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Playing days over, Tamburo takes on coaching at UGA

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Special Photo Former North Gwinnett player Mikey Tamburo on the Georgia sidelines.

Mikey Tamburo was anxious for his new start with Georgia's football team.

The former North Gwinnett standout transferred from Boise State last year and had to sit out the season per NCAA rules.

The 2009 North grad was running the scout team the week of Vanderbilt game in October when his football career changed forever. Tamburo tore his ACL for the second time in two years.

When spring practice rolled around earlier this year, Tamburo pondered another comeback.

"Before spring started, I sat down with Coach (Mike) Bobo and talked about where I was on the depth chart and decided not to play after the injury," Tamburo said.

With his playing days over, Bobo offered Tamburo another opportunity as a student coach with the football team. Instead of going through passing drills or deciphering a defense, Tamburo is now breaking down practice film and charting plays.

"I'm learning the other side of football," Tamburo said.

Tamburo went through spring practice as a student coach, going to class in the morning, meetings in the afternoon, practice and then post-practice duties in the evening.

His coaching duties range from helping with practice drills, tagging film after practice, developing scouting reports and helping with summer camps.

"It's been a lot of the behind the scenes work," Tamburo said.

Tamburo led the resurgence of the North Gwinnett program in the mid-2000s. He took the Bulldogs to the Class AAAAA state title game against Lowndes as a junior and to the quarterfinals as a senior.

Tamburo, the county's all-time career passing leader with 6,598 yards passing and 57 touchdowns, received little recruiting interest from major programs. Because of his size at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds in high school, many big programs were hesitant to offer Tamburo. He picked up a scholarship offer from Boise State, which was just a year removed from upsetting Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

Tamburo redshirted as a freshman at Boise State after suffering a torn ACL. He was at the bottom of the depth chart in 2010 and transferred to UGA in the March of 2011.

Tamburo knew it would be tough to see the field with Aaron Murray, Hutson Mason and Christian LeMay ahead on the depth chart. The week of the Vanderbilt game he was with the scout team and ran a read option play, the same play he's run thousands of times in his career. He made a move on a linebacker, then felt and heard his knee pop.

Tamburo spent the winter rehabbing his knee, hoping he could still play one day. But in the back of his mind he knew his playing days were over.

"I always told myself if I tore it twice I would stop playing," Tamburo said. "It took me awhile to grow up and make the decision."

Tamburo maintains a 3.1 GPA and plans to graduate in December 2013 with a degree in marketing. Although, he hasn't ruled out a career in coaching.

"I didn't really think I would be a coach, but I always wanted to do something with sports," Tamburo said. "I'm definitely interested in pursuing it. I'm keeping my options open. It's a great experience overall. I like the idea of coaching high school or college one day."

Comments

Gary 1 year, 8 months ago

Applause for making a major and mature decision. Thanks for the exciting memories and for the positive influence you had on the North Gwinnett High School football program. Good luck, Mike!

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