Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Richt Versus Bobo as Offensive Coordinators

Kudos to Patrick Garbin for taking a numbers-based approach to comparing Mark Richt and Mike Bobo as offensive coordinators in Athens (HT: Blutarsky), but there is a fairly big hole in his reasoning.  The period in which Richt was an offensive coordinator (2001-2006) was a defensive era in the SEC, whereas Bobo's period has taken place during an offensive explosion.  Thus, we should not be simply comparing raw numbers. 

For instance, the six-year Richt period produced only one team that finished in the top ten nationally in total offense, while the Bobo era has seen three.  Likewise, the Richt era saw only two SEC teams finish in the top ten in scoring offense, while the Bobo era has seen five.  The median scoring average for the SEC collectively during 2001-06 was 25 points per game; from 2007-11, it has been 28. 

To do the comparison properly while accounting for context, we would need to compare Georgia's ranks within the conference.  Doing so gives a slight edge to Richt.  I'll put the full chart up later, but here are the averages in four key offensive categories:

2001-06: Average Ranks
Scoring Offense - 4.7
Total Offense - 4.7
Yards Per Play - 4
Turnovers Lost - 4.7

2007-11: Average Ranks
Scoring Offense - 4.6
Total Offense -5.4
Yards Per Play - 4.2
Turnovers Lost - 5.2

Now, a slight defense of Bobo is that Richt's period is one year longer.  Once Bobo has had the chance to coach a relatively veteran offense next year, then we should have a straighter comparison.  For instance, after next year, both Richt and Bobo will have had three seasons coaching an upperclassman at quarterback.

The dominant impression that I took from the numbers (and this will surprise absolutely no one, given that I like the college-specific offenses [the spread-to-run and the Airraid] over the pro-style attack) is that Georgia's offensive numbers in the Richt era are underwhelming.  Out of 44 chances to lead the conference in one of these four categories, Georgia has done so exactly twice.  The Dawgs were tops in scoring offense in 2002 and yards per play in 2005.  Not coincidentally, those are the two years in which Richt's Georgia won the SEC title.  Also not coincidentally, the one year that Georgia led the conference in yards per play (the most meaningful of the four categories) was the one year in which the Dawgs started a quarterback who could really run.  2005 was also the season in which Georgia had the best average rank in the four categories combined. 


Anonymous said...

You skipped the biggest issue in the article. The fact that he ended by discussing the offense question in terms of wins and losses. Richt has won in Athens with good defense.

The defense numbers for the 2001-2006 vs 2007-2011 are the ones that have actually changed during the Richt era.

National Scoring Defense Rank:
2001 - 17
2002 - 4
2003 - 3
2004 - 9
2005 - 8
2006 - 21
2007 - 18
2008 - 59
2009 - 64
2010 - 36
2011 - 23

The offensive numbers have varied some but neither your numbers or the numbers in the article make a case that the offense has changed that much during the Richt era while it is easy to make a case that the defense got worse in 2006 and fell off a cliff in 2008.

Michael said...

Thanks for stealing the gist of my post for tomorrow. :)