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James Coley is considered the favorite to be Georgia's next offensive coordinator.

Possible candidates to replace Jim Chaney as Georgia offensive coordinator

Connor Riley

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10 possible candidates to be the next Georgia offensive coordinator

Georgia is in the market for a new offensive coordinator, as DawgNation can report that Jim Chaney will be leaving to take the Tennessee job. DawgNation’s Mike Griffith reports that Chaney is set to receive a significant raise from Tennessee, as he made $925,000.

In theory, the Georgia offensive coordinator job should be one of the best in the country, given the talent Georgia has, and the potential freedom to work with, as Kirby Smart is a defensive-minded coach.

One name you won’t hear mentioned is Sam Pittman, Georgia’s offensive line coach. Pittman is expected to remain on Georgia’s staff as the offensive line coach, according to DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell.

Below are some of the top names for the Georgia offensive coordinator position, as well as some potential longshots for the opening”

James Coley: Georgia’s co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach has to be considered the favorite to replace Chaney. He’s got familiarity with Kirby Smart, as he’s been on the staff for the last three years. Coley is also a very well-regarded recruiter, as he’s played a pivotal role in landing a number of south Florida recruits, most recently 4-star defensive back Tyrique Stevenson.

Coley also has play-calling experience, as he was the offensive coordinator at Miami from 2013-15. His offenses were never great as the Hurricanes never ranked in the top 30 in scoring offense or top 40 in total offense. But he also never had the talent in Miami that he would at Georgia.

In addition to his time at Miami, Coley served as the offensive coordinator under Jimbo Fisher at Florida State, but Coley did not call plays for the Seminoles. Coley has served in high pressure situations before and could very much handle the scrutiny that comes with being Georgia’s offensive coordinator.

Dell McGee: Another in-house candidate, McGee is the running backs coach and has the title as assistant head coach. McGee has never severed as an offensive coordinator before, but McGee did serve as the interim coach at Georgia Southern prior to joining Smart’s staff.

Like Coley, McGee is an excellent recruiter. Play-calling duties might be a big jump for McGee, especially with Coley still around. It would make much more sense to bump McGee  to co-offensive coordinator, much like Coley was this year with Coley sliding over to play calling duties.

Jay Johnson: Johnson spent the last two seasons on Georgia’s staff as an offensive analyst before following Mel Tucker to Colorado to become his offensive coordinator.

Johnson, unlike McGee, has a wealth of experience as an offensive coordinator as he was Minnesota’s offensive coordinator in 2016 and Louisiana-Lafayette’s from 2011-’15. What makes landing Johnson difficult is that Georgia would likely have to buy him out from his job at Colorado. And it would mean that Smart passes over both McGee and Coley for the job.

Mike Bobo: Much like Johnson, Bobo would have to leave a job in the state of Colorado to become Georgia’s offensive coordinator. Of course, Bobo would be leaving a head coaching job, as he is the head coach at Colorado State.

Bobo did recently turn down a $100,000 raise from the school and is coming off a disastrous 3-9 season. Couple that in with his health problems from this past offseason though, and on paper it makes sense for him to take what is in theory a less strenuous job. Bobo knows the rigors of being Georgia’s offensive coordinator better than anybody, as he served in the role from 2007-14.

Smart and Bobo are both friends and they both worked together as members of Mark Richt’s staff in 2005. The hire wouldn’t be popular among some, but fans should take look at how the Georgia offense cratered the year after Bobo left for the Colorado State job. Ultimately, Bobo may not want to give up on being a head coach, which is why he would pass up taking a lesser job.

Major Applewhite: In terms of available names, Applewhite might be the most interesting external name. He’s available after getting fired from the Houston job after just two seasons. While the end of his tenure was messy, the Houston offense was one of the best in the country before its starting quarterback, D’eriq King, was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Applewhite also has worked on a staff with Smart before, as the former Houston coach was Nick Saban’s first offensive coordinator at Alabama back in 2007. Smart was the defensive backs coach at the time. The issue with Applewhite is whether or not he wants to be an offensive coordinator this year, instead of taking a year off and trying to become a head coach again in the 2019-20 coaching carousel.

Longshots: Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos was Kirby Smart’s first choice for offensive coordinator back in 2016, but given Alabama’s offensive coordinator opening and the reports that he will replace Mike Locksley at Alabama, we will place him in the longshots. Bryan McClendon just finished his first season as South Carolina’s play-caller but he also just signed a new contract that will pay him $1 million, making him a likely pricey hire. Matt Canada is another proven candidate, but given how he struggled in his one season at LSU, the Georgia job might not be the right fit for him. Mark Richt is no longer the coach at Miami, but at his age it would be hard to imagine him coming back to coach at Georgia, especially given how awful Miami was on offense this year. Former Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian could also be an option for Georgia, but he might also be wildly unpopular, given how his Falcons tenure ended.

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