Search Update: Foster: No Thanks...

ATHENS - Dawg Post updates readers on the search for a new defensive coordinator - Dawgs contact VT's Foster, but he says nope...

December 14, 2009 Updates:


The Washington Post

Bud Foster is not interested in DC job at Georgia according to the Washington Post...

Foster staying at Va. Tech

Mark Viera quotes Foster: "Coach Beamer has been extremely good to me," Foster said. "I want to ride this thing out with him. We've been doing this along time together and there's not reason to stop there, and let's finish this thing. It's a good deal all the way around. I'm extremely pleased."


Daily Press

Bud Foster has been contacted by Georgia according to the Daily Press in Newport News, VA...

Tech's Bud Foster contacted by Georgia

"As we've discussed in this space in recent weeks, it's no surprise anymore when Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster pops up on the coaching candidate lists of a few schools. At this point, it looks like the most serious player for Foster's services this year may be Georgia."

"Foster has been contacted by Georgia for its vacant defensive coordinator position. Tech is making its coordinators available Saturday for its Chick-fil-A Bowl media day."


Dawg Post

Kirby Smart, who spoke with Monday morning, denies that he was in Georgia's athletic offices Friday...

Read Smart's quotes here

December 12, 2009 Updates:


Dawg Post
An update on Kirby Smart and the job at Georgia.

I have confirmed with multiple sources close to the Alabama defensive coordinator that he was not at Georgia's Butts-Mehre Building over the last 48 hours as has been rumored. Smart was in Georgia, however, recruiting for the Tide.

He visited high schools in the south-metro part of Georgia over the last 24-hour period, and even took in some of the Georgia High School State Championships at the Georgia Dome – a location where he helped guide the Crimson Tide to their first SEC title in ten years exactly a week ago.

Rumors have been swirling about Smart and his interest in the Georgia job since head coach Mark Richt dismissed former defensive coordinator Willie Martinez ten days ago. Smart was recently awarded the Broyles Award, which is given to the most outstanding defensive coordinator in the country.

At the press conference for the award Smart, who has previously been prevented from speaking with the media because of a policy preventing assistant coaches doing so under Alabama head coach Nick Saban, did not deny interest in the Georgia job, but also did not express interest in it simply saying: "I haven't really thought about it, to be honest. All I've done since the game against Florida is get ready and go recruit. I'm happy at Alabama and my wife's happy at Alabama. We're not looking to go anywhere."

Richt did not meet with the media today due to recruiting obligations over today and over the weekend. Still, speculation is rampant that Smart is Georgia's top choice for the job. But no media outlet has been able to get a on-the-record comment regarding Smart and the Georgia job. The former Georgia safety had also been tied to the same job at Florida State, but that position was filled by someone else.

December 10, 2009 Updates:


Dawg Post

I have been away from the computer for some time, so I have a little bit longer update than usual.

1. I have been told, but obviously have not been able to confirm, that Kirby Smart will have the ability to turn the Georgia job down. What does that mean. I take it to mean that Georgia may not officially offer Smart the job if he says "No, thanks." ahead of time.

There are too many signs pointing to Smart for everyone not to admit that he's Georgia's number one target. In my eyes, and the public perception, too, Smart is the number one target. It remains to be seen if he will sign on to be the defensive coordinator in the end, but let's not over-think this too much - he's the number one on the list.

2. I really think Georgia will name the defensive coordinator sometime in the near future. I could see a scenario where, in the next 48 hours, the new coordinator will be named. I would be a little surprised if the new coordinator is not named by the press day for the bowl game, which is next Wednesday. So are we nearing the end? I think we are.

3. Yet another defensive recruit, who I will not go further into description than that, has been told either who the new defensive coordinator will be or exactly what type of defense Georgia will play in the future under the new coordinator.

What does that mean. I would scratch anyone like a Vic Koenning off the list. If defensive players are having Georgia's future defensive scheme/attitude explained to them that means it will be something different than it has been in the past. Perhaps still a cover-two base, but with more aggression and therefore more one-on-one coverage for the cornerbacks and those in the secondary.

4. This is more of a throw away than anything else, but another "no-name", meaning not Will Muschamp, has emerged as a candidate from the Big XII. I'm not going to name names as I am still digging, but if it happens not to be Smart look for someone from a Big XII program to move into the spotlight as a top candidate for the job.

December 9, 2009 Updates:


Dawg Post
Evans: Richt Out There Doing His Job '

Evans was noncommittal when it comes to a timetable regarding the hiring of the new coach. He said that is the responsibility of head coach Mark Richt.

"I know that he's out there doing his job, and I have the utmost confidence that he will," Evans said.

December 8, 2009 Updates:

Mobile Press-Register
Alabama's Kirby Smart: 'We're not looking to go anywhere.'
Bama beat writer Gentry Estes was at the Broyles Award cerimony in Little Rock today and points out in his notebook that when asked "about the possibility of joining UGA's staff, Smart didn't say yes or no."

Still, Smart added: "I haven't really thought about it, to be honest. All I've done since the game against Florida is get ready and go recruit. I'm happy at Alabama and my wife's happy at Alabama. We're not looking to go anywhere."

Estes also points out that Smart is in Atlanta Tuesday on a recruiting visit.


Dawg Post
Smart wins Broyles Award
Kirby Smart won the Broyles Award today, which is given to the top assistant coach in the country. Smart beat out Florida's Charlie Strong, Boise State's Bryan Harsin, Texas Christian's Dick Bumpas and Cincinnati's Jeff Quinn for the award.


Dawg Post
While no one on Georgia's football staff was doing cartwheels about their friends and colleagues being fired, there has been a new sense of optimism about the future of Georgia's football program according to numerous folks inside of Georgia's football program. Some folks inside the program are saying that it will be a new beginning for the program.

December 7, 2009 Updates:

SEC assistants on the move
SEC Blogger Chris Low indicated that Georgia may be pushing hard for Kirby Smart. Low writes: "Alabama may also have to fight off Georgia to keep defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. The Bulldogs are expected to make a lucrative run at Smart for their defensive coordinator job after Mark Richt overhauled his defensive staff last week."


The Mobile Press-Register
Florida State closes in on Alabama assistant coach Sal Sunseri
Gentry Estes, a beat reporter covering Alabama, writes: Florida State is zeroing in on Alabama associate head coach and linebackers coach Sal Sunseri as a leading candidate for the defensive coordinator vacancy on new coach Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles staff.

December 6, 2009 Updates:


Dawg Post
Georgia's Bulldogs will not practice until Saturday December 12, according to head coach Mark Richt. That means the media availability will be limited to none this week.


Dawg Post
Mark Richt declined to indicate that defensive tackles coach Rodney Garner would ask as the defacto defensive coordinator for the Independance Bowl. ""We're not going to throw anything out like that. We're going to work together on this thing and get it done."

December 5, 2009 Updates:


The Post & Courier
Steele breaks hand
From the Charleston Post & Courier: Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele broke his right hand punching a locker room wall in attempt to fire up the Clemson defense during an impassioned pre-game speech.

That didn't work so well. The Jackets rolled up yardage, including a length-of-the-field drive, to win their first ACC title since 1990.


The Huntsville Times
Tearful Tebow
Kirby Smart's defense brings Florida quarterback Tim Tebow to tears after Alabama defeats the Gators 32-13 in the 2009 SEC Championship Game.


The Birmingham News
Get Smart: Does Georgia want Alabama's defensive coordinator?

December 4, 2009 Updates:


The Tuscaloosa News
Smart tied to job openings
Alabama coach Nick Saban says moving as an assitant is not always all its cracked up to be... "To move just to move sometimes, when it's not really an advancement in responsibility, is (not) something that you like to see on your staff because you hope that the people that are there are working to move up the ladder."


Dawg Post
Mark Richt released a statement Friday afternoon stating that Garner and two graduate assistants would run the defense for Georgia's upcoming bowl game.

December 3, 2009 Updates:


Former Georgia head coach Jim Donnan tell's Birmingham radio show Dunaway & Brown: "I would think Kirby's next step, as was Will Muschamp being the coach-in-waiting there at Texas, would be to be a head coach. I would doubt he would make a lateral move at this point."


Former Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is not interested in pursuing the opening at Georgia. He told the AJC: "I'm here with the Atlanta Falcons and my commitment is to this job. I enjoy the NFL. Mostly, I enjoy being a part of the Atlanta Falcons."


Dawg Post
While Georgia hasn't necessarily been conservative in the salary structure for assistant coaches in the past, the marketplace has shifted during the past few years.

"I told Mark to go out and try to find the best coaches possible and that we'll be very competitive and help him out and do what we need to do to attract the top candidates here," Georgia AD Damon Evans said. "I've always said I want us to be competitive salary-wise in the marketplace, and that's not going to hold us back."

Dawg Post's List of Candidates for the Defensive Coordinator Job:

Kirby Mart – Alabama Defensive Coordinator
2009 Salary: $441,350 (with bonuses) Contract Terms: Three Years

Kirby Smart

A former Georgia player with close friends on staff at Georgia, Kirby Smart has certainly made a name for himself at Alabama. He was with the Bulldog in 2005 when they won their last SEC title. Smart's wife played basketball for Andy Landers. Hiring Smart would energize the Bulldog fanbase.

Why Smart? There is no question that Smart has helped craft what is certainly one of, if not the, top defense in the country at Alabama. He's got strong ties to Georgia (he and wife played at Georgia; close friend Mike Bobo is offensive coordinator; has coached the Bulldogs before), and he's one of the hottest assistants in the country right now. He is a lethal recruiter.

Why not? Money; Alabama; Florida State. Georgia has never paid a ton of money for an assistant coach, and has given only one - Brian VanGorder - a multi-year contract of late. Florida State and Alabama are going to be more than interested in keeping Smart from returning to Athens - so a bidding war, which is something Georgia might not be too happy about, could breakout for Smart. Then again one will never know how much Nick Saban has to do with Smart's success as the defensive coordinator at Alabama. It is fair to say Saban has his fingerprints all over the Tide's defense, but Smart has to be given credit for being the defensive coordinator. Is Smart being given too much credit for Bama's defense? Maybe, but he needs to be given his due.

Vic Koenning – Kansas State Defensive Coordinator
2009 Salary: $369,000 (with bonuses) Contract Terms: One Year

Vic Koenning

Koenning's defenses have been steady everywhere he's been. While he was an unsuccessful head coach at Wyoming, he has excelled at the defensive coordinator level. Koenning has not dealt with the SEC yet, but he has faced Paul Johnson's offensive scheme before, and his defense performed well - a 21-17 loss in 2008. It is hard to know if Koenning would be able to adapt to the flexible offenses Georgia sees each season - from Urban Meyer's offense at Florida to Gene Chizik's high-tempo offense at Auburn and everything else in between.

Why Koenning? His defenses were the best part of Clemson's teams in the mid 2000s. The Tigers were perpetually ranked in the top 20 in defensive categories tracked by the NCAA. Koenning also had standout units at Troy. While his Kansas State team didn't play as well defensively as his past two units did he's still one of the top folks on Georgia's mysterious list. There is also a tie between Richt and the Bowden family, so there is a familiarity there.

Why not? Koenning is steady, but may lack the aggressiveness the Bulldogs are looking for. If a bend-but-don't-break system is what you are looking for why fire Willie Martinez?

Matt Diaz – Middle Tennessee State Defensive Doordinator
2009 Salary: $117,485 (with bonuses) Contract Terms: Two Years

The current MTSU defensive czar, Diaz is more of an off-the-radar candidate. He would certainly make more money at Georgia, but it remains to be seen if he would get a multi-year deal to coach the Bulldogs. He's an up-and-coming assistant who has ties to Richt because of his graduate assistant and assistant coaching job at Florida State in the mid to late 1990s.

Why Diaz? In terms of money he's a perfect fit. Even if he's the most qualified candidate, which he's not, he would not command the most money by any stretch. I know it seems crazy that Georgia would be concerned with money, and I know Damon Evans has said in the very recent past that he will work with Mark Richt to get the right person in charge of the defense, but money has been a consideration - right or wrong - for the Bulldogs since Evans has taken over. Still, to point out money as a major reason Diaz would be on the list is incorrect. If Diaz got the job it would be because he is the best person for the job - it will not have anything to do with his salary. MTSU had a school record 33 sacks and 96 tackles for loss in 2009. One would imagine Diaz would bring a good recruiting presence in south Florida - Miami specifically - as he grew up there and his father has been Mayor of the city.

Why not? Diaz is young, which means he would be inexperienced compared to many of the rest of the candidates. When he took over the coordinator spot in Murfeesboro he was the 10th youngest coordinator in the country.

Ellis Johnson – South Carolina Defensive Doordinator
2009 Salary: $454,300 (including bonuses) Contract Terms: Three Years

Ellis Johnson

He is the defensive coordinator at South Carolina, and has done a good job of keeping South Carolina's defense near the top of the SEC and national rankings. Carolina ranks 15th nationally in total defense and 24th in scoring defense at 20.42 points a game. He took over at Carolina a few weeks after Brian VanGoder left after being named defensive coordinator for a couple of weeks.

Why Johnson? Johnson's has the reputation of being one of the top defensive coordinators in the SEC, and he's being paid well at South Carolina. Johnson's name has been flopped around the Internet, but the smart money says that Johnson stays at Carolina unless he gets a big pay bump.

Why not? There are a couple of things that could keep Johnson from going to Georgia, and the biggest thing I think would prevent him is what he thinks his future will be in Columbia. From what I understand Johnson has said within the last year that he feels that he will be the head coach at Carolina when Steve Spurrier leaves. There is no telling when Spurrier will leave Carolina.

Rodney Garner – Georgia Defensive Line Coach
2009 Salary: $382,150 (including bonuses) Contract Terms: Does not have a contract

Rodney Garner

Rodney Garner has been at Georgia longer than Damon Evans has been the director of athletics. He's been in Athens longer than Mark Richt has been head coach. Needless to say he's been around for a while. He's got an impressive record of recruiting. His defensive tackle have performed well in college, and two in particularly - Marcus Stroud and Richard Seymour have performed impressively in the NFL.

Why Garner? He's been at Georgia since 1998 and has seen a slew of defensive coordinators go before him. Some may think Garner has earned his chance by sticking around Athens so long. He's also the only defensive coach remaining for the second major shakeup in a decade, so he's certainly got some value.

Why not? If he is going to be the next defensive coordinator at Georgia then why hasn't Mark Richt already named him that? Garner has never served as a defensive coordinator before. His contract situation, of which neither Garner or AD Damon Evans will comment on with any specificity, is strange. He was the only coach at Georgia without a contract in 2009. Garner seems like a long shot to be named the defensive coordinator.

Brian VanGorder – Atlanta Falcons Defensive Coordinator
2009 Salary: Unknown Contract Terms: Unknown

Brian VanGorder

The most successful defensive coordinator of the Mark Richt Era, and probably the most successful at that position since Erk Russell, VanGorder was at Georgia from 2001-04. Unlike Russell, VanGorder did not become a successful head coach at Georgia Southern and is still coaching on the coordinator level - albeit in the NFL.

Why VanGorder? Because he was really, really good when he was at Georgia.

Why not? Because he's said he's not interested in the job.

Tommy Tuberville – Former Auburn head coach
2009 Salary: None, but got a huge buyout from Auburn last year Contract Terms: None preventing him from becoming a defensive coordinator in 2010

Tommy Tuberville

The former Auburn coach is getting attention in Virginia and Louisville for their head coaching vacancies, but has been floated around the Internet as, albeit an unlikely one, a candidate for the Georgia defensive coordinator spot in Athens.

Why Tuberville? He has a good record on the defensive side of the ball. Tuberville was the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M when the Aggies finished 10-0-1 in 1994; he was a member of the coaching staff at Miami in the Canes' heyday from 1986-1993. Tuberville was the head coach at Auburn and Ole Miss. He was the national coach of the year in 2004 when his Tigers went 14-0 and won the SEC.

Why not? Why would he? He's not going to go backwards. It will not happen.

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