“The only comment I’ll make on that is that I think it’s a compliment to Georgia, a compliment to Mike Bobo,” Richt said at a news conference before Wednesday’s game against Nebraska. “When people do excellent work, people notice it and it provides opportunities for getting excited about wanting to possibly hire you. So I’m not shocked that Mike’s getting some attention in that regard. …I think that’s a compliment to Mike, but not only Mike, but the offensive staff and offensive players and really the team in general.”
CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman reported on Monday night that Bobo was expected to speak to Georgia Southern after the bowl, but Bobo and Georgia haven't confirmed that.
Under Bobo, Georgia is on pace to set school records for scoring and total offense for the second straight season and ranks in the top 20 nationally in both categories despite losing several key players to season-ending injuries and others for multiple games.
Bobo makes about $575,000 annually in a three-year contract he signed in the offseason.
That ranked tied for 24th nationally among all assistant coaches in a USA Today salary survey, but that was before the coaching carousel began spinning again.
Florida will pay new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper from Duke $600,000 a year, according to the Gainesville Sun.
Georgia Southern paid Jeff Monken $260,000 in base salary to be its head coach before he was hired by Army, but it could offer a more competitive salary as it moves up to the Sun Belt Conference.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said any talks for a raise for Bobo would come later, but that “we made a pretty strong commitment,” last year to Bobo.
“Mark and I will talk about that at the end of the year,” McGarity said. “It’s just not the right time to talk about that. We’ve got a game to play (Wednesday) and we’ll deal with any staff stuff down the road. …It’s a pretty strong statement what we did last year. We’ll just see how things go.”
Former Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was Georgia Southern’s head coach for one season in 2006.
Georgia Southern ran the triple-option under Monken and has a proud history running an option offense, but VanGorder and then Chris Hatcher went away from that.
“The option, the school buses, everything that we do, is something that person needs to understand and needs to embrace,” Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein told the Statesboro Herald last week. “Now, does that mean they need to come in here and do all of those things? I’m going to leave that up to him. I know, when I sit down and talk to him, that if we’re not doing some of those things, he better have a really good reason why.”
Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Brent Pry and Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, both former Georgia Southern assistants, are candidates to replace Monken, according to the Savannah Morning News.
Georgia makes adjustments in secondary
Freshman Brendan Langley and redshirt sophomore Devin Bowman should see increased playing time in the Gator Bowl due to the absence of suspended safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and cornerback Sheldon Dawson.
“I think the guys stepped up well,” Richt said. “I think coach (Todd) Grantham, knowing that the situation was going to happen, had time to plan for it, had time to get everybody in the right spots.”
Langley, a freshman from Marietta, started the first four games of the season, but has played sparingly since then, not getting a snap in four games. Bowman has played in eight games without making a tackle or pass breakup.
Georgia has had plenty of time to prepare for the hit to the secondary.
“I think it was good that there was time to know,” Richt said. “Sometimes you might get an injury on a Thursday before the game. …Then you’ve got a problem as far as guys not being prepared, but I think we’ll be fine.”
Georgia’s pass defense has been a trouble spot for much of the season.
“We’re going to try to attack any type of weaknesses that they have,” said Nebraska senior receiver Qunicy Enuwa, who has a team-leading 10 touchdown catches.
`Tough kid’ Conley expected to play
Georgia should have its leading receiver available against Nebraska, but how long Chris Conley will be able to go remains to be seen.
Conley sprained an ankle in practice in Jacksonville leading up to the game, but returned on Monday for the Bulldgs’ final workout.
“I think he’ll attempt to play,” Richt said. “I don’t know how long it will last, but I think he’ll play. He’s a tough kid.”
Conley has 42 catches for 605 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games this season. He missed two with a sprained ankle. He rang up 136 receiving yards and two touchdowns on just two catches in last year’s bowl win against Nebraska.
This and that
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said the Cornhuskers “have a lot of respect,” for Georgia star tailback Todd Gurley, but he’ll take Ameer Abdullah, his junior who rushed for 1,568 yards this season.
“I’ve said it all year, I wouldn’t trade Ameer for any back in the country,” Pelini said. “I’m obviously a little bit partial but I think he’s as good as any back in the country. He’ll be up there for all the postseason awards next year.”
Georgia tight end Jay Rome, who will miss his fourth straight game today, described on Twitter the foot injury that he underwent surgery on as a “torn Lisfranc ligament.” Rome also dealt with a high ankle sprain this year. He described 2013 as “by far the worst year ever,” for him.
TaxSlayer.com, located in Evans, Ga., near Augusta, has re-upped as the title sponsor of the Gator Bowl for another six years, the bowl announced Tuesday.