Richt getting more involved with quarterbacks is a plus

Mark Richt's increased involvement can only help Georgia's quarterbacks. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC}

Mark Richt's increased involvement can only help Georgia's quarterbacks. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC}

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.

105 comments Add your comment

UGA ALL THE WAY

March 31st, 2010
11:08 am

Nice bill, glad to see we both feel the same about Richt on offense.

UGA ALL THE WAY

March 31st, 2010
11:09 am

and oh is that a first i just got, look at that, jus like UGA….#1

meh

March 31st, 2010
11:10 am

I’m glad see Coach Richt getting more involved. Maybe it’ll light a fire under the offense’s behinds. First?

Jay

March 31st, 2010
11:13 am

I like the championship talk sounds like he’s real hungry again will be a very fun season can’t wait for it. Goooooooo Dawgs!

SOUTH GA DAWG

March 31st, 2010
11:18 am

Good to hear Richt use the word “Championship” a lil more in the media. Have not heard that much last couple years especially on defense.

Bill King is a ........

March 31st, 2010
11:24 am

Our offense needs to revolve around or RB’s. If we can do that, the new qb shouldnt be a big deal. Look at Alabama last year……new qb, good rb and a good O-line. Why is that so hard for UGA to figure out??? After the Tech game last year……the concept of running the damn ball should be clear to MR and Booboo. Run the ball, keep this new Defense off the field as much as possible. Running the ball will open up the passing game and take some high pressure throws away from our QB. But time after time….we will have success running the ball and all of a sudden…we throw it!!! The other defenses dont stop us….we stop ourselves with the play calling. GRATEFULDAWGHEAD puts it this way…..”It works too good!!”

SickandTired

March 31st, 2010
11:32 am

Amen to the running the ball. Mark Richt is not happy running the ball down peoples throats unless he’s trying to end the game by running out the clock. He loves the pass and so he’s gonna pass it even when the dawgs are running it well. These coaches sometimes think they have to be a genius and outwit the other guy. Plain old hard nosed football is something Georgia doesn’t practice and until Mark Richt is fired it will not change.

Mark Richt

March 31st, 2010
11:36 am

Nice post, Bill.

But you guys have got to stop with the “first” thing. You sound like a bunch of Tech nerds. Champions don’t have to say they’re “first,” they just ARE.

Saint Simons is my Caddy

March 31st, 2010
11:44 am

I’m hearing what I want to hear……..now let’s see it happen on the field this fall.

Mark Richt

March 31st, 2010
11:46 am

SickandTired, I completely disagree with your post.

UGAAlumnus

March 31st, 2010
11:51 am

i still don’t understand this whole “fire Mark Richt” thing. Richt is easily one of the best coaches in college football. UGA had, statistically, one of the toughest schedules in college football last year and he still won 8 games with a mediocre qb and some bad breaks. I’m “sick and tired” of hearing “fire Mark Richt”. It doesn’t matter what kind of man he is, he’s a great football coach.

Erk Russell

March 31st, 2010
11:52 am

Pound the rock.

MoDawg

March 31st, 2010
12:08 pm

I think Richt’s involvement in defensive meetings under Martinez was probably more about trying to help his friends save their jobs. Alas, Richt’s specialty is the offense and I welcome his inclusion in those meetings. Now that he has a more than capable staff on the defensive side of the ball, he can go back and help Bobo. Bobo has shown flashes of brilliance while, at the same time showing too much predictability and head-scratching play calls. I’d like to see Richt get involved in some of that old FSU play-calling that would put 40+ on their opponents on a regular basis.

UGA has the talent, they just need to coach them up!

Craig

March 31st, 2010
12:14 pm

we should be hungary….he should be hungary…players should be…..my only concern is all that has been going on the last few years as we have gone thru the motions- wonder what in the world happened to all of a sudden have this sense of urgency…….I am happy, but what lightbulb finally went off?????

Jeff

March 31st, 2010
12:16 pm

Does this mean an end to our sweep to the right on 3rd and 24????? What will the rest of the conference think about that????

How2fish

March 31st, 2010
12:22 pm

SickandTired…you of course with your winning record are more than able to always make the right call…there are NO coaches with your wisdom the world is your oyster! God I am soooo Sickand Tired of your B.S… we played pretty good “hard nosed” football when we ran all over the Bugs. God its a new year…get a new rant!

Mark Richt

March 31st, 2010
12:33 pm

UGAAlumnus, you are a brilliant man.

Mark Richt

March 31st, 2010
12:36 pm

Craig, it wasn’t Damon Evans or the “fire Mark Richt” chatter. I can assure you.

Craig

March 31st, 2010
12:50 pm

Hey thanks coach :) I didn’t think it was because of that.

Joe

March 31st, 2010
12:51 pm

Can anyone let me know the top 5 BOBo calls……I wanna know what I should be missing next year……

JMart

March 31st, 2010
1:02 pm

I guessing SickandTired is also old and farty. You have to at least have the threat of a passing game and with guys like AJ Green out there, you can bet your tushy we’re going to pass AND run.

Bobo has had his moments. My problem is that we sometimes don’t seem to be have any foundation. It just seems like we’re pulling plays out of a hat to see if anything works.

“Bobo seems a bit more patient with the running game than Richt was as a signal-caller.” Really!
Late last year, when we had greatly improved in the running game, Bobo would always seem to wait until the second half before he would call back to back running plays. And all the passing on 3′rd and 2 drives me crazy! Bobo would finally call a run oriented game after it became apparent that nothing else was working.

Jeff

March 31st, 2010
1:13 pm

here are the top 5
#1. 3rd and a mile……toss sweep to the left. usually a gain of 2 PUNT
#2. haveing run the ball and driven down the field 75 yards and gaining 5-7 yards a clip on 1st and goal: throw- incomplete…2nd down…throw…incomplete…3rd down…throw either intercepted or dropped…field goal
#3 1st and goal at the 1. toss sweep….fumble. Pass incomplete….pass incomplete….pass incomplete….
#4 3rd and 1. a 55 yard pass attempt down the sideline…PUNT
#5 4 and inches at the opponents 24yard line …FG Attempt

logan gray

March 31st, 2010
1:14 pm

You forgot about my pick 6 to Brandon Spikes.

CEO Mark

March 31st, 2010
1:22 pm

Can’t wait to work hands on with the midget Aaron Murray.

Bremen Dawg

March 31st, 2010
1:27 pm

I like what I am hearing. These QB’s can really learn alot from Mark Richt and I agree I don’t want to see him calling plays anymore but he does need to be involved with the offense. I hope this all pays off.

AceDawg

March 31st, 2010
1:28 pm

Yeah, Richt seemed to have confidence in his team in recent years, but not hunger. Optimism alone won’t beat Saban and Meyer, etc. New coaches on defense probably make the difference as Richt not only wants to show that he is still the head coach, but those guys come in revved up for a new experience. All the more, Grantham comes from a tough NFL mentality and has probably learned a heck of a lot more than Willie Martinez, so the coaches including Richt take note on his professional background.

Bo

March 31st, 2010
1:32 pm

I think Bobo has done a good job with what he had. Our run game came on at the end of the year because we played Vandy and Tech. Our O-line finally was able to dominate those smaller D-linemen. Also, Washaun wasn’t really in the mix early on. Caleb wasn’t finishing runs hard until Washaun got the starting job. Then you saw Caleb start to pop guys at the end al a Washaun and Knowshon.

Also, our offensive was playing from behind most of the year. If you have to score a lot of points and you can’t do what you want because of an inadequate QB and poor line play, you tend to be predictable. Our success will depend upon the offensive line. If Searels can live up to the hype, we have the potential to be above average on that side of the ball.

As for you guys lamenting Richt’s play calling, you must not remember the conservative ’sideways’ offense that he used to favor. Coach Richt used to say that he was content to let the defense win games. We didn’t see consistent downfield passing until Bobo took over the play calling duties.

Having said that, I am happy that he’s taking more of an interest in our quarterback development. He did a great job with Greene & Shockley but Stafford never really panned out. I can’t lay that all on Bobo but Richt certainly has a good track record with QBs.

CEO Mark

March 31st, 2010
1:33 pm

When I hired Grantham, no body told he had been fired by the Browns in his only stint as DC.

Mike Bobo

March 31st, 2010
1:38 pm

Jeff, I know…my bad. I do sometimes like to throw stuff at the wall and hope that it sticks. I forget that I’m not on my Playstation.

Just curious, but has someone been showing you my playbook?

Otto

March 31st, 2010
1:38 pm

For those that say run the ball, I will remind you of UT ‘07 where Bobo stuck with the run far to long.

The key is to vary play calling, developing leaders/allowing QB & RB to get into a groove, and plays that open up running lanes and WRs.

Mike Bobo

March 31st, 2010
1:40 pm

Bo, I like those excuses. Thanks!

Mike Bobo

March 31st, 2010
1:42 pm

Thanks, Otto. I just wrote down your keys on how to vary play calling. That should help a lot.

Anyone else have any suggestions?

CEO Mark

March 31st, 2010
1:43 pm

Yea bobo the clown; concentrate on football instead of having more young-uns.

38 Yardline Dawg

March 31st, 2010
1:49 pm

Listen, Bobo has made some calls that didn’t work out. But he’s made plenty of great calls as well…particularly with the running game. Remember the running back we had named Moreno? He racked up 2,734 yards in one season (4th best all time at UGA) in part because Bobo called his number. When it’s 3rd and 24, defenses expect a pass…that’s why sometimes you call a play that’s not a pass.

I’m just saying: No one would have wanted Bobo’s job last year with an under-experienced QB and a lack of any one running back stepping up to the plate. Especially after having the Stafford/Moreno combo in the previous season.

Although just for the record (Bobo, if you’re reading this), screen passes are a beautiful thing when properly executed. Please bring these back to the UGA playbook.

Otto

March 31st, 2010
2:05 pm

Bo, Agreed Caleb was not finishing runs. However, it is the coaches job to make sure he is giving 100% another RB should not be needed.

Line play? UGA was #6 nationally in sacks allowed. Samuel had plenty of holes but did not make the open field moves. Caleb did not finish runs. The blame is not on the OL.

Also playing behind? UGA was #61 in fumbles given up, that helps your way to 118th of 120 teams in turnover margin. I couldn’t find Team INTs given up but Cox was tied for 97th (#1 being fewest all QBs played in atleast 9 games) in INTs thrown. Blaming Cox? Stafford threw 10 a year his last 2 which would have tied for 53rd. Sure the defense needed help but the offense had their hand in it.

One more stat I’d like to see is average length of time per possesion. The # of clock killing drives have been on the decline despite more favorable clock rules. CMR’s offense may not have put as many points up but how many times did we watch Greene or Shock take 5+ min off the clock for a score to win the game. If the other team doesn’t get the ball back they can’t score and CMR did well at turnover margin with exception of Green’s Fr. year which was also CMR’s 1st.

Evansdawg

March 31st, 2010
2:12 pm

I completely agree, Bill. I like hearing him toss around the “champion” word.

Otto

March 31st, 2010
2:15 pm

Anytime Mike, don’t get stuck like you did on the run in ‘07 UT game, or the play action that bombed against S Car ‘07, the overthrown go pattern in ‘08 along with 3rd and long bubble screen.

Dorsey Hill

March 31st, 2010
2:33 pm

For sick and tired and other people that think coaching is so simple:

Essentially what you are saying is that coaches are too stupid to know that running the ball always leads to results and if someone did just that, they’d win every game. Makes you wonder why everyone doesn’t finish 13-0 doesn’t it?

There are three types of teams out there and any team can fall into any category depending on the quality of the given opponent:

1) Those who get dictated to by their opponent and have no ability to counter. These are very bad teams.

2) Those who are not quite good enough to dictate to every opponent but are sufficiently skilled to overcome some limitations in talent as compared to an opponent by countering and being creative. These are your 8-5 to 11-2 types of teams.

3) Those teams that can dictate to the opponent and say this is who we are and you can’t stop us. If you are in this category every week you will be an undefeated championship team.

Good college coaches must try to acheive #3, but are too often, especially in the SEC, in category #2. In the NFL there are no category #3 teams every week…ever.

You simply can not win championships in the SEC on a regular basis believing that you will be able to dominate every opponent. Eventually someone is going to shut your run game down and you’d better have a plan B.

The key is knowing who you are, knowing who you can and who you can’t dominate and being prepared to deal with the almost inevitable adversity. Would I like to run the ball in every 3rd and 4 vs. Arky and Colorado early in the year? Sure, if my entire goal is to win that game. But there will come a time vs, UF or Bama in the SEECG that a qb and a wr are going to have to make a play in that spot and they’d better be prepared for it.

While I’d love some day to have a team like Nebraska’s 1995 team and just physically beat on everyone, those are once in a lifetime types of teams. If you want to be successful over the long haul and win championships on a consistent basis you’d better be diversified.

I guarantee you that CPJ is using the entire spring to overcome the limitations that occurred when we played them last year. Had they been a little bit more proficient in the passing game we likely do not win that game even though Tech’s defense was atrocious. He knows that you can run all over UVA and Duke, but he’d better have an answer if his defense digs him a hole or another team slows the running game down sufficiently.

Our story is that we have not had the tools to be in the #3 category in enough games. We weren’t going to be able to dictate to UF the last two years or UA the year before. In too many other games were relatively evenly matched talent wise. I do think that we’ll be a dominant team in far more games this year than we were last year, especially early last year when we had literally no running game.

That is not to say that I let CMR or Bobo totally off the hook because I don’t. I do think their general philosophy is correct, but the 2007 game vs. USC was a perfect example where we should have run the ball far more because Stafford was struggling and it was a close game throughout. No reason to throw 40+ passes in a game like that. Others may be able to point to other examples, but that one to me is the most glaring.

Jeff

March 31st, 2010
2:38 pm

38 yardline…..”When it’s 3rd and 24, defenses expect a pass…that’s why sometimes you call a play that’s not a pass”
sometimes???????? try everytime……same play…toss sweep….same result…gain of 2 and punt. Sometimes?????? I have heard visiting fans call the play from the stands during games…….SOMETIMES? really? Sometimes??? We could only wish it was sometimes

Frank Lane

March 31st, 2010
2:44 pm

The buck stops here. Sooner or later, the coach has to step up. Not a moment too soon.

I have been CEO of several companies, and you want to support your direct supports and give the freedom to perform, but sometimes your help is needed.

Craig

March 31st, 2010
2:46 pm

38 yardline-I guess then when it is 3rd and 1 and your trying to keep the ball and run the clock out then since most teams (except the ones we happen to play because it rarely works)would think we are going to keep running the ball like we have been doing gaining 4-5 yeards a shot. Silly them- we come out and throw a 60 yard bomb and punt.

Joe

March 31st, 2010
2:54 pm

Bobo’s 3rd and 24 Playcall: PTS-BoooBoo (Pray they’re stupid)

Bobo’s 3rd and 1: JOU-65. (jokes on us for 65 yards)

Otto

March 31st, 2010
2:57 pm

Dorsey Hill, I don’t think it is simple but IMO others are running much more complex and effective systems. UGA has also been killing itself in all 3 phases of the game with fundamentals, don’t fumbles, get defensive players in position to make plays, and cover kicks.

If Stafford is one of the most prepared NFL rookies to execute a system at the NFL level, the question has to be asked why did he toss 10 INTs and stall in the red zone at UGA? If he can make the reads/pick the plays within the system it must be the system not giving him the most successful options.

Also IMO and given the high recruiting rankings UGA should be able to beat everyone in East using more 3 than 2 (within reason) other than UF.

Anonymous 'Cos

March 31st, 2010
3:03 pm

Wow—— ‘CEO Mark’ is one angry person. Angry at what? I have no idea, but he is one angry adolescent. Actually, it sounds as if your parents are the ones that should have stopped having children. You are living proof of that. Follow your own advice please.

I like the fact that Richt is back in the QB meetings and has a more hands-on approach to the offense in general.

‘Bo’ —- great point! Richt had a lot to do with the success of Shockley and Greene, it would have been intresting to see what he could have gotten out of Stafford. I had not thought of that before. Richt and Bobo have some good skill to mold at the qb position.

‘BillKingisa’… —- Another good point.I don’t like to ever say “be like…” or “do it like…”, But you bring up a good point about our situation this year as compared to Alabama last year. There, indeed, are a lot of similarities between the status of the programs in recent years. Now WE just need to raise our own crystal trophy and quiet the ‘80 comeback.

Go Dawgs! It’s gonna be a good couple o’ years i believe…regardless of what one CEO Mark thinks.

tdog

March 31st, 2010
3:14 pm

I will up my estimate from five wins to six with Richt becomming more involved. Hopefully he will not try any more gimmicks.

Minnesota Dawg

March 31st, 2010
3:18 pm

It’s not that Richt wasn’t hungry, it’s just that he delegated responsibility because that’s what you do when you see promise of success. When it go awry, you take it back over and regroup. Richt is doing the right thing. He’s humble enough to know when things are not right. Let’s get behind the dawgs and Richt! Trust me, we will win the SEC again. Don’t be suprised if you see that this year!

Dorsey Hill

March 31st, 2010
3:19 pm

Otto,

We may be able to argue about “effectiveness” but no one is running anything more “complex” than UGA is on offense. In fact, its limitation may be its complexity, especially with less experienced qb’s and wr’s. We are running NFL systems on both sides of the ball now with amatuer players. When you have depth and experience it can be really effective, but when your personnel doesn’t measure up to what the system requires it can look ugly.

With respect to the red zone issue, it seems to me that we were having kickers lead the SEC in scoring more before Stafford than after. I think we have improved in the red zone with Bobo calling plays rather than regressed. When we have had difficulties in that area the main culprit has been, and always will be, OL play. We have not been where we need to be on the OL for most of CMR’s tenure. It looks like that has finally come around, but Donnan left that cupboard empty and its taken a very long time, especially with losing OL to various injuries, to get the OL where it needs to be from a depth perspective. We have had a couple of good O-lines in the last ten years, but more often than not its been a real problem area. When that is that case, your red zone offense will almost always struggle because the teams that score in the red zone dictate run to the defense, which as I stated earlier is much easier said than done.

Blackberry Cobbler

March 31st, 2010
3:48 pm

In other words CMR really hasn’t been doing his job and keeping close tabs on the offense the past few years. That’s so encouraging to hear, isn’t it fans? I get the strong impression that someone has lit a fire under CMR’s butt and told him to right the ship or pack up and move on. If this season is a repeat of last season, things are really going to get heated up.

UGAgrad04

March 31st, 2010
3:51 pm

Dorsey Hill,

You some good points about your categories, but I have some questions.

1. If Nick Saban can get to category 3# in 3 years, after taking over a team that was 6-7 the year before he got there, then what does that say about Saban’s approach to a program? What does it say about Richt’s?

2. If most good teams finish 10-2 or 11-1 at best in the SEC, while weaker conferences winners finish with undefeated record, then can’t you argue that 10-2 or 11-1 is still in group 3#?

As for your NFL comparison, I agree to some degree about there not being any group 3# teams, but I do think there are group 3# franchises. I think the Patriots, Steelers, Colts are in Group 3#, because they are Super Bowl contenders year in and year out. Groups 2# franchises would be teams like the Ravens, Cowboys, Eagles or even the Falcons, that are playoff contenders but not quite Super Bowl franchises. Group 1# are like the Detroit Lions! LOL.

CEO Mark

March 31st, 2010
3:57 pm

Good points UGA GRAD04, and you might add it only took Meyer 2 seasons after the mess Zook left him.