So the coaching carousel from this year is slowly coming to an end. Before it died out, however, it hit UGA when it took David Johnson, our then TE coach, and moved him to West Virginia as their OL coach. This was followed up rather promptly when Mark Richt made another good hire and stole John Lilly from FSU as our new TE homeboy
Some don’t find this to be an extravagant hire. As far as TE production, he’s not too sexy of a pick, but I think it’s his recruiting skills that make this a good pick up for the Dawgs. Regardless of the fact that FSU has been an afterthought since CMR left, Lilly has put together stellar recruiting classes since 2001 and can only bring more experience to an already solid recruiting staff.
With a limited number of scholarships available next year (I think we’re only going to have 18 barring any dropouts/transfers), it’s crucial for us to make the most of the ones we have available. Lilly brings not only the experience of organizing recruiting efforts, but also the relationships developed with numbers HS coaches in the state of Florida. We have set a strong pipeline out of Independence HS in N.C., as well as put a lock on nearly the entire state of Georgia. As UGA becomes more prominent nationally, it’s going to be critical for us to tap into the wealth of talent that Florida has to offer and grab some of those kids that UF/Miami/FSU would normally get.
As far as TE production, I’m not worried about our guys. Figgins, Ward, and White all have great ability with Bryce Ross and Dwayne Allen coming in this year (but most likely redshirting). We’re DEEP at TE with guys who are naturals at the position. Some would argue that Lilly has failed to put a dominant TE on the field at FSU and ultimately the NFL (which could hurt recruiting at the position), and they would have a valid argument. However, I would counter by saying that FSU features an offense that doesn’t use the TE a lot and even in that offense, Lilly has had record production out of the position the past two seasons. In the CMR/CMB offensive scheme, Lilly will have an opportunity to prove his worth by working within a system that prominently uses the TE. Besides, even if his results were slightly less effective than what David Johnson was able to accomplish, he would still bring a wealth of knowledge recruiting wise.
Let’s face it folks, Rodney Garner is with the Dawgs for the time being only, and probably will stick around until we win a MNC, but don’t expect him to be here forever. His intentions of coaching his own team are well documented and the right opportunity will come along for him sooner or later. That can also be said for guys like Mike Bobo, Stacy Searels, Willie Martinez, and John Eason; though Eason is a little too up there in age to really be considered a candidate a lot of schools. When you have the talent we have on the field producing at a high level because of the talent on the sidelines, you will get poached. With a hire like Lilly, I believe CMR is reloading our staff instead of rebuilding, when the time comes.
The one problem I have with Lilly’s hiring is since he is the recruiting coordinator for FSU and signing day is only two weeks away, I would’ve figured the hiring might have been delayed some. However, I guess it’s probably best to go ahead and announce the move BEFORE the kids signed their LOI and then were told afterwards that the guy who recruited them is leaving. It sucks for FSU either way, honestly, but I’m sure CMR and CBB were cordial about the process.
So there’s my $.02 on the whole thing. The Bulldog Nation seems to be all over the radar on this, but there was a strong list of candidates to choose from, and much like our recruiting class, we picked up the guy we thought was best at the time. We’ll see in the next couple of years how solid he really is; not just on the field with our production at the TE position, but off the field when we hopefully get some more face time with game-breakers out of Florida.
Until next time kids.
Labels: College Football, UGA Football