ATHENS — Mike Bobo is not new to the Georgia football program. He played with Kirby Smart during the 90′s. Bobo then served as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under Mark Richt.

Last year, Bobo was on staff as analyst helping with play design. He worked closely with Todd Monken.

Now he’ll have to replace Monken as the Georgia offensive coordinator. It’ll be a tall task for Bobo but one his players are excited to see him take on.

“He did a lot for us last year,” Wide receiver Ladd McConkey said. “Helping us out, whether it be calling plays or giving us insight on running a route. I’m super excited that he’s here and taking over. I’m looking forward to it and I feel like we can be better than ever.”

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Smart knew that Monken would only leave Georgia for an NFL job, which happened in February when he became the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. It wasn’t until after the national championship win over TCU that Smart considered that Monken might leave and thought about who might be his replacement.

The Georgia head coach admits he felt very comfortable promoting Bobo, in part because he had previously worked with many offensive staffers such as offensive line Stacy Searels, tight ends coach Todd Hartley and wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon.

It also helped that Monken gave Bobo a strong recommendation to Smart on his way out of the program.

“I think Mike has grown a lot since he went out to Colorado State and the time he has spent here,” Smart said. “I went against him at South Carolina. I went against him at Auburn, which gave me ultimate confidence that he would get this job done. We played them with probably the most talented defense I’ve been a part of and they went on a 16-play drive there at Auburn against us on the opening drive of the game. I just have a lot of confidence in his leadership skills and what he’ll be able to do offensively.”

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Smart and the Georgia players recognize there will be some small tweaks in the offense going forward, just so that it doesn’t get stale. Georgia averaged 41.1 points per game last season, in addition to over 500 yards of offense.

But structurally, the offense is expected to remain the same. Georgia may not rely on tight ends as much given it doesn’t have a true replacement for Darnell Washington. The Bulldogs should also be better off at wide receiver this season, due in part to the additions of transfer Dominic Lovett and Rara Thomas.

“There won’t be much change in verbiage. If anything, there will be some additions, maybe some slight wrinkles,” Smart said. “We feel like the verbiage for the kids works great. He’s comfortable with the verbiage. The decision was the continuity we have on offense, we want to keep that going. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Mike and the job he’s done with offenses in the past.”

Bobo’s most paramount decision will be selecting Georgia’s next starting quarterback. Smart said Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff will get first-team reps this spring and that Gunner Stockton should not be counted out either. Whoever wins will have to replace Stetson Bennett, who led Georgia to back-to-back national championships.

Georgia had a lot of success on the offensive side of the ball under Monken. In promoting Bobo, Georgia hopes the continuity within the coaching staff will translate to sustained excellence on the field.

“I’m definitely excited to partake in this offense with coach Bobo,” running back Kendall Milton said. “Just seeing the way he’s put on in the past. Seeing the success running backs have had in his offense, it makes me excited, go out there, keep balling out, keep working hard. The opportunity is on the table. I’m excited for this year, I’m excited not just for myself but for the whole offense.”

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart explains hiring of Mike Bobo

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