Why Kirby Smart turned to a familiar face in James Coley for wide receivers coach opening

ATHENS — Whoever Georgia hired as its wide receivers coach was not going to win a popularity contest. Not when the most popular name on social media was Hines Ward.

But the hiring of James Coley raised more than a few eyebrows, given how his first stint at Georgia ended.

Coley is back at Georgia as the team’s wide receivers coach, a role he held at Georgia during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Coley also worked as Georgia’s quarterbacks coach and spent one season as the team’s offensive coordinator. The Bulldogs went 12-2 in 2019, but Georgia averaged 30.8 points per game. It was the second-lowest-scoring Georgia offense under Smart, behind only the 2016 team.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Georgia’s poor offensive play that season was the wide receiver position. Georgia’s top three wide receivers that season on a per-game basis were Lawrence Cager, George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock. While they all had fine seasons, all were in their first year at Georgia.




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