- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
ATHENS, Ga. -- One of the lesser-known stories of Georgia’s bounce-back 2011 season was how the Bulldogs’ new no-huddle attack helped their offense become more effective.
Bolstered by a defense that was adept at forcing three-and-outs and getting the ball back in their hands, the Bulldogs improved almost across the board on offense, making vast improvements from 2010 in time of possession, play counts and first downs.
Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo spoke briefly after Thursday’s practice about implementing the no-huddle last season and why it worked effectively. Here is what Bobo had to say:
The stat turnaround last year was pretty substantial. Was that the main thing that you wanted?
I thought the year before we were pretty productive offensively once we got going through the middle of the season, but our opportunities were not as high as some of the other teams in the league. We felt we got a little wordy in our playcalling and a little too deliberate in the huddle and we just wanted to speed things up to get more opportunities and more plays. We wanted to do our similar style offense, but be able to do it in no-huddle fashion and get maybe 10 more plays a game. That improved our first downs per game and our third-down conversions went up and points per game and all those things went up. But the main thing was opportunities, and we sold it to the guys that more plays are going to be more opportunities for us to score and more opportunities to play more of the depth on offense.
When you install it, what was your gauge as to whether it was effective?
Obviously we’d had success doing the no-huddle before and Coach [Mark] Richt had had a lot of success at Florida State. It’s a little bit different type of no-huddle with the formations that we do, but we knew if we could maintain some physicality and run the ball and still be no-huddle, we thought we could be effective. There really wasn’t a true test because we didn’t do it in the spring game last year until the first game. There were a lot of kinks in the first game that we had to work out. I think the second half there in the South Carolina game where we went super-fast tempo and converted some third downs and completed a bunch of balls in a row and then busted a run there at the end of that drive I think gave our guys a lot of confidence that we could be effective doing this.
I’ve heard [Richt] gripe about SEC officials sitting on the ball early in his tenure here and y’all not being able to employ it. Were you given assurances that you’d be able to run it?
No, just watching people do more no-huddle and the officials, if you don’t change personnel, they’re not going to get on the ball and let people play as fast as possible. So I think early on that got Coach out of that and the last few years we’ve been talking about it and just hadn’t done it. Last year was something where we wanted to try it and felt comfortable with it and stuck with it.
11hGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough