Kirby Smart: Georgia football offseason changes spark ‘really good energy’
ATHENS — Kirby Smart is still directing the traffic in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, but there’s a new tone in the air.
“There’s good energy, really good energy with the two new coordinators we’ve got,” Smart said at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin. “Even the new guys we’ve brought into the staff provide that energy, sometimes change is good. I’ve seen it over the years.
“You get a new guy that’s got a new way of saying the same thing that you said, and he energizes the whole unit or the whole group, and that’s fun. It feels good to have that change and hear another voice.”
Smart promoted James Coley to offensive coordinator and turned the play-calling duties over to him when former OC Jim Chaney made the move to take over the Tennessee offense in January.
“I think (Coley) is a future head coach, it may be down the line, but he has a bright future in the profession,” former Alabama championship quarterback Greg McElroy said at the Bulldogs’ G-Day Game this spring. “I think he’s going to become a star in the coming years.”
Coley certainly has plenty to work with in third-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm along with returning 1,000-yard rusher D’Andre Swift and arguably the best offensive line in college football.
The players have raved about Coley’s positive approach on the practice field, as he has brought a decidedly new tone.
Todd Hartley, meanwhile, came in from outside last season’s staff to assume the tight end coaching duties Chaney previously held.
On defense, Smart opted to promote Dan Lanning to defensive coordinator and bump Glenn Schumann up to co-defensive coordinator after Mel Tucker left the Georgia DC to to take over as Colorado’s head coach.
“I think the fact (Lanning) is an outside linebackers coach, I think that lends itself to Georgia being more aggressive,” ESPN analyst and former UGA offensive lineman Matt Stinchcomb said during the G-Day Game telecast.
Charlton Warren was hired away from Florida to work side-by-side with Smart in the UGA secondary.
Warren was known as “Mr. Intensity” at Air Force, and that has carried over into his coaching career as his players have thrived.
Smart likes what the new staff brings to the extent he left Destin, Fla., raving about Georgia’s potential during his appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show on the SEC Network.
“Georgia can go further, the sky is the limit when you talk about the facilities we have, the administration we have, the university, the location, there’s a lot of things about where we are and who we are, and we know that,” Smart said.
“The expectations are real, they’ve always been there, and we’ve embraced them. “