October 17, 2009

Bobo takes a sideline view

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Just before quarterback Joe Cox took his first snap from center Ben Jones Saturday, he looked over toward the sideline for one last piece of instruction.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was there to flash him the sign.

Yes, Bobo:

Prior to the Bulldogs' 34-10 win over Vanderbilt, Georgia's offensive coordinator had called the plays from up top in the press box, along with linebackers coach John Jancek and wide receivers coach Tony Ball.

But when the game began, there was Bobo, calling plays from his new vantage point alongside head coach Mark Richt.

"The main thing I wanted to do was just come down there and get to look in those guys' eyes and say 'Hey, this is what we're about to do, this is what I expect out of you and let's get the job done,'" Bobo said. "Obviously, everything doesn't work but I wanted to let them know that I still have confidence in them. We've got a young football team with a lot of guys who haven't made a lot of plays. Except for A.J. Green, all those guys graduated last year. I just wanted them to know that I believe in them."

Based on Georgia's success against the Commodores, look for Bobo to stay right where he is.

The Bulldogs piled up 399 yards of total offense, including a season-high 173 on the ground.

"I liked it. I think it helped. He coaches with a lot of energy and he wants his players to play with a fires and passion, too," Cox said. "I think it was good to have him down on the sideline so he could convey that to us instead of having to talk to individuals one after the other on the phone."

Richt had no problems with Bobo eschewing the press box to down on the field.

"I was fine with it," Richt said. "I told him really right before the game, if you don't like it then go back up at halftime, for whatever reason if you don't like the feel of it."

Despite having never called a game from the field before, Bobo said he felt right at home.

He was able to communicate regularly with Cox, often between plays, as well as have constant contact with the running backs and receivers as they came in and out of the game.

"It's different calling a game from the ground, there's no doubt about it. But he wanted to help light the fire and he wanted to see some guys eye to eye and I think it was very good today. Whether or not it will continue after today, I don't know. I'll leave it up to him. I think it's up to the coordinator to decide where he's most comfortable and where he feels he's most effective. If I thought for some reason it would be a bad thing, I would have said no."

According to Cox, Bobo told the quarterbacks on Thursday that he would be calling the game from the field, although seeing the former Bulldog QB on the sideline during the game was a surprise to the rest of the team.

Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez was happy to see Bobo join him on the field.

"It was awesome," said Martinez, who calls the defensive plays from the sideline. "Mike has a lot of energy, he's a highly competitive individual and as a coach you always like to look into your eyes of your players."

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