“The grass is always greener on the other side”, is a state of mind that has made its way into every single member of the Bulldog nation over the course of the past decade. Every year for the Bulldog faithful it’s a constant barrage of “What if’s?” or “Woulda’, coulda’, shoulda’” scenarios that always bring us back to the same conclusion. Something and somebody has got to change. For more almost a decade as a fan base we’ve been looking for answers, and more importantly somebody to point the finger at. In what has grown to be an all-out witch hunt in the Classic City, today for the most part our fan base has finally caught their witch…..and man could they be more wrong.
For the past 8 seasons, as a team the Dawgs have experienced an emotional roller-coaster. In that time we’ve reached great heights by playing for the SEC championship twice, held the consensus Number one ranking at one point, and were even 5 yards away from a national championship birth. We’ve also experienced great heartache. A 6-7 2010 campaign, alongside 8-5 records in 2009 and 2013, are all years that should be blacked out of your mind, and any mention of such years in public are grounds to warrant an ass kicking. Though we’ve experienced great triumphs and tragedies, there has been one prophetic battle cry that has galvanized the Bulldog Nation, “Fire Bobo!” For 8 long years, as UGA’s offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo has been the consensus whipping boy for UGA fans and has been unjustly blamed for mostly all of our short comings. Today that all changed. Mike Bobo’s 20 year career as a member of the Georgia Football program has come to an end.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, football is a religion in the south, and for those of us who are members of the Denomination of the Dawg, today should be seen as a day of mourning. Because if you’re a member of the school of thought that losing Mike Bobo is a good thing….You’re not just wrong, you’re a complete and total MORON!
Mike Bobo is a great offensive coordinator. I’ll repeat myself, Robert Michael Bobo is a GREAT offensive coordinator. If you don’t believe me, check the numbers; they simply speak for themselves. In the past 8 years with Mike Bobo at the helm of our offense, though the wins and losses have been inconsistent and the program has had to more or less re-invent itself, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed. This team scores points, and scores lots of them. In an 8 year run Mike Bobo’s offense has not only re-written Georgia’s record book, but it has emerged as the highest scoring offense in nation’s best conference. You don’t believe me do you? Ok, take a look. Here’s the points per game and national rank for the Dawgs offense under Bobo:
2014 – 41.7 9th (1st in the SEC)
2013 – 36.7 22nd
2012 – 37.8 19th
2011 – 32 33rd
2010 – 31.9 31st
2009 – 28.9 49th
2008 – 31.5 29th
2007 – 32.9 35th
For years Bobo has been the scape goat for the uneducated, overreactionary fan. Their statements usually consist of “Blah blah blah…f#$k, Just fire Mike Bobo!” “Why on Earth did we blah blah blah…Fire Mike Bobo!” “How did we let them blah blah blah, thanks Bobo. You’re fired!” All one has to do is watch a game in public, and no matter how good or bad the game is going, you’re guaranteed to hear something along these lines no less than 20 times over the course of a game. Why? Because the worlds full of idiots, and this is some peoples way of letting the general public know “Hey y’all, FYI I’m a dumbass.”
Now I’ll confess, I’ve at times made such statements. It’s part of my DNA as a Dawg. As a Dawg it’s our indoctrination that the world hates us, so we have to blame our short comings on somebody, and that somebody has all too often, unjustly, been Mike Bobo. At times, I haven’t agreed with Bobo’s decisions, and I have left many a game shaking my head, but one simple fact remains. Though his offense may not have always scored the most points in the game, more times than not they certainly scored enough to where we should have won the game.
As an offensive coordinator your job is to score points. Plain and simple. There isn’t a defensive coordinator alive that wouldn’t admit that if the offense can put up 30+ points, we should win. Put up 40+ points, we’re going to win. There’s no sugar coating that. If you score an average of 40 points a game, I don’t care who you are playing, that is more than enough for your defense to work with, and you should absolutely win just about every game you play.
Throughout his career Bobo has been a pariah at Georgia, and this past season is no exception. But is that fair? Abso-fucking-lutely not. Ask yourself, did Mike Bobo really lose the USC game for us on that goal line call? No. We scored 35 points, and had another 7 that were called back. Our inability to score on the goal line isn’t what lost us that game, it’s the 38 points our very young and inexperienced defense gave up to a 6-5 team that lost it for us.
Should we have scored more than 20 in the Florida game? You bet. But is Bobo to blame for the loss? Hell No. Our lack of offensive isn’t to blame, it was our defenses inability to stop a 6-5 Florida team from running a simple toss sweep for more than 400 yards that lost us the game.
Did Bobo’s inability to run the ball the second half lose us the Tech game? Nope. After coordinating a 2 minute drill the length of the field and scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 18 seconds left, it was a squib kick and yet again our defense’s inability to prevent the Jackets from getting within field goal range that lost us that game. Now I’m not throwing the Dawgs Defense this season under the bus. Jeremy Pruitt should be commended for the job he’s done thus far, it’s truly an example of doing more with less. While the stats were not pretty, Pruitt managed to field an extremely talented, and much more disciplined defensive unit than his predescessor had done in the four seasons previous, even amidst a sea of transfers and having one of the youngest defensive units in the nation. But the simple fact remains. Even without Todd Gurley for 4 games, the 2014 Dawgs managed to have the best offense in the South Eastern Conference and the 9th highest scoring offense in all of college football. Though his career certainly could have started better, the facts are the facts. Throughout his career Bobo’s offense has averaged 34.1 points per game. And if the last 3 seasons are any indication, with an average of 38.7, he’s only getting better at his craft.
So what does this all mean? Simple, the Dawgs just lost a damn good Dawg. Though the Dawgs will undoubtedly feel the loss of Bobo in the play-calling booth, where I feel this is really going to hurt the Dawgs most is in recruiting. As a product of Thomasville, Georgia, Bobo has been unquestionably the Dawgs best recruiter in what is arguably one of the most fertile recruiting landscapes in the country: South Georgia. Losing Bobo’s pull within the region and his report with some of the nation’s top high school programs is a loss the Dawgs won’t be able to replace overnight. Yes, Georgia is still the primary home state school and playing in Athens will always have that appeal. But for much of South Georgia, Bobo was very much still the home town guy, who recruited home town guys. However, known for his South Georgia prowess, an immediate recruiting impact may be from a player located 3000 miles away in Seattle Washington.
Due in large part to Bobo’s track record with putting QB’s in the league and the style of offense he runs, the Nation’s top QB recruit for 2016, Jacob Eason, is currently committed to the Dawgs. Eason is very much a start-from-day-one, potential top ten pick sort of player. With Bobo no longer there to coach him, the long term repercussions of Bobo’s departure may very well start hitting Athens sooner than we’d like. So be careful what you wish for folks. After a mutli-year witch hunt, the mob finally got what they wanted, Bobo the “Bozo” is gone. For a program that always seems to have uncertainty on the horizon, I think it’s safe to say that doubt is now within full view. Do we have the ability to keep moving in the right direction with a new hire? Absolutely. But when they start blaring Cinderella’s “Don’t know what you got (Till Its gone)” through the PA at Sanford Stadium next fall after we just lost to a team we couldn’t out score….don’t say I didn’t warn you.
When you’re on that long drive back home thinking back on all those times you didn’t realize how you good we once had it, think long and hard when you ask yourself, “What color is the grass, and is this really greener now?”
Thanks for everything Mike. Best of luck and make us proud, you’re a damn good Dawg.