ATHENS — Last November, when Brian VanGorder was re-hired by UGA, albeit in a temporary role to prepare for Georgia Tech, it was assumed by many that he would also give the Bulldogs some advice about the team he just left: Notre Dame.
That wasn’t the case. At least that’s according to the coaches of the two teams that will meet in South Bend this Saturday.
“I’ve never talked to BVG about that,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday. “I don’t think that’s really fair to him, I don’t think it’s fair to do that. His son is still there and plays there.”
Indeed, Montgomery VanGorder is a senior backup quarterback for the Fighting Irish. His father was Georgia’s defensive coordinator from 2001-04, and Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator from 2014 through the first four games of last year.
Then Smart brought in VanGorder as a consultant last November, with the specific intention of helping Georgia prepare for Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense. VanGorder never had any official title and by all accounts soon left the program to pursue a full-time opportunity. He was hired in February as a defensive analyst at Oklahoma State.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was asked Tuesday whether he was concerned that UGA got information from VanGorder about this game.
“No. Brian’s a professional in every since of the word,” Kelly said. “Even if he knew what we were doing offensively, he would certainly stay within the guidelines of what professionalism is. He’s the consummate professional.”
Notre Dame faced Georgia Tech in 2015 in South Bend, with the Yellow Jackets held to 216 rushing yards. The Fighting Irish had less success with Navy, another triple-option offense, which amassed 654 yards in two games against VanGorder’s defenses.
Brian Kelly fired VanGorder after four games last year, the breaking point being a 38-35 loss at home to Duke.
“He’s been very helpful,” Smart said last year before the Georgia Tech game. “He’s very knowledgable. I’ve got a lot of respect for Brian. Always have, when he coached here (at UGA). Mel knew him when he was in the NFL, so they had a good relationship. And then he coached at Notre Dame, which plays the academies and also played Georgia Tech.’’
Georgia of course lost that game, 28-27, after leading by 13 in the fourth quarter.
VanGorder won the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach, while coaching Georgia’s defense in 2003.
Chip Towers contributed to this story from South Bend, Ind.