running back position was shaky at best, and you had a quarterback who struggled throwing it more than 20 yards consistently.

Sure, people will point to a bad call here or there.  I know I did.   By my math, UGA ran about 812 offensive plays in 2014.  Most were very successful.  It is easy to focus on the few bad ones and ignore the good ones.

What do you want from a position coach and coordinator?  You want a good recruiter.  Check.  You want someone who can coach ’em up.  Check.  For a coordinator, you want someone who puts the pieces in place to make the unit successful.  Check.  You also want the dreaded “L” word in the coaching business-loyalty.  Check.

I’m not going to speculate on what this means long-term for UGA.  It probably won’t be good.  Other coaches will leave, either with Bobo or because of the new guy, if they hire an outsider.  The other shoe will drop, and there will be time to speculate and worry about that later.

For now, I am just going to be like Bernie, and say I am happy for Bobo, but be sad for our program because we lost a good damn good one and a Damn Good Dawg.


When Players Are Arrested This Offseason, Remember This

Every program, UGA unfortunately more than others, has a player or players get into some kind of trouble during the offseason.  College kids will be college kids.

So when it happens again at UGA as it inevitably will, please remember this.


About That Squib Kick

I was thinking after Georgia got the ball back late in the 4th Quarter, the headlines and talk about the game would be about how Paul Johnson blew the game.  Afterall, after Georgia seemingly forgot how to field a kick off (again), Georgia Tech recovered essentially a 30 yard onside kick up 4 points with about 4 minutes left.  Our defense hadn’t had much success stopping the run, was dog tired, so Tech just needed to run it up the gut a few times to kill the clock.

What did Paul Johnson do?  He got cute (again).  He seemingly forgot his teams are built to run and had been doing that well all game.  Of course his quarterback fumbled the ball going back for a pass.

Well a Coach screwed up and cost his team the game, but it wasn’t Coach Johnson.

Mark Richt didn’t trust his players to make a play and decided to step in (again).

The squib kick was awful.  It was one of the dumbest decisions I have ever seen.  Georgia has not allowed a kick off return for a TD this season, and is only averaging 20 yards per return (4th best in the SEC).  Return coverage has been excellent, if you don’t kick it out the back of the end zone.

It’s not all that Richt made the bad call.  Look, we are all human.  We make mistakes.  He realized it and owned it.  A lot of times after losses, he gives long, rambling, and evasive answers or explanations.  Not this time.  He owned it and fell on the sword.  I appreciate that.  And Mark Richt is compensated well to make tough decisions in crunch time.  But all coaches make bad calls.

What bothers me is the repeated failure to put trust in the players to make plays, and also the moments of inconsistency with the approach to games.

It is no secret that Georgia plays better when they are playing with aggression and their hair on fire.  See, the Auburn game.  No question, Richt wanted that game.  Fake punts, going for it on 4th down, playing and coaching with aggression.  Think back to all the biggest wins or moments.  They all involve a team that is playing with their hair on fire and with nothing to lose.  We all say it; when a Richt coached team is down in the dumps or counted out, they come out swinging.  They are at their best as the underdog, when everyone counts them out.

When he gets bottled up and conservative, that is when things tend to go south.

The squib kick was a dumb decision.  But humans make mistakes.  Whatever.  It happens.  The decision is forgiveable; the mindset behind it is what is troubling and frustrating.

The decision I can’t fathom is settling for a field goal inside the 3 yard line after Richt made a ballsy call to fake a field goal.  That was one of the most unexpected things I have ever seen.  We NEVER fake field goals.  We might fake a occassional punt or try a surprise onside kick once a season.   Not only did we fake a field goal, we did the crazy backwards Les Miles pass thing.

Not going for it on 4th and 2 was just an example of the inconsistent decision making.  Sometimes, they play aggressive and put it all out there.  Other times, they decide to play conservative and not to lose, rather to play to win.

The old saying is a tiger can’t change its stripes.  Richt is who he is, for better and worse.  He has tried to change and evolve over the years, sometimes at a glacial pace.

Playing to win leaves you with no regrets, because at least, by God, you tried to win.

Playing not to lose leaves you wondering…what if?