Given how close to the vest Coach Richt is playing this, his search could center on anyone, and we'd struggle to know it. However, the rumors about the search now clearly center on John Chavis.
Chris Low from ESPN.com has a lengthy piece about Richt's potential interest in Chavis. Dean Legge of DawgPost.com follows that piece (Premium) up with additional information which suggests that Chavis looks to be the front runner. Despite his comments to his players that he was staying. Miles says UGA is interested, but he hasn't spoken to Richt.
I would personally be excited with a Chavis hire. Consider some stats:
|UT '08 with |
|UT '09 with |
|Sacks / game||1.92||1.67|
|3rd Down Conversions*||37.1||34.12|
|LSU '08 |
|LSU '09 |
|Sacks / game||2.15||1.67|
|3rd Down Conversions||31.15||36.76|
Overall, the stats above aren't an attempt to say that John Chavis is better or worse than Monte Kiffin. However, it does provide some context for what Chavis did his last year in Knoxville vs. what Old Man Kiffin did this year in a season that brought him widespread acclaim.
Particularly of note, you'll hear UT fans say that their defense is more aggressive under Monte. Maybe, but the sacks, interceptions, points allowed and yards allowed certainly don't reflect that aggression this year.
It's also interesting to see what Chavis did with the LSU defense from '08 to '09. If we could get that sort of directional improvement, we would be in terrific shape.
The downside of Chavis is the "Third and Chavis" situation. Vol fans will tell you his defenses were historically bad on third downs. The stats don't show a man who is a lock down guy on 3rd down that's for sure. The '06 and '07 UT units were particularly bad in this area, but then again...the '07 UT defense was bad at everything. It's a legit concern.
However, one thing isn't a concern and that's points allowed. Since 1998, only one John Chavis coached defense has allowed more than 20 points per game. That's very, very strong. As a point of comparison, Georgia's defense the past three seasons allowed 25.9 ('09), 24.5 ('08) and 20.1 ('07) points per game. When you get below 20 points per game, good things start to happen, and Chief Chavis keeps the scoring numbers low.
Over the past week or so, two people we usually get great info from have said they would put their money on Chavis. but it isn't a done deal yet. Also, it's interesting that Rodney Garner told Reshad Jones to keep an open mind about the new DC. If we could bring in someone that would feature him like UT features Eric Berry, he should stay. It's a pretty easy sell to Jones that Chavis knows how to showcase Eric Berry. Especially considering that Berry had 3 sacks and 12 interceptions while playing for Chavis (2 years), but 0 sacks and only 2 interceptions playing for Kiffin for one year.
I'm not saying. I'm just saying.