Some Georgia fans have fallen into the quickest and easiest trap in college football: Blaming the offensive coordinator.
The Bulldogs flexed their muscles with a 24-14 come-from-behind victory over a South Carolina team that featured the hottest quarterback in the country in the first half on Saturday.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo dialed up halftime adjustments that led to consecutive TD drives in the third quarter and another would-be scoring drive in the fourth had the freshman field goal kicker not missed.
And yet, some stayed focused on a “slow start” narrative directed at Bobo.
It’s understandable: If a play doesn’t work, why wouldn’t some suppose a different play should have been selected?
It’s an easy explanation that football fans at each level of expertise can grasp.
To be fair, it’s a lot more complicated to try to understand the inner-workings of an offensive coordinator, and the unknowns he may be working with.
That’s especially true at Georgia where the head coach has oversight of the game plan each week and veto power on every play.
That’s not to say Kirby Smart is calling each shot, but he does play a role in the run/pass ratio and personnel decisions.
Excuses? No, it’s explanation.
Beyond those structural and coaching office dynamics, Bobo is working with almost an entirely different group of skill position players than the previous coordinator he’s being compared to, Todd Monken.
Here’s a look at the Georgia’s primary skill players on Saturday, compared to the Bulldogs’ starters in the 65-7 win over TCU:
Carson Beck — Stetson Bennett: There’s a different between any third-time starter and third-year starter.
Daijun Edwards —Kenny McIntosh: Edwards runs determined but lacks the versatility McIntosh brought to the position. Kendall Milton has been slowed by injuries and unable to provide the lift he brought in 2022.
Oscar Delp — Darnell Washington: Delp improves each outing, but there’s no substitute for what the 6-7, 280-pound athlete brought to the position.
Brock Bowers — Brock Bowers: The 2022 version was healthier and more explosive than what we’ve seen in 2023, each opponent having had an offseason to concoct plans for number 19.
Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint-Adonai Mitchell: MRJ is a reliable target, but Mitchell brought an explosive play-making element each time he took the field.
Dominic Lovett- Ladd McConkey: Lovett is beginning to find his groove but lacks the top-end speed and open-field moves on McConkey, who has yet to play
There are other differences, most notably the absence of first-round left tackle Broderick Jones.
The 2023 team remains a work in progress with players like Rara Thomas and Dillon Bell growing into roles that will surely be more substantial as the year progresses.
But for now, it’s Bobo’s job to call the game as the head coach sees fit and the personnel dictates.
Georgia has got what it’s got, but the good news is these Bulldogs will get better, and Smart and Bobo will open things up as they see fit.