Count me among those who think Georgia head coach Mark Richt getting more involved in his team’s offense is a good thing.
That was the big news out of Richt meeting with the UGA beat reporters on Tuesday: After several years of generally maintaining a hands-off stance with the offense while coordinator Mike Bobo grew into the job, Richt has decided he wants and needs to attend all the meetings of the quarterbacks and the offense.
This isn’t a knock on Bobo, he says, but rather a way for him to more fully evaluate the contenders in the QB battle and stay more involved in coaching, rather than dealing with the PR side of his job.
Now, for sure, some will see this as Richt letting Bobo know that while he may have escaped the coaching purge after last season, the boss is looking over his shoulder this year.
But I’ll take the coach’s rationale at face value. Let’s face it, as a former quarterback and longtime offensive coordinator and play-caller, it’s obvious this is the aspect of the game that Richt enjoys the most.
Bobo will still call the plays and should look on the increased participation of Richt as a plus. The guy knows offense.
That doesn’t mean I’d like to see Richt calling the plays again. I’m not a fan of any head coach calling plays, because I think it requires them to stay too wrapped up in just one aspect of their teams’ play during a game, when the head coach should be looking at the big picture. And while I quibble with Bobo’s play-calling from time to time (especially when he goes all conservative in the red zone), I generally like the way he thinks, offensively. He seems a bit more patient with the running game than Richt was as a signal-caller.
But having more daily involvement from Richt should help Bobo, who had his hands full last season with a sputtering running game in the first half of the season and probably didn’t have the time needed to coach Joe Cox through his decision-making problems. Already, we’re hearing that Richt is being more hands-on with the QBs in practice, and perhaps him acting as a de facto quarterbacks coach while Bobo deals with the overall offense will pay dividends down the road.
It’s just one more indication that Richt is operating with a renewed focus this year.
TALKING THE TALK
Fans love to parse the head coach’s comments, so I thought it was instructive that in Tuesday’s media briefing Richt twice invoked the need for his team to play like champions.
Talking about having a so-so practice, he said, “I just didn’t think we practiced like champions today.” And discussing Richard Samuel’s progress at linebacker, Richt said, “He’s new to the position, and we want him to be ready to compete for us — not so much compete for a job but get out there and play championship defense.”
Obviously getting a third SEC championship is very much on Richt’s mind. It sounds like he’s hungry again, which is perhaps something that was missing the past couple of years.
Whatever the reason, it’s good to see him holding his players to that kind of standard.