Richt has Play-Calling Confidence in Bobo

Two games into Mike Bobo's career as Georgia's play-caller, his resume isn't gaudy.

fter a Mark Richt-era low 200 yards of total offense in Saturday night's 31-24 win over No. 14 Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Bulldogs have gained 455 yards on Bobo's watch. Still, the second half of this most recent game may be remembered as Bobo's seminal performance. "I don't think there's any doubt about it," Richt said the day after his team moved to 9-4 for the season and assured itself a spot in the final national rankings. "Anybody who's in a leadership role first off has some authority because of the title itself, but over time if you don't produce at all, you're ability to lead struggles and for him to be able to be very productive in a very big game against a great defense, I think that does give everybody confidence that he'll be able to handle some tough situations." The Bulldogs had 47 yards and two first downs at halftime against the nation's No. 1 defense. Their final five possessions of the first half had totaled 2 yards. And then Bobo, who early in the third quarter was captured by ESPN's cameras verbally expressing his frustration in the coaching box, opened it up. There was a post route by the fullback, a fake reverse pass, an attempted halfback pass and a rare-for-Georgia misdirection running play that resulted in a 3-yard Kregg Lumpkin touchdown to tie the game. "He did a great job in the second half," freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "He called some plays that were pretty gutsy. That fake reverse throw, all sorts of stuff. He was going for broke, and I'm just happy for him that we came out on top." As angry as Bobo was midway through the game, he was just as happy afterward, but the moment wasn't about him, he said. "The bottom line is the confidence of your players and them believing in what you're doing as a coaching staff, and I hope tonight will get them believing that we're doing the right things," he said. "If they believe, they really can do anything." Georgia gained 153 yards in the second half and more importantly scored 28 points in the final 21:10 to beat its third straight ranked opponent. Richt compared the game to his first season as offensive coordinator at Florida State, when the Seminoles rallied from a 31-3 fourth quarter deficit to end in a 31-31 tie against Florida. "I can recall how rough things were when we were down at that point," he said. "To come back like we did and tie the game, and that tie was like a win to us, that was a game that gave me a lot of confidence, and I think it gave other people a lot of confidence in me, too." Georgia's outgoing offensive coordinator Neil Callaway, who Bobo officially replaced on Sunday as Callaway left for the UAB head coaching job, already had confidence in Bobo, he said. "I've known Michael since he was about 8 or 9 years old, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Michael," Callaway said. "I think for anybody that's been around him on the field, it's obvious how well he does in coaching his players and relating to his players on the field. I think he'll do great."

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