ATHENS — The Georgia football offensive coordinator position was never offered to Kentucky assistant coach Eddie Gran, who may have parlayed that perception into the leverage he needed to get a new contract with the Wildcats.
The report, which originated at Kentucky Sports Radio, was viewed as a curiousity when it surfaced — the Wildcats ranked 103rd in the nation in total offense this season, well behind UGA (18th).
A source in the Georgia athletic department told DawgNation on Thursday night that while Gran did have discussions about becoming a position coach with the Bulldogs, the offensive coordinator position was never on the table.
Gran helped Kentucky fare relatively well this past season, the Wildcats going 10-3 with a bowl win over Penn State.
Kentucky’s offense fell flat against the Bulldogs with a trip to the SEC Championship Game on the line.
The Wildcats netted just 310 yards with two turnovers in Georgia’s convincing 34-17 win in Lexington, Ky.
“Really, you have to give credit to Georgia,” UK coach Mark Stoops said. “They beat us in all phases.”
That included coaching, according to a Wildcats’ player.
“Georgia has a great run defense, (and) they came in with a great game plan,” Kentucky tailback A.J. Rose said. “I give them credit for that.”
The Bulldogs have won 13 straight games against SEC East Division opponents dating back to 2016, including the past 12 by double digits.
Georgia is expected to interview current co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach James Coley for play-calling duties vacated when former coordinator and tight ends coach Jim Chaney accepted a lucrative offer to become Tennessee’s offensive coordinator.
Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm finished fifth in the nation in passing efficiency under Coley’s direction.
Coley was was also instrumental in Georgia landing 4-star QB Dwan Mathis in the early signing period.
Coley has the experience to make him a viable candidate, serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Miami from 2013-15.
Prior to joining the Miami staff, Coley held the position of offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Florida State from 2010-12.
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher made Coley an offer to join him in College Station last year.
Smart responded by promoting Coley to quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator, moving Chaney from the quarterbacks room to work with the tight ends.
Coley has been considered the leading candidate for the Georgia offensive coordinator position since Chaney left after Tennessee nearly doubled his salary on Tuesday, raising it from 950,000 to an average of $1.6 annually over the next three years.
Smart is also working on filling the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator post that was vacated by Mel Tucker, who left to become Colorado’s head coach last month.
Georgia has plenty of money to get whoever it wants, with $2.5 million in assistance coaches salary available with Tucker ($1.5 million) and Chaney’s salaries no longer applicable.
Smart has said from the beginning he will be thorough in the hiring and interview process, much of which was put on hold with the early signing period and the Bulldogs playing in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.
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