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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Practice Notes: Bobo to Stay on Sidelines

The sideline might not be the most comfortable place for Mike Bobo to watch a game, but it’s hard to argue with success.

For the first time in his career as offensive coordinator, Bobo called plays from the sideline in Georgia’s last outing against Vanderbilt, and the result was the team’s easiest win of the year, highlighted by a season-high in rushing yards. While the view wasn’t quite as good as it was from the press box, Bobo said he liked the feel of being on the sideline and said he’ll be there again this week when the Bulldogs take on No. 1 Florida.

“In the box, it’s like you’re watching a TV screen except you can see the whole thing, so you can see if we executed, and you can see if we don’t,” Bobo said. “Down there, you can feel the passion and the excitement, the highs and lows of when things go well and when things don’t go well. That part I liked. It’s a little more intense down there for sure.”

While Bobo won’t have access to the bird’s-eye view the press box affords, he said the negative impact of watching from the sideline has been lessened by the efforts of receivers coach Tony Ball, who provides pictures and analysis from the box while Bobo is on the field.

“You’ve got to have guys up there that are capable of giving you a picture and Coach Ball does a good job of that,” Bobo said. “You’ve got to prepare well to where you can recognize their looks and make sure they’re playing the way we thought they were, and if they didn’t, we’ve got to be able to make adjustments.”

The upside to Bobo’s appearance on the sideline is mental, he said.

With so many first-year starters on offense, Bobo was concerned that the unit was lacking confidence. Players were talented enough to succeed, but he wanted to be on the field where he could remind them of that, even in the face of failure.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys that haven’t made a lot of plays in some games,” Bobo said. “We have guys we feel we have some ability, but for whatever reason, they’re not making the play or they had their head down at certain times. (I wanted to) have the ability to say, ‘Hey you’ve got the ability, let’s go and get it done,’ or just to look them in the eye and say, ‘We can do it.’”


During Georgia’s off week, Clint Boling said he had spent some time working at left tackle, moving over from the right side where he has played all season.

Josh Davis got his first start of the season against Vanderbilt, too, giving the Bulldogs yet another look on the offensive line – their fourth different starting lineup of the season.

But Tuesday, head coach Mark Richt said he isn’t expecting a major shake-up for this week’s contest against Florida.

“We really don’t have a lot of choices, so I don’t see a lot of change there,” he said. “The guys that have been playing will continue to play. We may move them around a little bit, but I’m not even sure of that.”

Richt said Davis, Boling, Vince Vance, Ben Jones, Chris Davis and Justin Anderson will all see action, but he wouldn’t commit to the specific roles for any of them.

So while the head coach isn’t predicting change, he isn’t exactly promising the status quo either. That has Bobo convinced that this week’s lineup may have a look fans haven’t seen yet this year.

“I’d say probably, but you’ll just have to wait and see,” Bobo said. “But it’s been different every single week.”


Georgia’s depleted linebacker corps figures to get an infusion of healthy bodies this week with both Akeem Dent and Marcus Dowtin expected to return to action after extended absences due to injuries.

“(Dent) looks like he’s going to be able to make the trip, but we’ll see how he progresses here during the week as we run a little bit more,” linebackers coach John Jancek said. “Dowtin has been cleared and is ready to go.”

Dowtin missed the past two games after suffering a ligament tear in his finger that required surgery following Georgia’s loss to LSU. Dowtin had earned regular work as a reserve linebacker and was third on the team in tackles at the time of the injury.

“We really missed Marcus not having him for the last two ballgames,” defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. “Marcus has been one of our playmakers – a kid that can run, athletic, smart. He really was playing really well.”

Dent has missed nearly every practice since mid-August with a nagging hamstring injury, and his return brings a much needed veteran presence.

“I think he’s ready to go,” Martinez said. “We tried to get him to come back and maybe it was too soon. He re-aggravated that injury he had. … We haven’t had Akeem, his leadership and toughness. To get him back in the presence of the team is really huge.”


Temperatures in Jacksonville, Fla. for Saturday’s game are expected to be in the 80s with plenty of sunshine, which is a welcome change of pace for the Bulldogs.

Georgia hasn’t played a game in temperatures warmer than 80 degrees since its opener, and their last game against Vanderbilt began with temperatures in the mid-40s.

But while the warmer weather comes as a treat, it also means the Bulldogs might have to dig a bit deeper on their depth chart to rotate in fresh players as the heat takes its toll on the starters.

“I think we’re definitely going to have to have a lot of subs, especially in a warm game,” quarterback Joe Cox said. “But I’m just glad the weather is going to be good. We’ve had a lot of crazy weather situations this year. We might have to use some subs, but we’ll see how it goes.”


Thanks to a stinger in his neck, fullback Shaun Chapas watched Georgia's last game against Vandy from the comfort of his own living room, but he hardly felt comfortable.

"It felt really weird," he said. "I'd never missed a game before, and right before kickoff I just had this overwhelming sense that I needed to be somewhere. That was kind of weird, but I really did enjoy watching the game from the sense that it looked like we got the running game going and we won, so that made it fun."

Chapas said the injury has healed fully already and he will be ready to play against Florida this week in a game that holds a bit of extra meaning for the Jacksonville native. While he hasn't gotten official word that he'll start over Fred Munzenmaier, he said he expects to.

"I would imagine," he said. "We haven't talked about it, but I would assume so."


-- Georgia had a 12-period indoor practice today due to significant rain in the area.

"It was a good day with good focus," Richt said. "We walked through things, which is important mental preparation and also helps get the sensation of what your body is supposed to do during the game. It really didn't hurt us in our physical preparation either because we had our typical Tuesday practice on Sunday and we'll get our regular Wednesday practice in tomorrow."

-- Bobo said he expected the team would still use a rotation at running back this week.


Anonymous said...

I hope Richt doesn't think moving Bobo to the sidelines will constitute "needed changes."


Judging from your comments during the Vandy game you saw the same things I did. Do you honestly believe moving Bobo to the sidelines changes anything? Sell me on why this makes a difference . . .

David Hale said...

Does it make a REAL difference? Probably not. But I think there is something to what Bobo is saying about being in the faces of some of the young kids who might need an extra bit of motivation during the game. Chances are, it's a placebo effect, and that won't last forever. But if it's a spark to get some of the kids going in the right direction, it's certainly worth doing for as long as the results show up.

David said...

Bobo is fighting for his job. He better try everything he can think of. Willie should do the same.