What Should We Expect From Gamecocks Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo This Season?

Will Muschamp and offensive coordinators have not been a dynamic duo throughout Coach Boom’s career.

Mike Bobo will be Muschamp’s fifth different offensive play-caller, as he heads into his ninth year as a head coach between Florida and South Carolina.

All but one of them have been fired. The good news is that Mike Bobo might have the best track record of any of Muschamp’s offensive play-callers.

The former long time Georgia offensive coordinator and recent Colorado State head coach has had offensive success wherever he has been.

Let’s take a look at what we might expect from Bobo this season both statistically and schematically:

Schematically

Mike Bobo has been somewhat versatile. His teams always have an identity, usually a little run heavy when possible, but his play calling is able to change based off of the talent he is able to field.

At Georgia, he was pretty balanced when he had star QB Aaron Murray to work with. But, when Murray left and he had inferior QB play, his team became much more run heavy.

Both of these styles had serious success, as his worst offense between 2012-14 was statistically 21st in the nation.

At Colorado State, especially in the later years, his teams struggled to find a consistent run game which caused them to be a bit more pass happy.

So the question becomes, what will our offense look like in 2020?

Mike Bobo certainly hopes to eventually be able to be a run first team at South Carolina, but I’m not sure that this year is going to be such a year.

With Collin Hill recently being named starter, that certainly boosts the ability to open up the playbook through the air.

Also, with Marshawn Lloyd out for the season, the running back room has likely lost its most talented piece. What’s left certainly has potential, but at this stage, is just inexperience and unknowns.

Gamecock fans tend to believe the wide receiver group is the most questionable on the offense, but I would argue that the running backs are actually more of a red flag at this point.

Especially if Jalen Brooks is granted his waiver to play immediately, the wide receiver room has plenty of options to target.

There is also plenty of athleticism at tight end that would be better utilized running routes than blocking for outside zone plays.

The offensive line has held its own when pass blocking in recent years, but has not had quite as much success creating holes for the run game, providing another reason why the 2020 offense could be leaning pass.

In any case, the efficiency and slower pace of play are widely considered to be more complimentary football for Muschamp’s defense than an up-tempo attack. 

Statistically

Mike Bobo has had plenty of success. Let’s start by looking at his 8 year stint as Georgia’s play caller.

His points per game numbers with national rank in parentheses go as follows: 32.6 (35th), 31.5 (29th), 28.9 (51st), 32.1 (30th), 32.0 (33rd), 37.8 (19th), 36.7 (21st), 41.3 (8th).

The 8 year average of these numbers would be 34.1 (28th). As you can see, that is sustained and consistent success.

With only one season below 31.5 PPG and one season outside the Top 35 in the nation, those are numbers that South Carolina has not come close to seeing since the Steve Spurrier era.

For context, South Carolina has not been ranked higher than 42nd in PPG since 2013, and has not been higher than 32nd since 1995.

Now, it is obviously notable that South Carolina does not have some of the elite players Bobo had to work with at Georgia. Names like Matthew Stafford, AJ Green, Todd Gurley, and Aaron Murray come to mind quickly and most of which have made a name for themselves at the NFL level. However, the success did not stop at Georgia.

After 2014, he left Georgia to become head coach at Colorado State but remained the offensive play caller. As coach of the Rams, Bobo’s offenses ranked Top 10 in school history for yards per game in every season except one, which comes in at 11th.

His 2017 offense also holds the school record for total offense, with 492.5 yards per game. The 2017 campaign also saw the Rams total offense rank 11th in the nation in total offense.

Per the CSU Rams Athletics website, Bobo’s offenses have also been three of the top seven scoring offenses in school history, as well as four of the top six seasons for passing touchdowns.

Conclusion

Having proven that he can work with elite talent or not, there is definitely a lot of reason for optimism about the future of the South Carolina offense.

No matter what happens in 2020, the best is yet to come as long as Bobo sticks around to run the offense.

My stat projections for this years offense are going to be somewhat conservative compared to most of the numbers up above, considering that it is year one of his system in unprecedented times.

Also, with no early out of conference games to fluff up the overall statistics, every team in the SEC will have slightly worse overall stats than in a normal year.

With that said, make no mistake in believing that a bright future is coming for the Gamecocks offense, probably sooner rather than later. 

Prediction 

Scoring Offense: 27.5 PPG 

Total Offense: 395 YPG 

Pass Offense: 226.2 YPG 

Rush Offense: 168.8 YPG

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