No one person had drawn more negative criticism in the state of Georgia than Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. During their successful seasons, he was called the weak link and the barrier that kept them from reaching the national championship.
During the lean years, when Georgia was 14-12 over the previous two seasons, Bobo was cited as the main reason for the poor performance. His teams always put up good numbers but would go AWOL when the game was on the line.
I would venture to guess there had not been a game in the previous two seasons in which you could not hear Bobo being heckled by Bulldogs fans.
And to be honest, it is hard to blame them.
However, if you have found yourself booing Bobo this season, you are either a creature of habit or ill informed.
Bobo was fortunate to have sophomore sensation Aaron Murray returning this season, along with tight ends Orson Charles and Aron White. But outside of those guys, the cupboard was pretty bare in terms of experience.
Washaun Ealey, the leading rusher for the Bulldogs the last two seasons, transferred, and his backup, Caleb King, was ruled ineligible. The leading receivers from 2010, A.J. Green and Kris Durham, were drafted into the NFL. Moreover, the offensive line was decimated by injuries and graduation.
How would you grade Bobo this season with all he has faced?
In all, Bobo would have to replace six of his 11 starters and all of his skill positions except quarterback.
Early in the season, Bobo’s offense was fortunate to have two true freshmen step up as legit playmakers in running back Isaiah Crowell and Malcolm Mitchell. However, both players started battling injuries early in the season.
Mitchell separated himself as the Bulldogs' top wide receiver but missed three games with a hamstring injury. Crowell, on the other hand, missed one game because of a suspension and one game because of an injury. He also missed the bulk of two other games because of injuries.
The offensive line has been shuffled more times than a set of playing cards in Vegas, yet the offense has been good enough to win the past 10 games.
Bobo has done a solid job of using defensive players like Branden Smith and Brandon Boykin to mask the revolving door of running backs this season.
While it is true that the defense is the main reason for the resurgence of the Bulldogs football team, their dominance and missing starters have forced Bobo into calling a more conservative game plan.
For example, against Kentucky the offense scored only 19 points. However, the coaching staff knew as long as they did not turn the ball over, Kentucky was not going to score.
Despite all of the criticism that Bobo has faced, he has been solid in play calling most of the season. When the offense has struggled this season, it has been, for the most part, because of a lack of player execution.
Go back and watch the Florida-Georgia football game. Bobo called one perfect play after another. However, Murray was off of his game and missed several would-be touchdown passes.
The lack of execution has been understandable. As I said earlier, all of the wide receivers and running backs are new. The only chemistry issue that baffles me is Murray and Tavarres King. King would have had at least seven potential touchdowns had Murray's passes not been off target.
Bobo has called high-scoring games and games in which he had to sit on a lead. However, this weekend's play calling will determine how he is judged for the whole season.
If Bobo can call the perfect game Saturday night against LSU, it could change the perception that fans have had of him since taking over play-calling duties.
In the end, I don’t think Bobo is coaching for the love of the fans. I think he is coaching because he loves the Bulldogs program.
He is one win away from receiving much of that love in return.