ATHENS - Mike Bobo was his normal spirited self at Georgia’s first bowl practice on Wednesday night. He barked loudly at his quarterbacks, and wore shorts despite the 40-degree temperature.
But this was not a normal day for Georgia’s offensive coordinator: He spent the first part of the day interviewing for the Colorado State head coaching job. The interview occurred somewhere in Texas.
"It's obviously a very good job, a very good opportunity for a guy to become head coach. Mike is taking advantage of the opportunity to go visit," Richt said. "But right this minute he's our offensive coordinator. We're planning on him being here at practice this evening. We'll see where everything goes."
Colorado State is reportedly interviewing a number of candidates, with Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford also in the mix, according to Orangebloods.com. So is Notre Dame assistant Tony Alford, who interviewed on Tuesday, according to The Coloradoan.
Never miss a local story.
So it's hard to say what the chances are that Georgia could lose its play-caller, who also happens to be one of its top recruiters.
Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason called Bobo "one of the most under-appreciated coaches" in the SEC. He cited what Bobo has accomplished the past few years despite the injuries and suspension of his best player, Todd Gurley.
"We just seem to keep the ball rolling as far as points per game, and those statistics. Heck of a recruiter, that's one of the reasons why," Mason said. "So I think he has those goals and aspirations to be a head coach. It's probably just a matter of time before he finds the right fit."
Bobo's contract requires that the administration be notified on contact for other jobs, and Richt notified athletics director Greg McGarity on Tuesday night.
Bobo, 40, has been Georgia's offensive coordinator since late in the 2006 season, and the team's quarterbacks coach since 2001. He earns $575,000 annually, which ranked 40th nationally among college assistants, according to the USA Today database. But it appears that Bobo has legitimate interest in the Colorado State job.
It came open earlier this month when Jim McElwain was hired away by Florida. McElwain ran a similar pro-style offense as Bobo has run at Georgia, which ranks eighth in the nation this year in scoring offense.
"He's an old-school ball coach as far as getting after it," Richt said of Bobo. "But he sees a big picture too. He's got all the ingredients and I'm not shocked that this is happening. He's had other head opportunities that he knew in his heart - well I won't speak for him - but he's had other opportunities as well."
There was a time when Bobo was heavily criticized by Georgia's own fans, unhappy with what they saw as a predictable offense that didn't score enough. The critics have shrunk dramatically the past few years, as the offense has set records and incorporated the spread, the Wildcat, and occasionally the pistol.
Georgia went back to a run-heavy offense this year, leaning on its strength. The result was another strong offensive season, although Bobo's decision not to run the ball at a key time - near the end of the loss at South Carolina - incurred more criticism.
"There's a lot of people out there that don't know what they're talking about. I mean a lot," Mason said. "But when you play, and you coach in this position at a big-time school. It comes with that territory."