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Friday, December 7, 2012
What if ... assistants leave UGA program?

By David Ching

ATHENS, Ga. -- Mark Richt has consistently credited his coaching staff for its ability to work together and produce outstanding results.

It’s inevitable, however, that members of the staff will leave for other opportunities. After all, both coordinators -- Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham -- are starting to see their names mentioned as potential head coaches. And plenty of other UGA assistants would be in demand if they opted to seek employment elsewhere.

So the big question is how Richt and the Bulldogs will fare once the group dynamic changes within his staff.

The coaching staff as it is configured is 21-6 in two seasons, has won back-to-back SEC East titles and has assembled two impressive recruiting classes. Richt hasn’t had to hire a new assistant since adding offensive line coach Will Friend and inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti in February 2011. This was the first offseason since 2003-04 that Richt did not have to replace a single assistant on his staff. Attrition is a common fact of life in the transient world of coaching, so it’s only a matter of time until Richt must replace somebody.

Grantham in particular would be difficult to replace as a game planner, sideline presence and recruiter. He helped transform Georgia’s defense into a force with his 3-4 base scheme and is effective at attracting talent that suits his defensive philosophy. And as his predecessor Willie Martinez proved, an ineffective defensive coordinator is a recipe for disaster with an offensive-minded coach like Richt leading the program.

Richt has hired 11 different assistant coaches since 2005, so he has no shortage of experience in that department. But one departure, especially one by a coordinator, can alter the group’s productivity. It will be interesting to see whether the Bulldogs’ recruiting and on-field success changes once another staffer leaves the program.