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Post Weekend leftovers: coaching from the sideline and the risks of tearing down goalposts

Wednesday October 21, 2009

By the reaction to Mike Bobo’s move from the box down to the sideline, you’d have thought it led to the sharpest performance by the Georgia offense since he took over playcalling duties in 2006. Instead, the running game continued to have its problems until the 4th quarter, the offense managed just two first downs in the first quarter, and Joe Cox was around 50% for the game. If they say it was a sound move, I’d hate to imagine what the offense would have looked like against a poor Vanderbilt team had Bobo stayed upstairs.

The reason for the move, according to Bobo, was “to look into their eyes and try to get a feel for how we’re doing and hopefully relax a little better.” Reviews from the players as well as Bobo and Richt were positive, so at this point there might be some placeo effect. If it takes the offensive coordinator getting down on the sideline to get the offense going, so be it. Interestingly some fans were suggesting a week ago that the defensive coordinator might be more effective by doing the opposite and going from the sideline to the box.

Bobo admitted that it was “a little more difficult to see the play unfold” from the sideline, but Vanderbilt’s defense was pretty straightforward. “They were going to play two deep to our base personal,” Bobo told David Hale. With the strategic advantage of sitting up in the box less important, the decision to move down to the sideline was made. Will that be the case in two weeks? Florida has one of the nation’s most effective and talented defenses and will certainly do more than sit in two deep coverage all day. The indication seems to be that Bobo will return to the sideline for the Florida game, but will the Dawgs get the kind of input and analysis they need against a sophisticated Florida defense with Tony Ball the only offensive coach in the press box?

Florida’s offense turned the ball over four times and lurched its way to 23 points to beat Arkansas. Given a repeat performance in Jacksonville, could Georgia take advantage? The Dawgs have scored at least 24 points against Florida only 3 times since 1994. Not coincidentally, Georgia won each of those games.

Geno Atkins hadn’t made a lot of noise this year until Saturday, and he’s been named the SEC’s Defensive Lineman of the Week as a result. Geno was pushed for a starting job by Kade Weston, but to his credit he’s fighting back. The trio of senior defensive tackles was supposed to be a strength this year, and they might just be coming around. With continued improvement from the tackles and more solid play from Justin Houston, a strong defensive front could be one of Georgia’s few defensive advantages down the stretch.

Comcast steps up. I’ve complained before about Comcast not offering Atlanta customers the Peachtree TV HD feed for the SEC Network game of the week. I’m happy to report that they’ve had the games in HD on channel 802 for the last two weeks. I don’t know if that was just because Georgia was playing or if they’ll continue the arrangement. Unfortunately all was not perfect – it seems that no guide information was updated to reflect the change, so recording the games with a DVR or Tivo was very difficult.

While the SEC prepares its weekly form letter acknowledging another officiating mistake, conspiracy theories abound. Still, football is light years ahead of basketball where “Jordan rules” and favorable treatment for stars is considered a way of life.

Auburn’s losses to Arkansas and Kentucky have them at 2-2 in the SEC with LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama remaining. They’ll have to find a way to win a night game in Baton Rouge to avoid their third consecutive loss. Ignoring the fact that their offense managed just 14 points at home, how did they give up 21 points to a quarterback-less Kentucky team? On the other hand, the Wildcats seem headed for bowl eligibility again. They’re just 3-3 now and 1-3 in the SEC, but they won’t face another ranked team. Yet another bowl bid would represent a level of consistency that many didn’t expect to continue after the Woodson years and seemed out of reach just four or five years ago.

Finally, congrats to Georgia Tech for a big win and a solid season so far, but always remember that celebrating on the field is no time to forget your inhaler.

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