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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

All you have to do is call ... and you've got Will Friend

Will Friend took a break from signing employment papers to speak to the media for a few minutes on Tuesday afternoon. Here are some quick impressions, notes and quotes after meeting with Georgia’s new offensive line coach:

- Friend, who turned 36 on Monday, said he basically knew he had the job last Friday. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo had reached out to Friend soon after Searels announced he was leaving for Texas.

“I told (Bobo) I’d be in Athens whenever he needed me,” Friend said.

The connection to Georgia was strong for Friend: His first child, daughter Katie, was born in Athens. (Katie is now six years old.)

- It doesn’t sound like there will be any major overhaul of how things are taught and done on the line. Friend, a protégé of UAB head coach and former Georgia o-line coach Neil Callaway, said Callaway and Stacy Searels used the same basic terminology.

“Obviously there’s certain things that you kind of may tweak a bit, different techniques and things,” Friend said. “But we’re all in the same deal.”

The upshot of that is it will allow Friend to hit the ground running.

“I’ve been here and it’s coming home for me,” said Friend, who played at Alabama but was a Georgia graduate assistant from 2003-04. “So I think that will be an easy transition.”

- Friend was set to meet with the returning offensive lineman later on Tuesday. He said he hasn’t had a chance to do much in the way of evaluating them – so he doesn’t have any immediate opinion on whether, for instance, Cordy Glenn or Kenarious Gates will shift from guard to right tackle.

“I think it can be a very good group,” Friend said.

As for the incoming players, Friend has had a chance to speak to some of them since he was hired.

“You guys don’t know me and I don’t know you,” Friend said, relating the thrust of his talk to the recruits. “But we both picked Georgia. I love Georgia … and we’ll build the relationship from there.”

Those new players could also conceivably play right away for Friend.

“The best five play. And if a guy’s ready to contribute and ready to play, I’ll play them,” Friend said. “They’re all starting from scratch for me.”

- Finally, in news that warmed the heart of reporters around the table, when it comes to players speaking to the media Friend said he would defer to the head coach and sports information staff. (Searels was much more restrictive.)


clee said...

Seth, did you get a read on Mr. Friend's personality during your brief meeting? Does he seem intense or laid back? Is he a good communicator? Thanks for the insight.

Anonymous said...

Really doesn't matter who coaches the O-Line. Bobo runs it less, percentage wise, than pretty much anyone in the SEC. Murray can't get rid of the ball in 10 seconds, so you'll get 25 sacks or so. Which means Georgia will continue to lose games as long as Bobo is there.

Anonymous said...

Anon - can you post your name and come back on the blog after next season, so we can evaluate your prediction of "25 sacks or so"??

Travis said...

off topic of your post - but i'm hoping to get your attention.

I'm hearing all sorts of stuff about Crowell posting things about guns, money and women all over social media sites. Is any of this true, and does the coaching staff know about this and plan to stop it? It just seems like a bad move out of the gate, and gives the team bad press.

Anonymous said...

Pro-Murray fans LOVE to rag on Ealey's 2 fumbles, but they don't say a lot about Murray's 10 interceptions, and 24 sacks. Murray's 4 to's against Florida really hurt, and his 2 against UCF, lost the Bowl game.

Seth Emerson said...


It wasn't a long meeting, and it was a sit-down situation, so it wasn't a great chance to get a solid read. I can tell you that I heard from his UAB days that he had a reputation for being a typical o-line coach; in other words, not many of their ilk are known for being laid-back.

Gravidy said...

Callaway and Searels didn't use similar terminology in my book. Callaway used "split" and "tight" designations for his guards and tackles rather than the more traditional left and right designations that Searels employed.

That's a fairly large difference in terminology, strategy, and technique.

Anonymous said...

hey Anon @ 4:20, check your interception number, Murray only threw 8.

Anonymous said...

Ignore the tech troll.

Anonymous said...

Friend may develop his own style apart from Callaway but I agree with what V. Dooley said in a recent interview about line play which alot of it is desire. Dooley mentioned lineman blocked hard for Herschel because they were inspired by his work ethic from the beginning as a freshman. Running backs who don't show up for runs( Ealey) don't inspire their line. Go Dawgs!

Josh said...

I'm really excited about Friend. I really think good things will come from this hire!

Anonymous said...

Another worthless hire from Richt. Nothing new here. Carry on.

Anonymous said...

^^^^troll alert ^^^^^^

Anonymous said...

Murray 'only' threw 8 interceptions.

Only, huh?

How many sacks did your boy Murray take?

How many fumbles?

Clem the Lady Killah said...

***I am not a troll alert

I totally disagree with the commenter about Murray being the root of any of this team's ills. He played his a$$ off all year, and was the reason we didn't end up worse than 6-7. I can't believe anyone would believe there's a better option at QB on this team, nor another Sophomore QB in the SEC that you'd rather have for the next three years.

As for Friend - this feels a LOT like the Van Halanger/Tereshinski shuffle. It might be a step in the right direction, but it's really frustrating to see this staff continue to churn it's own connections.

It isn't apparent to me that Friend is the result of Richt & Co. going out, and looking for the best man available. Rather, it seems like they settled on the guy they knew. I don't believe Bobo for a second to evaluate talent and make the best hire. He hasn't earned that trust.

This hire is a lot like 3rd & 8 for us - predictable. It's the equivalent of a screen for two yards when we needed another six. I'd have appreciated hearing:

"After interviewing candidates from Stanford, Wisconsin and Texas A&M, we decided that Will Friend of UCF was the most qualified, dedicated and enthusiastic hire we could make."

Instead, we got:

"We made a call to a former graduate assistant. He took the lateral job to get out of a 3rd tier school, which is coincidentally coached by a guy we ran out of town."

Color me unimpressed.


BZ said...

clem, i could not have said it any better!!

Anonymous said...

Hope the guy enjoys his one year stint.

C said...

I think the key to this hire is his ability to fit in right away with the coaching staff.

I doubt Richt was given the loose purse strings that Mack Brown was to hire an offensive line coach, and given that, this guy was probably the right choice.

He also played for some pretty good Alabama teams. Plus, he inherits at least 3 guys who will be given an opportunity to play on Sundays after next season.

I get the feeling that Richt is getting more involved in the Xs and Os this season, and I think that bodes well for the Dawgs.

Anonymous said...

Another Mickey Mouse hire. This is pure T crap.

Anonymous said...

This could be a good hire. Searles was a big name hire, and during his tenure here, our offensive line had its problems. Friend could be an up-and-comer like Van Gorder. I say let's give the offense time and bulk up in the right places, and let's give Friend a chance to prove himself.