Mike Bobo took a walk around the Colorado State campus at 7:30 a.m. last Saturday. He pictured what the on-campus football stadium will look like in two years.
Kickoff was not until 2 p.m. that day, the first-year coach had been awake since 3:50 a.m. Bobo couldn’t go back to sleep knowing he was just hours away from his head coaching debut.
“I was a little more nervous this morning,” he admitted after the opener. “I thought I needed to eat something. I ate something, still didn’t feel good. But I usually feel like that.”
Mike Bobo has been on the sideline in bigger games and for bigger moments than any the Rams will experience this season. The former University of Georgia offensive coordinator still had some jitters though heading into the opener against Savannah State, an FCS team coming off of an 0-12 season.
Despite spending years in the pressure cooker that is the SEC, this was still a new experience for Bobo. He was at a new school, in a new state, with a new team full of players he did not recruit.
Savannah State was a cupcake, and barely an appetizing one at that. The game was sugarcoated for the Rams but that was fine. Bobo needed to get his feet wet, as did starting quarterback Nick Stevens.
After CSU blew out the overmatched Tigers 65-13 on Ag Day, it was time for celebration.
Bobo’s first win as head coach was also No. 500 for the program. It was fitting that he got a lesson in CSU tradition afterward from right tackle – Fort Collins’ own – Sam Carlson.
“After I got finished talking, he got everyone together to sing the fight song,” Bobo said. “I didn’t know we did that in the locker room, so he helped me out there.”
“CSU’s been singing that after victories for as long as I can remember,” Carlson added. “I just wanted to make sure we kept that going. His mind is going a bunch of different ways after a game anyway. I just said, ‘Hey, we gotta sing the fight song,’ then I just started off, ‘one-two, one-two-three-four’ and off we go.”
Bobo texted Carlson the next day to thank him for it. The first-year coach wants to bring his own style of play but does not want to mess with tradition.
He admits that he does not have all the words of the fight song down just yet though.
“We didn’t do all that in Georgia,” Bobo joked at a press conference Monday.
Bobo said it is important to take some time after a win to enjoy it. It’s a necessary part of the process in order to maintain some type of sanity as a coach in college football.
His head coaching debut was a success. But Bobo knows that in many fans’ eyes, his real debut would come in week two. That realization forced him to snap back to reality sooner than he normally would.
“It’s usually Sunday morning when I get up and watch the tape,” Bobo said Monday. “The problem this time was I had seen Minnesota play on Thursday night. All I could keep thinking about Saturday night was how Minnesota had played Thursday, so the pause and celebrating didn’t last as long as usual.”
Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @emccarthy22.