Air Force’s option football brings back memories for Mike Bobo

Emmett McCarthy

An in-state rival running the option is nothing new for Mike Bobo. He saw plenty of it during his time at the University of Georgia when the Bulldogs would play option-oriented Georgia Tech.

But that’s not the only coincidence about the Colorado State-Air Force rivalry as it pertains to CSU’s first-year head coach.


Triple-option football is not all that common at the collegiate level. Air Force is one of the few teams that faithfully employs it. Mike Bobo was raised on it.

“This is my dad’s kind of ball right here,” he said.

In fact, Air Force’s offensive line coach Clay Hendrix once played for Mike’s father, George Bobo.

George also worked as an assistant football coach at West Rome High School in Georgia when the school won two state championships running the wishbone offense.

He later won another state championship at Thomasville High School, this time as head coach. George had brought the wishbone with him and had continued to run the option at Thomasville.


“Then there’s this slow white kid who was supposed to play quarterback,” Mike Bobo recalled. “It was me.”

George Bobo had to restructure his offense.

“I couldn’t run,” Mike said. “We changed to a more pro-style deal, but my dad’s whole background is option.”

George once spent a week visiting Air Force and former head coach Fisher DeBarry, one of the most revered option football coaches in college history. Of the high school players George coached, Mike said many went on to play at Georgia Southern under Erk Russell, who was well known for his use of the double-slot triple-option.


Mike said he has all the respect in the world for Air Force’s style of play; he’s been around it his whole life.

With the elder Bobo in town for the week, Mike actually hinted that his father would lend a hand in preparation.

“He’s going to be a consultant with (defensive coordinator Tyson) Summers this week,” Mike said at a press conference Monday.

He laughed, but he wasn’t really joking. When asked again after practice Tuesday, he said he was surprised to see George keeping more of an eye on the offense.

Mike didn’t sound concerned though. He knows that his father will be impossible to please this week.

“Every south Georgia or old-school Georgia coach is option background, and it really doesn’t matter how you play it, they always think you should have played it this way,” Mike said.

Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at and on Twitter @emccarthy22.