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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."


Anonymous said...

Drew Butler - All American!

Anonymous said...

So if you have an exclusive special teams coach, what does that do while all the other players are practicing their main position? Does the STC hold the ball for Walsh?

Anonymous said...

Anon 158, if you think special teams consists only of a placekicker kicking from a held ball, you may need to start following a different sport.

Anonymous said...

Yes, hire a special teams coach, we have to do that to compete with the Gators! Get the best coaches, get the best, get the best and pay them what they deserve!!!