ATHENS — Kirby Smart is now more than a week into his tenure as Georgia’s head coach. Three members of his staff are official. That leaves six spots, none of which he revealed during a media teleconference on Monday.
Smart said he is “right on schedule” in hiring a staff, having named an offensive coordinator (Jim Chaney), offensive line coach (Sam Pittman) and named Glenn Schumann to an unspecified spot on the defensive staff.
Thomas Brown also appears on track to return as running backs coach. Smart didn’t come out and confirm that Brown will return, but came close.
“I’ve had this conversation with Thomas, and I feel comfortable with Thomas. I was fortunate enough to coach him, I think he’s a great young man, a great asset to the program,” said Smart, who was running backs coach at Georgia in 2005, when Brown was a senior. “We’re trying to work to keep him here.”
Kevin Sherrer could also return as outside linebackers coach, but Smart – after saying how much he liked Sherrer and how close their wives are – also stopped short of confirming that.
“As time goes through you guys will know that stuff,” Smart said.
Smart also said he couldn’t guarantee whether there would be any more announcements before or after the season ends. There is no timetable, he said several times, and it will be a matter of “getting one piece of the puzzle at a time.” The first piece was getting the tandem of Chaney and Pittman together.
“I’m one that’s been advised by a lot of mentors and a lot of people to not be in a big rush,” Smart said. “The critical time of the year for us is January and it’s a lot more important to hire the right people to surround yourself with for the rest of the year than it is for recruiting. That’s kind of the way I’ve approached that.”
As far as the makeup of the staff, Smart isn’t sure yet whether he will hire a dedicated special teams coach. That’s something he’d like to do, but it will depend on who else he finds to fill the staff. He could end up splitting the duties, as Mark Richt did, or if he finds someone who is a dedicated special teams coach then he will do that.
“I obviously philosophically believe in having that,” Smart said. “But I’m not limiting myself to not breaking it up (among different assistants).”
Smart starts back in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday morning, where he will continue as Alabama’s defensive coordinator through the playoffs. In the meantime some of the new hires will be able attend and watch Georgia’s bowl practices, though will not participate actively as coaches.
Smart said he already had a personal relationship with a lot of Georgia’s current coaches, so he had visited with each of them.
“There’s some things they had to say, listen to some ideas, listen to different things. And also see what direction they wanted to head, and also entertain the idea of being able to retain any of them,” Smart said. “Some of that, we’re still going through that process. But some of them have gone and looked for other jobs. So each one is kind of on an individual basis there.”