UGA, Mizzou: polar offenses

UGA, Mizzou: polar offenses

September 4th, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Mike Bobo

Photo by Ashley Strickland

Half of the Southeastern Conference football programs use the generic term "multiple" when describing their offensive style.

Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee are among the teams in this category, but Georgia and Missouri are nowhere close to that list. Georgia's Bulldogs have run a pro-style offense throughout Mark Richt's 12 seasons as coach, while Gary Pinkel's Tigers possess the league's only pure spread attack.

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"We just believe in what we do," Richt said. "I've coached offensive football long enough to know that whatever you do, if you execute it well, then you're going to move the ball and you're going to score points. You've got to do what you believe in, and you've got to do what you think best suits your personnel. That's really the main reason why we do it that way.

"It's sound, fundamental football, and I think the more that people spread the field, the less that they're able to handle some of the power running game that some people will bring."

Richt called the plays for Georgia's offense until Nov. 25, 2006, when he gave the reins to quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo before a 15-12 victory over Georgia Tech. Bobo, who quarterbacked the Bulldogs to a 10-2 record as a senior in 1997, hasn't always been a play-calling favorite of the fans, but his numbers are stacking up.

In the five full seasons he has run the pro-style, Georgia's offense has averaged 391.73 yards a game. That's 0.76 a game more than the Richt-led offenses averaged (390.97) in his five full seasons.

"We're in our hole, and we're grinding and working, and we really don't get caught up in anything good or bad," said Bobo, who became offensive coordinator after the '06 season. "As you're doing your job, you really can't look at the positive stuff or the negative stuff. It can affect you either way.

"This is the profession I chose. Nobody made me go into coaching. This is something I wanted to do. My dad warned me about it, but I still wanted to do it. I love dealing with kids. I love Saturdays. It's fun."

Bobo did say coaching is not as enjoyable as playing.

The Bulldogs posted a school-record 5,719 yards last season and got off to a solid start last Saturday by racking up 485 in a 45-23 defeat of Buffalo. Junior quarterback Aaron Murray threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns, while senior receiver Tavarres King had 117 yards on six catches and freshman tailback Todd Gurley had 100 yards on eight carries.

"For our first game, I think it was well-played offensively," Murray said, "and we're only going to get better."

Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson created a stir last Saturday by saying Georgia plays "old-man football," but that's hardly enough to deter the Bulldogs from continuing their pro-style philosophy.

"The bottom line is we still believe in having a fullback in the game, running the ball and having the play-action pass that comes along with it," Richt said.

Odds and ends

The Bulldogs worked out for an hour Monday, and sophomore tailback Ken Malcome (hand) practiced without limitations. Right tackles John Theus and Watts Dantzler sat out with sprained ankles, while receiver Marlon Brown (hamstring) and cornerback/receiver Malcolm Mitchell (ankle) were limited. ... In a scene that could be repeated several times this year, Gurley and Alabama tailback T.J. Yeldon shared SEC freshman of the week honors.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.