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Thursday, December 3, 2009

From the Mailbag: What's In Store for Dawgs' D?

First off, if you've emailed me in the past two days, I apologize for not getting back to you, but my email is not working. As you can imagine, that's been pleasant to deal with on top of everything else going on. (Oh, and my power went out right in the middle of all the news breaking yesterday, too. Fun times.)

But, reading through your comments, I came across a handful of fairly common questions that I'll do my best to answer here…

1.) Does the new coach have to have a far different personality than the old ones?

Answer: If you don't think that Fabris and Willie could get in a player's face, you've obviously never spent a minute anywhere near a UGA practice. This is the biggest misconception about the departed coaches. They weren't too easy on their players by any stretch. And it never hurts to remember that intensity isn't necessarily measured by your use of four-letter words.

2.) What's going on with Rodney Garner?

Answer: I'd say his chances of getting the DC job aren't very high at the moment, and before all this broke, he said he would keep his options open as far as head-coaching vacancies around the country. But for now, that's about all the real news I have.

3.) How'd Joe Schad get this story?

Answer: I dunno. But I can say that it didn't sound like Richt was particularly pleased that this got out before he had a chance to talk to his players about it.

4.) Why would Richt want these coaches to coach in the bowl game?

Answer: First, I'm sure it was a gesture of thanks to guys who have worked very hard for him over the years. Second, who else is going to do it? The odds are that whoever is going to come on board as a replacement is still gainfully employed elsewhere, so the timing of everything remains precarious at best.

5.) How have the players reacted?

Answer: Hard to say. We haven't been allowed to speak with them, and the few that I've talked to off the record have said they're better off saying nothing -- which tells me they were told they're better off saying nothing. I have spoken with a number of former players who have all expressed sadness at the moves, particularly for Fabris who a lot of players got their start with on special teams as freshmen. One of the other things that they've told me -- and this is something fans seem to forget -- is that getting used to a whole new system is no easy task. Kelin Johnson, for one, told me it took him two-and-a-half years to really understand and be able to execute Willie's system, so for a new DC to come in and revamp things in a few months could be setting the bar awfully high. And lastly, Richt did make a point of saying during his teleconference that some players might view this as a clean slate for themselves. It seemed odd to me that he would say that when so much of the rest of his answers were somber at best, but perhaps there's a sense of some relief among some of the players who had been relegated to the deeper parts of the depth chart.

6.) Might Georgia hire a special teams coach now?

Answer: This is something I'd like to ask Richt about. As I've explained before, UGA does not have a set special teams coach because you are only allowed to have so many coaches on staff, and the delegation of responsibilities on offense and defense does not allow for the Dawgs to have a full-time ST coach. As it was, Jancek, Fabris, John Lilly and Tony Ball split duties on special teams, each taking one or two of the units. Whether that changes as Richt restructures the staff, I have no idea. Given that Fabris' defensive ends actually performed quite well this season, it might seem like his dismissal had more to do with special teams and therefore it might be an indication that Richt is going to put an emphasis on that stuff. Perhaps, but I think it was more likely that Richt knows a new DC would want power to make decisions on as much of his staff as possible, and this was simply a house cleaning.

7.) Did anyone ask Richt for his thoughts on Tiger?

Answer: Now that was a funny comment.

And finally, I figured I'd post this comment from Bull Eagle, as I thought it was particularly apt: "when all is said and done in your life the only real thing that really truely counts is the quality of the relationships you have had, both family and friends. being a man if great faith and character coach richt understands that as well as anyone. i am sure that what he had to do today was one of the hardest things ever for him. i admire and respect him for that and continue to be very proud that he is the coach of our dawgs. may god bless and encourage those three men and their families as they seek new direction."


Trey said...

I wouldn't exactly call Kelin Johnson the person to base the learning curve around. All you have to do is listen to him on the post game and realize why it might have taken him over 2 years to learn a system.

watcher16 said...

Another question to maybe ask: What Defensive philosophy might Richt be looking for? A Tampa 2 like Kiffin? Someone more man-to-man oriented? And will he specifically ask these coaches he interviews their ideas on covering the Offenses of different we teams we face (such as the spread and triple options)?

Randall said...

I would hate for Richt to build a defense based on what we currently face. That would put us behind the curve again. I would like to see a defense that is ahead of the curve and able to take on the offenses of today and the next big thing. Richt will look first at the man and his morals. Anyone on the list that he seriously considers will be more than qualified in his football and coaching knowledge. I am personally hoping we are all wrong with our predictions and a candidate that no one has even mentioned will emerge to revitalize the defense and team. To take us to new levels of success. Oh what an exciting time to be a Dawg!

Anonymous said...

Not that I want CMR to become like Meyer, but could you ask if Special Teams might be something he takes on personally to improve? (Beamer does it as well.) The reasons I like the idea are:
1.) Since we cannot have a coach dedicated to that one area, he is the one who might have the most time without ignoring other position responsibilities and,
2.) That would automatically raise the importance to the players and,
3.) He could take players needed from ANY position without resistance from the coaches and,
4.) he could allocate practice time as necessary to make sure we are prepared for this significant portion of the game.

JRL said...

I am guardedly optimistic.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Garner is possibly going to Memphis to be their new DC.... Has anyone else heard this news?

Anonymous said...

Personally, I would love it if we had ONE coach for ALL special teams. For example, if Garner stays, let him coach entire D line. Just a thought.... Gregg

John P said...

Anonymous 2:36 pm,

I heard the same thing. Boy, I hope we and our sources are wrong.

Anonymous said...

If Garner is gone. Pollack for recruiting cord.!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

It didn't take Tennessee's D long to make the adjustment to the Monte Kiffin D. I don't know why it should take our guys 2.5 years to make a switch.

My only request is to get a DC that doesn't coach faceguarding. I am sick of that and point to it as one of the reasons for our terrible TO margin and high number of pass interference calls. We have fast guys that jump. Turn around and make an INT instead of trying to knock the ball out after the guy catches it. Over the shoulder catches are unstoppable on a faceguarding, eye watching corner.

Anonymous said...

Let's put to rest the whole notion of VanGorder coming back...he's not doing it!

Where is everyone hearing about Garner to Memphis as DC? Anyone got a link?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:50

I heard from a friend of mine, he said he saw it on the dawgpost vent i think..... it is just a rumor and there are no links from the media that speculates this.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Bryan Evans has ever learned Willie's system.

Anonymous said...

I hope we get a defensive coordinator who realizes rushing the passer is the top priority against teams with good quarterbacks, Willie's philosohphy seemed to be: "If I can get pressure with the front four great...if I can't let's hope its incomplete, and call a corner blitz every now and then.

UGA69Dawg said...

If CWM's system was that difficult then we have already addressed part of the problem. College has a 20 hour rule so the main thing that all coaches need to do is KISS. A defense that must think about what it must do is always a step behind the O. D needs to be fundamental and instinctive. Too complex a D and you get what we had fast guys who always seemed to be out of position (thinking about what to do rather than just making the play.) Rennie is great as was David Pollack because they played with abandon and would try to make the play regardless of the position on the field. Hey it's just tackle the guy with the ball or if you're playing Tech tackle everybody in the back field.

Anonymous said...

Pass coverage technique was one of my main complaints about CWM. I agree that our DBs should turn and make an attempt to intercept rather than faceguard which rarely results in anything possible. More often it gets called PI so we get nailed much of the time, and rewarded none of the time. I like Willie, but the pass coverage scheme and technique he taught was not effective in stopping drives. Good luck to you Coach, and thanks for your efforts.

Anonymous said...

We are at as good a time to lose Garner as we will ever be. When CMR first came to UGA he was essential due to the recruiting connections he had. Now Richt, Bobo, and Lilly can move forward without us losing much in that area. Garner has been both a blessing and curse with his connections becoming offset by his constant demands and inability to get along with other coaches. Good guy, but if he goes we will be fine. Let it play out.

rbubp said...

Bobby Knight for recruiting coordinator!!
Fran Tarkenton for recruiting coordinator!
Russ the Dawg for recruiting coordinator!!
David Pollack for recruiting coordinator!!

Can we STFU already on the unqualifieds?

Anonymous said...

rbubp: I like where you are going with the 4 pronged approach to recruiting. I just don't know who Coach STFU is. Can you elaborate?

Anonymous said...

UGA69Dawg: You minimize the "thinking" part of defense and say "D needs to be fundamental and instinctive," and then cite Rennie Curran -- I wonder if that's how he plays, though.

My understanding, largely from his quotes here and elsewhere, is that Rennie is a real student of the game and watches a ton of film -- and wishes others would watch more. I don't think it's a big leap to guess that the reason he gets involved on so many plays is that he's watched enough film to KNOW what's going to happen as soon as he sees it develop. I guess in a sense that's instinctive, but it's also complicated and thought-through.

Of course, if you had a defense with 11 guys that had his talent AND dedication, you wouldn't need coaches at all.