Dan Lanning slipped into Oregon gear and flashed the Ducks’ signature “O” sign for an ESPN interview, even while in the midst of helping prepare Georgia for its CFP Semifinal matchup with Michigan.
“It would be totally unfair for our guys if I left and didn’t finish what was started here,” Lanning, who will serve as the Georgia defensive coordinator through the season, told ESPN SportsCenter host Elle Duncan, an Atlanta native and self-professed Bulldogs fan.
“I’m grateful Coach (Kirby) Smart would come back and let me help, and we certainly have some unfinished business.”
Lanning has been at the heart of the Georgia defense’s rises the past few years, the Bulldogs’ allowing just 6.9 points per game during the regular season — the fewest since 1986 Oklahoma.
Smart, however, oversaw changes for Alabama that led to broken assignments and Tide quarterback Bryce Young throwing for an SEC Championship Game record 421 yards in a 41-24 vita over Georgia.
Lanning’s defense gave up 34 of those points, as one Tide touchdown came off a Pick-6 thrown by quarterback Stetson Bennett.
Duncan asked Lanning how he answers the skeptics, who wonder how he will fare leading Oregon not having any head coaching experience on this resume.
“Sit back and watch,” Lanning said. “I’m excited, this is a great opportunity. We have a great group of players I’m excited to go coach, and time will tell.”
Lanning, who helped coin the phrase Smart applies to the Georgia defense, that, “You’re either elite, or you’re not,” said he wouldn’t have left the Bulldogs’ program for anything less than that.
“For me,” Lanning said, “I didn’t want to leave Georgia for anything less than a job that I thought was an elite one, and this is that.”
Georgia safety Lewis Cine told media that he hasn’t seen any major changes in how the Bulldogs’ defense is being prepared for its next. game.
“Way before hearing about Lanning job, it wasn’t just one man taking control of what’s being said in the defensive meeting room, it was all of them,” Cine explained. “Whether it was Lanning talking, or (Glenn) Schumann talking, they all took turns to talk about different things.
“We’re not seeing anything new in that regard, because Coach Schumman has talked about different things and Coach (Will) Muschamp has talked about different things.
Smart said that Muschamp and Schumann would assume the roles of co-defensive coordinator for the foreseeable future.