Bobo’s job security is cemented at Georgia

semerson@macon.comMarch 7, 2013 

ATHENS -- Mike Bobo, once a punching bag for Georgia football fans, is now a very well-paid, secure offensive coordinator.

After a record-setting season for Georgia’s offense, Bobo has been rewarded with a three-year contract, along with a raise that takes his salary from $335,000 per season to $575,000.

Head coach Mark Richt revealed the news before Thursday’s practice.

“I think he deserves a three-year deal because that’s really what’s happening out there in this league,” Richt said. “His salary is very competitive with his peers. I think he’s earned that.”

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had been the only Georgia assistant coach on a multi-year contract. That was because it was needed three years ago to lure Grantham away from the NFL.

Bobo’s deal comes after being pursued by Virginia Tech this offseason and being the main play-caller for an offense that set a program record for points and touchdowns in a season.

It’s a long way from the criticism that Bobo had endured, as recently as early in the 2012 season, for what some fans felt was predictable playcalling. Bobo, a quarterback at Georgia in the mid-1990s, took over as the play-caller from Richt late in the 2006 season.

“When your head coach is the guy you’ve replaced as the playcaller, I know it can be tough at times,” Richt said. “But Mike has handled everything very well.”

Richt also announced that offensive line coach Will Friend has added a new title. Friend, who received a raise to $300,000 is now the running game coordinator.

Every one of Richt’s assistants is getting a raise this offseason, some more than others, but everyone a minimum of $25,000.

“It was good for them. But it was good for me as well,” Richt said. “Because I think these guys are tremendous. I think every one of them are. And over time, I wanna continue to try to bless them the best we can, financially, and try to stay as competitive as we can in that area. I’m thankful we got them to stick around.”

Spring break plans

Each position coach would “say his piece” to his players, according to Richt, who also planned to speak to the team after Thursday’s practice. Steve Herndon, a former Georgia player, spoke to the team.

“It had to do with making good choices,” Richt said. “I mean that was the big thing.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray will be spending his spring break in Oklahoma, working with renowned quarterback guru George Whitfield, who was the subject of a recent Sports Illustrated profile.

Murray didn’t even tell Richt about it until Wednesday.

“He didn’t ask my permission -- not that he needed to. I think it’s a positive thing for him to do,” Richt said. “That’s just typical Aaron Murray. He wants to be the best he can possibly be, and he’s not afraid to work hard to find some kind of edge to help himself and help Georgia be better.”

Strength program praise

More praise for Georgia’s offseason program came from Richt, who said Thursday that it looks like the players did a lot of good work in January and February. He pointed to receiver Justin Scott-Wesley, who has dropped 15 pounds, down to about 205. Tailback Todd Gurley has also trimmed down.

“Gurley looks like he’s got great endurance and more quickness than he had by the end of last season,” Richt said. “But there’s a lot of guys like that. I see a team that’s not as big, but … I just think we’re in good condition. We’re fit and strong and athletic. So we’ll just see if we’ll be able to hold up in the toughness area.”

Flournoy-Smith update

Richt said the punishment for tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith, arrested last month on a charge of filing a false police report, was internal. That would indicate no suspension.

“I’m taking care of him,” Richt said. “He’s already been in the process of handling some of it.”

Richt then went on to praise Flournoy-Smith’s playing ability, saying the freshman should be able to earn quality playing time.

“He can move, and he’s got good route-running skills,” Richt said. “And he’s tough. “Most kids from south Georgia, they play pretty tough, hard-nosed football down there. I think he’s got a bright future if he can just make good choices in life and work hard.”

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