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Post Should Richt choose defense or special teams?

Tuesday January 19, 2010

The addition of Todd Grantham and Scott Lakatos to the Georgia defensive staff leaves Georgia one short of the maximum number of assistant coaches allowed by the NCAA. Rather than adding a fourth defensive coach, it’s been floated that Georgia might persue a dedicated special teams coach. We’ve learned this week that Mark Richt is “still working through” that decision. Both directions have their arguements, but here are the key points in favor of each:

For a special teams coach: Georgia has several bright spots on special teams (kickers especially), but there have been enough breakdowns over the past few years to suggest that a more cohesive approach to special teams could help. Fabris caught most of the criticism for special teams breakdowns, but all coaches had some responsibilities for some area of special teams. There is too much advantage in having the kickers and guys like Boykin to see it countered by an ad-hoc approach to kick coverage and returns. Richt should bring in a dedicated special teams coach to oversee the details that would make sure those hidden yards end up in Georgia’s favor.

For another defensive assistant: The Bulldogs will be implementing a new defensive alignment and scheme with new coaches. This transition will be especially challenging for the front seven – it’s not as simple as dropping a rush end into an outside linebacker spot. Richt should maximize the coaching resources available to ease that transition and get this new defense performing in time to show big improvement in 2010.

My opinion: go with the defensive coach. You’re spending $750k on a new defensive coordinator. You don’t want to make an investment and a statement like that about the defense only to shortchange Grantham when it comes to the people he’ll need to implement his defense.

It’s not that special teams don’t deserve attention, but Richt has to ask himself whether those areas can be shored up with a different approach or if it really will take one person overseeing all areas of special teams. Georgia has had successful special teams under Richt using the coaching-by-committee approach. In the case of kickoffs, it’s possible that not adjusting to the new reality of college kickoffs can be fixed with a fresh perspective. It’s also possible that there are qualified assistants out there with significant experience in certain areas of special teams – Fabris was such a coach.

There’s also nothing preventing Richt himself from taking greater ownership of the special teams. It’s not that he has nothing to do, but he also doesn’t have positional or coordinator responsibilities. Head coaches working with special teams (Beamer, Meyer) isn’t unheard of.

10 Responses to 'Should Richt choose defense or special teams?'

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  • The whole in your logic is this: in 3-4, you have 3 down linemen all coached by Garner, you have 4 linbackers now all coached by Grantham, and 4 DB’s all coached by Lakatos. Another defensive coach would just be redundant. We used to need 4 because defensive ends played different than LB’s and linemen. They’re now going to be largely interchangeable.
    Frankly we lost as many games on special teams imho, as we did on defense in general. Get that shored up. You pay a guy $750k he better be able to coach with just the 3 of ’em!

  • oops… hole

  • Go with the defensive coach. Maybe Richt could coach the special teams.

  • Defense! Coach Ball did a great job on kickoff return team, we had the best punter and kicker combo in the nation. I agree the kickoff team sucks, but maybe a new set of eyes and ideas can correct that. Defense is crucial. Running the ball and playing D wins championships.

  • From what I’ve read some teams that base in a 3-4 often have LBs divided between inside and outside. But as Hal stated, this could easily be redundant. I guess it’s up to CMR and CTG to decide if it would be.

    I too would prefer the Special Teams coach, but that preference is based on the assumption that we could get someone stellar. Decamillis would be a dream. There’s plenty of good ones out there.

    If not, get someone to work with the safeties perhaps and let’s send Richt up to Blacksburg on February 4th. He can stay until spring ball starts. Longer if necessary.

  • From what we all understand the base defense will be 3-4, but they also said it would be multiple meaning there will be other formations. If that’s the case we may need to hire a coach to coach DE’s. I think the special teams can be a shared responsibility. The coaches just have to take time to work with special teams. My understanding is not much time went into that in the past.

  • […] DawgsOnline looks at the pros and cons of hiring a a dedicated special teams coach. The author comes to the conclusion that another defensive coach is needed . I was in the special teams coach camp at first but am coming around to the other view. The Dawgs are going to need all the defensive instruction available and, hopefully, the new coaches will bring a different attitude to special teams. […]

  • Glad someone read…. thanks Bernie. CTG has already stated he’s going to coach the LB’s. That only leaves linemen and secondary. We know who coaches each of those.

    And, Coach Ball did a great Job with kickoff duties? Did you watch the games or were you in the concessions during kicks? Opponents were rarely stopped inside the 30. Kickoffs reached a low point against Kentucky and it’s a toss up whether Joe’s int’s or the field position UK had all night loss that game.

  • […] Dawgs Online blog notes that while there have been some bright spots on special teams play, “there have […]

  • Go with the defensive coach because the special teams has done good this year by Boykin running back kickoffs and them blocking the punts…