Pope: Mike Bobo represents exactly what CSU football program needs

Keegan Pope

Keegan Pope
Keegan Pope

Like he did three years ago when he tabbed Jim McElwain as the then-next head coach of Colorado State University, President Tony Frank got it right by hiring Mike Bobo – again.

Sure, the guy has yet to even meet most of players and isn’t anywhere near having a full staff, but the sense you receive from the 40-year old former Georgia offensive coordinator is strikingly similar to the one McElwain gave off in his three years at CSU.

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Like McElwain, Bobo is a family man, with five kids, including a set of triplets, along with his wife Lainie.

Like McElwain, Bobo was an offensive coordinator at one of the premier football programs in America in the premier football conference in America.

And like McElwain, Bobo worked under one of the most successful college football coaches in the last decade, McElwain under Nick Saban, Bobo under Mark Richt.

But maybe the most important characteristic both of them share is not only their attention to detail, but their expectation of discipline and a strong representation of Colorado State, as well.

In the Rams’ 45-10 demolition at the hands of Utah in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl last Saturday, two things were abundantly clear. First, was the talent gap between the two programs, and the conferences they play in as a whole. But I’ve already talked about that.

The second, and maybe even more blatantly obvious fact was that the Rams, unlike they had been the entire 2014 season, were undisciplined and uncharacteristically not ready to play. While some of that can be blamed on the media circus that followed McElwain’s departure up until the game, most of it falls on the interim coaching staff.

Dave Baldwin, who admirably took over in McElwain’s absence, described himself as a player’s coach. Almost a friend to them. And that was exactly the problem.

McElwain didn’t allow players to wear jewelry during practice, but Baldwin did.

McElwain required players tucked their jerseys into their pants during practice, but Baldwin didn’t.

And most importantly, McElwain required his players to be accountable, something they weren’t in Saturday’s game.

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CSU not only missed tackles, dropped passes and blew coverages, but they also tried to be the baddest boys on the field by racking up a number of silly personal foul penalties. The problem was, they didn’t have the kind of game between the whistles to back up all the bravado and aggressiveness after them. You’ve heard the saying, “If you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile,” right?

Well that’s exactly what CSU players did when the interim coaching staff allowed them just that inch less of accountability.

But that’s exactly where Mike Bobo comes in. More than anything he talked about during the 45-minute press conference Tuesday was the importance of discipline and an unflappable attention to detail. Not only does he expect this program to win, but he expects it to be done the right way.

“We’re going to coach fundamentals and we’re going to coach execution,” Bobo said. “I know those things start with how you go about your daily life. The little things in your daily life like how you show up in class, where you sit in class, how you show up at your workouts, how you dress in your workouts, how you show up in your meetings, how you pay attention in your meetings, every little detail is going to be done first-class.”

It sounds a little familiar, right?

So while most Colorado State fans hold at least a minor grudge against McElwain for leaving them hanging like a Tom Brady high-five, they would be remiss to discount the level of respect and accountability he instilled into his players.

Jim McElwain may be gone, but you can be sure Mike Bobo will continue to build on what his predecessor started. You can bet on that.

Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at kpope@collegian.com and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.