What We Are Hearing

ATHENS - In less than a week Mike Bobo went from a cold practice field in Athens to a head coach in Colorado.

The move was swift and fast - programs usually don’t move this fast on a head coach. But Bobo, who was going to be a head coach one day sooner or later, decided that the move out west was the right one for him.

Time will tell if Bobo, who has been putting up points left and right on some of the best defenses in the country and some of the highest-paid defensive coordinators in the country, made the right move.

There is an obvious camp that thinks that him going to Colorado makes no sense in the recruiting world. There’s not much talent in Denver, and virtually nothing around the rest of the states that boarder Colorado. So that means Bobo will likely be dipping his toe into Texas, California and, of course, Georgia to make up some of his roster.

There is another camp that thinks (they would argue that they know) that Bobo is one of the best recruiter in the country… period. If it was only about location then what is the explanation for getting quarterback like Matthew Stafford and Jacob Eason from destinations that can hardly be described as “deep south”?

I know this: Mike Bobo is as real a person as I have met in college football. I think a lot of him. I really have no idea if he’s making the right call… I don’t think anyone can know that. I know that he was underpaid for far too long for being too loyal.

That’s ended.

I say good for Mike.

Now, what does it mean?

It means the program is going from being, if you look at the offensive roster, from being about as good as it has ever been to very good with a few question marks. One has to think that the presumed lead Brice Ramsey has going into the spring with Jacob Park is not necessarily wiped out, but it will certainly be recalibrated.

Ramsey is older, has more experience and has a better frame than Park. But Park has improved (as most first year quarterbacks do). So there will be some competition to the spring. Obviously it is impossible to know how much things will change. But it is going to be difficult to push Ramsey out of the starting lineup. If Park manages to do that, and I don’t think he will, he will have earned it.

That, of course, is all said with the understanding that Georgia won’t be getting silly and going to the spread. That would be comical - not happening.

So the pro-style offense is what its going to be. That’s what Georgia is built for, and I just can’t see that changing with Mark Richt as the head coach.

One of the many other decisions that has to be made is just who will be the next coordinator will be. I can’t see it being someone already on the offensive staff at Georgia. None of them, that I am aware of, have ever called plays before. This has been one of the top offenses in the country for some time now - the only path is getting someone else to come in and take over.

What that means? Now that’s impossible to know for the rest of the staff. Will Friend could certainly move on with Bobo. The two are close, and have worked together when Friend was a graduate assistant in Athens, and of course now that he’s a part of the offensive staff. If Friend left it wouldn't be a surprise. I don’t know that it is a guarantee… I’m not sure that anything is a guarantee right now, but Friend seems to me to be the most likely to be the guy to leave.

It would be stunned to see Brian McClendon leave. He’s well paid. He just got a raise. Unless he’s leaving to be the offensive coordinator (something I don’t see happening, either), then he should stay in Athens. Actually, that seems to be the case with all of the offensive coaches. Unless they are leaving to be the offensive coordinator for Bobo they will likely won’t go to Colorado State from Georgia - that would be a backwards move to be sure.

Thomas Brown seems in limbo with his former head coach bolting from Wisconsin to Oregon State (of all places). Brown could certainly land in Fort Collins for a season… maybe two. Todd Hartley, who is at Marshall right now, could possibly mover over as well, but that’s a little more tricky because Marshall certainly is not in limbo. Joe Tershinski at Charlotte; Joe Cox, who is a high school offensive coordinator; guys like that are guys to keep an eye on in the future. Certainly former GAs who have been around, too. It seems evident that Dan Inman will make the move over to Colorado State if he’s asked.

I could possibly see Mike Ekler leaving to become the defensive coordinator or some other higher-level role. But I don’t know what would happen on the defensive side of the ball for Bobo and the Rams. It seems to me that Bobo will pull from former folks that he’s known through the years. But will be pull from the current staff? I really don’t think he will - at least not many folks.

Who should Georgia fans look at to be the next offensive coordinator? That is a massive question that even Mark Richt likely doesn’t know the answer to right now, and likely that he won’t know the answer to for some time. I know that it is going to be very difficult to do “better” than Mike Bobo. The guy has been a machine. Georgia has never scored like this. Doing better seems impossible.

But there are going to be a lot of people interested in this job. Its a job that has now had someone elevated to a head coaching position. A quick list of guys to keep in mind:

Mike Norvell - OC from Arizona State
Doug Nussmeier - former OC Michigan and Alabama
Lincoln Riley - OC from East Carolina
Mike Sanford - OC from Boise State
Bill Legg - OC from Marshall

The overall mood with the old guard of folks that I know right now is pretty somber. Folks simply didn’t want to see Bobo leave. They wanted him to stay. They know how good he is, and they know that he’s one of the few guys out there that if you cut them they bleed Georgia red. That just doesn’t happen any more in college sports - and frankly, that matters.

Most of the folks in or running organizations are simply hired hands - they are not Georgia people. They come; they go; they get paid; they move on or are fired. It doesn’t make them bad people. Its just a little different. Mike Bobo is now a hired hand. It won’t be the same for him at Colorado State… and that will be the challenge.

In the last month Georgia has lost a lot of institutional knowledge with the loss of Bobo and Joe Tereshinski. Those are two guys that are passionate in a big way about Georgia. Losing them is a little like losing a piece of Georgia… and that’s not quickly replaced.

Some people, perhaps correctly, argue that Georgia could use an infusion of new blood to help them get over the hump and win a national title. But Mike Bobo wasn’t and isn’t one of the folks who was preventing things in Athens - he got Georgia where it needed to go so many times that its easy to lose track of how good his offenses have been.

Losing Bobo is a big hit to the Bulldogs. Now we will see just where Mark Richt takes this search next. I expect the range of salary to be at least $850,000. There will, again, be no shortage of candidates.

How fast will it move? Depends on your thinking on it. I don’t think there needs to be much in the way of a rush. The recruiting dead period goes halfway into January, so having someone in place before the weekend of January 17th is the critical date.

I don’t think this will drag out much beyond January 10th. The other thing I know is that Mark Richt isn’t going to hire someone that you see coming. He’s got a big-time poker face. He’s pulled guys out of the blue with the assistant jobs more often than not. Expect the same thing this time as well.


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