Friday, January 1, 2010

The Search Continues...

John Chavis said No. Bud Foster said No. Vic Koenning decided to leave his alma mater, Kansas State, and bolt for the greener pastures of ILLINOIS??? I can't imagine that Illinois is going to be giving Koenning more MONEY than UGA would. In fact, it's being reported that Illinois is paying Koenning 325K. Reports are that Chavis was offered 600K. Sooooo, what can we take from this?

1) UGA did not offer Koenning 600 thousand. I'm sorry, I can't imagine a scenario where any coach would leave his alma mater for another school, have his choice of two, and take the less-prestigious job for nearly half the sheckles. There's just no way.

2) UGA learned that the price of a quality DC will be much higher than what they were paying Martinez, who isn't what I would call "high-quality." I'm guessing they offered Koenning slightly more than $325K, and it simply wasn't enough.

3) The UGA job isn't high-profile or high-paying enough to pull a quality Coordinator laterally. I mean, LSU is in the same conference as UGA. Why would Chavis want to come back to the East? To be honest, the West is the more prestigious side of the conference right now. If you can dominate that side of the SEC, your stock will certainly rise. But, does Chavis need it to rise? Does he have HC aspirations? I don't know. Bud Foster has been with Frank Beamer for 32 years, as a player and coach. Why would he want to leave a 10-3 team with championship potential to come rebuild the Dawgs?

So what are the barriers?

1) The Conference - with prestige also comes a bit of intimidation for a coach. The offenses in the SEC are varied and each offer significant challenges. A DC walking into Athens is going to have to scheme against different spread attacks at Kentucky, Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, MSU and Ole Miss; power pro-styles at Tennessee, Alabama and LSU and then the ever creative Spurrier at USC. Oh, and then there's Georgia Tech's triple option. It's a pretty tough slate to ask someone to come in and handle.

2) The Expectations - Whoever is hired is being hired with ONE goal in mind - to Restore Georgia's defense to CHAMPIONSHIP level. This "10-win" hype that we love to talk about ain't gonna cut it. 2007, while a feel-good year and a Sugar Bowl victory, was garbage because we weren't champions of any sort. 11-2 and NOTHING. 2008 was an underachiever. We rolled in at #1, but even in game one, we didn't look like Champions. We dropped in the rankings after successive victories, and then we were DOMINATED by Alabama. The fans and the Head Coach are tired of this. So, whoever comes in has to turn the defense around immediately.

3) The Bare Cubbard - The defense loses: [potentially] its top two tacklers in Rennie Curran (122) and Reshad Jones (68) and [definitely] the "big three" in the middle - Weston, Adkins and Owens are gone, as is depth-man Brandon Wheeling. Darius Dewberry and Bryan Evans (sing halleluah) are also out. So, the new DC will be asked to have a championship-callibre defense with a great deal of youth and inexperience. That has to be a bit daunting. Job #1 for the new DC may be in convincing at least one, if not both, of those Juniors to stay at UGA for his final season.

So what is the answer?

I don't know. Luckily, I'm not the guy paid 2 million per year to make those kinds of decisions. I'm not a big fan of the idea of bringing in an NFL position assistant as our DC for some on-the-job training. One name right now is Todd Grantham, the DL coach of the Dallas Cowboys. now, Grantham DOES have DC experience, in the NFL. In his first year, his Cleveland Browns pass defense was 4th in the league, but his run defense was in the bottom quarter of the league. He was fired in January 2008 after his defense ranked no higher than 25th in the major categories for 2007. Since then, he's been the DL coach for Dallas, which has one of the better DLs in the league. So then, the question becomes...if he comes to UGA, will he want to coach the DL, and if so, what do you do with Garner?

Kirby Smart is still a name that is floating around, but I don't know how likely it is that he'll come over. Again, a lateral move from a prestigious university with big-time money. The opposite argument is that the defense belongs to Saban anyway, and he can name ANYBODY coordinator.

I want this search to be over as much as anyone, but the hire is EXTREMELY important, and I'm glad Richt is taking the proper time and consideration for it.

Go Dawgs.

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