Sports Columns

August 24, 2013

Loran Smith: Unsung coordinator

University of Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo coaches football with a player’s perspective. He wants the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks to have fun, but he knows that to enjoy such experience, a dedicated emphasis has to be placed on discipline and work ethic.

“All work and no play might make Johnny a dull boy!”

You may believe that old saw, but quarterbacks who don’t want to be dull boys must subscribe to the notion that hard work is the first step toward success. Play comes one day a week. The other six are for preparation, and it must flat-out intensive if you want to succeed.

Quarterbacks have to be smarter than the rest of the team. They have to know their assignments and yours, too. They have to be more disciplined than the rest of the team. Their miscues and their mishaps are more critical to the eye and by nature are of greater consequence, which affects their ability to lead the team.

Of all the coaches I have known at Georgia, Bobo — an unbending overachiever himself, one who passionately identifies with a strong work ethic — is the most underappreciated in Bulldogs history.

That was the way it was for him as a player when he quarterbacked Georgia from 1994 to 1997. He was never flashy, just a yeoman performer who didn’t impress with strong-armed passes, zipping about or dodging linebackers with deft moves that left jock straps on the turf. He simply got the job done.  

Bobo played with pride but not ego.  He coaches the same way. Yet as a player, he made plays.

He found a way to win, the classic example coming in the Georgia-Auburn game in 1996, the Southeastern Conference’s first overtime game. That has to be one of the greatest performances ever by a Georgia quarterback, but Bobo is the first to note that it should not have been. It was a case of an opponent’s faux pas, which favored Bobo’s team.

With the clock ticking away, Bobo committed the unthinkable. He failed to get the ball off and took a sack.

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