Bobo linked to Georgia Southern job

semerson@macon.comDecember 31, 2013 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was set to meet with Georgia Southern about its head coaching position, but the chances of Bobo actually leaving for the job seem unlikely.

Bobo will interview with Georgia Southern after the Gator Bowl, according to a tweet from football writer Bruce Feldman. The Georgia Southern job came open on Dec. 23, when Jeff Monken left after four seasons for Army.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt did not confirm Bobo is interviewing, but hinted at it during a Gator Bowl preview press conference on Tuesday.

"The only comment I'll make on that is that I think it's a compliment to Georgia. It's a compliment to Mike Bobo," Richt said. "I think when people do excellent work, people notice it. It provides opportunities, people getting excited about wanting to possibly hire you. So I'm not shocked that Mike is getting some attention in that regard.

"Like I said, when you do excellent work, people notice. I think that's a compliment to Mike and not only Mike but the rest of the offensive staff and the offensive players and really the team in general, because it does take everyone to have success. So that's what I'll say about that."

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity was unaware of any interview, as of Tuesday morning. Bobo's contract says that he must notify McGarity of any upcoming discussions about another job.

Bobo signed a new three-year deal after last season that pays him $575,000 annually. So could he get another raise if another school comes after him? McGarity said he and head coach Mark Richt typically discuss raises for assistants a couple weeks after the season.

"I think we made a strong commitment last year. So it's not like the institution hasn't stepped up," McGarity said, then added: "That's a conversation for Mark and myself later."

Bobo hails from south Georgia, but his hometown of Thomasville is four hours from Statesboro. Bobo and Georgia Southern would also seem an odd fit from a football and financial standpoint.

Georgia Southern has traditionally run the triple-option. Bobo has been calling a traditional pro-style offense, with elements of the spread. The last time Georgia Southern had a pass-oriented coach, Chris Hatcher, it fired him after three seasons.

Perhaps more importantly, Georgia can pay Bobo more than Georgia Southern.

Monken's base salary at Georgia Southern was $260,000, along with additional income for television and radio shows.

When Monken left for Army, GSU athletics director Kleinlein said the new head coach's salary will be competitive with other Sun Belt programs. Head coaching salaries in that conference range from a low of $225,000 to $700,000, the salary of new Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson.

Georgia Southern is also moving up to the FBS level next year, and will be a member of the Sun Belt Conference. So that makes the position a bit more plum.

But if salary is an issue, Georgia seems likely to match anything Georgia Southern can offer. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham earns $850,000 per season, so giving Bobo another raise isn't out of the question.

Bobo, 39, has been at Georgia almost continually since he joined the team as a quarterback ffor the 1993 season. He stayed with the school as an administrative and graduate assistant, then after one year at Jacksonville (Ala.) State as quarterbacks coach, he joined Mark Richt's staff in 2001. He was named offensive coordinator late in the 2007 season.

This past season Bobo was named the offensive coordinator of the year by Last year he was one of four finalists for the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant.

Conley will 'attempt to play'

Receiver Chris Conley, who re-sprained his ankle last Friday, is set to play in the bowl game after practicing on Monday.

"I think he'll attempt to play," Richt said. "I don't know how long it'll last, or that type of thing. But he'll play. He's a tough kid."

Conley leads Georgia in catches (42) and receiving yards (605) this season, and was new quarterback Hutson Mason's favorite target against Georgia Tech.

Information from reporter Mike Brown was used in this report.

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