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Why Georgia football could follow the New England Patriots and not formally name a defensive coordinator
The New England Patriots did not have a defensive coordinator this past season. Yes they the greatest defensive coach of all-time in Bill Belichick and Brian Flores did serve as the defensive play-caller for the Super Bowl champs. But in title, the Patriots did not have a defensive coordinator.
We mention that because Georgia still does not have a defensive coordinator in name. It’s been over two months since Mel Tucker left to become the head coach at Colorado. It’s been nearly a month since Georgia hired Charlton Warren to be the defensive backs coach, giving the Bulldogs 10 assistant coaches. And there’s been little movement in the post signing day period, which usually produces a flurry of coaching moves.
As every day passes, it seems less and less likely that Georgia gives someone the defensive coordinator title. Early on it was mentioned that outside linebackers coach Dan Lanning or inside linebackers Glenn Schumann could become the defensive coordinator or share a co-defensive coordinator role. But if that was the case, wouldn’t Georgia and Kirby Smart just announced that already?
Georgia isn’t the only program that might be doing this though. Alabama hasn’t officially announced any of its coaching hires this offseason, despite reports of Steve Sarkisian being the offensive coordinator, as well as a number of other coaches joining the staff. Last Friday it was reported that Tennessee would be adding Derrick Ansley as the defensive backs coach. But the Volunteers have still not officially announced the hire either.
Maybe this becomes the new normal in college football, with teams keeping the titles of coaches secret. It’s one less person that fans can complain about when things go wrong. But it also puts a bigger target on the head coach’s back. And while some might think that the lack of clear coordinator might prevent other schools from hiring away an offensive or defensive coordinator, the lack of a title didn’t prevent the Dolphins from hiring Flores as their head coach.
While its still unknown who will be Georgia’s defensive coordinator, fans will at some point get a better idea of who is helping Smart run the defense. Lanning was down on the field working with Smart during the Sugar Bowl, which would seem to indicate that he wants Lanning working with the players during the course of the game.
Georgia has its 10 official assistant coaches, and the lack of a defensive coordinator shouldn’t hurt Georgia in recruiting. Like Belichick, Smart will no doubt have a heavy hand in the defense in 2019. And We’ll get some kind of idea of who Smart wants on the field with him assisting with the defense when the season rolls around. But the game against Vanderbilt isn’t until Aug. 31.
During the 2018 season, Smart made it a point to say, “The plan is, there is no plan,” when it came to the quarterback position. With each, passing day, it looks like that same rhetoric might be used for the defensive coordinator position.
Travon Walker is the truth
Georgia signed five 5-star prospects in the 2019 class. There’s Nolan Smith, the No. 1 overall player in the country. George Pickens and Clay Webb were both 5-star prospects from the state of Alabama. Georgia also pulled 5-star Nakobe Dean out of Mississippi.
And then there’s Travon Walker. The defensive tackle from Thomaston, Ga., hasn’t gotten a ton of attention since he committed to Georgia back in July. He never wavered from his commitment to Georgia and signed in December.
But if you saw what he posted on social media on Tuesday night, you’d see that his athleticism is anything but quite. Walker did his best Vince Carter impression, as he pulled off an unreal windmill dunk.
— Travon Walker (@D1Figure_) February 13, 2019
And it’s like this not a one-time thing either. He’s done this multiple times. Making it all the more impressive is that Walker is doing this while being listed at 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds. Guys that big shouldn’t be able to move like that!
WATCH: Your friendly reminder that @D1Figure_ is a defensive end who can not only dunk, but hit windmills and 360s. He's 6'5" and 270 pounds. @FootballUGA is getting an absolute athlete next year. pic.twitter.com/3WAtlE2Sq2
— Cam Gaskins (@CamWGXA) February 13, 2019
Zion Williamson of Duke has redefined how we think of big guys playing basketball, but it’s hard not to get excited about what a guy like Walker can do on the basketball court. It looks very similar to the highlights of future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers when he played basketball and football for North Carolina.
Walker is a really good basketball player and plays a key role for Upson-Lee High School. Walker didn’t enroll early in part because he wanted to try and lead his team to a third straight state championship. Walker is also one of the state’s best in the shot put, which he will also compete in this spring.
But above all, Walker is a football player. He’s rated as the No. 22 overall player in the country and no. 2 player in the state. He’ll play on the defensive line for Georgia, likely filling a role similar to what Jonathan Ledbetter did. But to give you an even better idea of what kind of player Georgia is getting, Walker also lined up at middle linebacker this past fall.
Walker has also made it a priority to land another 5-star defensive lineman who has shown off his dunking abilities. Walker and Smith very much want Bryan Bresee, the nation’s No. 2 overall player in the 2020 class, to become a Bulldog. And the 5-star prospect from Maryland is visiting Georgia this weekend with his family in tow.
It’s easy for a guy like Walker to get lost in UGA’s star-studded class, but these dunks are a constant reminder that Georgia is getting a very special player in Walker.
Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football and basketball have a shot at unprecedented recruiting feat
- Nation’s No. 5 DE Jacolbe Cowan breaks down his long recruiting relationship with UGA
- Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart’s prediction about Alabama, SEC appears to be coming true
- Georgia women’s tennis team wins 2019 Indoor National Championship
- Same issues dog Georgia as Bulldogs drop 9th straight SEC game at Texas A&M, 73-56
- WATCH: Georgia coach Tom Crean issues profuse apology for remarks after Ole Miss game
- Georgia spring football game to be televised by ESPN’s SEC Network
- Georgia football podcast: Grad transfer additions show UGA in ‘win now’ mode
Dawgs on Twitter
Bruce Banner had his purple pants. Copper Mays has his khakis. 💪😤 https://t.co/hpQc7Dy45H
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) February 13, 2019
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) February 12, 2019
— Georgia W Tennis (@UGAWomensTennis) February 13, 2019
Huge Congrats !! Go Dawgs !! https://t.co/uzrD3ZePFc
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) February 13, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
Pupdate: Milo is still doing amazing pic.twitter.com/xMHkGSUjO4
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) February 13, 2019