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Georgia's Richt hands Bobo play-calling responsibility

ATLANTA -- A couple of days before Georgia Tech faced its
state rival, coach Mark Richt went to one of his assistants with a
bold idea.

Hey, Mike Bobo, it's time for you to start calling plays.

Richt revealed Sunday that he let his quarterback coach handle
the play-calling duties in a 15-12 victory over then-No. 16 Georgia
Tech, including the decisive drive in which Matthew Stafford threw
a 4-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Massaquoi with 1:45 remaining.

Bobo also will run the offense in the Bulldogs' bowl game, then
Richt will decide whether he wants to make the change permanent.

"I thought he did a real nice job," Richt said. "I just felt
like it was the right thing to do at the time. I've been thinking
about it for a while."

Richt had been calling the plays since he took over as Georgia's
coach in 2001, keeping the role that he had as Florida State's
offensive coordinator.

But, when the Bulldogs struggled during a stretch of four losses
in five games, some fans complained that Richt was stretched too
thin and wondered if he should turn over the offense to someone
else.

As it turned out, Richt had been thinking the same thing. He
already let Bobo call plays in the two-minute drill, and decided
that Saturday's regular-season finale was the right time to turn
everything over to the former Georgia quarterback.

"I actually didn't give him a whole lot of warning," Richt
said. "I told him on Thursday and the rest of the staff on
Friday."

Still, the timing of the move was rather curious _ and not only
because it came at the end of the season. In the previous game,
with Richt calling the plays, Georgia piled up a season-high 446
yards in a 37-15 upset of Auburn, which was ranked No. 5 at the
time.

But Richt decided that it was the best time to make a change,
certainly better than turning the offense over to Bobo when the
Bulldogs were struggling.

"I didn't want to hand something over to him when everything
was so hot," Richt said. "Quite frankly, if we had lost this
game, I never would have even mentioned that Mike called the plays.
I want to take care of my coaches."

Richt first considered making the change after last season, but
couldn't bring himself to follow through. After all, the Bulldogs
were coming off a Southeastern Conference championship and their
fourth straight season in which they had at least 10 wins and
finished in the Top 10.

"Quite frankly, I came to the conclusion that I should do it,"
Richt said. "But I kind of rationalized my way out of it. I just
decided to go with the status quo. My gosh, we had just won 44
games in four years. I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do.
Until I had peace about it, I wasn't going to do it."

The 32-year-old Bobo played for the Bulldogs from 1994-97. He
started at quarterback his final two seasons, setting a school
record when he completed 19 straight passes in his final college
game, a 33-6 victory over Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.

He spent the next two years as an administrative assistant and
graduate assistant for the Bulldogs, then joined the staff at
Division I-AA Jacksonville State. He returned to Georgia one year
later when Richt was hired as head coach and has been part of two
SEC titles.