- Associated Press - Monday, August 10, 2015

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - Sometimes, Mike Bobo is so passionate that he sheds tears when he talks to his team about the importance of family.

And sometimes, the Colorado State coach utters such funny phrases through his Southern accent as he screams that his players have to turn away to stifle a smirk.

Safe to say the Rams are taking an instant liking to their new coach.

Bobo isn’t trying to be like Jim McElwain, the charismatic coach he’s replacing. Or the next Mark Richt, his mentor as a longtime assistant at Georgia.

No, Bobo’s developing his own style - one he’s not afraid to adjust on the fly.

“I’ve got a plan, but if something in my heart tells me to go in a different direction, I’m going to be who I am,” Bobo said Monday at media day. “That way, I believe it’s going to work. If it doesn’t work, I’m still going to lay down my head at night and go to sleep.”

One thing’s for sure - the cupboard definitely isn’t bare for Bobo. He inherits a team coming off a 10-3 season and that set all sorts of offensive records. However, the quarterback of that team, Garrett Grayson, is now playing for the New Orleans Saints. But receiver Rashard Higgins is back, along with a litany of all-Mountain West players.

The abundance of talent influenced Bobo’s decision to take over for McElwain, who left for Florida.

“I didn’t have to rejuvenate the fan base. I didn’t have to re-energize the football team,” explained Bobo, whose team will play in a new on-campus stadium in 2017. “You want a team that believes in itself.

“That’s what this team has - the confidence. Now, we’re just trying to build on that confidence.”

Over the entrance leading to the practice field is a sign that reads, “Never Satisfied.” That’s to remind the Rams that even though they had one of their best seasons in team history, none of that matters.

“We don’t want to be satisfied where we are at as a football team, as a program,” Bobo said. “One day at a time we’re going to try to be a champion.”

One of Bobo’s first calls after he was hired was to Higgins, the dynamic receiver who set single-season school records in yards receiving (1,750) and receiving TDs (17). But Higgins ducked his call, telling his girlfriend to tell the coach he was sleeping.

“All fun and jokes,” Higgins explained Monday.

If he had any reservation about Bobo, it dissipated at a team meeting, when Bobo got choked up talking to the Rams about camaraderie.

“He said something from the bottom of his heart and shed a tear,” Higgins said. “Showed how much passion he has for this game.”

Bobo is still trying to find a quarterback to step in for Grayson, the school’s career passing leader. Nick Stevens played a handful of snaps in 2014, throwing for 136 yards and one TD. Pushing him is Coleman Key, a redshirt freshman out of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

“I don’t want to anoint anybody,” Bobo said. “If I never put pressure on whoever the starter is, and there’s going to be pressure in the first game, and he hasn’t felt that pressure, we’re in trouble. Put that pressure on now so he can handle it in the game.”

Bobo was a QB at Georgia before being hired by Richt to coach the position. Bobo spent the last few seasons running the Bulldogs’ high-powered offense.

At Colorado State, he brought in Will Friend to run the offense and Tyson Summers on defense.

“New coaching staff both sides, adjustments to new schemes and concepts, different style of coaching and yet these guys took to it,” Bobo said. “I saw a team that was hungry to get where we all want to go.

“We want to win the Mountain West championship, want to make it to one of the big bowls. The only way to get there is by every single day doing the things it takes to become a champion.”

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