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February 6, 2012

RICHT vs. BOBO (updated)

The numbers don't lie -- Georgia's offense has been more productive in every conceivable
facet since Bobo has been calling the plays, except one (but it's a BIG one).
The last few seasons, there has been much grumbling regarding the play calling of OC Mike Bobo.  Perhaps never was it more evident than during the first half of Georgia's sub-par campaign of 2010.  Following the Bulldogs' loss at Colorado and a 1-4 start to their season, I posted offensive production statistics for the 46 games Bobo had been calling the plays compared to Richt's last 46 in the same role. 

I was quite surprised in the results, which favored Bobo in most every aspect.

Twenty-two games later and as I'm observing Bobo call repeated runs up the middle for lost yardage in the Outback Bowl, I first considered comparing the two coach's again.  After receiving a couple of emails from readers since the loss to Michigan State, asking if I had updated my original comparison, I decided to calculate the offensive production statistics again over the weekend.

This time, I evaluated the entire 144-game Mark Richt era: 76 with Richt calling the plays (2001 season opener through 2006 Auburn) and 68 with Bobo (2006 Georgia Tech through 2012 Outback Bowl).  Considering 52 additional games were being recognized than before, or an increase of more than 55 percent, I thought there could very well be different results than when I compared the two coach's the first time. 

Not so much...

Since Bobo has been calling the plays, the Bulldogs have averaged more than one-half offensive touchdown per game than scored by Richt's offenses.  Bobo has also averaged more yards per play, both rushing and passing, and has settled for less field goals.

Off. TDs per game:
Richt 3.03; Bobo 3.57
Yards per play:
Richt 5.72 (3.98 rush, 7.98 pass); Bobo 5.92 (4.27 rush, 8.02 pass)
FGs per game:
Richt 1.67 of 2.20; Bobo 1.44 of 1.96

Bobo's offenses have turned the ball over less and punted fewer times per game.  Also, despite Bulldog quarterbacks getting sacked a combined 58 times the last two seasons, Bobo's offenses have still maintained a lower sack percentage (times sacked/times sacked + pass attempts).

Turnovers per game:
Richt 1.70; Bobo 1.57
Punts per game:
Richt 4.34; Bobo 4.22
Sack Pct.:
Richt 5.97; Bobo 5.15

Bobo has been better at converting on 3rd down and on both 3rd and 4th down combined.  Bobo has a slight edge in Red-Zone points per game, and even more telling, a significant advantage of +0.66 in Red-Zone points per Red-Zone visit.  Moreover, and perhaps the most eye-popping difference, Bobo's offenses have possessed the ball an average of more than three minutes per game than Richt's did. 

3rd Pct.:
Richt 39.6; Bobo 42.0
3rd + 4th Pct.:
Richt 41.1; Bobo 42.9
RZ Pts per game:
Richt 18.84; Bobo 19.19 
RZ pts per RZ visit:
Richt 4.52; Bobo 5.18
Time of Possession:
Richt 28:45; Bobo 31:56

And probably my favorite stat - the YPP, or "yards per point," or in this case, how hard a team had to "work" to score its points.  As I mentioned in October 2010, although a team's defense and special teams units certainly play a role in the offensive YPP, the ratio is an excellent representation of an offense's overall efficiency.  The lower the offensive YPP, the better.

Offensive YPP:
Richt 13.71; Bobo 12.41

As I also mentioned following the Colorado game a year ago, I realize my comparison doesn't necessarily equate to each coach's play-calling prowess, but more so their respective offense's production.  In addition, obviously each coach faced different defenses while armed with different offensive players; however, it can certainly be argued the opposing defenses faced and offensive talent present for Georgia during the two periods were presumably at or at least near the same levels. 

In closing, since Bobo has been calling the plays, Georgia's offense has been more productive than Richt's offenses for every single measurement I felt was appropriate in comparing the two periods, EXCEPT one -- the most important statistic of them all:

RICHT calling the plays: 59-17 record (34-14 in SEC, 17-13 vs. AP-ranked opponents)
BOBO calling the plays: 47-21 record (26-14 in SEC, 13-14 vs. AP-ranked opponents)  

It's no secret that many in the Bulldog Nation (including yours truly on occasion), during Georgia's last few seasons of mediocrity, have been quick to point the finger at Bobo's play calling as a major issue.  However, at least comparatively speaking, I'm beginning to believe that Bobo isn't necessarily a problem but maybe a scapegoat, and something else besides his play calling, or lack thereof, should be focused upon. 


IveyLeaguer said...

Nice job ... interesting stuff.
But I've said it a hundred times ... it's not so much Bobo's playcalling (though the "dud series" is a trademark of his) as it is everything else, except recruiting. Bobo is a good recruiter.
As I see it, it's the game planning, evaluation, scheming, lack of polish, and similar responsibilities of the OC, where Bobo falls short.
Nor do stats tell the whole story of even the real story. What is the overall characteristic of the Georgia offense under Bobo, the one thing that's consistently been there regardless of who the personnel are?
The answer is ... sloppy play. Sloppy play tends to beat yourself. You can't beat good SEC teams playing sloppy ball, or even good OOC teams, as the last 3 or 4 years have shown.
The primary responsibility of a coordinator, IMHO, is to field a unit that plays solid ball. Under VanGorder, Georgia played solid defense, nothing fancy about it, just solid. Under Martinez, the Georgia defense got sloppy. Grantham has us on the way to being solid again ... we're not quite there yet, but we're getting close.
Under Bobo, Georgia's offense is sloppy. Until that changes, Georgia is not going to win anything much. And we're not going to be able to compete with the top teams of the SEC.

Anonymous said...

Bobo is definitely not a scapegoat. He isn't as bad as Martinez was on the defensive side, but he is overmatched against quality competition(you know, those opponents who have d-coordinator's with decades of experience...compared to Bobo, who has a background that doesn't include anything other than playing qb at UGA and being a qb coach for several years).

In regard to your comparison, the first thing I'll say is that I don't think the comparison should be with Richt. We need an O-coordinator, not a head coach that handles the offense. We just need a better one than Bobo. Everyone knows that we won games in the earlier years of Richt's regime due to our defense. If the O scored 20 points in those years, we were going to win almost without exception. We finally seem to be getting back to that type of defense and that should help to cover up at least some of Bobo's deficiencies. That said, if we want to win at the highest level, we need to do a nationwide search and find the most qualified person for the position just like we did with Grantham. No matter how well Granthams's D plays next season, I guarantee you that Bobo and our O will find a way to lose two or three games.

Anonymous said...

The reason that there is very little difference is that Bobo runs Richt's offense style / scheme / plan. There should be very little change.

We need an "O" that is independant from the Richt style. Obviously Richt is the head coach and the boss so he would have to agree with the plan, but the theme / style would change.

When was the last time that you felt good about coming out of half time and having a better plan than the competition??? Seems that other teams adjust better than we do!!

Dr. Merkwurdigliebe said...

Get a NFL guy in and the top tier recruits will come flooding in. I'm sure Grantham has a few phone numbers he could dial.

Ant123 said...

I like your analysis however, in MHO it is inadequate because you only factored in one side of the ball. If the offense performed 10% better but the defense was 15%-20% worse during that same time span would you not expect the results you obtained. I'm not saying that that is the difference but to have a fair comparison it should be included.

Anonymous said...

You have confused the nay sayers with facts. Thats not fair! Its Bobo's fault anyway!

Anonymous said...

The only stats that matter are wins and losses. Tell me one game where you think Bobo's influence clearly led to UGA winning. Now ask yourself the same question about Van Gorder and Grantham.

I don't blame this on Bobo. If you are underqualified and inept, it's not going to keep you from taking the job. This is all on Richt. He's wanted to maintain control of the offense behind the scenes instead of hiring a guy and giving him the autonomy to do what is necessary to compete and beat the elite teams in the conference. It's not much different than Dooley's decision as AD to hire Ray Goff as his successor.

Richt is not out of the woods yet. This year was better, but it couldn't get much worse than the previous two seasons and the fact remains that we lost to the 4 best teams on our schedule in 2011. If we keep Bobo around, the program will never reach it's potential. I'd be willing to bet that another dip will be coming after next season for 3 reasons: (1) UF and UT won't be down for long, (2) the tougher teams in the West will be rolling back on to our schedule and (3) Missouri and TAMU aren't UK, Vandy and Ole Miss - more tough games on the schedule due to their addition to the SEC in the coming years

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the offensive production comparison between Richt and Bobo. Is there any possible truth to the rumor that Richt took over play calling during the overtime periods of the 2012 Outback Bowl against MSU?

Yankee Dawg

Anonymous said...

Interesting comparison, but I'm still not convinced. Bobo's offenses may or may not score sufficient points--the issue is consistency and overall efficacy. Take for example the USC game last year. The offense put up sufficient numbers and points, but anyone who watched that game knows that the offense simply didn't play well. The offense was put in great positions by the defense and the offense, in turn, put the D in terrible positions and actually gave up more points than the D. This is similar to Murray's numbers this year (fyi, I think Murray will be great at UGA): his numbers, while spectacular, don't really tell the story of how up and down and inconsistent (esp. in big situations) his performance was this past season.

Anonymous said...

I look at the regular season this past year, and I see that the Dawgs scored an average of 34 points total, including non-offensive points -- pretty respectable. But, assuming you watched the games closely, is there any meaningful game where BOBO's offense played really well? The offense was abysmal against Boise and USC. It played pretty poorly against Tenn, Florida, and KY. It was just OK (being generous) against the Mississippi schools, GT, Vandy, and then played great against the cupcakes and Auburn. It just wasn't a particularly impressive season offensively, regardless of the point average.

Anonymous said...

Ask Nebraska how that worked out.

Anonymous said...

Isn't amazing how some people cannot let their opinion be influenced by facts?

Anonymous said...

You mean facts like we won more games when Richt was in charge? Is that the kind of facts our opinions should be influenced by?

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to waste my time looking at too many details of individual games because I know what I will see; however, I will give this one example. Here is the UGA drive chart for the Boise game. Notice the number of 3 and out's and the lack of sustained drives. As usual when we play a quality opponent, Bobo put a ton of pressure on the defense and relied on big plays to get most of the yardage we got..

Well, I couldn't copy and paste here, but to summarize;

First Half - 7 of 8 drives were 3 plays or less

Second Half - 4 of 6 drives were 5 plays or less

We were 2 for 13 on 3rd downs and nearly half of our total yardage came on 3 plays.

Anonymous said...

That Boise State performance came on the tails of a bowl game where our O scored 6 points versus a Conference USA team. More than a month to prepare and no TD's..with a WR who was picked top 5 in the draft and made the Pro Bowl in his first year.

Look what Boise and UCF did to Bobo's O with some extra time to prepare. Hell, my 7 year old can look at our formation and tell what we are going to do before the play most of the time. Say what you want about our offensive line, but two of those guys played in the Senior Bowl. One will be a first round pick and the other will go in round 2 or 3.

Bobo simply does not have the ability to improvise and adapt.

Patrick Garbin said...


Thanks for reading the post and everyone's comments over the last few days.

I'd just like to reiterate that I believe my comparison simply shows that the offense under Bobo has been statistically and comparatively more productive than under Richt -- nothing more and for whatever that's worth (which likely isn't much considering the team, on the whole, has been less "productive.")

My main point was for those fans who point to Bobo's play calling as our program's primary problem, I believe there are obviously several other more pressing issues with the team, some of which may involve Bobo.

I disagree that there is "little difference" (on the whole) when comparing the figures. When one has the upper-hand in ALL 12 "offensive production" measurements (and I would have included more measurements than 12, but couldn't think of any more where the data was easily accessible), that's no “little difference.” There's little difference between some of the 12, but to have an advantage in every single one is downright remarkable.

Bobo could very well be an awful offensive coordinator, who cannot adapt, scheme, improvise, etc. However, in comparison to the guy before him that was calling the plays, it's evident Bobo's offenses have been more productive as far as yardage, touchdowns, in the Red-Zone, on 3rd down, etc. There should be no denying that.

Of course, as Anon 2:10 said, maybe the comparison shouldn't be with Richt since perhaps he was an even worse OC than Bobo. But who would be a more suitable and appropriate comparison?

Thanks, again.