ATHENS — Next week, Georgia’s new head coach will be coaching Alabama’s defense, and in his place Georgia will be led in bowl practice by South Carolina’s new co-offensive coordinator.
Welcome to the strange state of college football coaching.
Bryan McClendon, who was announced as one of South Carolina’s newest assistant coaches on Wednesday, will still coach Georgia in the Taxslayer Bowl. That word came from athletics director Greg McGarity, who said there had been no reconsideration to McClendon serving as interim head coach.
As things stand now, only two of Georgia’s coaches in bowl practice next week and in the Jan. 2 bowl game will be sticking around the next day: Defensive assistants Kevin Sherrer and Tracy Rocker.
The offensive staff is experiencing a complete housecleaning: McClendon is leaving for South Carolina, running backs coach Thomas Brown is going to Miami, offensive line coach Rob Sale is going to Louisiana-Monroe (according to 247Sports), and tight ends coach John Lilly has already cleaned out his office, according to two people familiar with Georgia’s program.
Lilly turned down a chance to join re-join Mark Richt in Miami, said one of those with knowledge of the situation.
The other full-time assistant coach on Georgia’s offense this year, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, is already gone, not coaching in the bowl after his job was filled by Jim Chaney. The offensive line job was also filled by Sam Pittman, but Sale is staying with the Bulldogs through the bowl.
Then there’s Todd Hartley, who has been Georgia’s on-campus recruiting coordinator and stepped into a coaching role this month, leading the special teams. He’s also going to Miami to join Richt.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has been working to fill out his new staff, but has also been preparing Alabama’s defense for the Cotton Bowl match-up with Michigan State on Dec. 31. Glenn Schumann, who has been announced as another defensive assistant, has also been in Tuscaloosa to work through the playoffs.
So there are five staff jobs that have been filled, and four to go. The most high-profile opening is at defensive coordinator, and Smart hasn’t ruled out hiring a special teams coach.
Georgia players report to Jacksonville for bowl practice on Dec. 27, and hold their first workout early the next morning. That will begin a strange week where most of the men wearing the “G” on their chest know they will only be doing so for a few more days.
Staff writer Chip Towers contributed to this report.