Mike Bobo Could Save Kirby Smart at Georgia

Mike Bobo Could Save Kirby Smart at Georgia

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Han Vance, Class of 1998 on UGA:

It’s Homecoming Week.

And the Miss State Maroon Pups are set to visit, for the first of two consecutive night games for the real Dawgs. But they have had coronavirus issues, and that game is in peril, already. It may end up off.

I’d thought it was fitting that the next opponent wore black, too: at Mizzou at Noon, after Georgia went 1-2, losing the two biggest games of the year by more than 15. Then when that got canceled I said, “2020” and sure wished all y’all had simply stayed inside for two weeks way back, like I did.

Dark dog-days dawned, since 4:04 was left in the 3rd quarter at BAMA, when the wheels fell off the Georgia national bandwagon. Scoring a point in the 2nd half would have helped optics, as I went from getting paid to talk Georgia out of NYC (in ATL) on The DAWG PAWD, to a reality where the remaining UGA schedule – at the time – had one more big game total.

Lots of trash on the late league docket. While we care who say the best Bulldogs are in the SEC or how the youngsters look, it’s not news.

Brand wasn’t red-hot enough, the UGA brand without all the usual rivalry games. It peaked in 2017…and will rise again.

Another blowout, in Jacksonville, next.

Georgia honestly wasn’t well coached enough to get back to The 404. Throw The Mailman under the bus, blame D’Wan or Newman or look in the mirror. The team had enough talent to play better longer than it did, leading Bama on the road fairly late and then Florida 14-0 and 21-14. The strengths weren’t magnified.

Don’t talk about a previous 19-1 run against the downtrodden little sisters of the SEC, the basketball-school full SEC East.

ATL for revenge? No this isn’t 2017.

Maybe for the Peach Bowl, at best, a now-NY6 game I’ve attended many, many times. Cincy would probably be favored to beat Georgia. But then again, they could lose their great head coach to Carolina by then or be in the CFP.

Maybe my almost-mater Miami in the Orange Bowl, get a good look at the QB we should’ve gotten, D’Eriq King. He’s about the height of Bennett, but he won big at Houston (and has Miami 6-1) with superior athleticism and better passing. He protects the ball and moves the sticks.

Georgia isn’t a candidate this year, with the first CFP committee rankings, the real ones for the postseason, starting Nov. 24th. I’d planned to talk playoff possibilities a lot, like I have for three seasons: two with Bulldawg Illustrated, last year back here at BHB, while I covered UGA recruiting for USA TODAY.

I won’t be talking playoff, after this.

Georgia was #5 in the final CFP rankings – which is done before their first round – the last two campaigns, then went .500 in Sugar Bowls after being left out. In 2017, SEC champion UGA earned a #3 and traveled to beat in double overtime #2 Oklahoma (I was there), while #4 Bama beat #1 Clemson in the Sugar.

Then Heartbreak City started. Losing in the World Capital of College Football, living a short walk and train ride from the spot, sucks.

Until Georgia reclaims ATL, there’s no growth.

We still need to get better.

King Kirby needs a boss, not a coddler counting on him, a boss. With sweater wearing tennis guy who worked for Florida as Assistant AD, for years, Greg McGarity going away soon and Kirby so focused on recruiting at all times, a great man who loves Athens and speaks for UGA well, is needed. One who understands football and the SEC and the community: Mark Richt would do. Smooth out the edges, have some accountability to the fellow alumni and grace.

Smart needs to mature in a few ways.

Ol’ Georgia struggled under Mark Richt more than once, after a second year of great success (13-1, one close loss, in JAX), a year after an 8-4 start where he snapped the Tech streak – I was there – in ATL and also continued what Donnan started, by beating strong Tennessee, again, at Rocky Top. The SEC East was a bit better than the SEC West, back then.

And every time, except his final season, he made changes. Even that year when the defense was good and the offense limited, he switched to winning ugly and won out. It was too late.

That’s how he lasted a full 15 years, minus one bowl, winning his second SEC title in year five and no others. By maturing.

I know I personally grew up a lot in the age range Kirby has been a head coach.

Kirby got just one SEC in five tries, barring a Gators’ collapse.

Kirby was 36-7 with Jake Fromm as his QB, and he is lifetime 12-7 without Jake. One third of the wins to the same total losses.

Their best year was a 13-2 heartbreaker, and he started 8-5. So by no real metric are the first five years of the Smart era better than the first five of the Richt era. The long-story is still about the same: Good not great Georgia.

Kirby benefitted, once in five years, that there was a CFP. Richt teams would have made it three or four times, too. In fact, Georgia over 20 years, has had exactly one near-Natty every five years. Two shots a decade, at glory, with Richt’s best teams looking strongest at years’ ending points. He took losses.

Kirby takes bad losses, too. He’s 0-5 vs LSU and Bama, as example and 3-2 in Jacksonville. Richt was 5-10 down there. Not good enough but 3-2 in his last five. Play it every third year down there, UGA, quit giving away too much.

A better athletic director would see.

At least, Georgia went 6-4 in WLOCP.

When Georgia struggled with talent Matt Stafford shouldering too much, a switch to Moreno and a running attack netted a win-out. Florida was bashed 42-30 and Auburn was blacked out, and they would have handily won it all. LSU was fairly garbage (UT made the SECCG).

The year prior, Georgia had struggled like mad mid-season with JTIII and Joe Cox and true frosh Stafford all starting games, then a switch to Stafford full-time resulted in a win-out of four late games, and the late regular season always mattered, before this year.

I was at that Peach Bowl, too, when Georgia upset a tough VaTech. We ran the fullback in short yardage and threw with the big gun when we had it open. That was Mike Bobo’s first game officially calling plays. He relieved Richt of that, after contributing a lot in the win over Georgia Tech the game prior. …Tech was good, a few times. They’ll be back up.

He is an interim head coach the rest of the season and non-candidate at South Carolina, after scoring a ton (Joe Cox was out there helping – and I hung out with Joe at the TCU over Ole Miss beatdown at the Peach) at Colorado State but losing too much.

Some people need a boss.

I relate to Bobo; he ends well. His last team, playing at UGA, beat Florida badly, and he had the best completion percentage in bowl history in his last game, in Tampa – I was down there.

His last two seasons at UGA as OC: First, he produced the most yards and points in school history in a year the team was bad on defense and dealt with myriad key injuries. The next year, he topped it, with a different QB and switching featured runners mid-year, after a suspension. He was an offensive architect.

The year prior to those two, he had Georgia an ATL fingertip from winning it all. Could have used a CFP that year, folks.

Han Vance in ATL

Han Vance in ATL

(I have one XL of this T left – message me)

He is best known for modeling offenses to fit their team strengths and for using all weapons.

Georgia by contrast has two NFL talents at TE; they have five catches total in stupid 2020.

Will Muschamp’s ship was so sinking when Bobo joined it, and Mike belongs back in Athens. Muschamp is not a great head coach, getting walking papers at Florida and from the Chickens. He’s done as an SEC head coach, permanently. He may be an analyst or DC. His last year as a DC was a bust at Auburn. He must be a great interview guy, because he loses. Look for dorky Will to join one of these five orgs: UNC, Bama, UGA, Texas, Ole Miss.

Georgia should get country cool Bobo, erasing one of the biggest mistakes of the downtrending Kirby era: he should’ve grabbed Mike last year.

Monken can go back to being a not play calling offensive NFL assistant, like he was last year at the Cleveland Browns.

“We want Bobo!” was the chant, walking out of the SECCG after getting blown out by LSU.

We want Bobo!