Boise vs. Georgia…A Bulldog’s View

Braves and Birds, a Georgia blog, gives it’s take on the Boise-UGA matchup and the debate surrounding it.

Most of it deals with the post by CFR about the upcoming game.

Still, there are clearly some things we see wrong with the analysis by B&B.

B&B delves into a defense of Georgia’s defense, though CFR was primarily talking about offense. But fine, we’ll bite. Here’s the take:

Georgia has been extremely effective under Mark Richt at slowing just about every offense that it has faced. That includes holding Florida’s outstanding 2001 offense, which College Football Resource dubs “high tech,” to 24 points, 20.8 points below their average. Or how about shutting out a 2003 Clemson team that averaged over 28 points per game, on the road, no less…..Or how about holding national title-winning LSU to half their scoring average? How about Georgia holding Auburn scoreless and first downless in the second half of their 2002 game. That Auburn offense was coached by Bobby Petrino, who took his trade to a lower level (Conference USA) and all of a sudden became “high tech” according to CFR. CFR alleges that “Georgia under coach Mark Richt has never really been exposed to the kind of offense Boise State plays,” but they have been exposed and done quite well against another of the offenses that CFR states are too sophisticated for poor, dumb Georgia.

Considering that the main reason many believe that Boise will beat Georgia is because the Bulldogs are unfamiliar with the Broncos’ advanced offensive scheme, it serves little purpose to then brag about how Mark Richt’s defenses have been so successful at shutting down offensive schemes that it is very familiar with.

As for Petrino, all you have to do is use your eyes to realize that the Louisville offense and his offense at Auburn are nowhere near the same scheme-wise. Petrino is the head coach at Louisville and does things how he wants. At Auburn, he was under the reign of the Riverboat Gambler Tommy Tuberville, who no doubt exerted his influence to keep things done his way. Of course, it wasn’t until the Riverboat Gambler was about to get fired that he realized his influence on his own offense was detrimental to things. What did he do? He decided to turn the reins of the offense over to Al Borges, a Pac-10 reject who took a scheme that was last effective on the West Coast back in 1998 and in one year turned Auburn into the Waffle House national champion. Oh, and that offense took a whipping to Georgia, 24-6, despite the best efforts of the UGA defense.

But B&B is just getting warmed up:

If Boise State’s offensive is so “high tech” and unstoppable, even to a team with far, far greater talent, then explain why Dirk Koetter, who developed the offense at Boise State and then imported it to the mostly defensively challenged Pac Ten, has only had good, but not spectacular results. Is it a coincidence that the Boise State offense is suddenly lower tech when employed against better coaches and defensive talent?

Well, first off, did it ever occur to you that the fact that Koetter isn’t dominating is a sign that the Pac-10 actually plays great defense? No, it is not a coincidence. The reason that the Boise offense–which has changed under Hawkins and isn’t the same as it was with Koetter anyway–doesn’t work as well at Arizona State is because Pac-10 defenses and coaches are more familiar with the up-tempo vertical style and so they know how to defense it better. And this is why Boise, when it faces Georgia, will be at an advantage: UGA coaches and player simply have not faced that style very often (if ever) and no amount of film work is going to be able to simulate it. It’s the same principle that prevented OU from preparing for USC, that prevented Cal from preparing for Texas Tech and so on.

It fails to take into account the disadvantages that teams face in crossing multiple time zones. East coast teams often struggle on the West coast and vice versa. The factor will be even more significant for Boise State because the heat they’ll encounter in the Deep South a few days removed from August will be something new, although the 7:15 ESPN kickoff will ameliorate that factor.

This is truly a rich irony. A Georgia blog lecturing on the disadvantages of crossing multiple time zones to play a game. This from a program that last played a regular season road game outside the geographic South in 1965….but anyway. Of course, that will be a hurdle for Boise to overcome (that, and the SEC officials), but the Broncos are a cocky bunch.

And now more:

CFR is absolutely right about Mark Richt not being a great offensive coordinator. His skills as a head coach lie more in the underrated aspects of the position – hiring and maintaining a good staff, recruiting, etc. – and less in x’s and o’s.

So a guy who isn’t much for X’s and O’s is nonetheless going to be able to outscheme Dan Hawkins’ offense. Mmmmkay.

Georgia is a lot more talented than Boise State. All the pretty schemes in the world don’t matter if you can’t block an opponent’s pass rush. Man on man, Boise’s offensive linemen will not be able to handle Georgia’s defensive line.

And all the talent in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t know where to line up. For anyone who saw the Orange Bowl last year and bothered to pay attention, you would have noticed Oklahoma lining up with a run defense when USC had an empty backfield. How did OU’s talent help them then? Well, as we saw, it didn’t.

And, if Georgia Southern can out-rush and push around a UGA defensive line that included David Pollack, it is not a stretch to think that Boise’s protection schemes–helped by pro prospect Ryan Colledge–won’t be able to be effective.

All of this, by the way, is causing me to examine my belief that Urban Meyer’s offense is going to take the SEC by storm. I think that Meyer’s offense is better than Hawkins’, but I need to think longer about this.

Wow! Finally some sense! No need to think any longer. You are already where you need to be on this subject.

About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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