ATHENS — The muddled present and looming future were side-by-side Wednesday night at the Georgia football team’s first bowl practice.
Jim Chaney and Sam Pittman, respectively the incoming offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, were each in attendance. Neither was coaching yet.
Chaney, wearing a gray Georgia shirt, was watching the wide receivers from about 10 feet away during the media viewing period of practice. The receivers were being led by Bryan McClendon, also the team’s interim coach through the Taxslayer Bowl. Chaney will also be the quarterbacks coach.
Pittman, in a black Georgia pullover, was watching the offensive lineman from about 15-20 feet away. Those O-linemen were being coached by Rob Sale, who is coaching through the bowl despite being replaced by Pittman.
Earlier in the day McClendon said the incoming coaches would be around though not coaching.
“As far as them doing anything outside of observing or just kind of walking around and getting a feel for the personnel that they’re walking into, they don’t plan on doing anything more than that,” McClendon said. “That’s all they’re going to be doing.”
Two of the incoming coaches were not in Athens, but in Tuscaloosa.
Kirby Smart, of course the new head coach, was leading Alabama’s defense on its first day of practice. That was always the plan.
Glenn Schumann, who has been hired at Georgia for an unspecified defensive assistant spot, was also at Alabama’s practice, according to Al.com.
So was Jeremy Pruitt, the former Georgia defensive coordinator, now waiting to replace Smart in that job at Alabama.
Meanwhile, back at Georgia many position groups did have new leaders, as promised. The secondary was being coached by Sam Petitto, the director of player personnel who has been elevated into secondary coach for the bowl, as well as graduate assistant George Helow. The outside linebackers were being coached by graduate assistant Courtney Coard, with Kevin Sherrer moving over to coach inside linebackers. And the quarterbacks were led by graduate assistant Steve Shimko.