ATHENS — Last week, as reports and questions swirled around the Georgia football program, Bryan McClendon was working the phones.
McClendon is Georgia’s recruiting coordinator, among his other titles. He was asked Tuesday night whether that meant he spent last week reaching out to recruits and fielding calls from recruits who were seeking reassurance. McClendon nodded.
“It kinda goes without saying. It really does,” said McClendon, who is also the team’s receivers coach. “That’s something that you’ve just gotta deal with. Something that us coaches know, being in the profession, knowing that you guys (the media) have a job to do, you can’t control that part of it. And you’ve gotta do the best that you can to make sure that you’re controlling the message that gets put out on your end. And that’s kinda all you can do.”
Georgia has 17 publicly committed recruits for the 2016 class, which is currently ranked No. 5 nationally in the 247Sports Composite. The Bulldogs are also still chasing a number of other high-profile targets.
Were recruits concerned about all the talk that head coach Mark Richt’s job might be on the line?
“You get questions,” McClendon said. “You get questions. So you’ve just gotta make sure that you’re up front with people, and doing your best to kind of education them with what you know, and everything else that goes there. But also educate them on the stuff that’s beyond our control too.”
There have also been reports, including on AJC/DawgNation.com, about tension on the staff. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has brought several assistant coaches and staffers from his Alabama days. McClendon is a Georgia guy, a former Bulldog receiver who has been on Richt’s staff since 2007.
McClendon was asked how the influx of Alabama staffers has affected cohesion on the staff.
“Everybody’s done a good job of remaining open to ideas,” McClendon said. “I definitely think there’s more than one way to skin a cat. But when guys – not just him in particular – but coach Rocker, who’s obviously been around a little bit, anytime you do get different perspectives from things I think it helps.
“I don’t think anybody’s been pushed back or taken off by what’s been done here or what hasn’t been done here in regards to making decisions or anything else.”
McClendon also holds the title of assistant head coach and receivers coach. But no matter the debate in the coaching room the final say rests with Richt.
“Once the head coach says this is what we’re doing,” McClendon said, slapping his hand for emphasis, “then this is what we’re doing, kinda whether you like it or not. Then you go with what the boss says and make sure that you’re diligent in upholding your task and your part of it.”