Richt's offense - Matt Stafford (UGA 2007) - long

Richt's offense - Matt Stafford (UGA 2007) - long

Having read the article on Kaaya and Richt and seen Lu's recent post on the FB position and pacing, I went back and watch a bit more film on Rich'ts UGA offenses from the early 2000s. Specifically I looked at 2005 (DJ Shockley's year), 2007 (Stafford's sophomore year) and 2012 (Murray's junior year.) I wanted to get a feel for his offensive philosophies under different QBs, and while we can debate all day who was actually calling plays, some definite tendencies can be found.

In 2007 Georgia went 11-2 with losses to South Carolina (4 pts) and Tennessee (a 21-point drubbing.) They went on to destroy Hawai'i in their bowl game, but the game I watched most closely was their 42-30 win over the Gators (mainly because I just love watching the Gators lose every chance I get...)

The Game Itself

Similar to the 2005 SEC Championship game, Richt's philosophy here was to establish the run and keep the ball away from Tebow and Harvin as long as possible.

After recovering a fumble early, UGA comes out once again in the 21 package we saw from last year. This time however, there's a more motion and nuance within the formation. The first play is twins left, with the 2nd WR motioning tight to the formation and a zone-toss play to Moreno. The motion WR gets a good crack-back on the DE and Moreno runs for 7 yards. On the second play, the entire offense motions from single-back to I formation and another zone-toss to Moreno picks up 3. On 3rd and short UGA lines up in what appears to be the old Coker-T - I form, 1 WR, 3rd TE offset and motioning across the formation pre-snap. Quick-hitter to the FB picks up the 1st down.

Early on, Richt begins to move away from the 21 look into a 3 WR, single back formation, though the run game is still the focus coming off the turnover - 9 straight rushes to open the game. UGA continues to pound it and Moreno punches it in on 3rd and goal - and the entire UGA team follows him into the endzone to celebrate. (One of the great moments of Richt's career, IMO, though he denies being a part of it...)

On UGA's second possession they once again start in I formation, but Florida starts to stack the box. On 2nd and 12 a play-fake from Stafford gets his WR open on a go route and he walks into the endzone for an 80-yard TD.

On their third drive to start the 2nd quarter, backed up on their own 1-foot line, Richt calls a play-fake again but there's tons of pressure and Stafford lobs a duck off his back foot for a pick-6. He's now 1-2 passing with a TD and a pick-6 - Kirby would be proud.

Tied at 14 in the 2nd quarter after the Gators have been stuffing the I-formation runs, Richt opens up the next drive with shotgun, 3 WR. Again, the TE has been in motion on almost every play to try and help Stafford out in guessing the defensive looks. A couple of interesting wrinkles this drive - a bubble screen which fails (duh) and a direct snap to Moreno which picks up 6. On 3rd down out of a single-back, 3 WR look, Stafford hits Moreno on a screen and picks up the first down. Now it seems that Richt is starting to expand the playbook a bit and give the Gators some more to think about, though it's still obvious that Moreno is the focus of the offense at this point.

From shotgun, 3 WR, Stafford throws a beautiful corner-post to Sean Bailey for 20 yards then immediately back to the ground game to keep pounding inside Florida territory. Another well-designed play just misses as Stafford overthrows his TE running a seam off of playaction from that Coker-T formation on 2nd and short. They pick up a first down on the next play on a designed QB draw - they ran this a LOT with Stafford (and why not when you have a guy 6'5/230 at QB?) Another wrinkle in the redzone run game - FB lines up as a TE then motions to the backfield, takes a quick-hitter and gets nearly to the goal line. UGA's next TD comes from shotgun, trips left with the FB as a WR motioning across the formation and back again. Shotgun handoff to Moreno should follow the FB on a counter but blocking breaks down and he's able to dance his way into the endzone.

Georgia gets the ball in the 2nd half and again runs Moreno - in all they ran him 33 times for 188 yards that day. Later in the 3rd quarter, they run that same shotgun-counter run and this time Moreno picks up big yardage and nearly scores. After a FB run gets stuffed, another great play call: lined up in that same short-yardage Coker-T, Stafford motions the TE over, fakes the handoff to Moreno and finds the FB in the flat with nobody around him. Another simple deception, but effective because of the setup of the previous plays.

After a pair of UGA 3-and-outs (featuring another failed bubble screen - when will they learn??) Richt goes back to Moreno and the run game. Then, from shotgun twins left, Stafford hits his WR on another playaction go route for a 50-yard TD making it 35-24 UGA.

Next possession with about 6 minutes left, UGA imposes their will and marches down the field feeding Moreno for his 3rd TD and sealing the game.

The Run Game

Like the 2005 Championship game, it was obvious that the goal here was to feed Knowshon Moreno and control the clock. That said, there were a few more wrinkles to the running scheme than there were in that game. Most notably, the use of some kind of motion on nearly every play, whether from I formation, jumbo, or single-back. Also, Richt moved around several of his pieces to create mismatches - moving the TE or FB to different parts of the formation, for example. There also seemed to be more of a commitment to zone blocking throughout this game, often allowing Moreno to make things happen on his own. While Richt never went completely away from a traditional run game (and usually came back to it on early downs), these subtle changes did allow for variation within the scheme and kept UF from pinning their ears back.

The Passing Game

Again, most of the damage done by Stafford here came off of playaction. There were a few screen plays run to varying degrees of success, but the bread-and-butter of the Richt route tree is still the crossing route. Stafford's numbers weren't spectacular (11-18 for 217 yards and a terrible INT) but he did throw 3 TDs - two on long streaks and one easy short pass to the FB from the 1 yard line. In fact, I think Richt's redzone playcalling was very good throughout this game - commit to the run first, then run safe pass plays off of those run-heavy formations, and above all, come away with points.


This was one of my favorite UGA games to watch - partly just to watch the Gators squirm, but also to see how Richt's offense fared in a rivalry match against one of the best offensive minds in the game in Urban Meyer. Again, we see an offensive coach who has a gameplan and sticks to it, but what I also saw was a coach who can modify his plan when it doesn't work without abandoning it entirely. Even in the 4th quarter, when the game was tight, Richt stuck with the inside run because he knew that sooner or later, he had a RB who could break open the game. And when it didn't work, he showed just enough variation for the dogs to back off some, then went back to pounding the rock. As a result, his pass plays were that much more efficient.

Now, without a Knowshon Moreno to lean on, I think we'll see more from the run game akin to that 2005 squad with Lumpkin, Ware, and Brown, but with the added wrinkles through the FB and TE position. Further, I think Richt has demonstrated his ability to trust his players' strengths - we have a Heisman-level signal caller who is just waiting to be unleashed. I'll try and get to that Aaron Murray comparison either later today or tomorrow, because that's where Richt's passing concepts and QB teaching really start to shine, IMO.

Comments (8)

great submission-thanks

how was the tempo?

people think we are going to run a hurry up offense based on what has transpired in practice so far-I don't.
Tempo was quick but deliberate - far from hurry-up, but neither was there a lot of wasted time or delay penalties...

For example, that game they ran 62 plays for 413 yards and controlled the ToP for 32:26.

That season the averaged about 67 plays/game. In 2012 they averaged 71 plays/game with Aaron Murray.
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great submission-thanks

how was the tempo?

people think we are going to run a hurry up offense based on what has transpired in practice so far-I don't.

I believe when Richt left FSU that is what he ran but when he went to the $EC they really put restrictions on how he could run based on substitutions allowing the D to line up spotting the ball etc etc etc......therefore i think he refined his style of play to the SEC.......i am hoping he runs what he did while he was at FSU because they were a ***** to stop and really put pressure on the defense........
Great write up. Im glad you highlighted, in a detailed-organized way, what i've been saying about Richts ability to interchange pieces and create mismatches; as well as his ability to keep a defense off keel with good play calling rhythm.

I'm sure Herndon and Njoku will be the focus of many a gameplan as it's very rare for any team to get two athletes of that caliber on the same roster/field.

This should be really fun for Richt. There isn't a defense on our schedule that we can't find a mismatch against. We really need Diaz to bring some major heat this season because this can be a special year if his defense and linebackers come to play.
great submission-thanks

how was the tempo?

people think we are going to run a hurry up offense based on what has transpired in practice so far-I don't.

You can run a hurry up offense in many different ways. Are you hurrying to the line or are you hurrying to snap the ball?

I think Richt will use a variation of both.