Mike Bobo leaving UGA to coach Colorado State

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Mike Bobo leaving UGA to coach Colorado State

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Georgia coach Mike Bobo has earned a reputation as one of the best coordinators in the business when it comes to developing quarterbacks, such as former Bulldog Aaron Murray. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Mike Bobo is leaving Georgia to become Colorado State’s head coach.

Several sources close to the Bulldogs’ longtime quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Bobo accepted the Rams’ offer on Monday. Late Monday night, Colorado State confirmed the news on the school’s website. Bobo will introduced at a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Fort Collins, Colo.

Bobo interviewed with Colorado State President Tony Frank on Sunday. Bobo also met with officials representing the school last week.

The Rams are following the template of their last hire. Former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain coached them for three years and went 10-3 this past season before recently being hired as Florida’s head coach.

Now what? That is the question the Bulldogs are dealing with as they prepare for their Belk Bowl matchup against Louisville and former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Dec. 30.

Coach Mark Richt this past weekend indicated he would be prepared to call plays if needed. And the Bulldogs could tab several members of current offensive staff to possibly handle that role, including offensive line coach/running game coordinator Will Friend or running backs coach Bryan McClendon. However, there are indications Friend might join his close friend Bobo at Colorado State either as assistant head coach or offensive coordinator.

Meanwhile, Georgia hasn’t gotten very deep into its game-planning for the bowl game. The Bulldogs have had just four practices so far and have concentrated their efforts on contact work and fundamentals. The bulk of the game plan wasn’t going to be installed until UGA reconvened in Charlotte on Dec. 24.

Bobo, 40, has been leading Georgia’s record-breaking offenses since taking over as the Bulldogs’ coordinator in 2007. The Bulldogs led the SEC this past season with an average of 41.7 points per game despite losing their best player, tailback Todd Gurley, for six games due to suspensions and injuries. His offenses established school scoring records in 2012 and again this season.

Georgia made no attempt to keep Bobo away from the Rams. Bobo had expressed as interest in becoming a head coach and interviewed for two jobs in 2013. He had a three-year contract with UGA that paid him $575,000. McElwain was scheduled to make $1.6 million next year.

Bobo’s departure was not surprising or unexpected for the offensive players that played for him at Georgia. They knew he wanted to be a head coach and felt he deserved a shot.

“Wish all the best for Coach Bobo,” senior center David Andrews said on his Twitter account, @dandrews61. “He taught me so much over my four years and it was an honor to be able to play for him. He’ll be a damn good (head coach).”

This past week senior Chris Conley expressed confidence the Bulldogs would be able to withstand Bobo’s loss.

“He means a lot to this university and to this program,” he said. “But like I’ve always said in the past, Georgia will always go on. Georgia will always be able to win games without any one person, and that’s coaches included. … Coach Bobo has always been passionate about The G and about this university. Right now, it’s time for us to focus on winning another game, if he’s there with us or not.”

Bobo played and worked at Georgia every year but one since coming to Athens from Thomasville as the state’s top quarterback prospect in 1993. He had a one-year stint as quarterbacks coach at Jacksonville State before joining coach Mark Richt to work with quarterbacks when Richt came to Georgia in 2001.

Scott Frost, the offensive coordinator at Oregon, was reportedly the Rams’ No. 1 target but was not interested. Colorado State also reportedly reached out to Chris Ash, defensive coordinator at Ohio State, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and Notre Dame running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Alford. Offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin has been serving as interim head coach.

Georgia assistant coaches were busy talking to recruits Monday. One of their biggest — 2016 quarterback Jacob Eason — plans to stick with the Bulldogs.

“Coach Bobo is a great guy and we love him to death,” Tony Eason, his father, told the AJC on Monday night. “He was Jacob’s main contact with UGA, and that’s what got us down here. … But when we visited UGA’s campus last summer and looked around, it wasn’t just one guy that got Jacob to commit there. It was the whole package that got him to commit to UGA. We trust Coach Richt, and we’ll see what happens from here. We have complete faith in Coach Richt.”

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