That's Coach McClendon (Image: Hipple)
Thoughts on the various moves:
- John Eason - Moves to Director of Football Operations. Coach Eason took a lot of grief from Dawg fans over the years, but he's a good football man and an undervalued recruiter.
The wide receiver drops that plagued the team intermittently from '01-'06 were often pinned on him by fans. Some of that is probably fair, But let's be honest. Terrence Edwards was dropping passes before Eason got to Athens. Martrez Milner and Tripp Chandler dropping passes at tight end was not his fault. It's also not his fault that Fred Gibson refused to fully develop his considerable gifts.
The SEC career leader in receiving yards played for him, and the WR corp was consistently the least "in the police blotter" group among all positions. He was a steadying influence on the staff, and he's a good person. Other than substitution patterns from '05 thru mid-'07, I don't have any big beefs with him.
- Tony Ball - He has around 11 years of experience coaching wide receivers, so we're in knowledgeable hands. Most recently, he spent 7 years coaching WRs at Va. Tech. The VT WR corp wasn't known for blue chip players, but that was true of most VT positions at the time. He'll have more young talent to work with here than he's ever had with A.J. Green, Tavarres King, Rontavious Wooten and potentially Marlon Brown. The VT receivers were known as strong blockers and active / aggressive participants on special teams. Ball was already active in the recruitment of Marlon Brown.
- Bryan McClendon - Coach Richt could've had his pick of WR or Running Back coaches across the country, and he went with 25 year old B-Mac as running backs coach. That's a tremendous endorsement of the guy's potential. It's not a risk free move, but the last time he took a chance on a young guy it was Mike Bobo. Bobo was only two years older than B-Mac when he got the QB role. I'm pretty sure that Coach McClendon has been involved with recruits on campus for several years, and they speak highly of him. I love having a young guy who's hungry to make a name for himself pounding the phones and pavement. Plus, I like bringing fresh young energy to the staff.
- Rodney Garner - A rumor we heard several times last week and Dean Legge confirmed tonight in his "What We're Hearing" note....one of the things that annoys Rodney and many of our assistant coaches is the lack of multi-year contracts and the lack of a pension plan for assistant coaches.
It's common for programs with less stability to pay more than stable programs like UGA. Georgia not being a leader in compensation doesn't worry me. However, not having multi-year deals, competitive retirement packages *and* being a salary laggard isn't a healthy combination. For all the complaining about Rodney's wandering eye, it should be noted that he's come back to UGA three times for less money than he was offered by the other school. We were more competitive across the board financially three weeks ago than we are today because of the compensation explosion at UT, LSU and AU, but this is an issue that the Athletic Board will have to address soon.