Who’s the key to Georgia’s offense, Isaiah Crowell or … Mike Bobo?

Losing Caleb King means Mike Bobo is going to have to get creative. (Associated Press)

Losing Caleb King means Mike Bobo is going to have to get creative. (Associated Press)

So, after a weekend in which Caleb King leaving the team dominated just about any discussion of Georgia football, it seems there’s a prominent split in opinion among both fans and college football observers in general over whether Georgia losing King was a Very Big Deal or No Big Deal at All.

On the one hand are those who feel the lack of his solid, if unspectacular, running and his better-than-average pass blocking will be severely missed by the Dogs, especially in the first couple of games. On the other side are those who look at the body of his work at UGA and his continuing off-field problems and think we likely would have been in for just more of the same. They’ve labeled King a bust and feel moving him out of Isaiah Crowell’s way that much quicker will likely just accelerate the true freshman’s development.

I’d love for that to be true, and who knows, Crowell may have the same sort of out-of-the-box impact as Marcus Lattimore did for South Carolina last season. Still, I think it’s ridiculous to view the loss of King as anything other than a blow to Georgia’s offensive hopes early in the season.

I’m not offering up a doomsday scenario. The need for Crowell to produce as a true freshman was always going to be one of the keys to the Dogs contending for the SEC East this season. But now he’s going to have to do it from the very start, which is asking a lot.

Who this really is going to put the pressure on, however, isn’t Crowell so much as offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. Without the flexibility that King would have provided him while Crowell develops, Bobo is going to have to get creative, which to date has not been his strength.

Whether it’s finding new ways to use Branden Smith on offense, spreading out the passing game more, expanding the role of Bruce Figgins at fullback, or finally figuring out how to use the Wild Dawg with Nick Marshall, Georgia’s offensive hopes this season ride on Bobo’s shoulders.

How do you feel about that?

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298 comments Add your comment

lastgrad

July 12th, 2011
10:47 am

UGA Alum

July 12th, 2011
10:49 am

Bobo since he calls the draws…ugh I mean plays

JaxDawg05

July 12th, 2011
10:51 am

I don’t think the Dawgs offense with is based on the play action pass can be effective if there is no real threat of a running game. I know this article is about Crowell and the offense, but I also feel this offense will be fine if the defensive side of the ball can hold offenses to less than the 3 touchdowns a game it gave up last year.

Newman

July 12th, 2011
10:52 am

Anybody remember Carnie Norris? He was ahead of Herschel on the depth chart when we got off the bus in Knoxville. Caleb King is Carnie Norris.

DawginLex

July 12th, 2011
10:57 am

Start Boo Malcolme and tell him that he will LOSE HIS LIFE if he fumbles the football.

He is not a breakaway threat but he has the size to block and get some yards after the initial hit.

Let Crowell back him up and let them grow up together.

Hopefully this combo will be better than Ealey/king.

TROJAN

July 12th, 2011
11:00 am

We have the worst play action passes because he establish no running game. We will break a run for 7 yards and not run again. We will run Carlton Thomas up the middle on 3rd and long. Our QB’s REACH for the runner when we are handing off. Why are we the only team that does that? Do we know a better technique than anyone else in the country? We throw 1 yard passes. We establish no running game.

I say that Bobo is the biggest question mark.

dave

July 12th, 2011
11:00 am

We will have to use more tight end sets. specifically, double tight end sets. put figgins in the backfield on the same side as charles to block. this will allow charles to run routes for play action, and the other tight end and figgins can help block. this will also give crowell a lead blocker on run plays.

gomdawg

July 12th, 2011
11:00 am

Carnie Norris was a true Georgia football player , just Herschel Walker came along don’t compare him to a low life like King

Dawg_Mike

July 12th, 2011
11:03 am

All this “pass protection” is nonsense. If we are using Figgins in the backfield then I believe him to be more than capable of picking up blitzes and D linemen that get off their blocks. This allows Murray time enough to do his thing and as a second year QB the game will slow down for him. Crowell will develop into a fine back – Color me not concerned.

The U

July 12th, 2011
11:03 am

Keep it simple doesn’t mean keep it predictable coach.

gomdawg

July 12th, 2011
11:03 am

Well i was worried we would not have all our coaches this year , but I see ya’ll are back . Just leave the coaching to Mark and the other coaches we will be fine .

89Dawg

July 12th, 2011
11:04 am

Gotta admit I do not remember Carnie…and I do think this is a good thing for Crowell – he seems like someone who shines in the spotlight and would not learn (as fast) by watching but by being “in the action” right away. As disappointing as Caleb’s career was at UGA, the guy is still talented and we should pull for him as a fellow “DAWG”….I remember another RB who had just an average career at UGA but went onto some serious NFL success…you might remember “him”…Terrell Davis?

DanDawg

July 12th, 2011
11:05 am

It’s on Bobo’s shoulders. Can’t expect a green freshman to carry the offense. I see more two tightend sets and wilddawg formations to provide adequate blocking and keep the other guy’s defense guessing. Losing CK is a blow, but may provide additional motivation for others to step up. There’s always a chance that IC can break out strong, but we shouldn’t count on it. If it happens, it will really help our passing game.

gomdawg

July 12th, 2011
11:07 am

I see us losing 1 game in regular season and losing the SEC Championship.NAAAAAAAAAAAAA
12-0 GO DAWGS

Sam

July 12th, 2011
11:09 am

come on, give Boo Malcome some more love than that. 4 star running back out of high school that has been with UGA for over a year. Has some serious power and can run through tackles. Yeah, he doesn’t have breakaway speed, but you don’t need breakaway speed in UGA’s system. 3-5 yards a run will do, and I don’t worry about Malcome missing a block on passing downs. Putting Crowell in before he is ready would be dangerous (re: future health mentally and physically), especially considering the pressure on the team as a whole. Malcome should start against Boise and USC, have Crowell come in for a few series, and slowly ease him into the schedule.

BMDPD

July 12th, 2011
11:10 am

You all seem to forget that B. Smith has trouble holding on to the ball.

Newman

July 12th, 2011
11:13 am

Carnie Norris was kicked off the team in the middle of Sugar Bowl week in NO for drugs…True Dog? REALLY?

Dawg Gone

July 12th, 2011
11:16 am

From what I’m reading Boise’s D line is good and a strength of their team but, they are a good deal smaller than our O line..it will be the first game for the OL as a unit so a simpler running game plan should be in order. Run Boo at them between the tackles until their noses bleed, let our guys up front use the extra muscle and pound at them all game and use the size difference. Let the D try not just for stops but turnovers and give the O a couple of scoring shots on a short field. Due to lack of experience at the OL and now RB we need to put the smash back int smash mouth. Go Dogs!

Newman

July 12th, 2011
11:17 am

Carnie is currently serving a 28 year sentence for armed robbery.

AltamahaDawg

July 12th, 2011
11:22 am

Aaron Murray.

Coach Bobo

July 12th, 2011
11:22 am

I like dem french fried potaters…..

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

NC Dawg

July 12th, 2011
11:24 am

“3rd and 16 for the Dawgs…Carlton Thomas checks into the game…” Please, don’t repeat this in 2011.

mgdawg

July 12th, 2011
11:24 am

Although I think losing king hurts from a depth and pass blocking perspective, I think it may help having him off the team because of all his off the field issues and he was never all that good actually running the ball anyways. Last year I never knew week to week whether the guy would even play, between unpaid parking tickets, having a “tweeked” ankle that seemed to last 3-4 weeks, and then skipping tutoring session and missing the bowl game because of that. I think atleast now we know that he won’t be playing instead of going into each week wondering what he’s going to do next.

Bobo is going to have to step it up. For the most part I’ve been a fan of his, the points per game average was going up each year until last year. IMO, ever since DJ was the qb until last year, UGA was an offensive team, the only problem being consistency. The offense just needs to be more consistent and stick with what is working, if the running game is working then run, if the passing game is working then pass, eventually one will open up the other.

Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

July 12th, 2011
11:27 am

This season is the most critical year of Coach Mike Bobo’s career. He has to step up to the plate and be a winning offensive coordinator.

Bobo has been a huge success as Georgia’s quarterbacks coach. Just look at Murray’s development. And as a recruiter: many of the south Georgia “Dream Team”ers are ‘Dogs due to his efforts.

Some of Bobo’s suspect play-calling last year may have been out of fear that Ealey, King, or Thomas would fumble.

Having said that, though, Bobo’s got to do a better job calling plays this year if he’s going to keep his OC job.

If we have to replace Bobo as OC, though, we’d best figure out how we can keep him on in the roles in which he has excelled.

JT

July 12th, 2011
11:28 am

The more you people keep comparing Crowell to Walker and 2011 to 1980, the more disappointed you will be. Let me do this slowly so you can understand it….THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER HERSCHEL WALKER AS LONG AS I LIVE. This kid would have to be 6′5″, 250 or so with 4.2 speed to match up the way Herschel did in 1980. In addition, he would have to be alcohol and drug free (**crickets**) and have a work ethic beyond reproach. Hell, there is not even a man to match Herschel NOW. He is almost 50 and coming off of two MMA fights where he beat the crap out of two younger and more experienced guys. Crowell could turn out to be an excellent running back, but the more you compare him to Herschel Walker, the more you sound like those old Alabama fans who were always trying to dig up Bear Bryant’s bones every season. Crowell would have to make some major changes to be physically and mentally like Herschel Walker. It ain’t happening. Leave it alone.

Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

July 12th, 2011
11:32 am

Dawg Gone

@ 11:16 am

To see how good Boise State’s D Line is, rewatch the first quarter of last year’s Va Tech game. Billy Winn was in the Hokies’ backfield as much as Tyrod Taylor was. The game’s still posted on ESPN 3.

The Broncos are going to be a huge test for the Bulldogs, one we can pass. But we’re going to have to play with the same level of intensity as Boise State does or else they’ll jump out to a big lead over us as they did against Va Tech last year.

BMDPD

July 12th, 2011
11:32 am

Good Post, JT.

ncb34

July 12th, 2011
11:33 am

anyone know what number crowell will be wearing at uga?

DawginLex

July 12th, 2011
11:33 am

Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

July 12th, 2011
11:38 am

Isaiah Crowell is not Herschel Walker.

Isaiah Crowell need not be Herschel Walker.

We’d be proud of half as good as Herschel Walker. One-quarter, even.

Especially if Crowell displays Herschel’s (public, anyway) persona. Herschel’s work ethic, team spirit, and personal modesty were, to me, the most startling thing about the man.

Greens23

July 12th, 2011
11:40 am

Want to know all you need to about Bobo? Ever hear his name mentioned for head coaching jobs? Enough said….

Vancy Duly

July 12th, 2011
11:41 am

This is a great question, unfortunately. At SOME point, Coach Bobo will have to grow into his position, or we will need him as QB coach only. I could give many examples of his lack of ingenuity and adjusting to game situations. For just a few examples —- 2 years ago, we come from behind and beat Auburn. The key play was the bomb from Joe Cox to Israel Troupe for a TD. After the game, Coach Bobo admits he didn’t realize the AJ Green was hurt on the prior play and that Troupe was in the game. The play was called for AJ, and nobody could possibly believe Bobo would have called the play for Troupe. So, the key play was an accident! This same coordinator runs Carlton Thomas up the middle as though he were 220 lbs. instead of 170. Against Tech last year, our 1st half passing game destroys Tech (220 yards and 3 TDs). So, how many passes do we throw in the 2nd half?? …The answer is 5. Tech comes back, Ealey stupidly scores the TD that gives Tech the ball back (with no warning from Bobo not to score), and we hold on barely to win. We use play-action fakes on long yardage passing downs, so that the QB has less time to survey the field. Our TB’s struggle in the running game, yet we almost never let our 2 FBs carry the ball for a change of pace. Orson Charles is a great talent, yet he averaged 2 touches per game last year. We go into a bowl against Central Florida with a game plan that was so uninspiring that the team seemed to fall asleep about 4 minutes into the game, never to recover….. There are MORE examples, but this is getting frustrating to type.

IF our best approach against Boise or SC or Florida or Auburn would be with 3 or 4 receivers, and throwing it 45 times, does Coach Bobo have the willingness to do what it takes to win that game??! I hope so, but have no confidence in it. IF our best approach to beat Florida was to pound Boo up the middle 35 times until the Gator defense collapses, would Bobo do it? Would he be willing to pitch out to Crowell 30 times against Auburn IF Auburn can’t stop outside runs? I am afraid we would have to endure more draws up the middle, more of Carlton Thomas, more running back by committee, etc., even if Auburn couldn’t stop the pitch. That’s one of Bobo’s problems — not going for the jugular when it’s exposed!!! MAYBE, with 2 months to figure this out, Bobo will look at his talent base and develop some CREATIVE solutions that might actually confuse/wipe out our opponents!!! GO DAWGS!!

Dawg 39

July 12th, 2011
11:45 am

The key to the Dawg’s offense will be Mark Richt, Period. As for Bobo , He is on track to becoming, in ther future, a successful D! Head Coach. Nuff Said.

Dawg Gone

July 12th, 2011
11:47 am

@Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf ‘Dog totally agree that was my point. We need to line up and pound them they will be the finesse team . I wouldn’t have said this about last years squad but from what I’m hearing about our new S&C program I think we can do it and frankly I think its the only way we can do it.

rocknbear

July 12th, 2011
11:50 am

please trade bobo for a bag of balls

Top Recruit

July 12th, 2011
11:50 am

Since Bobo moved from the sidelines to the booth to the sidelines we are still trying to get a handle what type of offensive coordinator he is. Most SEC defensive coaches do not care where he is at, they have already figured out his offense. Somewhere in his playbook lately, the running game has been taken out. It will disappear not only for a series, but quarters, games, and seasons. And in 2010 he will be at a big disadvantage with a thin line; inexperienced TBs playing against what many in the NCAA consider the best defensive conference; playing against some spread offenses that turn-up the volume on the scoreboard … this will be Bobo’s year to make a name or join the missionary fold.

Mike

July 12th, 2011
11:54 am

The key to the UGA offense will be the play of the offensive line. Period. Nothing goes without a great line. You can have all the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers you want, but nothing moves unless the job gets done up front. What Vince Lombardi did in the sixties, still applies today. Ever notice why he had only about seven plays? His theory was that he didn’t care if you knew where it was coming; if my guy can whip your guy, the play will advance. Good reasoning. Still applies today. Oh yea, that kind of reasoning caused his name to be placed on the top trophy in the NFL …

Mtn Dawg

July 12th, 2011
11:54 am

I want Richt to get involved in the play calling. Bobo goes in the tank when under pressure. Carlton Thomas up the middle on 3rd and long, for example.

Bama in Atlanta

July 12th, 2011
11:55 am

I still think the key to UGA’s offense is the O-line. Granted, Crowell is a stud but if the middle continues to be clogged up and he has to keep going to the outside then he will eventually tire having to run 15 yards to gain 3. Also, can Murray get the protection he needs from the O-line (and an inexperienced RB stable) to throw the ball so that it opens up the running game.

I don’t think Bobo needs to get overly creative in regards to coming up with exotic plays (”double flea-flicker, Y post, slot motion, on 2….ready, break”) but just don’t be so predictable as he has been in the past. Maybe throw it on first down sometimes, try some mis-direction, run a Wild Dawg with someone who is a threat to throw it as well as run it. Every team has a weakness but it’s the coach who earns his money by compensating with the strengths.

Liberty Bowl Social Events Coordinator

July 12th, 2011
11:59 am

The answer is whoever the moron who decided to kick the field goal on 4th and inches against UCF!!!!

Old Dawg

July 12th, 2011
11:59 am

It’s all on Bobo. He has the tools to make it work, he simply needs to mix up his play selection.

If he doesn’t pull that off, the season will be a bust.

Skywalker

July 12th, 2011
12:00 pm

The problem with 3 of the current players is fumbles: Thomas, Malcome, Branden Smith–because of ball protection issues, you can’t trust these three to tote the rock. When they’re in, teams will strip them easily. If Smith is injured, kills secondary.

The problem with Malcome & Crowell is neither are durable, both are injury prone. They won’t be able to take the pounding in the SEC. Crowell will be ineffective as a passblocker at best, and risk an injury to Murray at worst (remember what happened to Oklahaoma?)

The problem with letting Murray run the ball is potential for injury, Richt doesn’t have a QB With any real reps as a back up. Mason only has 14 passes under his belt, Lemay has none. Richt will NEVER let this happen. He can’t roll the dice the way Auburn or Florida did with a running QB.

The you have an inexperienced O-Line blocking. Only Jones has experience at his position. Imagine trying to run behind that inexperienced, and very thin depth wise, o-line.

Best shot, only shot at this stage, is to pull a Florida, with a combo of non-traditional rushing yards coming from tight end inside counters, QB zone read keepers, and flanker reverses. Problem there is Bobo will feel it’s too complex to install in 4 weeks.

Athens= God's Country

July 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

Don’t get creative. Just run the damn ball. Get tough MENTALLY in camp. Do that and the Dawgs will be fine.

DAWGS forever

July 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

Key to year…. Bobo or Crowell…. YES. That’s the answer because both HAVE to have great years. Need some OL to step up, some WR to take their turn and the Defensive front seven to stay eligible and reach potential.

Could be a year we talk about for years…. either way! Here’s hoping it’s a 2007 or 2002 or 5 again. Go DAWGS!

Dawg Gone

July 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

@Bama in Atlanta good post some good points.I think Boo should help between the tackles help balance the workload and pick up short yardage first downs…I hope.

Mobile Dawg

July 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

King will be missed, both as a potential leader, experience, and as a productive back, period.

The real key is whether our coaching staff will finally figure out that they can’t run their wide open offense with personnel who aren’t ready to execute it. I think a conservative approach, limiting mistakes is the key. Let the defense carry the load if they are ready, it appears they could be. Malcome should be a solid serviceable back. Ease Crowley into the mix, let his play dictate how we use him.

Seems simple to me.

ga gator

July 12th, 2011
12:09 pm

Bobo is the key; you never want to put that on a Freshman runningbacks shoulders. Hershel was a once and a lifetime and everyone who has crowned Lattimore needs to see how he does his Soph season. Richt needs to give Bobo either a totally free reign or take over the play calling himself. My guess is that Richt either approves of Bobo’s game plan and play calling or he gave him the script. Richt IS the Head Coach afterall.

Skywalker

July 12th, 2011
12:10 pm

Ealey’s new coach has already named Ealey as the starter, and says he will in the running for the Payton award. ealey’s competition got suspended.
http://www.annistonstar.com/view/full_story/14668042/article-Ealey-a-welcome-addition-in-midst-of-Barksdale-suspension?instance=home_news

Athens= God's Country

July 12th, 2011
12:12 pm

King was a potential leader? No. He was nothing more than potential. He was a cancer and I am glad he is gone. The mere fact that he said on his twitter account that he is leaving because “there are some things you can’t control,” shows what kind of a DA he is. You can’t control when or how you study? You didn’t know that when your license is suspended you can’t drive? He was a moron.

Mean Machine

July 12th, 2011
12:16 pm

Neither Bobo, nor Crowell are the key to the Dawgs offense. It’s the play of the OL. A great OL makes an average RB look spectacular, and and OC look like a genius. If the OL plays like it has the past few years, this offense will once again be mediocre, and everyone will pile on Bobo. Hopefully Friend will make an impact on this OL.