Bobo takes the offensive reigns

ATHENS – Georgia quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo has taken over play-calling duties for the Bulldogs in a move that could mark a watershed moment in head coach Mark Richt's tenure.

Bobo called every play of Georgia's 15-12 win over Georgia Tech.

"And I thought he did a real nice job," said Richt, after his team amassed 255 yards of total offense and one offensive touchdown.

Bobo will call the plays for Georgia's bowl game and may be taking over for good, but that decision won't be made until the offseason, Richt said. Richt made a few suggestions against the Yellow Jackets but didn't call a play for the first time since he was an assistant coach at Florida State in 1991.

"It was strange for me," he said after announcing the change on his regular Sunday conference call. "I want to be a better head coach, and I think this could possibly help me do that. I've been able to manage it pretty well, but I definitely can see the value of a guy who that's all he does, that's all he thinks about. He doesn't have to get interrupted by a speaking engagement or a crisis or anything like that that the head coach has to think about."

Richt informed Bobo of his decision Thursday and told the rest of the staff Friday.

"I get up and I pray every morning and I try to listen to what God has to say to me, and it just kind of hit me in my heart that it was something that I needed to do and something I should do," he said. "I didn't want to argue with Him."

Richt considered making the move during the offseason, he said.

"At one time I came to the conclusion that I should do it, but I kind of rationalized my way out it," he said. "I thought, ‘Gosh, we have won 52 games in five years,' and I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do or not."

As the season progressed, though, Richt said he wasn't at peace about retaining the role. His game-week duties of finalizing all the calls for the game plan remained the same and won't change, he said.

Bobo, who has called plays for several seasons in Georgia's spring games and during the regular season in the one-minute offense, was the logical candidate to take over the duties, Richt said, even though Neil Callaway has the offensive coordinator title.

"(Bobo) is coaching the QBs, he knows what they're thinking," Richt said. "We've worked so close together for so long, we're pretty much thinking along the same lines. I just think the ability to be upstairs and see the big picture is a very good advantage for the guy who's calling the plays, and I also think the quarterbacks coach is the best candidate to do thatbecause he knows exactly what the quarterback is thinking. I feel real confident that Mike can do it."

Georgia was coming off a season-high 446 yards against Auburn when Richt made the switch, and the offense was hardly stellar against Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs had 191 yards before the game-winning drive, on which quarterback Matthew Stafford was 4-for-4.

Richt also was a quarterbacks coach when he began calling plays for the Seminoles in 1992. Since taking over Georgia's program, the only real criticism he has received is for several game-management situations that some observers felt he could have handled better if he didn't have play-calling responsibilities.

He acknowledged that he took notice of more things Saturday than he has in a while.

"I was a little bit more able to kind of keep an eye on what was happening when the defense was on the field and talk to players in between series and maybe get a little closer to the official's ear once in a while," he said. I was a little bit more free to do those kind of things. It was kind of new to me."

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