This morning Greg McGarity confirmed reports which surfaced last night that Mike Bobo is interviewing for the vacant head coaching job at Colorado State. Obviously, losing your long-time offensive coordinator is bound to have some effect on any college football team. While Bobo began his play calling tenure firmly in the shadow of Mark Richt, and early on largely called an offense familiar to those who had followed Richt at Florida State and Georgia, in recent years his offense has taken on an identity of its own. That offense is far more akin to other hybrid pro/spread schemes around college football. There are also some running similar schemes in the NFL. Add in the fact that Georgia has a wealth of talent on the offensive side of the ball, including a veteran offense of line, excellent young running backs, and returning talent at tight end and receiver, and the Georgia offensive coordinator's job looks like a plum assignment.
I have no doubt that Mark Richt is capable of finding a solid replacement to take advantage of that talent. I am less easily convinced that the new offensive coordinator will oversee the type of production that Mike Bobo has while in Athens. Because Mike Bobo has presided over easily the most consistently effective offense that the Red and Black has ever fielded.
But one aspect of a possible transition (and remember, this is all horribly premature, as Bobo is one of only several candidates for the Colorado State job) that really worries me is the effect on recruiting. The most obvious domino would be 2016 top overall quarterback Jacob Eason out of Washington. Eason just completed a maniacally efficient junior season which saw him throw for over 2800 yards, 32 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions. This kid is the real deal. Like, first round NFL draft potential real deal. And if Mike Bobo is not in Athens in 2016 I doubt very seriously that Jacob Eason will be either. Even Bobo's most strident critics have to admit that he is, for lack of a better term, a quarterback guru. Every quarterback who has started multiple seasons for Mike Bobo during his tenure in Athens has gone on to the NFL. At various times he's coached the winningest QB in college football history, a top pick in the NFL Draft, and the SEC's all-time leading passer. That kind of track record is very hard, if not impossible, to replace.
But the ripple effects go out further. What if Bobo takes some of his offensive staff with him to Fort Collins? Some of George's best recruiters are on that side of the ball. John Lilly, Tony Ball, and Bryan McClendon (in addition to all being excellent position coaches) have had a lot to do with George's consistently good (and for 2015, great) recruiting. There is not a lot of time at this stage to bring in other coaches to build relationships and reassure Georgia's committed prospects that the new offense will work for their skill sets as well as Bobo's. The bright spot in this regard is that Georgia is in a position to match or exceed the salaries those gentlemen could expect at Colorado State, and offers far more prestige.
The bad news is you cannot hire an offensive coordinator of the caliber which Georgia would be seeking and expect him to take on the prior staff, sight unseen, and not bring in his own guys to run his system. Odds are there would be turnover, it's just a matter of how severe. McClendon, a Bulldog alum who played under Mark Richt and has hauled in more top tailbacks in five years than most coaches do in a career, is a must-keep. But doing all that requires is a distraction this team really doesn't need.
As always, we'll be following this story as it develops. Until later...