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Kirby Smart’s key values will be displayed to the coaching staff in 2022.
We finally know what Georgia’s 2022 coaching staff will look like nearly two months after Dan Lanning left to become the head coach at Oregon. Chidera Uzo-Diribe has been named outside linebackers coach by the Bulldogs.
While there are still some positions to fill elsewhere — Michigan has offensive and defensive coordinator openings, and Auburn may or may not be looking for a head coach in the coming days — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has put together the staff he wants to help shape next season’s team.
Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp will share co-defensive coordinator duties in the wake of Lanning’s departure. Muschamp currently serves as special teams coordinator, while Schumann also serves as inside linebackers coach. With their additional responsibilities, both are likely to receive increased compensation.
Uzo-Diribe will take over a talented room that includes Nolan Smith and Robert Beal. He’ll have to recruit to replace the two while also developing incoming signees Marvin Jones Jr., Darris Smith, and CJ Madden. Uzo-Diribe will have big shoes to fill in replacing Lanning, but the latter was also a relative unknown when Smart hired him from Memphis prior to the 2018 season. We know that hiring proved to be a wise decision.
Tray Scott, Georgia’s defensive line coach, and Jahmile Addae, Georgia’s defensive backs coach, will both return despite having to replace some key players. They each contributed significantly to a strong recruiting haul at their respective positions. However, Scott must replace three potential first-round picks in the defensive backfield, as Lewis Cine and Derion Kendrick are off to the NFL. Furthermore, Addae will enter spring practise with only four scholarship cornerbacks.
Georgia appears to have weathered the storm on offence in the hopes of retaining offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Only the Houston Texans and the New Orleans Saints have yet to hire a head coach in the NFL. Coordinator hires must still be made, but it appears that Georgia will retain the offensive mind who helped engineer an offence that averaged 38.6 points per game last season unless the right situation is offered to Monken — play-calling duties while working with a trusted quarterback —
So far, the only offensive personnel change has been the replacement of Cortez Hankton with Bryan McClendon. The former is now at LSU, while the latter was recruited by Georgia from Miami. McClendon has previously coached at Georgia and has worked with Muschamp and offensive analyst Mike Bobo. Much of McClendon’s early success at Georgia will be determined by how well he recruits the Bulldogs’ wide receiver position.
“I’m a big fan of ‘fit.’ Is someone a good fit for the culture we’re trying to build? “We don’t look at a lot of things that the rest of the world looks at,” Smart explained. “I look at whether they can improve our staff, improve our players, and fit our culture.” He checked all the boxes, was the best fit, and genuinely wants to be here. That means a lot to me and what we do at Georgia.”
Bobo’s return to Georgia strengthens the support staff. He served as Auburn’s offensive coordinator last season and reportedly turned down on-field opportunities at Georgia. While some may be concerned about Bobo calling plays, he will not be doing so because he is serving in an off-field capacity. As an analyst for the Bulldogs, he’ll assist in the coaching of the coaches while also working as a recruiter in the state of Georgia.
Todd Hartley, Matt Luke, and Dell McGee are all back in charge of their respective positions. Brock Bowers has quickly become one of the best players in the country, and Hartley has quickly become one of the top position coaches in the country. In the 2022 recruiting cycle, he signed Oscar Delp and has two tight end commitments in the 2023 cycle.
Luke will need to replace Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer. He’ll have a number of promising young players to lean on, and the offensive line has the potential to improve even more next season.
Depending on how the Auburn situation with Bryan Harsin plays out, McGee will be a name to watch in the coming weeks. McGee is an Auburn alum with strong ties to the SEC and the state of Georgia, unlike Harsin. Some may believe that McGee’s promotion from running backs coach to SEC head coach is a significant step. McGee, on the other hand, has long been one of Smart’s most important assistants. When you consider former Georgia assistant Sam Pittman’s success at Arkansas, McGee’s name will gain traction at Auburn if the Tigers make a change.
Finally, there’s Smart. He will be in his seventh season as Georgia’s head coach. For the first time in his career, he will not have to answer whether he can beat Alabama or win the National Championship.
Instead, he’ll be in charge of keeping Georgia’s championship streak alive. That proved too much for LSU’s Ed Orgeron. Poor coordinator hires contributed to his quick demise, as he was fired only two years after winning it all.
Smart’s failure would be even more shocking. Georgia’s coaching staff returns the majority of its key players from last season. Another year of Monken calling the offence and Schumann working with the defence should be a significant improvement for a roster that has lost a number of key players. And for as long as Smart is alive, Georgia will be one of the best-recruiting programmes in the country.
After a brief respite from a busy month of recruiting in January, this coaching staff will quickly return to spring practice. Smart will be looking across the field at Lanning in Georgia’s first game of the 2022 season before you know it.
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