Is Schottenheimer here to stay?

The Georgia Bulldogs have had a disappointing year thus far in the 2015 season. A season that has included a span of three out of four games of scoring 10 points or less, blowout losses to both Florida and Alabama, inconsistency at quarterback, and losing the best offensive threat in the conference when star tailback Nick Chubb went down for the season with a knee injury. This is also the same season the UGA beat the Steve Spurrier lead South Carolina Gamecocks 52-20 and had playoff aspirations. So where does this leave UGA? They can still finish the regular season with 9 wins and have the possibility of a bowl win to eclipse 10 wins, that classic Georgia season.

The question starts getting asked, can UGA win it all with Mark Richt at the helm? Will they be able to overcome the curse that seems to follow? My answer is yes, but I do not believe that it will be with Brian Schottenheimer as the offensive coordinator. At the conclusion of last season Mike Bobo, former offensive coordinator, was hired away as a head coach to Colorado State University. He led Georgia to record breaking offensive seasons in 2012, 2013, and 2014. He was handed the play-calling duties from head coach Mark Richt in the 2006 Chick-fil-a Bowl against Virginia Tech and never looked back. His development of quarterbacks was felt by the success of Aaron Murray becoming the first UGA QB to pass for 3,000 yards in three straight seasons, and the first SEC QB to do it in four straight. It also shows in how he made Hutson Mason a quality signal caller, you could see his fingerprints all over it. He finally got his running back he could rely on in Todd Gurley in 2012 and his offense could not be stopped after that.

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Schottenheimer, contrastly, has an NFL resume of being pretty average and seems to take a more business approach to coaching these young men. I believe that this has hurt the development of UGA’s quarterbacks as a unit. Understand that I am making this assessment after not even a full season with Schotty at the helm, but if you look at the offseason and how it was handled, you can’t help but wonder what could have been. There was a battle for the open QB spot in the spring and they had nothing definitive about who was leading, then bringing in a transfer QB and adding to the ambiguity of the position. It seems as though there has been no progression to the offense over the course of this season as well as at quarterback. The best that the offense has been since the Chubb injury has been when they have run the “Wild Dawg” formation with wide receiver Terry Godwin taking the snaps and deceiving the defense with the unconventional look. Is there really  no scholarship QB who can run the offense well enough to take the pressure off of the defense?

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I believe that there needs to be a change at the offensive coordinator position. I think a promotion from within would be the best outcome. They could promote current wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon, current running backs coach Thomas Brown, or current tight ends coach John Lilly to offensive coordinator. This would help recruiting since there would be continuity in the same offense and it would give Richt another opportunity to develop his next great assistant from the ground up while also finding a new QB coach to help develop the position and focus solely on that. All of those candidates I mentioned are qualified and have the resume to be considered for a position like this and if you look at last season’s bowl game in particular, John Lilly called the plays since Bobo had already left for Colorado State and the offense was explosive. This season just shows what a great loss Bobo was to the UGA program and offense.

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Why Bobo will Succeed as a Head Coach

BoboMurray-Sanderlin-Former UGA Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo has accepted the Head Coaching job at Colorado State University. Many may think that this is just an average hire for a mediocre program. Some would say a logical step for a coveted coordinator. I, however, believe that he is destined to be a success as a head coach. There are three major qualities each head coach needs that aid in the process necessary to sustain success.

The first asset is his demeanor. He has learned and grown under Mark Richt and has been able to watch him operate a program. The calm demeanor helps when your team is facing adversity and will benefit the program in the long run as it will give the players time to develop and show the coach their best without wilting under pressure. Demeanor carries with you in all aspects of life, because it is a measure of the confidence that person has.

The next asset is his humility, which helps when he figures out who his staff will be. The humility allows him to bring in the best coaches possible, and not try to do it all on his own. He has already announced his first hire, friend and coaching colleague Will Friend, former UGA offensive line coach. Friend is an excellent coach and equally excellent recruiter, as well as a great asset to have by Bobo’s side for the foreseeable future.

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The last main asset is his style and philosophy about football. It remains to be seen how he will approach defense and the schemes that go along with it, but offensively, we know he runs a pro-style system with spread concepts. He has mastered it over the last 7 years at UGA and should enhance it as he grows professionally. It also doesn’t hurt that Bobo is an excellent recruiter, and it should be easier to get players to follow him to CSU because he has a history of putting guys in the NFL.

bobo csuThis step in his career is temporary and should be a solid one on his way back into the SEC as a head coach, possibly at his alma mater the University of Georgia, obviously whenever Coach Richt decides to call it quits.