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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.)

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