Former TCU star now a member of Tide staff

Of all the members of the current Alabama staff, new graduate assistant David Bobo's perspective on Dennis Franchione is unique. A standout lineman for the TCU Horned Frogs from '97 through 2000, Bobo has worked with Franchione as both player and now assistant. <br><br>"I'd say Coach Fran is the same guy as he was before," Bobo said. "He still interacts with me the same way he did when I was a player. I'm just up here now instead of downstairs."

"Of course I get to be behind the closed doors now and hear everything that I never did as a player. I really enjoy being on this side of it with him. I'm glad he gave me an opportunity."

"David is an outstanding young man," Franchione said. "If he becomes a coach, then our profession is fortunate, because he'll do a great job. He's a great person. He was an outstanding player for us."

Bobo recalls his career at TCU. "I started the first four games of my redshirt freshman year before dislocating my elbow. The following year Fran and his staff came in. I was going to start at strong tackle, but a pulled hamstring during two-a-days hobbled me. I started in the last two games and in the Sun Bowl against USC. That was a breakthrough game for me. Then I started the following 24 games of my career. I had some injuries to fight through, but I had a good career."

Bobo's primary responsibility at Alabama will be to break down the film of opposing defenses each week.

"He was a good lineman with us at TCU," Franchione said. "He had great feet and a great work ethic. He did all the right things. He was a guy that had his opportunities in the pros. But he got an injury, which ended that."

Bobo spent the last year pursuing a pro career, signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers before hurting his back. After rehabbing he returned to try out for a spot on an NFL Europe roster, but he was ultimately cut.

"After NFL Europe had fallen through, I decided that I needed to see if there were other opportunities out there," Bobo said. "I had actually come to Birmingham and looked at a job at Hoover High School before deciding that wasn't what I wanted to do. My wife had traveled with me, and we liked what we saw. When Coach Helduser gave us a call, he said this position had come open and what did I think about it?

"I thought that if it was at all possible I'd love to come this way."

So even though Bobo is starting a new job, rejoining Franchione and his staff is a reunion of sorts for him. "Coach Fran expects you to work," Bobo said. "He expects you to do everything asked. That's the same thing as when I was a player. He expected you to work and be accountable for your actions. I don't think that has changed one bit. My responsibilities are just different. Instead of performing on the field, now I'm organizing what's asked of me."

Bobo was raised in Odessa, Texas, playing high school for the storied Odessa-Permian program. The book Friday Night Lights, highlighting high school football Texas style, was based on Bobo's prep alma mater. "In West Texas where I grew up it gets to be about 110 degrees, but it's a real dry heat," he said. "And the wind will always blow 25 to 30 miles per hour. So far the heat in Alabama really hasn't been terrible, but we haven't made it to August yet."

Though he pursued pro football as long as he could, Bobo always planned on a career in coaching.

Bobo and fellow video assistant Paul Hogan share a similar background. In college both could be characterized as overachievers on the playing field, and each man gave pro football everything he had. But Bobo has known for some time that coaching was his future. "It was always on my mind," he said. "That's what I geared my degree towards. I was always real good at the Xs and Os part of the game. I never had a problem learning anything. Plays and formations came easily. One day I just realized that I thought I could be good at it."

Always interested in game planning and the technical side of football, Bobo's job as video graduate assistant is right down his alley. "I'm in charge of breaking down the film," he explained. "I work with all the defensive staff. Anything that anybody asks, I help out with. I break down the next opponent's offense into situations like first-and-ten. I keep track of the plays and formations depending on the situation.

"Of course that's not all we do. We take care of jobs here and there. You stay busy, but you're also exposed to a lot of different things. There are people that wake up and think, ‘Aw, I've got to go to work today.' Me? I wake up and enjoy the thought of what I'm doing and where I'm getting to go."

Bobo is especially grateful that he has a chance to learn from one of the best coaches in the business. But he knows better than most that the polished, even professorial image that Dennis Franchione displays in public is only part of his personality. "Coach Fran can get intense," Bobo related. "He won't hold back. He is a very energetic personality. He's like me. I'm a very laid-back personality off the field. But when it was time to play it was a completely different thing. I'm a very different person then, and I think that's how it should be. You should be calm and relaxed when you're not in the environment that needs a fiery personality.

"Coach Fran definitely mixes the two."


BamaMag Top Stories