Mike Bobo’s Legacy

Quarterback Mike Bobo was supposed to be great, after being very good in head coach Ray Goff’s last season at the helm. That was the year I lived down in Florida, and I was glued to an old television set as instant phenom Robert Edwards switched from defensive back to running back. The schedule didn’t start soft, Edwards setting the single game touchdown mark at the nation’s oldest public university in his very first start against relatively new SEC foe South Carolina. A week later the Dawgs were on Rocky Top where Edwards dominated again, until he got hurt. Inexperienced quarterback Mike Bobo couldn’t guide UGA to victory without a strong running game and UT won a nail biter.

I only caught two live Georgia games that year: I flew home and sat through Florida scoring 50 plus in the Classic City (J-Ville was under construction), and I was in the Dome for Hines Ward’s record-setting quarterback performance in a very close Peach Bowl loss to Virginia. Bobo played well earlier that year, until he got hurt. The team had slipped. Goff got canned.

The next season I was back living in Georgia and Between the Hedges for the Donnan of a New Era, as the shirts said. Preseason hype centered less around our new head coach than the return from injury of Edwards and Bobo, projected by many to be All-SEC. Edwards had actually played like a future Heisman winner in his less than two games as a running back. GEORGIA lost the opener to Southern Miss. Our team was a sub .500 horrible, while Bobo and Edwards went 1 and 2 in turnovers in the SEC. Bobo was routinely jeered in Sanford Stadium. That was probably formative for him as a football man.

Bobo played his way into being a pretty good quarterback the next season. After Edwards got it together and stopped fumbling, he quit throwing so many picks. Georgia blew the Mighty Gators out in that final campaign they played together. And Bobo even set the all-bowls record for completion percentage in his final game, an 11 a.m. kickoff Outback Bowl victory over Wisconsin, which felt even earlier until the Florida sun worked my swimmingly-drunken skull.

Let’s look at Bobo’s quarterback coaching resume: David Greene was the all-time winningest QB in NCAA history when he hung up the collegiate cleats, and he is still the SEC yardage leader. Shockley was an All-SEC QB and SEC champion in his single season as QB. Stafford was prepped to be the number one overall pick in the NFL draft. JTIII and Joe Cox before and after Stafford didn’t get it done, but that was a talent issue more than a lack in coaching. And now Aaron Murray is poised to break all the major SEC passing records.

The key for a Mike Bobo offense – and he has had the keys since the Chick-fil-A win over Virginia Tech Stafford’s frosh year – is a strong running game. When Edwards got it done, so did Bobo. When Moreno got it done, Bobo’s offense went places. When GURSHALL emerged and Gurley dominated, Georgia led NCAA football in yardage per play (7.08) and was five yards from a national championship. Do the math on that: Per average, one more play and he has a trophy.

The knock on Bobo has always been predictability. It’s cool to be predictable when you can’t be stopped. With our returning talent on offense, I predict GEORGIA can’t be stopped in 2013.