ATHENS -- Michael Tamburo shifted on his stool and finally cracked a smile. For more than 10 minutes, he had been taking questions from reporters, which is about 10 minutes longer than youd expect for a walk-on quarterback who isnt eligible to play in the season opener, now days away.
But theres a reason Tamburo was popular with the media, the same reason -- even if the coaches publicly deny it -- that the Georgia football teams coaches also wanted to talk with Tamburo.
He spent the previous two seasons as a backup quarterback at drum roll Boise State.
Yes, thats the same Boise State, fifth-ranked in the country, that Georgia opens up against Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
Tamburo knew hed get more than a little attention for that reason.
Yeah, he said, drawing the word out. I mean, I cant say I didnt know it was coming. Just because everyone wants to know. I had a feeling I was going to get some questions like that. I had been hearing it on campus and around my town and stuff.
Before assuming that Tamburo is a hired gun, consider that hes actually a Georgia native who played at North Gwinnett. As a junior, he was a highly regarded prospect, but Georgia was on the verge of signing Zach Mettenberger and then Aaron Murray.
So Tamburo, who accounted for 8,476 total yards and 90 touchdowns in his high school career, ended up at Boise State. His coaches at North Gwinnett sent his tape out to various programs, and Boise State was the best program to offer him a scholarship.
I kind of wanted to go somewhere and experience something new, Tamburo said. It was the best football offer I had, so I wanted to give it a shot. And unfortunately at a school like that theres some really good quarterbacks that beat me out.
The Broncos had really good quarterbacks like Kellen Moore, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting last year.
Tamburo never played a down at Boise State. He transferred after the spring semester, arriving at Georgia during the summer. Of course, the image that is conjured up is of Georgia coaches locking Tamburo in a room, making him go over the Broncos playbook, signs and any other secrets.
In reality, according to Tamburo, he spoke to Broncos head coach Chris Petersen before he left and had a good conversation.
I made it clear that I just wanted both teams to be able to play, and I wanted to stay out of that kind of stuff, Tamburo said. The coaches made clear that they could see what they want on film. I gave my best look on scout team, but I dont necessarily get involved in the little details of what they do. They can figure it out.
Could his presence at Georgia change anything about Boise States planning?
Im not sure, because I havent talked to the coaches about that. I can only wonder, he said.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt downplayed the presence of a former member of the opposing team being around his team.
Its very obvious that we have everybodys film, Richt said. We can study everyones film. We can talk to all the coaches that have played them in the league. So thats where we get our information from. Now (defensive coordinator Todd Grantham) mightve spent time with him, I dont know, youd have to ask him.
So Grantham was asked. And he said essentially the same thing.
You know, we really just watch tape and the plays that were run and the way they run them and all that stuff tells them what youve gotta know, he said. So really its just about preparing off the footage that we got. Theres no insights.
What Tamburo can do is simulate Moore in practice. Tamburo has to sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules, even though hes a walk-on.
Tamburo calls Moore a mentor. He roomed with Moores brother Kirby, a Boise State receiver. Tamburo said he hasnt spoken to Moore since the preseason started.
It was kind of a Ill talk to you after the game kind of thing. Mutual respect, but better for both sides to kind of stay out of it, he said. I wish them the best. But Im at Georgia now, so Im definitely trying to concentrate on that now.