Monday, January 4, 2010

Defensive coordinator salaries: the UGA effect

As of January 4th, UGA still has no defensive coaches other than Rodney Garner.  It seems as though we waited one year too long to make a change.  Had we done it last  year, Chavis might well have been our coordinator.  As it stands now, there's no one in sight.  Reportedly, Richt has contacted at least 3 people:

  • Bud Foster from Virginia Tech-leveraged VT for a contract renegotiation
  • Vic Koenning-wanted to go to UGA, but they dragged their feet and Ron Zook (Illinois) scooped him up
  • John Chavis-leveraged LSU for a contract renegotiation

Sounds like we're willing to offer 600K a year and a 3-year contract.  As long Richt is confident, I guess we should be, too.  Maybe it's all a big scheme to either bankrupt these other schools or lock them into someone that may not work out.  Evil Richt strikes again?

So what do you think Richt will do?  There are tons of variables that go into this, most of which we'll never know, but I think it's interesting to contemplate a few questions.

  • Is there a role for someone like Kirby Smart to come in as head coach in waiting like Jimbo Fisher or Will Muschamp?  In other words, how much longer would Richt be willing to stay at UGA?  If  you need precedent, look no farther than his mentor, Bobby Bowden.  He took a program that hadn't done much and turned them into a perennial powerhouse.  And he stayed for the remainder of his career.  Growing up close to FSU and having folks in the family reminding me of all the Bowden wisdom, there are major similarities between Richt and Bowden's style, whether it's in handling the media, other coaches, the players, etc.  So my answer to question number 1 is no, the answer to 2 is a long time.
  • Do we benefit from Kirby Smart?  Likely not.  I for one can't believe that he is responsible for getting Alabama to the national title game.  It's mostly Saban, who's the brains behind their success, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.  Besides, Smart's stock likely can't rise as high at UGA than it can at 'Bama unless there's a potential role for a head coaching job.  And if there's not that potential for him at UGA,  he'll be gone when the offer comes from elsewhere.
  • Do we need to go out and get an NFL coach?  That's likely to be the case, but if Richt has a young guy out there that he's interested in that's not quite ready for prime time, maybe he could set up a scenario where a senior NFL DC comes in and tutors a young coach into a star.  That would be great planning for the future, and would be a much more sound investment than buying the most expensive thing out there, just because we can afford it.  Look at the two guys he made a seriously play for, Foster and Chavis:  both experienced and in the latter 1/3 of their careers. They never made a serious run at Koenning, which is why he's in Illinois, freezing his ass off.
  • How should we interpret Richt's choice of defensive coordinator?  I think it's going to be a turning point in his career.  If he chooses something that looks like a long-term plan, he's more likely telling us (as he always has, but then so did Tubby) that he's in it for the long haul.  If he hires a flashy name for a bunch of cash, I would take it as a sign he's going to give it one good try, and if it fails, he's done.  And it will likely be our own fault.

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