Sam’s Rams: Bobo was a bigger deal at Georgia than most realize

Sam Lounsberry

Georgia missed Mike Bobo Saturday as the Bulldogs got slapped 38-10 in their first real test of the season against Alabama.

While Nick Chubb broke the legendary Herschel Walker’s school record against the Tide by notching his 13th consecutive game with over 100 yards rushing, it somehow appears UGA’s run attack is not as strong this year without Bobo as its offensive coordinator.
 
Yes, the Bulldogs are averaging 244 yards on the ground per game this season, according to UGA’s athletic website. That is down from the 288 rushing yards per game they averaged through five games last year, a seemingly silly criticism since both numbers are impressive, making this year’s shortage compared to last seem negligible. It would be, if the Bulldogs had actually played any real opponents prior to Saturday.
 
A team like UGA racking up 250-plus yards on the ground against teams such as Louisiana-Monroe and FCS program Southern University should shock no one. South Carolina, who the Dogs bulldozed this year, does not even count as a real opponent. The Gamecocks’ only two wins have come over North Carolina by a narrow margin, 17-13, and SEC bottom-dweller Kentucky.
 
Although the Bulldogs have racked up yardage with star Chubb and his solid backup Sony Michael running behind a front five who all returned from last year’s rushing attack that topped the SEC, Georgia’s big numbers are not as impressive this year.
 
That claim comes despite the Bulldogs rushing for 193 yards against the Crimson Tide Saturday, 146 courtesy of Chubb, who also scored their only touchdown. All of this looks impressive on paper, but when broken down and compared to what the Bulldogs have done in past seasons, it is clear this rushing attack does not equal that of recent Bobo-led UGA offenses.
 
First of all, 83 of Chubb’s yards came on a breakaway touchdown run that earned him Walker’s record. Before that third quarter run, Chubb averaged just 3.5 yards per carry against the Tide, less than half of what he averaged coming into the Bulldogs’ first test of the year, per ESPN.com and DawgNation.com
 
UGA simply failed to run the ball like it had in its cupcake games earlier this season. Even with Chubb’s big play providing a boost, the Bulldogs still managed to finish 50 rushing yards shorter than they’ve notched in any other game this year.
 
And it’s not like first-year UGA offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has revolutionized Georgia’s offense into a dangerous passing attack instead. The South Carolina and Southern games are the only contests in which Georgia has recorded more than 200 yards in the air. A measly 106 were had in Saturday’s offensive debacle that had quarterback Greyson Lambert watching his backup from the sideline before halftime.
 
You have to go back to 2010 to find a game in which Georgia threw for fewer yards. The 76 total passing yards notched in that game can be excused, though, since it resulted in a 30-24 win for Georgia as it ran for 339 yards on the ground against then-No. 7 Georgia Tech.
 
Something seemed to be missing from UGA’s offense Saturday. It wasn’t a star running back. It wasn’t stellar offensive linemen. That something might have been Bobo’s vision and play-calling from the box. Maybe Colorado State University is even more lucky than it knows to have this guy, who was perhaps more integral to Georgia’s rushing prominence than most assume, at the head of its football program.
 
Let him have some time.
 
Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Sam Lounsberry can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @samlounz.