UGA’s search: Smart, Muschamp, Herman (and a bit about Richt)

There’ll be another press conference in Athens soon. (Bob Andres/AJC photo)

Thoughts about coaches:

  • Rumor has it that Kirby Smart would like to bring former Bulldog teammate Will Muschamp to Athens, assuming Smart is offered the Georgia job, which I believe he will be. To me, that’s not much of a selling point. Muschamp is damaged goods: Fired by Florida, a high-priced dud at Auburn. Imported to fix the Tigers’ defense — and labeled by Gus Malzahn as “the best defensive mind in the country, and not just in college” — Muschamp’s defenders finished 89th in the nation and next-to-last in the SEC in yardage against. (That’s actually a regression from last season, when Auburn was No. 64 nationally.) And Muschamp’s sideline tirade during the Alabama game didn’t just make for amusing viewing — his penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct cost his team 15 yards and led to Bama kicking a field that turned a six-point game into a nine-point game.
  • Rumor also has it that, if Muschamp isn’t available, Smart would like to retain Jeremy Pruitt to coach Georgia’s defense. (The two worked together at Alabama.) This could prove problematic. Pruitt irked — that’s a mild word for it — Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity last season when, after speaking to the media only sporadically during the season, he presented himself after a midweek practice to lobby for the apparently all-important indoor practice facility. Pruitt has also ticked off some who work in Butts-Mehre for his dismissive — also a mild word for it — treatment of longtime staffers. That stuff about there being Pruitt-related discord within the football program? That was real.
  • It’s worth noting that Muschamp, rather amazingly, is drawing interest from South Carolina. It was reported last week that Houston’s Tom Herman had removed himself from consideration regarding the Gamecock job and that Smart was the top choice there. If Muschamp is in play in Columbia, it could well mean that Smart no longer is. And if he isn’t, it’s almost surely because he has another SEC job in mind. If you get my drift.
  • For those who suggest that Smart isn’t ready because he has never been a head coach, let’s note that Mark Richt hadn’t, either. He was 40 when he took the Georgia job; he won two SEC titles in his first five seasons. Vince Dooley was 31 when he was hired from Auburn; he won two SEC titles in his first five seasons. To repeat: Smart — who’ll turn 40 two days before Christmas — is not Ray Goff, who was hired to coach Georgia because he’d gone to Georgia. No other major program would have hired Goff as head coach. A bunch of major programs would hire Smart; a few have already tried. Smart has worked eight years at Alabama under Nick Saban, seven as defensive coordinator, and for those who say, “We all know Saban calls his own defense” … I have been assured that is not true.
  • As for it being better to hire an offensive guy than a defensive man: In the main, that’s true. But there are exceptions. Nick Saban: Defensive guy. Pete Carroll: Defensive guy. Jimmy Johnson: Defensive guy. Gary Patterson: Defensive guy.
  • It has been reported that Richt will speak to Maryland about its coaching vacancy. Maryland is an intriguing program. Some very good coaches — from Jim Tatum to Jerry Claiborne to Bobby Ross to Ralph Friedgen — have done good-to-excellent work there, but it’s a program much in flux. It whiffed badly in 2010 when AD Kevin Anderson said Friedgen would be back for the 2011 season but then, after coach-in-waiting James Franklin left for Vanderbilt, fired Friedgen and replaced him with Randy Edsall. Anderson is still in place, and the Terps are trying to make their way in the Big Ten, which is somewhat different from the ACC. Richt would be a splendid hire for Anderson, who needs one badly. (Also of note: Damon Evans is an assistant AD in College Park. If memory serves, he once worked with Richt.)
  • Richt would also be a fit, should he choose to become one, at Virginia. And at Miami, his alma mater. And maybe at Missouri. Maybe even at South Carolina. (Imagine that scenario when Georgia goes to Williams-Brice Stadium next year. Imagine also the thought of Richt replacing Steve Spurrier.)
  • Back to Herman: It has been reported that Houston is working on a new contract that would pay him $3 million. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s unavailable. Georgia could pay more than that, and — unless he’s putting pen to paper as we speak — the new deal isn’t yet official. Besides, college contracts get torn up all the time.
  • McGarity is getting hammered by everyone. (Well, almost everyone. I’m an exception.) But let’s note that, had he dithered long before deciding to fire Richt, the field would have shrunk. Justin Fuente had already declared for Virginia Tech. Southern Cal moved yesterday to make Clay Helton its permanent coach. There will be a handful of high-profile hirings before this week is out. If Georgia isn’t among those, it will almost certainly be because the Bulldogs are waiting on a coach who has a game this weekend. If you get my drift.

Reader Comments 0

330 comments
chris pendley
chris pendley

It's sad that Bradley has to show all his 2nd and 3rd place finishes to condom CMR never winning a National Title. Bradley your a sport writer, not a truck driver , not a welder, not a plumber, or even a lawn maintenance person. A sports writer ,what have sports writer ever done to help mankind. Nothing. Loser.

patriotdog
patriotdog

CMR isn't going to Maryland.  He wasn't crazy about Damon's shenanigans in Athens, he wouldn't be likely to work for him again.   

robodawg
robodawg

If the best coach we can hire wants Pruitt for DC, McGarity should stay out of it. That should NOT be the AD's call.

Rmm2205
Rmm2205

By the way...rumor has it that Will Muschamp was seen in Auburn court today to file for a name change....Will Muschump!

Rmm2205
Rmm2205

That news conference yesterday proved the weakness of McGarity...look at his performance since he was brought in as AD....

When do other "mutually agreed " decision come down from his watch? Mark Fox?

I expect to see the next coach average 11 games won each season...is that what the measuring stick will be?

As those lyrics in the song...Mississippi....it's about to get interesting ...right about Now!!!

Mark Richt is the single best leader of my University....off the field....where impact is truly measured....

Over the 15 tenure....we had winning records against....LSU...Ga Tech...Tennessee...Alabama....Auburn....Arkansas....Wow...and the man gets fired by an un-performing boss like McGarity...

Bradley....trust me your writing performance is not at the level of success that Mark Richt brought to my University...measure your own self!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Rmm2205: "Mark Richt is the single best leader of my University....off the field....where impact is truly measured...."

______________________

He wasn't made a multimillionaire by UGA for potential off-the-field impacts.

You're spot-on about the coward McGarity though.


LOGS1973
LOGS1973

The new dog coach must be moral character like Donnan

and request that red panties are on sale at every game. 

BillyBarnard
BillyBarnard

Bradley, If you held yourself to the same standards you held Richt to, you wouldn't qualify to write at my high school rag. By the way, you're fired

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

Rumor has it that Mark Bradley may be up for

the head coach position at UGA. Bradley has

been a dog expert and indeed saddled up for

years as an SEC and dog super fan. We wish him

luck with this position or indeed any position

that eliminates him from his biased AJC reporting! 

robodawg
robodawg

We're hiring a new coach. A new coach will need a DC. Pruitt (assuming he doesn't take a head coaching job) will be one of the top (if not THE top) DC candidates around (better than Muschamp). And the players love him and know his system. Which helps the new coach have a good defense as he starts his Georgia career. Which sets the new coach up for a successful run at UGA. Seems like a no brainer. But that might not be an option because Pruitt hurt McGarity's feelings?!

Joeyfalcon32
Joeyfalcon32

Let me get this straight.. We fire a 9-3 coach secured  the best QB prospect of the past 25 yrs, along with the most talented recruiting class of his tenure  without a sure thing about who we would get.... Nice...It would be like the buffoons in charge in Athens to trade Richt for Muschamp.. That's a lateral move if I've ever seen one... Welcome to Tennessee post Fulmer purgatory...

Joeyfalcon32
Joeyfalcon32

@GTBob @Joeyfalcon32 That's only because the rankings will always put the running QB over the passer with the way the game is change...As a passer goes, he is way more talented than Stafford..

Ron Mexico
Ron Mexico

@Joeyfalcon32  Way better than Stafford? C'mon..

Nobody knows how this kid will pan out. Google Ron Powlus, Billy Ray or Mitch Mustain. Where are they? 

TOJacket
TOJacket

@GTBob @Joeyfalcon32 I think he is already in the Heisman race?.........hilarious........guy plays double A ball at best.

GTBob
GTBob

@Joeyfalcon32 The best QB prospect of the last 25 years? He isn't even the #1 QB in this class on some recruiting services.

Joeyfalcon32
Joeyfalcon32

Let me get this straight.. We fire a 9-3 coach who secured  the best QB prospect of the past 25 years  without a sure thing about who we would get... Nice... Welcome to Tennessee post Fulmer purgatory...

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Joeyfalcon32 That Eason kid is up in Washington playing against a bunch of "normal" sized Caucasian kids?...........don't jump off a bridge.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Will the dogs get to reload their Belk gift cards?

OH:IO
OH:IO

Muschamp is a dog


(read overrated)

Peachs
Peachs

I am hearing Miami is willing to pay him 4 million, can you imagine?  He is getting paid ,by two schools, more money than some coaches coaching now that have won national championships. Just don't see it. 

GTroller
GTroller

@Peachs

You'll "see it" when you go 6-6 and 5-7 the next 3-4 years.

GTroller
GTroller

Mark Richt 19-2 vs. Georgia Tech going back to his days at FSU.  This is one of the few positive things that has happened for GT football this year.  

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@GTroller 

Better  hope CMR does not land at Virginia, he could continue his dominance over Ga.Tech.

GTBob
GTBob

@GTroller Not really. Im pretty sure the new coach will figure out how to beat us with 10x more talent. He may even win by more than 6 points against the worst GT team in 20 years.

GTroller
GTroller

@GTBob @GTroller

You need to change your title to "UGABob".  GT has very good talent.  No need to disparage it with sarcastic remarks about how Georgia's players are 10 times better. 

GTBob
GTBob

@GTroller How many 4 and 5 star players does UGA currently have? How many does Tech have?

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@GTroller Richt had a lot of lucky years against GT

didn't he G Troller. You like most find it mysterious.

That will change going forward as Tech will start to

own the dowgs... Mark it Down..

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@GTBob @GTroller He is a Dog fan. GTBob doesn't even know what option football is and has

never been to Bobby Dodd. He

will hurt when GT starts thrashing the field goal dogs.



KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Will has done a really good job at AU with the talent level that he had this year! 

50Concept
50Concept

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie 89th ranked D in the country is a "really good job?" funny stuff! will cost his team 15 yards and field goal when he went nuclear on the ref in the bama game.

Raiderbeater
Raiderbeater

I would love Smart to retain Pruitt for at least a couple more years. Muschamp got his chance and the third time wont be a charm. 


I LOVE Pruitt is rubbing people the "wrong way".


Hes probably thinking to himself: " Why are these people SO content with mediocrity??".

50Concept
50Concept

if richt gets the maryland job, damon can set him up with a couple of his girlfriends for some relaxation!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@50Concept

That should work--since red is one of their school colors, too.

96JB
96JB

50/50 % chance Kirby improves UGA football........ 100% chance Richt wouldn't.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@96JB That needs to be carved in the locker room somewhere.

HIVPositive
HIVPositive

If the rumors are true then McGarity needs to be ridiculed more. Apparently, McGarity wants to build more diversity in Athens, so he's reached out to Caitlyn Jenner about being the coach for track and field?!

http://www.5z8.info/bomb-plans_lyay

HIVPositive
HIVPositive

@SkokieDog, weak attempt at insulting.

BravesG2003
BravesG2003

@Small Wally, was that suppose to pass as wit? Lame...