Dean Legge/Dawg Post

What We Are Hearing

ATHENS - The move from Tracy Rocker to UGA’s new defensive line coach, Tray Scott, hasn’t been completely smooth.

At least not yet. 

I’ve talked to quite a few folks about Scott, and, frankly, I can’t get anywhere on his background. A lot of that might have to do with the fact that he’s really quite new in the world of coaching. But no one I have talked to of late - folks in recruiting, at Ole Miss and at North Carolina - really know him well enough to know if he’s a guy that’s going to be known for recruiting, or someone who is going to be known as a coach. 

One insider put the move from Rocker to Scott this way: “Kirby knows exactly where he wants to go with everything. I know he checked up on Scott. That’s exactly who he wanted.”

The move to replace Rocker with Scott, which took fewer than 24 hours, was and continues to be puzzling. While no one will confirm that Rocker was, in fact, fired, it seems pretty obvious that’s what’s happened. Rocker has been rumored to be considering joining Alabama as a defensive analyst. He’s not taken a job that’s been publicly reported about. One way or another, this wasn’t about Rocker leaving UGA. This was about him being replaced for one reason or another. 

“My dog can teach pass rush better than him,” said another insider of Rocker’s ability to teach that aspect of the defensive line. 

But Rocker was nearly universally liked inside the program. His straight-to-the-point style was an asset according to most. “You knew exactly where you stood with him. Everyone loved him,” said one insider. 

Still, Rocker’s departure was swift. It was said to have occurred early in the morning - before team workouts - and he didn’t see any of his linemen in person before his office was emptied. In particular, that shook up high-level defensive lineman Trent Thompson. 

According to more than one insider, Thompson hasn’t been around the football facility much (if at all) since Rocker’s departure. In fact, Thompson was said to have gone back to his home in Albany he was so upset about the change. Jonas Jennings went to his house in Albany to talk and get Thompson back to Athens. When the defensive lineman got back to UGA, he talked with Kirby Smart about the matter. 

So the transition, thus far, has been a little rough. 

I do not expect Brice Ramsey to practice with the football team this spring. He’s not been working out with the program so far this year. 

Meanwhile, Georgia has picked up tremendous momentum with five-star RB Zamir White. Clemson was considered the favorite to land the talented back, but it seems clear the Bulldogs are the favorites now, and that his recruiting will come down to if the Tigers can make a comeback before he picks his college on Father’s Day. 

Kirby, specifically, had to make up some ground that was lost by UGA from the transition from Mark Richt to the new staff.

“I don’t want to compare him to Todd Gurley,” said one insider. “That’s really not fair because Todd could do everything - he was a complete back, and he just kept getting better when he was at UGA. But Zamir is in that conversation. He can do almost anything.”

Mark Fox’s job status has now caught the attention of national reporters like Pat Forde and the two local columnists, and often Fox apologists, at the AJC. That’s not a good sign for his future. The AJC has beaten the drum in support of Fox for nearly his entire tenure. Remember the ten or 12 years needed for Fox to succeed? That was written earlier this season in the AJC. The article “asking” about how good should Georgia basketball be originated from the AJC’s fan site Dawg Nation. 

Now that the group that’s been defending Fox for so long has pretty well turned on him one has to wonder how bad its gotten. I still think that Fox will have a job at UGA next season as everything stands today. I’m not saying I agree with that, but that’s what I think will happen. 

But I have more doubt than I’ve ever had before after a conversation I had on Saturday night after the loss to Kentucky where the person I spoke with “really wasn’t sure” if he would survive for another year. 

That wasn’t the case a few weeks ago, so there has been movement in opinion to be sure. If that’s movement in reality I’m not sure.


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