Georgia Football: In Wake of Split with Richt, New Head Coaching Candidates Emerge
Plenty of Richt commentary coming your way over the next few days. In the meantime, let’s take a look at potential hires for what is now a vacant head coaching position in Athens.
Kirby Smart – The conventional pick became even conventional-er when word spread that Smart was interested in the South Carolina job. Why does that matter? Because apparently Smart, long the hottest assistant in the country, is willing to consider a move away from his post as defensive coordinator at Alabama. Smart, a former Bulldog and longtime Nick Saban disciple is perfect on paper except for two things: 1. He has no head coaching experience. Ask Florida how hiring a big-name defensive coordinator with no experience as the head man paid off. 2. He’s a defensive mind. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself. But if there’s any part of Georgia that’s not currently broken, it’s the defense. That doesn’t mean Pruitt will stick around for the new guy (in fact, I doubt he will), but fans may clamor for a more offensive-minded coach and a recruit like Jacob Eason may prefer a passing artist.
Tom Herman – Herman is the man behind two of the more intriguing plot lines in college football this year. 1. He’s to blame/credit for Ohio State’s offensive slow from 45 points per game last year to 35 points per game. 2. He’s the man behind Houston’s 11-1 season. If you’re not connecting the dots, Herman was the offensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2014 and then left to be the head man at Houston. He knows how to move the ball on offense and he knows how to run a program. And he’s been around enough big programs to understand the high-and-getting-higher standard at Georgia.
Dan Mullen – Hear me out here, because this is personally who I want. There are a slew of big-time jobs open right now. Virginia Tech is filled and LSU isn’t dumping Les Miles, but Southern Cal, South Carolina and Miami remain open. Georgia is a better job than any of those gigs. So what’s to stop Georgia, a program with tons of resources and a very tiny payout due to Richt, from poaching a head coach from a major school? Why wouldn’t that be an option? And if it is an option, why wouldn’t Mullen be intriguing? He’s basically got the same story as Herman, but the major difference is he’s found success in the nation’s best football conference and has been a head coach for much longer. If a complaint regarding Richt was that he didn’t do enough with the loads of talent he attracted, than Mullen is certainly the opposite. Nobody has done more with less than Mullen at Mississippi State. Let’s throw some money at him.
Mike Bobo – Let’s get this out there. I’m so in favor of this that I don’t know how to use my words. Entertainment value on Twitter would be insane. Much-maligned while at Georgia, I think fans now actually appreciate this guy for who he is. And nobody knows Georgia football and its tradition better than Bobo. And as a head coach, Bobo is riding a 4-game winning streak and his Colorado State team is 7-5. The knock: He’s basically Richt Jr.
Chip Kelly – A disappointing NFL coach who was a master at the collegiate level. That type of resume is going to keep his name on the fans’ short-list for every head coaching vacancy. So consider that box checked – though this hire is not happening.
Larry Fedora – This is mainly to get Chad’s blood moving a bit. But Fedora won at Southern Miss (34-19 there and never had a losing season) and has North Carolina sitting at 11-1 and hoping to play spoiler to Clemson’s dream season next week in the ACC Championship.
Jeremy Pruitt – This is not going to happen. Period. But he’s the only internal hire that could possibly begin to make any sense. So, we’ll just put his name there.
What’s my gut? My gut says it’s Kirby Smart. He’s been so desired for so long, that in some ways it’s the safe pick. But that doesn’t mean it’s not or can’t be the right pick as well. But hiring Harman and letting Smart go to South Carolina (or anywhere else) will get an A.D. canned if it’s not right. Hiring the conventional pick – who is popular for good reason – is safer.
That’s all I got/
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