How Georgia football offseason moves put Bulldogs on path to national title

ATHENS, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 12: Will Muschamp, shown celebrating a 20-17 win over Georgia in 2019, has returned to his alma mater to serve as an assistant to Kirby Smart (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

ATHENS — Kirby Smart’s offseason moves have Georgia set up for a championship run, even after last week’s sudden and unexpected staff shuffle.

The hiring of Will Muschamp appears to be the most important of three major areas of addition to the program, for a multitude of reasons that go beyond his recent shift special teams coordinator.

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Muschamp, from all accounts, has added to the energy in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, as one of the most likable and knowledgable football personalities in the nation. His on-field abilities are well-documented from his numerous stops on the coaching trail.

Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, a rising star who will likely soon be a head coach himself, shared how well Muschamp has fit in.

“It is actually a blessing for us to have that experience on our side of the ball,” Lanning said on Tuesday’s Zoom call. “The great thing about our group is that there are zero egos.

“Everybody’s pulling the rope in the same direction. When you can have a guy like Coach (Will) Muschamp, as well as the additional coaches we have on our staff, it is obviously a benefit for myself and every one of our players.”

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Smart’s staff is set up in a way that it is a group effort in the meeting rooms, and Muschamp’s vast experience allows for the sort of delegation that should take some pressure off Smart’s time allocation.

Lanning shared that Muschamp will stay involved in the defensive meeting room, and that his contributions go beyond the field.

“I just have such a tremendous respect for Coach Muschamp and the job he does,” Lanning said. “He’s a guy that I lean on a lot for advice, really in every situation, whether it be football or life.

“I definitely think that he will be involved with us on defense and I’m excited to see that as it continues to develop.”

The transfer portal is the second major area of addition with Smart beefing up positions of need with elite talent.

RELATED: Kirby Smart stays one step ahead of college football, wins portal wars

With cornerback Jalen Kimber and receiver Jermaine Burton nicked up, the addition of two defensive backs (Tykee Smith, Derion Kendrick) and a receiver (Arik Gilbert) looks even wiser.

Indeed, Georgia is already down seven defensive backs from a year ago, with five having moved on to the NFL, and two others transferred out to other FBS programs (Major Burns, LSU; Tyrique Stevenson, Miami).

Smith (at the star) and Kendrick (at cornerback) looked primed to start against Clemson on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.

Gilbert continues to evolve in Georgia’s Pro Style Spread offense under the direction of second-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

It’s a good thing, because the UGA receiving corps is down seven receivers from a year ago, with five transfers and two others out recovering from ACL tears (George Pickens, Dominick Blaylock.

The final offseason addition is the $80 million football building, which according to one UGA insider has “brought more excitement and level of commitment” than has been felt for years.

The addition of the indoor facility in 2017 created the same sort of air, with players feeding off the newness and excitement that accompanies new and improved surroundings.

RELATED: 3 things, new indoor football facility could provide title boost

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