Mike Bobo, Colorado State next up for top-ranked Tide

Mike Bobo, Colorado State next up for top-ranked Tide

September 12th, 2017 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Colorado State third-year football coach Mike Bobo, the former Georgia offensive coordinator, will lead his 2-1 Rams against No. 1 Alabama Saturday night inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Photo by David Zalubowski

During his 14 seasons as an offensive assistant under former Georgia football coach Mark Richt, Mike Bobo went to Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium on two occasions and came away victorious both times.

The odds are a bit more steep this time around.

Bobo is now in his third season as the head coach of the Colorado State Rams, who are 28.5-point underdogs Saturday night against Nick Saban's top-ranked Crimson Tide. It will be Colorado State's second trip to Tuscaloosa, with the first resulting in a 31-6 setback in 2013.

"We're playing the No. 1 team in the country, and we're going to be on ESPN2," Bobo said Monday in his weekly news conference. "This is something our guys have been excited about since it's been on our schedule. We've got a lot of guys from the South who are excited about going closer to home, but we've got to focus on us.

"If you've got any hesitation about not knowing what you're doing, that's when they really expose you."

Alabama has won 66 consecutive games against unranked foes under Saban, the most recent being last Saturday's 41-10 thumping of Fresno State. Both Colorado State and Fresno State are in the Mountain West Conference.

Bobo was in his first full season as Georgia's offensive coordinator and play-caller in 2007, when the Bulldogs traveled to Bryant-Denny and topped Saban's first Tide team 26-23 on a 25-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Mikey Henderson in overtime. He was in his second year on Richt's staff as quarterbacks coach in 2002, when Georgia beat Alabama 27-25 on a 32-yard Billy Bennett field goal with 38 seconds remaining.

Georgia set offensive records in each of Bobo's last three seasons, and he is 16-13 overall early in his third year with the Rams.

"Mike Bobo has done a really good job there," Saban said Monday in his weekly news conference. "These guys play hard. They're physical. They're very aggressive in their style. They can run the ball. They can throw the ball. They've got a good quarterback.

"They've got a lot of balance in what they do, and they've scored a lot of points so far this year."

Colorado State has a losing all-time record but enjoyed some relatively consistent success under former coach Sonny Lubick, whose Rams won at least 10 games in 1997, 2000 and 2002. Current Florida coach Jim McElwain was Bobo's predecessor and went 4-8 in 2012 and 8-6 in 2013 before guiding the Rams to a 10-2 regular season in 2014, when he left to take over the Gators before coaching in a bowl.

Bobo produced consecutive 7-6 seasons that ended in bowl losses his first two years at CSU, and this year's team sports a 2-1 record that includes a split against the Pac-12 pair of Oregon State (a 58-27 Rams win) and Colorado (a 17-3 loss). His familiar-to-the-South staff includes offensive coordinator Will Friend (Georgia's offensive line coach from 2011 to 2014), tight ends coach Joe Cox (Georgia's starting quarterback in 2009), defensive line coach Ricky Logo (a UTC defensive assistant from 1995 to 2001) and cornerbacks coach Terry Fair (a four-year starter at Tennessee from 1994 to 1997).

When asked what to expect Saturday night, Bobo said, "When you're warming up, they're going to play 'Sweet Home Alabama,' and everybody's going to sing it. There are still going to be just 22 out on the field at a time. It's just that there will be 100,000-plus in the stands."

Increased Bo role?

Tide junior tailback Bo Scarbrough has yet to make a big impact this season, having rushed 21 times for 76 yards (3.6 per carry) with a season-long of 9. Scarbrough has added three catches for 19 yards after totaling just four receptions through his first two seasons.

"We're always trying to get the running backs involved in the passing game," Saban said, "but sometimes they have responsibilities in terms of pass protection before they go out of the backfield. Sometimes the defense determines whether you get out or don't get out."

Tide tidbits

Alabama's game next week at Vanderbilt was picked up Monday by CBS and will have a 3:30 p.m. EDT kickoff. ... The Crimson Tide have yet to suffer a turnover this season. ... Saban said he would be able to better update the status of running back Josh Jacobs (hamstring), inside linebacker Rashaan Evans (groin) and outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings (ankle) around Wednesday.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.