ATHENS — Georgia Tech has an opening for its head coach position. When you’re defending the national champion, who has also produced multiple successful Power 5 coaches in recent cycles, schools are going to look at your pool of assistants for options.

Todd Monken and Dell McGee have frequently been mentioned by national pundits as candidates for the opening. Monken is Georgia’s offensive coordinator while McGee has served as Georgia’s running backs coach.

Monken is seen as the offensive coordinator who helped put Georgia over the top. McGee meanwhile has been with Kirby Smart since his first season in Athens. The Georgia running backs coach has strong ties to both the state of Georgia and the Metro Atlanta area. He’s also served as the interim coach at Georgia Southern while also winning state titles as the head coach at Carver-Columbus.

He’s much more than just a running backs coach for the Bulldogs.

“Number one, he is a great recruiter. He’s a great leader of men,” Smart said of McGee. “He’s a great husband and father. He’s been tremendous in all aspects of having someone that has been a head coach before, and you can lean on him for input. He has a good pulse on the team. All of those things are critical to my success and critical to our team’s success.

“I think he’s been a key cog in our success because a lot of players have a really good relationship with Dell.”

Related: What Georgia Tech firing of Geoff Collins potentially means for Georgia football

Just about all of McGee’s proteges are off in the NFL at this point, such as Nick Chubb, D’Andre Swift and James Cook. The Bulldogs have been a better program because of McGee’s presence.

While some might be hesitant about promoting a position coach, one only has to look at the success Sam Pittman has had at Arkansas to assume that play-calling duties are not a key credential to becoming a successful head coach.

McGee has been an integral part of Georgia becoming the top program in the country. Whether Georgia Tech elects to hire him will play out in the coming weeks and months.

It’s clear though that the Bulldogs would be worse of in the event that McGee does leave Georgia to become a head coach elsewhere.

Kirby Smart on Dell McGee, Georgia football travel plans

Kirby Smart updates travel plans

A number of high school games across the state of Georgia have been moved up due to the threat of Hurricane Ian.

It is expected to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday before making its way up through Georgia.

Given the Bulldogs have a long flight to Missouri ahead of them, they weren’t planning on sending any coaches out to see prospects. Most of those games have been moved up anyway, such as the highly anticipated matchup between Colquitt County and Lincoln (Fla.), which features three Georgia commits in Raylen Wilson, Ny Carr and Landen Thomas.

As for getting to Missouri, the Bulldogs still believe they’ll be able to leave from Athens on Friday. Their travel plans have not yet been impacted by the impending weather.

“The last update I had was that we are still going to be comfortable getting out of here,” Smart said. “There is a concern that we would have to fly to Atlanta, like we used to, and we would have to leave earlier if the panes can’t get into Athens. As of right now, it looks like we are going to be able to get out of Athens.”

The weather for Saturday’s game shouldn’t be impacted by the hurricane, with the temperature expected to be in the low 70s at kickoff on Saturday evening in Columbia, Mo.

Georgia football hoping to get two key receivers back

Georgia is expected to have running back Kenny McIntosh and defensive tackle Jalen Carter fully ready to go on Saturday against the Tigers.

The more interesting development will be what Georgia gets back at the wide receiver position. Arian Smith and AD Mitchell were both working with Scott Sinclair prior to the game against Kent State, a positive sign they’re nearing a return.

“Arian more than AD [has practiced], but we’re still hopeful on both,” Smart said when asked about the two receivers on Tuesday.

Related: Kenny McIntosh updates his status ahead of Missouri game: ‘Lot of ice baths ahead of me’

Smith has not played in a game yet this season, while Mitchell has been out since the opening play of the Samford game.

Getting both back would help open up the Georgia deep passing attack, a frightening thought for an offense that has been incredibly productive in the first four games.

It would also help with some of Georgia’s red zone issues, which Smart spoke about on Tuesday. Georgia has scored touchdowns on just 65 percent of its red zone trips, ranking 66th in the country in said metric.

“We’ve been there a lot, but we haven’t converted as much as we need to. If it all had to boil down to one thing, I would say accuracy in the passing game, and then being effective at running the ball at the heavy boxes.”

The Bulldogs will only bring 70 players to Missouri due to SEC roster limits. If the two make the trip to Columbia, Mo., there is a good chance they’ll find themselves on the field on Saturday against the Tigers.

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