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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fleeting Thoughts: Coaching Search Edition

"Ya see, Coach, we got out-speculated, out-rumored and
out-offered. Bottom line, we just need to execute."

A few thoughts from a dispassionate observer of the situation (OK, so I'm actually fairly passionate about getting an end to this story, but you know what I mean)…

Regarding Georgia...

-- I'm not sure that missing out on Kirby Smart is the end of the world. At this point, I don't buy the argument that we don't know whether or not he's really a good coach -- Mark Richt and Nick Saban aren't going to throw around that much cash on someone they aren't sure about. But it's pretty clear that Smart has a bright future, which may come sooner than later. I don't think Georgia should be trying to hire someone who has exhausted his upward mobility, but for the sake of the stabilization of the program, I'm not sure they need someone looking to bolt in a year or two either.

-- I've said all along that getting the right guy is not just the top priority, but really should be the only priority. I still stand by most of that, but we're getting to the point that Georgia needs to find an answer soon or there will start being some negative consequences.

-- For recruits, the two biggest factors they're usually looking for is their relationship with their coaches and their fit in the scheme the team runs. Right now, those are both mysteries for anyone considering Georgia, and signing day is fast approaching.

-- Two things that fans were rightly worried about before all this began: 1.) Would Georgia aim high? 2.) Would Damon & Co. spend the money it took to aim high? Both of those questions have been very much answered in the affirmative, which should give you plenty of confidence that this will still end well… eventually.

-- The question most fans probably want to know now is, why won't any of these guys take the job? That's one I'm still sorta shaking my head about.

-- Of course, the other side of that coin is this:

* Bud Foster has been at Virginia Tech for a quarter-century and still said Georgia had made a very appealing offer.

* John Chavis just got to LSU and still considered leaving.

* Kirby Smart just won a national championship and nearly bolted for Athens.

* Vic Koenning probably would have preferred to end up at Georgia, but the timing of things sent him to Illinois instead.

It's not like anyone is dismissing Georgia outright. But it would probably help if Mark Richt could bring Mariano Rivera in for the final negotiations.

-- Or maybe we need to take away Mark Richt's coffee.

-- Either way, you've got to hand it to Richt… in a bad economy, he's making a lot of money for people. Perhaps Obama should be giving Richt a call to head up the Treasury Department. ("Yes, that's right, Georgia has offered the auto industry $12 billion to become the defensive coordinator…")

Regarding Kirby...

-- First off, I think fans are potentially being a bit too harsh in their reactions to Kirby Smart's decision. Keep in mind, he wasn't "leading Georgia on" as so many people have written. If he was Georgia's top choice and he had told Georgia he might be interested, Mark Richt would not have offered the job to numerous other coaches.

The best synopsis of events that I've gotten is that, while there may have been some initial discussions, nothing substantive ever occurred between Richt and Smart until last week. When Georgia made the offer, it was for more money than most were expecting. Combine that with Smart's ties to UGA and I can completely understand why it was something he had to consider.

Still… if you make a pros and cons list of the reasons to stay at Alabama and the reasons to leave for Georgia, pragmatically speaking there's little question he made the right choice. The best reasons to leave would mostly have been emotional or environmental ones. I can empathize with someone torn between a practical decision and following your heart.

-- And for all those fans who think this was all about the money, imagine for a second that you're a 'Bama fan and Kirby had left. Wouldn't you have been saying the same thing?

-- In coaching searches, someone always gets their feelings hurt.

-- Bottom line: In sports, it's almost always about the money. Odds are, it would be for you, too.

-- All of that said, if he signed an offer sheet and then backed out at the last minute, that qualifies as a pretty dirty move.

On some other candidates...

-- Will Muschamp would be taking a pay cut of roughly 15-20 percent if he was offered what Kirby was offered, so those of you still holding out hope for him are going to be disappointed.

-- Here's a thought I've heard shared by a few readers, in particular, Texas Dawg: "Time to start hyping Tim DeRuyter before Texas A&M gets him. Amen.This is our guy. DHale, get it out there. He's going down to A&M to interview this week. We need to get to him before he commits to them. He's turned two dead last in their conference units (Ohio and Air Force) around in very fast time. He has an MBA. Sharp dude. We don't need another recruiter. That's taken care of. We need a tactician. DeRuyter's our dude. Get on it."

-- I already stated my case on why I thought Todd Grantham would be a strong hire, and I could be sold on Travis Jones pretty easily, too. I think there is a real upside to bringing in an NFL guy -- particularly when you consider that Florida just did it.

-- Given the fact that Richt has remained quiet throughout this whole thing is a sure indication that he's not worried about how this plays from a PR angle, and I would never suggest that he should make a hire for any reason other than that he think he's hiring the best available guy for the job. Having said that (h/t Larry D.) at this point in recruiting season and with as long as this has dragged on, making a splash in the headlines wouldn't hurt.

The bottom line, as Willie would say, is that Richt doesn't get a free pass on all this. The process hasn't played out perfectly, and the deals haven't been closed. So that's not good. But the search will ultimately be judged by the results -- both in terms of what coach gets hired and, potentially, what opportunities were missed.

The best-case scenario is that Richt learned some valuable lessons after being spurned by Foster and Chavis, and a back-up plan was already in place this time around. If things move quickly in a new direction, kudos to Richt. If the search sputters along for another week or more and the recruiting season closes with a whimper at Georgia, it better end up being one heckuva hire.

But again... before anyone jumps out a window, that final grade is far from being set.

ADDENDUM: Here's a quick correction pointed out anonymously...

"You are very much misinformed...Coach Richt has made only 1 formal offer."

OK, I stand corrected. I'm just going to quit reporting on any of this and I'm sure I'll be told when an offer finally happens.

Look folks, Richt was specifically asked what constitutes an "offer" and his response was, "I don't know."

It's a subjective term, and if we're going to debate what an offer really is in the most technical of senses, then reporting anything until someone's name is on the bottom line of a contract is useless. (And heck, maybe it is. I'd personally love to take a vacation until then.)

Did Chavis or Foster or Koenning have a contract put in front of them to sign? Maybe or maybe not. But if any one of the three had said, "Yes, I'll take the job and become your defensive coordinator," every bit of reporting I've done says the job would have been theirs. That, to me, is an offer. If you don't want to see it that way, that's fine, but you might as well just sit back and wait for the press release announcing the hire.


Anonymous said...

- Bottom line: In sports, it's almost always about the money. Odds are, it would be for you, too.

Best line of the post. I read some of the comments and just wonder where these people live. If someone came and offered me twice what I was making, no matter how much I love my job, I would have to consider it.

Hunker Down said...

I would love for CMR to talk to Tim DeRuyter. His D held Navy to their lowest score of the season - 13 points in regulation and a total of 209 yards of offense. Navy won in OT.

I don't think PJ would be in favor of this hire. But, DeRuyter can stop more than the triple option. They held plenty of MWC spread-type offenses in check fairly well. Allowed 20 to TCU and only 16 for Utah in regulation. Then embarrassed Houston in the bowl by holding them to only 20.

So, for scheming for different offensive styles, you have the following:
Held Navy's triple option (hello PJ) to lowest seasonal output.
Held Utah's spread (hello Urban Meyer) to it's lowest output.
Held Houston (hello 5600 passing yards) to lowest output of the season.

Get on it CMR.

Anonymous said...

You are very much misinformed...Coach Richt has made only 1 formal offer.

Army Dawg said...

Being an Army guy I follow the Air Force and Navy teams a little bit as I pull for academy teams except when they play Army. I know that Air Force plays in a pretty decent conference and they compete well with athletes who are not nearly as talented as those at UGA. May not be a 'sexy' hire but I think DeRuyter would do a great job.

Travis said...

and here i thought we had finished the search. Typically your 'fleeting thoughts' segments come at the end of something.

Just because it is your birthday tomorrow doesn't mean you can tug on my heart strings like that hale!!

Anonymous said...

"All of that said, if he signed an offer sheet and then backed out at the last minute, that qualifies as a pretty dirty move."

I wonder if Dawg fans remember that Mark Richt did the same thing. He'd accepted a position at LSU and the night before leaving, with his UHaul packed, Bobby Bowden offered him a last minute new offer and he took it.

If Fans are gonna take their pitchforks to Kirby ab him having the audacity to change his mind (yeah none of us have ever done that, right?) then i suggest they make a stop on Richt's lawn first.

Or just decide to be a big hypocrite. Either one.

Anonymous said...

ark Will get it right when it all said and done. What should be taken from this is that Smart should never be offered the job at any point in the future regardless of his desire or record. I was not sure he was the man for the job but am now sure of it. Sometimes developing your own is the best plan.

ovum said...

Why UGA should NOT make an offer to Todd Grantham (Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Coach).

He was fired on January 11, 2008 after the 2007 season with the Brown's defense ranking 25th against the pass, 27th against the run, and dead last in total-yards-against among 32 teams.

While it is true that Grantham is doing an adequate job at present, Georgia's had more than enough inconsistent defensive coaches.

I agree with some others who have stated that our best bet at this time is Tim DeRuyter. He is a very strategic coach who sculpts his schemes to match the offenses he's facing. Hopefully, CMR will agree.

Anonymous said...

Joe Whitt, JR.

Michael A said...

Was it reported that Smart signed an offer sheet and then changed his mind?

I could understand why Smart would stay put. The only part of it that galls me is that Saban announced it. It sounds like he would have taken any move personally, like Richt was trying to steal his girlfriend, and that was his way of saying,"Look, Richt, she doesn't like you . . . she likes me." [To complete the metaphor, imagine Saban slamming the door to his GTO, and laying a patch of rubber as he peels out of the high school parking lot with Smart in the passenger seat.]

Anonymous said...

CMR needs to be on the plane to Colorado springs now. DeRuyter would be a great hire IMO. We need to stop the blleding and corral him before Tubs does.

Anonymous said...

my bad....A&M. Not Tubs!

Dawgy said...

Even if KS had no intentions of leaving Bama why wouldn't he act interested in the Georgia job?
It was an easy way to double his salary. He sat there and seen what happen with the VT and LSU DCs.

Almost any coach is going to act like they're interested in a offer from another school.

It is my opinion that he never intended on moving. The reasons that he gave for not making the move were not something that just became a revelation to him in the last 2-3 days.

Dawgs97 said...

I'm worried if A&M goes hard after DeRuyter where he's being treated as a #1 candidate, after we've already been spurned by 3 guys and now have Grantham listed as the "next guy", that we'll miss out on Tim DeRuyter, who IMHO, was arguably the BEST HIRE all along.

That's not to say I wouldn't have been perfectly satisfied if Foster, Chavis or Smart had accepted the job offer, sure, they still would have been signifigant upgrades on Martinez.

But, Tim DeRuyter, as has been pointed out already by several Georgia fans smarter than me, has the numbers consistently with much lesser talent at Ohio & Air Force to back up that if he came to Athens and had 4 and 5 star kids from Atlanta and Florida to suddenly work with, he'd be a STUD HIRE.

The other problem is we've shown our hand, financially, with the $00K+ offer to Smart. Now, it may nto take quite that much to wrangle in DeRuyter, it just needs to be a good bit hire then what A&M will offer to make it appealing to come to Athens and get "over" being our 4th or 5th choice.

(of course, he maybe the first coach in the history of Football without ANY ego and not care that we went publicly after 4 guys before him).

Please, Richt, Evans, go after TIM DERUYTER.

(and not to mention the fact that Todd Grantham & Travis Jones are STILL COACHING in the NFL Playoffs and neither would even be available till earliest Sunday evening).

Anonymous said...

Never wanted Smart for multiple reasons, just a bad choice to me, but now it has become personal. If KS led Richt on, or signed an offer, then reneged, I hope he falls on his face and loses his job at Bama. That is just crummy behavior, and I would NEVER support him for any position in Athens. Then letting Saban make the announcement, damn. That is really the sign of a wimp!

Anonymous said...

I'll believe Koening was officially offered when I believe Jerry Glanville was officially offered.

Got to believe his agent pulled that stunt to get more money. His accomplishments as a DC are not in the league with Smart, Foster, & Chavis. It makes no sense that we would offer Koening. I wish some of the media would quit reporting that when there is NO evidence he was offered.

David Hale said...

Anon -- I get your frustration, but I don't make up stories. Richt won't comment, so yes, there's some wiggle room, but the sources I have on Koenning's end are impeccable and there were serious discussions with Georgia.

And the end result was not that he got more money -- he signed with Illinois for exactly what they were offering him before the Georgia discussions. The problem was that he wanted to come to Georgia but had already agreed to go to Illinois when Richt finally made a serious push.

I'll be happy to retract all of that if Richt wants to offer a firm denial of it, but he hasn't and the information I have is extraordinarily credible.

Trey said...

I don't understand how Kirby was Richt's top guy. Wasn't he the 4th? I mean, what happens if Bud Foster takes the job, would this debacle with Kirby had never happened? if thats the case, then missing out on Kirby didn't make us lose out on Richt's top guy. Apparently, 3 other guys were on the list before Kirby.

Anonymous said...

It is not the end of the world. People forget that Kirby Smart was one of the worst tacklers in UGA history. Just look at the film from when he played, it was an embarrassment to all junkyard dawgs! He never showed any guts as a player, why would he suddenly develop the intestinal fortitude to get out from under Saban's shadow now. We will get someone better than Smart in the long run.

UGA69Dawg said...

All this talk about the Air Force DC do we have any reason to blieve that CMR even knows this guy is alive???

I'm not sold on a NFL coach who is used to having the players for as long as thay want. Fat Charlie at ND found out it's not possible to teach NFL schemes in 20 hours per week.

CMR is just calmly plowing ahead just like he coaches. We will have a DC sooner or later.

GATA said...

The Coffee is for Closers Only!

A = Always
B = Be
C = Closing

Anonymous said...

Since you're now promoting some viewers PR campaigns, can you please begin the "Shut up David Pollack" campaign?

Anonymous said...

Hale, quoting from Texas_Dawg is a no no. You're dead to me.


Acworth Dawgs said...

What about Manny Diaz of MTSU?

He runs a good solid defense for team that plays most every top program tough every year.

Just wondering your thoughts and if you know why he is not in the conversation? Not that we really know who is in the conversation any more.

Acworth Dawg said...


That did not come through very well. What I was trying to say that every year MTS plays some of the top program and in those games they are very competitive.

I just think it would be a good fit and I am not sure why he is not being discussed.

Anonymous said...

People seriously need to stop giving Mark Richt so much shit. Its amazing how easily some folks forget what UGA was before Richt got here. Ray Goff anybody? Yes, we had a poor season. I'll take one every 10 years. And our poor season still had 8 wins. Oh no, how tough!! We went for the best coordinators in football in the best possible situations..and they listened. Just think, Kirby Smart is the DC of the national champions and likely number 1 team next year. And let's be honest, there is no reason to make a lateral move from DC of Bama to DC of UGA. Then you have Bud Foster. He has been there for what seems like 20 years. What makes you think he's going to leave Frank Beamer now that he's actually close to retiring. Then Jon Chavis. At Tennessee for 20 years then moved to LSU just last year after Fulmer left. So he obviously isn't one to just up and move. And he has just as much talent to work with at LSU. It is NOT embarrassing to be turned down by the DCs of three of the best programs in the country with the most well known defenses. Its more embarrassing to not even try. If you're looking for a girlfriend/boyfriend, do you go straight to the one that's actually in your league or do you shoot for the stars and see if you get lucky. And in the case of Kirby Smart, you have to try the girl from your neighborhood that blossomed late. Maybe she had a crush on you before she became the sexy pick. Mark will still make the right hire for this team and continue to be the right coach for this team. And if you disagree, then please...go be a Georgia Tech fan. Go Dawgs!

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