Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On the Offense or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Learned to Love Balance

The days of the 14-9 victory are dead. Long live the days of the 14-9 victory.

I don't take quite as dim a view as the Senator does on the death of stingy defense, but he does hit on something that I have been mulling around all season. I worry that Bobo sees his offense as a team, not as a part of the team.  I was taken to task (maybe rightfully so, I am a bit more rational now than when I wrote that) for coming down hard on Bobo after Tech.  My point remains, though: Why, oh why, do we find something that works offensively, then stubbornly go to something that doesn't? Surely, an offense that is abjectly outscoring another is good for your defense. Just ask Oregon or Wisconsin.

Auburn, Florida, Tech and to a lesser extent Colorado are microcosms of the season in that regard.  In each, we find a particular offensive set and plays that work very well, then not call them for two quarters.  It is maddening.  The very best offensive minds figure out what works, then absolutely pound you with that until you show them you can stop it and stop it well.  Think the bubble screen anytime we played Florida in the 90's or early 00's. Think Marcus Lattimore getting seven straight touches in that game icing drive back in Columbia this year.  Think Meyer running Tebow 20+ times a game. Think Tech calling the dive and week side pitch on the last drive...nevermind (insert your own Mark Bradley-Paul Johnson Love Club joke here).

It is as if he is afraid of pushing it one play too many and having a bad result.  If you are up by three scores, then does that matter? When you are up by three scores, a big mistake isn't as bad as failing one missed blocking assignment at at time.  Hey, if we had Marcus Lattimore, do you think we'd run him seven plays in a row if he was moving the ball six yards a pop?  I don't think we would. We certainly wouldn't do it again on the next series.  We go up by three scores in this game, Tech has to try to throw it more than they did and there is no way we are in a nail-biter.

Also, I don't buy the 30+ points in X number of games bit.  You think that makes Oklahoma State feel better?  They scored 41 in both of their losses and had to outscore Troy and Texas A&M in those wins.  They knew their defense was suspect and knew in order to have the kind of season they needed, they had to put points up and lots of them.  Just statistically speaking, we needed to score 41+ to beat Auburn and were on pace to do that until we thought, ok, that is enought of throwing deep to AJ, let's try some underneath stuff.  I'm not saying the play calling gets Grantham's defense off the hook, but I am saying that you have to understand what is working and don't give up on it until it stops, especially if your defense is struggling.

Oh, and at some point, you have to figure out why your (on paper) strongest unit is vastly underperforming.  I agree that falls on Searles, too.  Bobo is the coordinator of the whole offense.  And please don't get me started on timeouts. Sheesh.

I am agnostic today about making a change, I really am.  Bobo has the ability to run the offense and has shown that at times.  He is easily the best position coach we have. Does he have the balls to be that guy that looks across the field, smirks at the opposing team's defensive coordinator and thinks "I'm the only one that can stop this play"?  Looking back over the season, at best that remains an open question.

I'll get to the defense next, with some shocking, Shocking! stats. Or not.


  1. Also, I don't buy the 30+ points in X number of games bit.,

    The 30+ points per game line is the same type argument as the weight lifting stats that CDVH rolls out when forced to defend S&C.

    What matters is keeping one's foot on the gas (as the Senator said) but to do so one can not be out of gas.