Mike Bobo remembers the 2012 South Carolina-Georgia football game at Williams-Brice Stadium and, then as the Bulldog offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, having to gameplan for Gamecock defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney.
He also remembers the heat in Columbia, S.C.
“Just how loud and how energetic the fans [were],” Bobo said Monday. “ … The night we played in 2012, and we were in the SEC championship game that year, we got throttled here, 35-7. … I remember upstairs, there’s thick glass in these press boxes, and I remember saying, ‘Is it loud down there? It looks loud.’ And I remember our offensive line coach saying, ‘You just keep drinking those Diet Cokes up there. We’re down here in this damn jungle.’
“I remember that ’12 game. We had this great plan to chip Clowney and do all this stuff and none of it worked. So the next year we just ran away from him.”
Bobo — who was introduced as South Carolina’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at a news conference Monday afternoon at the Long Operations Center — will now be on the other side of the predicament.
“I’m excited about coming to a place that I really believe is on the verge,” Bobo said. “I know last year wasn’t what coach and his staff expects out of this program, and what we’re striving for. But the pieces are here, from a great staff to a great foundation of players.
“I really like that we have eight guys that have started up front on the offensive line. You’ve got a young quarterback that’s got talent.
“And this is a place that is hungry. I’ve always been impressed when you come here and play, the passion that this fanbase has and the energy in this stadium. And that carries over to your players.”
Said Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp, “[I have] a lot of respect for Mike. Number one, as a person. Number two, as a play caller. In his 14 years of calling plays he has averaged over 30 points and right at 425 yards a game.”
“I’m definitely excited to be here at South Carolina and excited to be back in the south,” Bobo said. “Excited about this opportunity to be with coach Muschamp and this staff. … I got in the beginning of last week and, first of all, have been blown away with the things they’ve done here with the facilities. It’s just a first-class facility.”
Added Bobo, “And I think the world of [coach Muschamp]. Going against him all those years in this conference, sometimes the field seemed more like 200 yards than 100 yards.”
The has hit the ground running with recruiting and evaluating his current roster.
“I’m excited about the roster that we have here,” he said. “In taking a few days and looking at that roster, there’s a lot of work to do, like there’s a lot of work to do at every place every year this time of year. I’m excited about the challenge we have and look forward to this coming offseason.”
Bobo said he wants to have a “physical” team and preached having a balanced offense that begins with a productive run game.
Bobo just completed his fifth season as the head coach at Colorado State, where he posted a 28-35 record, including a 20-20 mark in Mountain West Conference games. He guided the Rams to bowl games in each of his first three seasons.
Before that the former Georgia quarterback coached at his alma mater, where he spent 16 seasons coaching, including the last eight (2007-14) as offensive coordinator.
While there he coach and coached with current Gamecock receivers coach Bryan McClendon and running backs coach Thomas Brown.
“I think the room is important. It’s all about who you work for. In really any profession, you want to go to work with people you trust and want to do things the right way,” Bobo said.
Bobo’s 14-year stint at Georgia, where he had starred at quarterback in the late 1990s, began in January 2001 when head coach Mark Richt hired him as quarterbacks coach, for his second stint with the school. He was promoted by Richt to offensive coordinator in 2007.
During his time at UGA, Bobo helped lead the Bulldogs to 135 victories, including two SEC championships, five SEC Eastern Division titles and eight bowl victories. The 2012 Broyles Award finalist held the offensive coordinator spot for 92 games with the Bulldogs, scoring 30-plus points 57 times, 40-plus points 29 times and more than 50 points 13 times.
Bobo guided several talented quarterbacks at Georgia, including Aaron Murray, a fifth-round in the 2014 NFL Draft. The NFL’s No. 1 draft choice in 2009, Matthew Stafford, also blossomed under Bobo’s tutelage.
In Bobo’s time at Georgia he also mentored quarterback David Greene (2001-04), who was the winningest quarterback in NCAA Division I history at the time (42), wide receiver A.J. Green and running back Todd Gurley. In all, Bobo helped mold four first-round NFL draft choices at Georgia: Stafford (No. 1 in 2009), running back Knowshon Moreno (No. 12 in 2009), Green (No. 4 in 2011) and Gurley (No. 10 in 2015).