Before Saturday’s amazing come from behind win against Arkansas, an SEC team, the Rams proverbial goose was cooked. CSU lost to Hawaii 43-34 and CU 45-13. Things looked bad for Coach Bobo. After three 7-6 seasons and a rough “big game” record, the two bad losses in 2018 had Rams fans wondering just how long the former Georgia quarterback would last in Fort Collins. One would think that would give a coach in his position cause to be frustrated, grumpy and short with his players, staff and media. That wasn’t the case. As I walked onto the practice field next to Canvas Stadium last Tuesday I was expecting some good ole fashion butt chewing by the head coach but what I witnessed was a coach, hobbled and hurting, limping up to his players while they were stretching. He was smiling and genuinely engaged in what his guys were saying. He even cracked a couple of jokes toward the media before jumping into the golf cart he’s been using to get around while he battles his current condition, peripheral neuropathy, which causes numbness and pain in his feet. After practice that day he spoke to members of the media and stressed that staying positive would ultimately be the key to his teams success. “We could be a good football team but you gotta stay together and work,” Bobo said. “I haven’t changed the approach this year of trying to be a positive influence and positive leadership.”
During the Arkansas game, the Rams had little to be positive about when trailing 27-9 but somehow they kept their heads up. In the midst of the pounding delivered by CU, I took note of K.J. Carta Samuels running off the field after another frustrating 3 and out. He looked to be hanging his head but as he approached the sidelines, he lifted his chin and began to trot toward his coaches. That stuck out to me just like Coach Bobo’s demeanor last week in practice. Linebacker Josh Watson, the defensive leader of the Rams, said he believed the guys on the team were buying what Coach was selling, “I feel like being able to listen to our coaches definitely will help us get it right.”
I’m a big fan of the upbeat, constructive approach Coach Mike Bobo has adopted and apparently, so are others in the NCAA. According to a press release from Colorado State Athletics, Bobo was just selected as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week, an award that honors a football coach whose program embodies the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity while also having some success in the previous week. “A comeback like this against a Power Five opponent only happens with the right type of coaching and leadership,” Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation, said. “Coach Bobo is the type of coach who exemplifies the dedication and attitude necessary to lead young men on the field.”
It was a rough start to the season for CSU but unlike the “sky is falling” radio hosts (ahem) and a few unrealistic fans, Mike Bobo stayed true to his philosophy; staying positive and showing his team how to remain optimistic even in the most difficult of times. The Rams might very well have a bad season, maybe even miss a bowl game for the first time in 5 years, but based on what I saw last week, Bobo has my vote to be the leader for Colorado State Football for at least the foreseeable future.