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UGA’s nonconference football schedule needs even more bold moves

UGA’s nonconference football schedule needs even more bold moves

UGA’s nonconference football schedule needs even more bold moves

UGA’s nonconference football schedule needs even more bold moves

The announcement this past week that UGA bought out its scheduled 2021 game against San Jose State in Athens in order to play Clemson in a neutral-site game in Charlotte has a lot of fans excited (which couldn't be said about the now-dropped matchup with the Aztecs of the Mountain West conference). The addition of national powerhouse Clemson to next year's schedule justifiably has drawn praise across the college football landscape.

The bold move is part of the aggressive upgrading of the Dawgs' nonconference schedule that head coach Kirby Smart and his football operations director, Josh Lee, have spearheaded over the past couple of years.


UGA’s nonconference football schedule needs even more bold moves

The results so far have been impressive. Georgia has previously announced home-and-home series scheduled withTexas (2028 at Austin and 2029 in Athens), UCLA (2025 in Pasadena and 2026 in Athens), Florida State (2027 in Tallahassee and 2028 in Athens), Oklahoma (2023 in Norman and 2031 in Athens) and Ohio State (2030 in Athens and 2031 in Columbus). Plus a pair of home-and-home series with Clemson (2029 at Clemson and 2030 in Athens, and 2032 in Athens and 2033 at Clemson), and three other neutral-site Power 5 games at Atlanta's Mercedes Benz Stadium: this year againstVirginia, 2022 vs. Oregon, and 2024 vs. Clemson.

(It was amusing to read one national site's estimation that Georgia-Clemson "is about to become a bit of a rivalry." Obviously, they don't know the tremendous history of the

Georgia-Clemson series, which dates back to 1897 and included a long stretch of meeting every year. In fact, I feel safe in saying that, Jacksonville included, Georgia-Clemson was the Dawgs' hottest rivalry in the early '80s, with the peak being the 1982 game, which was nationally televised and played on Labor Day. It was the first night game to take place in Sanford Stadium in three decades, and it featured not only two Top 10 teams, but also the two most recent national champions.)

As a longtime proponent of more games against the Tigers, I'm especially pleased that this gives Georgia and Clemson six games scheduled over the next 14 years, a vast improvement over the two-games-a-decade pattern they'd fallen into after the expansion of the SEC ended the annual meetings of the two programs located about 80 miles apart.

The Dawgs and the Cats have met only eight times since 1987, with the most recent being 2014, when a Georgia win Between the Hedges avenged a loss at Clemson a year earlier.

The addition of this game serves Clemson's interests as well, as the ACC powerhouse is looking to upgrade its nonconference schedules, since its weak conference opposition has been the subject of much griping nationally as the Tigers have become a regular participant in the College Football Playoff.


UGA’s nonconference football schedule needs even more bold moves

UGA has turned heads across the country with its aggressive Power 5 scheduling over the coming decade and a half, and I'm all for it. As Athletic Director Greg McCarity told me this time last year, "the scheduling model we're moving to in the future will be built around eight conference games, and Tech, and two more Power 5's and one non-Power 5 opponent."

So, in other words, only one "cupcake" per season (as opposed to 2018, when Georgia had three such games in Athens).

As I said then, it's an ambitious and somewhat daunting schedule model. But, McGarity said, "That's our goal. Kirby is all about playing a tough schedule and playing quality opponents."

As McGarity said in a statement announcing the 2021 Clemson game, " We will now have at least two Power 5 opponents on our schedule through 2033." That will give the Dawgs at least 10 regular-season games each year against Power 5 conference teams (including the eight SEC games).

This also means that Georgia will open away from Athens in a high-profile neutral-site game three years running: this season against Virginia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, 2021 in Charlotte, and back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2022 to meet Oregon in another Chick-fil-A game.

Still, despite all that, there's definitely room for improvement in Georgia's home scheduling. Just look at the 2021 season, which had a pretty weak lineup for fans in Athens even before they dropped the San Jose State game. Now, the six remaining games in Athens will consist of South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, UAB and Charleston Southern, the latter another FCS opponent from the level of Division 1 NCAA football below the bowl division.

That's not as dire as the 2018 season, which saw a nonconference lineup of Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee and UMass in addition to Tech, but it's definitely nothing to get excited about.

I recognize that the filling out of the nonconference schedule with so-called "cupcakes" is something of a necessary evil in college football, since Power 5 opponents usually demand a return game in a home-and-home deal. And, with the Dawgs filling one spot each year with Georgia Tech and looking to add a second Power 5 opponent each year, you expect the two remaining nonconference games to be a bit less challenging.

Also, not all cupcakes are equal. Opponents taken from the Group of 5 conferences that rank just below the Power 5 range from true cupcakes to something more akin to college basketball's "mid-majors." (Maybe, if we're going to continue the food-related terminology for opponents you pay handsomely to come be a sacrificial lamb, we should call these teams something other than a cupcake. Let's borrow from the QuickTrip chain and call them "snackles.")

The true cupcakes tend to be programs along the lines of Louisiana-Monroe (on this year's schedule), UMass and Western Kentucky.

Unfortunately, Georgia seems to be relying a bit too much on the allowance that schools at its level can count one game a season against FCS opponents, who really aren't even up to cupcake level. Let's call them "bon-bons."

Looking at upcoming schedules, we see these bon-bons coming to Athens: East Tennessee State in 2020, Charleston Southern in 2021, Samford in 2022, Tennessee Tech in 2024, and the return of Austin Peay in 2025.

Asking UGA fans shell out for tickets and travel to Athens, dealing with the attendant traffic and parking headaches, to see such games is a bit much. That's especially true for those of us who contribute to the Hartman Fund for the chance to buy season tickets.

I thought it was noteworthy that, as part of the Georgia-Clemson scheduling musical chairs, Southern Cal was able to dump UC Davis and pick up San Jose State, meaning it will maintain its status of never having played an FCS opponent. (Only three Football Bowl Subdivision programs have never played a team from the FCS in football Notre Dame, UCLA and USC.)


UGA’s nonconference football schedule needs even more bold moves

Really, it would suit me if Georgia never again added another FCS opponent to its schedule with the exception of Yale, which I still would love to see come back to Athens in 2029 to mark the centennial of the Georgia-Yale clash that dedicated Sanford Stadium. Unfortunately, as UGA told me last year, they tried to schedule Yale for 2029, but the Ivy League school wasn't interested.

But, the Yalies aside, I'd like to see Smart and Lee focusing more on the Group of 5 than the FCS. And, maybe, they could give some thought to opponents at that level that have some regional interest. (Besides Georgia Southern, which has shown up occasionally on UGA schedules in recent decades, a game against Georgia State would be of much greater interest to fans. And, as Tennessee found out last year, the Panthers aren't to be taken too lightly.)

There's another reason UGA ought to be thinking about an upgrading of its non-Power 5 opponents: attendance. Figures showing actual attendance at Sanford Stadium released by UGA show that lower-tier opponents tend to put fewer folks in the stands, sinking as low as 56,065 for Louisiana-Lafayette in 2016. In the 2018 season, the most recent for which real attendance (as opposed to paid attendance) figures have been released, Austin Peay brought only 78,050 to Sanford for the season-opener, and only 67,764 attended the UMass game.

So, yeah, the seats may have been sold, but in an era when every game is televised, the fact that quite a few fans aren't bothering to show up for such games should send a message that such cupcakes aren't really what the UGA fan base wants to see.

Like I said, overall, I'm very pleased with the aggressive scheduling Georgia has undertaken at the Power 5 level, but I'd like to see the rest of the nonconference schedule be less of a snoozefest.

The post UGA's nonconference football schedule needs even more bold moves appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • On a rainy Monday morning in March, staff at the UGA State Botanical Garden of Georgia are in the children’s garden harvesting bushels of kale, collards, parsley and beets they no longer need for educational programs this spring. They are vigilant in maintaining a safe distance from one another, even outside in the rain.   A few hours later, employees from the University of Georgia Office of Service-Learning deliver the produce and food donated by Trader Joe’s and the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia to the UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel, where kitchen employees prepare meals. The meals are stored in vegetable coolers at UGArden, a student run farm on South Milledge Avenue that supplies produce to Campus Kitchen at UGA year-round. The next day, the UGA employees and volunteers deliver the prepared meals and bags of groceries to 53 food-insecure families in the Athens area, placing the packaged food on doorsteps, ringing the bell, and standing 6 feet back while residents answer the door. In all, they will deliver enough for 170 meals. During a typical week, hundreds of students volunteer with the Campus Kitchen organization, which provides meals to older Athens residents, most of them grandparents raising grandchildren. With students no longer on campus, their food security was threatened. “All of our clients experience food insecurity on a regular basis and that could be heightened during this time,” said Andie Bisceglia, who coordinates Campus Kitchen within the Office of Service-Learning. “Some of them are also mobility limited and really rely on this food.” Fewer than 10 UGA employees now run the program, following protocols for food safety and social distancing. They can’t hand off tools when harvesting the fresh vegetables, for example. No more than 10 people at a time can be in the kitchen preparing meals, following restrictions set by Gov. Brian Kemp. They had to change the location where they prepare the food when the original location, Wesley Woods Senior Living Center, was closed to outsiders to protect residents there. While the Georgia Center is temporarily closed because of COVID-19, its employees enthusiastically offered their assistance and the center’s kitchen. “I think we all have a part in this and I’m just happy that we could help,” said Darrell Goodman, food and beverage director for the Georgia Center, who also is on the board of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. “I know how many people this is helping right now, and seeing the impact directly is very satisfying. It makes me feel proud of where I work.” Produce from the children’s garden likely would have gone to waste since programming has been temporarily halted. “We already had a ton of produce and we met as a team to decide who we wanted to give it to — Campus Kitchen made sense,” said Cora Keber, UGA State Botanical Garden education director. “Being able to contribute to the community is just a really powerful way to use this space.” Beyond being able to continue the program through the semester, Campus Kitchen now has a plan to carry through the summer. The community can rely on UGA to help serve the community, according to Eve Anthony, CEO of the Athens Community Council on Aging. Campus Kitchen works with ACCA to identify the families it serves. “This is another time where we know our grandparents are taken care of because of Campus Kitchen,” Anthony said. “Campus Kitchen is a community partner that we can count on when we need them the most.” Shannon Brooks, direct of UGA’s Office of Service-Learning, says there was never a question that UGA would continue to provide meals, as it has since 2010. “We decided early on as a staff that this was a priority and that our senior clients depend on the meals that are provided through Campus Kitchen,” Brooks said. “I think this says a lot about UGA’s commitment to public service. There’s a reason people are in the jobs that they’re in. They have that mentality that this is what we do. It’s part of our DNA as public service professionals at UGA.”
  • Georgia congressmen Jody Hice and Doug Collins, the two Republicans who represent Athens in the US House, joined with the rest of Georgia’s House and Senate delegation in calling on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to reschedule state and local elections scheduled for May 19 because of coronavirus.    From Mark Niesse, AJC… Georgia's entire Republican congressional delegation on Tuesday pressured Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to delay the May 19 primary because of the coronavirus. The GOP delegation, made up of two senators and nine representatives, said Raffensperger should use “all available flexibility and legal authority” to postpone the primary. “Georgia voters should not be asked to choose between exercising that right and following the guidance of federal, state, and local officials to keep themselves, their families, and our communities healthy,” wrote the delegation in a letter. Raffensperger, a Republican, said he lacks legal authority to postpone the presidential primary again. He already delayed it once so it coincides with the previously scheduled general primary. The election must go on, Raffensperger said Tuesday night. “Elections are part of America's critical infrastructure. They must go on, as they have in our history during civil war, crushing recessions and deadly epidemics,” Raffensperger said. It would take legislative action or an executive order from Gov. Brian Kemp to move the election, Raffensperger said. Election dates are set in law to protect the rights of overseas voters who need time to receive and return their ballots, he said. Under state law, the secretary of state can postpone an election for 45 days during an emergency, as Raffensperger did March 14. Raffensperger believes the law only allowed him to delay the election until early voting resumes April 27, a period of 44 days. House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge who wants to postpone the election, has said he believes Raffensperger can delay the election again when “an emergency is ongoing.” Ralston said Raffensperger already exercised power to exceed the 45-day limit because the gap between the original March 24 election and the new May 19 date is 56 days. A change in state law is unlikely because the Georgia General Assembly is suspended during the coronavirus pandemic. The letter from Georgia's congressional delegation was signed by U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, as well as U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson, Rob Woodall, Austin Scott, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Rick Allen and Tom Graves.
  • The Jefferson-based Jackson EMC is awarding grant money—more than $140,000—to agencies across northeast Georgia to help communities cope with the costs of coronavirus.  From Jackson EMC… As a result of growing community needs in response to the coronavirus health emergency, the Jackson EMC Foundation board of directors held a special meeting on March 31 to review applications for emergency support. The board awarded a total $142,257 in special grants to area organizations:    $10,000 to Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, in Athens, to help provide emergency food assistance in Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Franklin, Jackson, Madison, and Oglethorpe counties. $10,000 to Georgia Mountain Food Bank, in Gainesville, to help provide emergency food assistance in Hall and Lumpkin counties. $10,000 to Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry to help provide emergency food assistance in Gwinnett County. $10,000 to St. Vincent de Paul Flowery Branch to help provide rent, mortgage and food assistance in Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson counties. $10,000 to St. Vincent de Paul Gainesville to help provide rent and mortgage assistance in Hall County. $10,000 to St. Vincent de Paul Jefferson to provide rent and mortgage assistance in Jackson County. $10,000 to St. Vincent de Paul Lawrenceville to help provide rent and mortgage assistance in Gwinnett County. $8,857 to New Path 1010 to provide emergency food assistance to Barrow County seniors, Project Adam residential treatment program clients, and students.  $8,000 to the Madison County School District to help provide food for its weekend backpack program, and for the installation of a SmartBus WiFi system that will provide Internet access to students who are digitally learning at home. $5,000 to Banks Jackson Food Bank to help provide emergency food assistance in Banks and Jackson counties. $5,000 to Community Helping Place, in Dahlonega, to help provide emergency food assistance in Lumpkin County. $5,000 to Lumpkin County Family Connection, in Dahlonega, to help provide emergency food for its Backpack Buddy Program. $5,000 to Salvation Army – Athens to help provide emergency housing and food assistance in Clarke, Madison and Oglethorpe counties. $5,000 to Salvation Army – Gainesville to help provide emergency housing and food assistance in Banks, Barrow, Hall and Jackson counties. $5,000 to Salvation Army – Gwinnett to help provide emergency housing and food assistance in Gwinnett County. $5,000 to Salvation Army – Toccoa to help provide emergency housing and food assistance in Franklin and Lumpkin counties. $3,600 to Commerce City Schools for the installation of a SmartBus WiFi system to provide Internet access to students who are digitally learning at home. $3,000 to Jefferson City Schools for the installation of a SmartBus WiFi system to provide Internet access to students who are digitally learning at home. $3,000 to Mending the Gap, in Lawrenceville, to provide emergency food assistance to Gwinnett County senior citizens. $3,000 to Norcross Meals on Wheels, for emergency food delivery to Gwinnett County senior citizens. $2,800 to Jackson County School System for the installation of a SmartBus WiFi system to provide Internet access to students who are digitally learning at home. $2,500 to Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church Food Pantry to provide emergency food assistance in Barrow, Gwinnett and Hall counties.  $2,500 to Happy Sacks, in Duluth, to help provide emergency food for its weekend backpacks for needy children in seven local schools.    Jackson EMC Foundation grants are made possible by the 194,643 participating cooperative members who have their monthly electric bills rounded to the next dollar amount through the Operation Round Up program. Their “spare change” has funded 1,515 grants to organizations and 386 grants to individuals, putting more than $15.5 million back into local communities since the program began in 2005. 
  • The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrests of three accused methamphetamine traffickers: 24 year-old Brandon Mercado and 58 year-old Jerry Mitchell are from Elberton; Shannon Human is 24 years old, from Bowman.  There is a rabies alert for Hall County, the first of 2020: Hall County Animal Control says a rabid raccoon tangled with two dogs in Murrayville.  Investigators now say a woman whose body was found in a home that burned in Habersham County did not die in the fire: Alecia Stover was 43 years old; from Alto. Her body was found on March 7, hours before 30 year-old Jeremy Chastain was arrested. He has since been charged in her murder. The Habersham County Coroner’s Office says Stover appears to have died from blunt force trauma to the head.
  • Oconee County Commissioners are looking to fill vacancies on the County’s Animal Services Advisory Board, the Keep Oconee Beautiful Commission, Family and Childrens Services, and the Oconee County Tourism and Visitors Bureau. Applications can be submitted on line at the County website, Oconee County dot com.  The Elbert County School Board held a closed-door meeting last night in Elberton, beginning the process of trimming the field of candidates to be the next Elbert County School Superintendent. The Board is looking to replace Chuck Bell, who retires in June.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia football coach Kirby Smart covered a lot of ground in his teleconference with beat writers on Tuesday, leaving some room for speculation in key areas. Smart made sure everyone knew his top priority was taking care of the players, but he also shared some updates on transfer quarterback Jamie Newman and the rehab of receiver Dominick Blaylock and D'Wan Mathis. The Ingles on The Beat segment ran twice on Tuesday, both on Facebook live and on YouTube. Here's are the clips, including a Florida Gators fan crashing the party and getting a DawgNation lecture! Ingles on The Beat Facebook Live (Part One) Ingles on The Beat YouTube Live (Part Two) The post WATCH: Breaking down Kirby Smart's spring sports break briefing appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Kirby Smart is the first coach to tell anyone football is played in pads. But on Tuesday, the Georgia football head coach was in a giving mood. Giving, as in wanting to help the media tell the Bulldogs' fans what has been going on with the football team during this unprecedented COVID-19-related sports stoppage. So, who looked good during the offseason workouts before UGA went on spring break and the NCAA ordered a suspension of activities back on March 12? 'A lot of football is built off pads, we didn't get to do that,' Smart said. 'We did get to do offseason running, and movement and agility. There's a ton of that sophomore and junior group that's waiting to jump up and make that impact.' Smart said he does 'hate to single one guy out, but there are guys that are working really hard.' So . ? 'I thought that George (Pickens) was competing really hard and doing good things in the workouts,' Smart said. 'He really liked the competitive side of things.' Pickens is coming off a Sugar Bowl MVP performance. Pickens will be a key to the scheme new offensive coordinator Todd Monken is building. ' Clay Webb was a guy who was really competing hard,' Smart said, an indication of the battle shaping up on the interior offensive line. 'He did some good things.' Smart also mentioned returning senior offensive guard Justin Shaffer, a 6-foot-4, 330-pounder. Shaffer started after Solomon Kindley went down with an ankle injury against Notre Dame. He seemed entrenched before suffering a season-ending neck injury and missing the final eight games of the season. 'Shaffer's coming back off of injury,' Smart said. 'Not that he was an outstanding performer, but considering that he wasn't able to do anything for six to eight weeks, and now he's coming out there competing and pushing through adversity. I was really proud of the way he worked. And he tried to lead.' Fans already know there's going to be a lot of competition at running back, and Smart added fuel to the fire. ' James Cook, I mean, we had competition daily to see who was going to win individual battles, and James probably had the largest winning percentages,' Smart said. 'He and Zamir (are) really challenging each other and competing really hard. 'Those guys can continue to grow' It remains to be seen how players will stay in shape during the break. But the head coach has certainly taken note of a few, and now the Georgia DawgNation fans will, too. One takeaway: All of the players Smart mentioned were on offense. It's pretty clear the head coach is going to make sure the Georgia defense, which returns 9 of 11 starters from its Sugar Bowl team, does not get complacent. DawgNation Kirby Smart offseason stories How CO-VID 19 is affecting Georgia football recruiting Why Kirby Smart gave Scott Cochran opportunity Nick Saban wouldn't Smart boosts Dan Lanning over $1 million, new staff salary numbers Quarterbacks affected more than any position during stoppage, per Kirby Kirby Smart's sports stoppage message: Control what you can control The post Kirby Smart reveals 5 Georgia football players who impressed during offseason workouts appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Dan Lanning has become the highest paid assistant on the Georgia football staff after the Bulldogs led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense last season. Georgia did so despite not having a defensive player selected first-team All-SEC unity, according to an Associated Press panel. RELATED: League-leading Georgia defense shut out on AP All-SEC first team Lanning, 33, had his salary elevated from $750,000 in 2019 to $1.25 million for this upcoming season, per UGA athletic director Greg McGarity. In addition to coordinating the nation's No. 3-ranked total defense, Lanning coached up FWAA Freshman of the Year Semifinalist Azeez Ojulari at outside linebacker. He also landed the nation's No. 1 recruit, outside linebacker Nolan Smith, along with the No. 1 JUCO recruit, outside linebacker Jermaine Johnson. Lanning was making just $325,000 in 2018 before he was promoted from within the staff to replace Mel Tucker after Tucker left to become the Colorado head football coach. OPINION: Dan Lanning promotion to defensive coordinator a promising hire Georgia head coach Kirby Smart maintains a large presence on the Bulldogs' defense, staying involved with coaching the secondary and working in concert with Lanning on play calls. It's clear Smart has a chemistry with the rising coaching star; the two worked together at Alabama prior to Georgia. Lanning coached the Memphis inside linebackers and was the Tigers' recruiting coordinator in 2016 and 2017 before joining the Bulldogs' staff. Prior to the Memphis job, Lanning served as a graduate assistant in 2015 on an Alabama coaching staff that featured Smart as the defensive coordinator and Tucker as the secondary coach. Defensive line coach Tray Scott also received a noteworthy raise, from $470,000 to $600,000, per salary numbers that first appeared in the Athens Banner-Herald. The raise was likely on the strength of the Bulldogs leading the nation in rushing defense as well as the performance of young players. WATCH: Dan Lanning discusses Georgia 'No-Name' Defense before Sugar Bowl Scott is one of only three assistant coaches who remain from Smart's original staff in 2017, along with running backs coach Dell McGee and inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann. Todd Monken is the highest paid offensive assistant. Monken was hired in making $1.1 million as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, essentially replacing James Coley. McGarity told DawgNation on Tuesday night that all of the salaries (listed below) involving raises were negotiated before the coronavirus pandemic brought the sports world to a standstill and affected the global economy. Georgia Football Salaries 2020 ( 7.2 million) Dan Lanning: Defensive Coordinator / OLB Coach $1.25 million Todd Monken:, Offensive Coordinator / QB coach $1.1 million Matt Luke: Offensive Line / Assoc. Head coach $900,000 Dell McGee: RB coach / Run game coord. $650,000 Charlton Warren: secondary coach $600,000 Glenn Schumann: Asst. DC / Inside linebackers $600,000 Tray Scott: defensive line coach $600,000 Cortez Hankfton: WR coach $550,000 Scott Cochran: Special teams coordinator $550,000 Todd Hartley, TE coach $400,000 2019 staff: 6.045 million James Coley: Offensive Coordinator / QB Coach $950,000 Sam Pittman: Associate Head Coach / OL Coach $900,000 Dan Lanning: Defensive Coordinator / OLB Coach $750,000 Dell McGee: Run Game Coordinator / RB Coach $650,000 Charlton Warren: DB Coach $600,000 Cortez Hankton: Pass Game Coordinator / WR Coach $550,000 Glenn Schumann: Co-Defensive Coordinator / ILB Coach $550,000 Tray Scott: DL Coach $470,000 Scott Fountain: Special Teams Coordinator $325,000 T odd Hartley: TE Coach $300,000 2018 staff: $6.42 million Mel Tucker: Defensive coordinator / secondary $1,500,000 Jim Chaney Offensive coordinator / tight ends $950,000 James Coley Quarterbacks / Co-offensive coord. $850,000 Sam Pittman, Offensive line $825,000 Dell McGee, Running backs $550,000 Tray Scott, Defensive line $420,000 Cortez Hankton, Wide receivers $375,000 Glenn Schumann, Inside linebackers $325,000 Dan Lanning, Outside linebackers $325,000 Scott Fountain, Special teams $300,000 2017 staff: $4.56 million Mel Tucker: Defensive coordinator / secondary $900,000 (Now at Michigan State Jim Chaney: Offensive coordinator / quarterbacks $850,000 (Now at Tennessee) Sam Pittman: Offensive line $660,000 (Now at Arkansas) James Coley: Receivers $450,000 (Now at Texas A&M) Tray Scott: Defensive line $400,000 Kevin Sherrer: Linebackers $375,000 (Now with N.Y. Giants) Dell McGee: Running backs $350,000 Shane Beamer: Tight ends, $300,000 (Now at Oklahoma) Glenn Schumann: Inside linebackers $275,000 The post Rising coaching star Dan Lanning becomes Georgia football's highest paid assistant appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Kirby Smart took some time on Tuesday morning to update the fan base through a couple of channels. American is in the midst of a global health pandemic concern. He sought to educate the public on all things Georgia football through a couple of media opportunities. The first of those was on Atlanta's WCNN-AM '680 The Fan' on Tuesday morning. He spoke with Chuck Dowdle on the 'Bulldog Roundtable' program. Smart did not entertain any speculation on what was to come. The onus of what was on his mind was the health of everyone as a large. The COVID-19 health scare is something that just goes beyond football. It goes beyond even the daily news cycle of college football recruiting, too. 'You are concerned for the well-being of the young men you are recruiting,' Smart told Dowdle. 'The primary concern right now is not where a kid is going to go to a school. It is how is he doing. How are his teammates doing? How are his grandparents doing? How are his parents doing?' 'Is it affecting their livelihood? Are they able to put food on the table and work with so many people unemployed? That's probably the biggest concern right now. It is building relationships with these kids so that they know and trust that you care about them.' The Bulldogs only have four commitments in their 2021 class. As a means of comparison, the Ohio State Buckeyes have 15 commitments for their 2021 class. That Ohio State class ranks No. 1 in the nation on the 247Sports Team Composite ratings. The Bulldogs rank No. 15 nationally at this time. That's good enough for No. 3 in the SEC behind Florida (13 commits) and Tennessee (8 commits) so far in this cycle. Smart's okay with that. The Bulldogs have traditionally lagged behind other schools until the summer months with their recruiting momentum. Georgia tended to wait on those crucial spring practice evaluations before extending and accepting those scholarship commitments. 'Some kids might move up their decision time,' Smart said. 'Some might push back. That's not a big concern for us right now. It is more about how we can support them and help them understand. What they can do right now is work within their own friendly confines. Because they can't go out to high school gyms. Everything is closed. So they have got to do it on their own. They have got to self-motivate. You find out a lot about somebody if they are able to do that when nobody is watching.' Smart and the Georgia staff is getting a new snapshot of America and COVID-19 with every recruiting interaction. 'I find it unique every conversation I get to have,' Smart said of those conversations. 'I am genuinely interested in what is going on in your community. How are they handling this? What is your high school doing to adapt? What does your community support look like? Because we are recruiting kids all over the country. Not just Georgia.' 'So it becomes a conversation piece in some of the hotbed areas. It is like Man this is really impacting them' and I know from watching the news. So what are they doing to protect themselves?' Georgia football: COVID-19 affecting recruiting operations The calendar and the timing at work here has also slowed Georgia's traditional recruiting momentum. Consider the following: T he entire month of February was a dead period for on-campus college recruiting. That was unique to the recruiting calendar for the 2020 cycle. When that month was up, the Bulldogs and their staff were on spring break. That was tied to the academic calendar at UGA. When the COVID-19 shutdown and stay-at-home guidelines quickly materialized, it all added up to about five and a half lost weeks of face-to-face recruiting. There is no end in sight at this time. Georgia did benefit from being very active with the 2021 class in the month of January. It is not as dire as that may seem. For example, Ohio State does not have a pattern of welcoming a core of elite prospects in January for the upcoming cycle. The Buckeyes didn't have the back-to-back-to-back 'Junior Day' weekends for 2021 recruits in January that Georgia did. Ohio State is still faring pretty well so far without those. What that February dead period meant was it offered the Georgia staff the ability to learn how to recruit these young players differently without that face-to-face contact. 'So during February, you had to look at it say how can I recruit without them coming to campus,' Smart told reporters in a conference call later on Tuesday. 'Well, and behold, that's how we're having to recruit the total time now and timing-wise we got a raw deal because when we came back, we were on spring break. So, two of our weekends, that we would've been active, we had spring break, where our staff, our players our campus was dead. Nobody was here. So, other campuses were able to bring kids in the weekend of March, and the next weekend of March where both those were tied to spring break, we lost both weekends.' It is coming in handy now. It has been FaceTime communication. It has been talking to family members. As stated earlier, the push right now is focused on checking in on the well-being of the players they recruit. 'I know the kids are getting bombarded because recruiting is a competitive market,' Smart said. 'And as you can imagine, they're getting a lot of calls. A lot of college coaches don't have anything going on right now and they're calling out these kids a lot.' DAWGNATION TODAY Why Kirby Smart gave Scott Cochran the chance that others would not Work stoppage will affect Georgia QBs more than anything COVID-19: Smart advises control what you can control Isaiah Willson details sacrifices his family made along his way to the NFL NCAA approves new legislation regarding spring sports and future college eligibility CJ Washington: 2022 prospect brings to mind Nick Chubb, Nolan Smith and Fred G. Sanford The post Georgia football: Kirby Smart looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic affects recruiting appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Scott Cochran is working for a man who believes in him at Georgia. Kirby Smart explained why he gave Cochran an opportunity to become an assistant coach with the Bulldogs. Fans and analysts have taken note, it's an opportunity Nick Saban would not provide Cochran at Alabama, even after his years of hard work and dedication and several staff openings. Smart didn't have anything to say about the Saban part of the equation, but he knows what he believes about Cochran's ability to transition. ' Scott and I have had a relationship for a long time, and when I think of good coaches, I think of guys that can relate to players,' Smart said on his Tuesday teleconference. RELATED: Kirby details position most affected by stoppage Cochran had long been considered one of the top, if not the very best, strength and conditioning coaches in the nation while working at Alabama since Saban took over the Tide program in 2007. Smart spent nine years helping Saban and Cochran build Alabama into a championship program, too, before taking over as Georgia head coach prior to the 2016 season. Cochran had made it known to Saban that he wanted to become a position coach but was rebuffed. According to one report, Saban was riding Cochran mercilessly' prior to his departure from Alabama this past offseason. RELATED: Nick Saban was harsh to Scott Cochran in front of staff Smart, having worked beside Cochran, had his own opinions on his new special team coordinator's abilities. Publicly, Saban said he understood Cochran leaving. 'He wanted to get on to the field coaching and would like one day, I think, to be a head coach,' Saban said in an interview with ESPN . 'We didn't really have anything here to offer him along those lines, and Georgia did.' Two things 'I've always judged a coach by two qualities,' said Smart, who hired Cochran on Feb. 24. RELATED: Kirby Smart welcomes Scott Cochran to Georgia family 'What is his ability to make players want to play for him? His relationship, do players want to run through the brick wall for their coach, do they respect their coach, do they want to play for their coach, can he relate to them in a personal way and get them to do something that maybe another coach can't. Does that separate him?' According to several who played at Alabama, Cochran definitely made a difference for them in their development. WATCH: Tua Tagovailoa says Cochran backbone' to Alabama football Smart said the other area he judges a coach is 'their ability to recruit, and both of those two things in my nine years at Alabama, (Cochran) was outstanding at.' Some have suggested Smart is taking a chance by hiring Cochran to become a special teams coordinator when he has not previously held that position. But Smart had an answer for those critics and doubters, as well. 'He was always involved in some way, shape or form with special teams (at Alabama),' Smart said. 'That's always been something, even dating back to my days at LSU, that he was kind of the quality control guy at LSU that worked with special teams. So his background has been around that.' Staff workings Furthermore, Smart said he'll remain involved in special teams himself, and UGA keeps its entire staff involved in that area of the game. 'We've certainly had a staff full of guys, Glenn Schumann, Dan Lanning, Todd Hartley, Cortez, Dell, Charlton, have all had special teams duties in their career,' Smart said. 'So this is not like Scott Cochran is the only special teams guy on our staff. We have an immense amount of knowledge and experience on special teams. They'll draw on that. Scott will be the special teams coordinator. But we'll use the entire staff to help with that.' RELATED: Nick Saban reacts to Georgia hiring Scott Cochran Bottom line, as Smart said when Cochran was hired, he believes his long-time friend will provide a lift across the board at Georgia. 'The big part was hiring Scott,' Smart said, 'because we felt like he brought a lot to the table in terms of the entire organization.' Smart is standing behind the statement he made about Cochran when he hired him. 'Ask anyone who's been around him, Scott's passion and energy is contagious,' said Smart. 'Special Teams Coordinator is a great fit as he'll be working with all position groups. ' Georgia football offseason reads WATCH: Monty Rice shows proof of 'invisible progress' at Georgia Georgia football odds on title run and Heisman Trophy winner J.R. Reed explains why UGA won't be 'No-name' defense much longer Georgia offense has areas where much to be determined The post Kirby Smart: Why Georgia gave Scott Cochran opportunity that Nick Saban wouldn't appeared first on DawgNation.