ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
44°
Mostly Sunny
H 65° L 36°
  • clear-night
    44°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Sunny. H 65° L 36°
  • clear-day
    52°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Sunny. H 65° L 36°
  • clear-day
    54°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 59° L 35°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Morning show on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Home team on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The crossover

00:00 | 00:00

College
Georgia Bulldogs didn’t have to go far to find the ideal offensive coordinator
Close

Georgia Bulldogs didn’t have to go far to find the ideal offensive coordinator

Georgia Bulldogs didn’t have to go far to find the ideal offensive coordinator

Georgia Bulldogs didn’t have to go far to find the ideal offensive coordinator

Georgia football-Towers' Take-Bulldogs didn't have to go far to find championship coordinator-Georgia Bulldogs-James Coley

ATHENS — Fantastic. Bravo. Job well done.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart finally promoted James Coley to offensive coordinator on Friday. Or, more accurately, he simply dropped the “co-” from Coley’s title, which already was co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

It’s important to not here that it does not mean that somebody else might come in and commandeer that “co-” in their title. You can bet that Smart is going to do whatever it takes to make his staff as strong to make his staff as strong it can be. If that means having to name somebody co-offensive coordinator, so be it.

But make no bones about it, like it was when Jim Chaney was in charge of the offense last year alongside Coley, the one without the “co” in his title was calling the shots. So, to be clear, it’s Coley that will be calling the shots.

What’s that mean for Georgia’s offense?

The most important thing it means is there will be continuity from the last two years to the next one. Quarterback Jake Fromm will be back at the helm for a third consecutive season and, with his level of expertise in this offense, that effectively gives the Bulldogs another offensive coordinator. Maybe that’s the way Georgia needs to go. Name Fromm starting quarterback/co-offensive coordinator?

Kidding aside, Fromm is one major part of an offense that returns mostly intact. The Bulldogs will be looking at a bit of a rebuild at wideout, where leading receivers Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman and Terry Godwin have moved on. And that’s the case to a lesser degree at tight end, where Georgia will be looking to fill the void of Issac Nauta turning pro and Luke Ford transferring.

But the most important aspect of the Bulldogs’ offense is it returns four-fifths of the starting offensive line, plus a plethora of other former blue-chippers to compete and mix in across the front. Then there remains D’Andre Swift, Brian Herrien and James Cook in the backfield, where they will be joined by newcomers Zamir “Zeus” White and Kenny McIntosh.

That’s a lot of talent for Coley to work with, and he knows what do with it. This is no young rookie coordinator on whom Smart is taking a chance. This is a 45-year-old man who has coordinated offenses for 11 of 19 seasons going back to his three-year stint at Miami Norland High School.

Over the span, Coley has developed a reputation for being a bit a gun-slinging coordinator. That is, he likes his offenses to throw the football downfield. When he was coordinator and play-caller at Miami, the Hurricanes led the nation in “explosive plays”  all three years. Coley coached freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya who earned Freshman All-America honors and broke the single season record for passing yards at Miami.  Wide receiver Allen Hurns, currently with the Dallas Cowboys, broke the single season receiving record with 1,162 yards in 2013.

In the midst of that, Miami produced two 1,000 yards rushers in Duke Johnson (1,652 yards in 2014) and Joe Yearly (1,002 in 2015). So Coley knows the value of running the football. And, lest we forget, Coley has been around for every step of success Georgia has enjoyed under Smart. He was one of Smart’s early hires when he took over before the 2016 season, joining the staff close behind Chaney and offensive line coach Sam Pittman.

So Coley knows exactly what Smart is looking for. Keep in mind, no matter who’s calling the shots on Georgia’s offense, it still remains under Smart’s ownership. And Smart, a defensive coordinator by trade, has always been one who ascribes to the “complementary” football approach. That is, your offense works in tandem to achieve victory, so one doesn’t conduct itself to the possible detriment of the other. That means the offense doesn’t go hurry-up, spread-’em-out and score as fast as possible all the time and the defense doesn’t sell out with 72 exotic blitz packages in order to create its own big plays.

No, Georgia is still mainly about playing the percentages to win, which means to run the football, control the clock, limit opponents’ big plays and win field position and special teams. So those will be Coley’s marching orders, they were for Chaney.

Meanwhile, he’s going to be speaking the same offensive terminology and will be working out of the same playbook the Bulldogs assembled the last three years under Chaney and company. That’s nothing but a good thing for Fromm, who can already recite that stuff chapter and verse.

That’s not to say Coley won’t add his wrinkles. You can be certain as he sat beside Chaney in Georgia’s coaching box for those 14 games last season, there are a lot of things he might’ve done different. An offensive assistant for the Miami Dolphins and the Florida State Seminoles with a year as a coordinator and play-caller at Florida International, you can be sure that Coley has some of his own stuff he’s been dying to put in.

How long has Smart known Coley was going to be his guy? I’d say right from the outset. But two things likely withheld him from making it official until now: One, the opening period for recruiting cranks back up this weekend, so Coley can jet out on the road carry this new title in his brief case. That certainly couldn’t hurt somebody already considered one of the top recruiters in the game. Two, Smart has continued to hold his cards close to his vest. He’s trying to assemble the absolute best coaching staff he can for 2019, and he’ll need it for what promises to be the most anticipated season in Smart’s tenure.

So does Smart do something with another “co” title? Possibly. At the least, it would befit Pittman, who has no rival in the country when it comes to his ability to recruit elite offensive linemen and coach them up as well. As we all know, Alabama has an opening for an offensive line coach since Brent Keys was jettisoned to Georgia Tech. There’s absolutely know doubt that the Crimson Tide would look Pittman’s way, themselves of a victim of his recruiting acumen, not to mentioned up-close witnesses to his good work on the field.

Word is, Georgia has done what it needs to rebuke that threat, at least for now. Perhaps it will be with a co-title but it will certainly come with new stacks of money.

The same will be the case for Coley, of course, and he’s deserving of whatever raises Friday’s promotion comes with. More than anything, though, this development was the result of Smart and his coaching staff seeking one thing, and that’s those rich championship bonuses UGA offers them for winning SEC and national titles.

Coley’s appointment puts them closer to doing that than any OC who’d be coming in with a shiny new playbook.

 

The post Georgia Bulldogs didn’t have to go far to find the ideal offensive coordinator appeared first on DawgNation.

Read More

Georgia Sports News

  • Devon Gales, the former Southern University football player who was paralyzed in a 2015 game against UGA, is returning to football. Gales has been hired as an assistant football coach at Jefferson High School, per accessWDUN.com’s Bo Wilson. The new job will be around 20 miles away from UGA. Former UGA recruiting coordinator Bob Pittard is a social studies teacher at the high school. Per the website, the hiring of Gales was the idea of Jefferson superintendent Dr. John Jackson. It was after Gales shared his story with the Jefferson senior class. “It was brought to our attention upon meeting this wonderful family that Devon missed the game and practices and being part of a football team in the game he still loved so much,” Jefferson coach Gene Cathcart told the website. “Dr. John Jackson had the idea of getting him involved in our program in some way and how our young men would benefit from his living example, character, strength in facing adversity and perseverance.” UGA donors and fans raised funds to build a handicapped-accessible house in Jefferson for Gales and his family. The post Devon Gales makes his return to football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has emphasized several times in several ways that championship football requires all units working together. Indeed, much of the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive scheming is predicated on Smart and his staff analyzing strengths and weaknesses and game arriving at core alignments and plays. The sooner Georgia knows itself, the better, and that makes the Bulldogs’ 15 spring practice dates pivotal. Here’s a way-too-early positional group ranking, an order that could be affected by an updated injury report or the emergence of a newcomer. 1. Offensive line The lock: Junior left tackle Andrew Thomas, Outland Trophy candidate. The question: Sophomore Cade Mays, where does he fit in? 2. Defensive backs The lock: Senior safety J.R. Reed, team leader of defense. The question: Sophomore Tyson Campbell, will skills match elite speed and ideal length? 3. Specialists The lock: Senior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. The question: Can Georgia adequately replace Mecole Hardman? 3. Quarterbacks The lock: Junior Jake Fromm, third-year starter, offense on his shoulders. The question: How much of the offense can freshman Dwan Mathis pick up? 4. Linebackers The lock: None. The question: Can senior Tae Crowder become the playmaker Georgia lacked last year? 5. Running backs The lock: Junior tailback D’Andre Swift, Hesiman Trophy candidate The question (s): Will production match 5-star ratings of James Cook and Zamir White in 2019? 6. Receivers/tight ends The lock: Junior receiver J.J. Holloman is the go-to target. The question: Can graduate transfer tight end Eli Wolf fill the void left by Isaac Nauta? 7. Defensive linemen The lock: None. The question: Will sophomore Jordan Davis become an SEC dominator? More Georgia football spring 2019 Georgia linebackers: most improved unit? UGA running backs 4 spring football questions 5 questions for UGA spring football, it’s Jake Fromm’s team Does Georgia have championship level Defensive line? Questions 4 questions for Georgia football O-Line 3 pre-spring football questions on Georgia QB situation Kirby Smart provides preview on young receivers  Georgia secondary still best in the SEC? The post Georgia football: Way-too-early team spring position group rankings appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Best I can tell, it has been my task to cover college football spring practices for about 26 of the 31 years that encompass my sportswriting career. There were a few years that I wasn’t covering college football. There were a few more that I bounced around and saw a little bit of a lot of different teams. Most of time, though, I’ve been charged with covering all of Georgia’s spring practices. There have been times those practice sessions have been pretty interesting, some times that they’ve been incredibly dull and all over the place between. I’m anticipating the Bulldogs’ spring practice this year to be fairly intriguing. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the main one is the influx of new players. Early enrollment was a fairly new concept in the 1990s and still a bit of a rarity then. Quarterback Eric Zeier was one of the first high-profile recruits to do it and it served him very well that first year. Zeier served notice at the 1991 G-Day Game that he was going to be a factor that season, and boy was he ever. Since then, early enrollment has become a regular part of the recruiting process. Nowadays, everybody everywhere has at least a hand full of signees that come in early and get embedded with their respective teams since the first week of January. But it remains somewhat rare to see as many new players come in early — 14 — as Georgia has this year. Fourteen is a lot. The most ever for the Bulldogs. They had 13 in that 2013 class that included 30 total signees (and experienced some of the worst attrition ever for Georgia football). It’s not the most in college football. Alabama had 16 enroll early out of its 23-man recruiting class this year. But 14 is a bunch of new Bulldogs, no matter how one slices it up. That in and of itself cranks up the competition factor. Georgia has several areas in which it’d love to get some impact from from some of these early arrivals. Quarterback, linebacker and defensive back immediately spring to mind. I’d say receiver, too. But, oddly enough, the Bulldogs weren’t able to bring in any of their wideout signees early Dominick Blaylock happens to attend a school in Walton High that doesn’t allow it. Georgia has experienced the same thing with players it has signed out of Pace Academy, including Jamaree Salyer, Andrew Thomas and Trey Blount. But that’s where spring ball has changed a good bit over the years. It’s much more competitive over the course of 15 practices than it used to be. Those sessions can go a long way to determining who is going to be starter in the fall. Not always, but often. The ideal situation is getting as many positions locked down and decided in the spring, so those guys can work together as a unit as much as possible on a volunteer basis over the summer. That way they hit the ground running in preseason practice. No doubt you’ve read numerous accounts of what various people believe the be the most pressing priorities of the spring for the Bulldogs. As for me, the order of importance goes this way: Determine a receiver rotation; Identify a backup quarterback; Establish a starting center; Settle on a right cornerback; Figure out who else will help on defense. Going with the receivers first is an easy call for me. It has been well-documented that the Bulldogs lost 106 catches and 20 touchdowns from last year’s wideouts, the majority of those being compiled by juniors Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman. But that number actually goes up by 35 catches and 3 touchdowns when tight end Isaac Nauta and running back Elijah Holyfield are included. So the emphasis on throwing and catching the ball in spring practice is going to be heavy. It’s usually that way anyway this time of year, because it is rare for teams to pound on each other a lot this far away from the actual season. That said, Georgia will need to mindful of Jake Fromm’s arm health and be careful not to overthrow him. To that end, the Bulldogs would like to come out with a good idea who is going to be Fromm’s primary backup. I wrote extensively on Sunday about redshirt sophomore Stetson Bennett coming back via junior college and giving Georgia an immediate competent presence with regard to already knowing the offensive system. But freshman Dwan Mathis remains an intriguing figure, and one can he sure that the Bulldogs will work hard and fast to determine exactly what they have in this 6-foot-6 athlete who has run a 10.8 100 meters. Trey Hill leads the way to succeed Lamont Gaillard at center, but that’s not a given. As always, Sam Pittman probably suffer brain cramps from exploring all possibilities for determining the combination that results in the best five across the board. The competition to succeed Deandre Baker at right cornerback certainly will be intriguing. But starting with elevating Tyson Campbell there as Georgia did in the bowl game is the first in what are all positive alternatives at all the secondary positions. If early enrollees such as JUCO transfer D.J. Daniel or Tyrique Stevenson end up winning out, all the better. Same with outside linebackers. The recruiting at this position has been other-worldly. Between the 5-stars that are coming back and the ones coming in, something is going to have Conversely, that’s why I don’t list inside linebackers here. Certainly the Bulldogs want higher-level play than it got from the returnees last season. But I believe all the existing alternatives to be better than adequate and not necessarily paramount to Georgia’s cause.  And as exciting a prospect as is Nakobe Dean, ranked the No. 1 inside linebacker in America, I always think back to Roquan Smith’s struggles as a true freshman and how it was late in his sophomore season before he emerged as the star he actually was. Same on the D-line, same on the O-line, same in the offensive backfield, same on special teams. The rest of it is very much organic. That is, it’ll come together naturally through the teaching of concepts and fundamentals. The Bulldogs seek competition and improvement, but they’ll be able to go to war with they’ve got. What you’re NOT going to see is running back D’Andre Swift get much in the way of contact. I highly doubt you’ll see Zamir White get any at all. White, the heralded 2018 signee known as Zeus, is less than seven months removed from a second knee surgery that came eight months after the first. The Bulldogs will be very interested in seeing what the former No. 1 back in America can do, but that can wait until late summer, when he will have had a year to rehab and recover. Maybe the most important factor will be the Bulldogs getting used to some new voices and concepts from the coaching staff. For the first time since Kirby Smart has been head coach, somebody other than Jim Chaney or Mel Tucker will be putting together the practice script for the offense and defense, respectively. That said, I suspect it won’t change significantly from what Georgia has been doing the last four years. That’s why James Coley, Dan Lanning and Glenn Schumann were appointed coordinators. They’re going to give Smart what he wants, which is more of the same. But it’s that — the newness factor — that’s going to make this spring so fun and interesting. And then, of course, they’ll tear up all the depth charts and start from scratch in August. The post Newness factor is what makes Kirby Smart’s 4th spring practice his most interesting at Georgia appeared first on DawgNation.
  • KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Atlanta Braves right-hander Julio Teheran is set to make his sixth straight start on opening day. The Braves said Monday that Teheran will face the Phillies on March 28 in Philadelphia. Teheran's run ties Hall of Famer Warren Spahn (1957-62) for the longest in Braves' franchise history during the modern era. Teheran is 1-1 with a 2.73 ERA on opening day. Earlier this spring, it had been thought Mike Foltynewicz might start on opening day for the Braves. But he's likely to be out until at least mid-April with a sore right elbow. New Phillies slugger Bryce Harper is expected to make his debut in the opener. He's had a lot of career success against Teheran, going 18 for 40 (.450) with eight homers and 19 RBIs. Teheran went 9-9 last season with a 3.94 ERA in 31 starts.