ORLANDO - Georgia head coach Mark Richt, speaking to the media for the first time since assistant head coach Rodney Garner's departure, had a few new morsels of information:
- A replacement won't be hired until after the bowl game. But at that point it will become "priority one," according to Richt.
"We'll be excited about who's next," Richt said. "I'm getting bombarded by a lot of people who are very interested in the opportunity. So we won't have any trouble hiring a very quality person where Rodney was."
It had already been announced that Grantham will coach the defensive linemen during bowl practice, in addition to coaching the outside linebackers.
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"We feel we can get through the game. Coach Grantham has coached D-line through a lot of his career in the NFL. So that's not an issue there," Richt said. "We've got some graduate assistant coaches too that can also step in and help us. So the schemes are not gonna change, the game plan is not gonna change. And of course coach Garner was there for every practice except the very last practice, so the plan is in, and most of the work's been done. There's still some things that coach Grantham will have to keep an eye on, maybe a little more than he would have if coach Garner was here. But it shouldn't be a problem."
- Meanwhile, Garner's departure leaves a void for a recruiting coordinator - and the void may not be filled.
"I haven't really made a decision on that one yet," Richt said. "I don't even know if we will need to do that. We'll just wait and see on that. I don't know if anybody needs to be named recruiting coordinator of the nine assistant coaches. That's something I'll be debating and try to decide what's in the best interest of everything. But we've got our in-house recruiting team. And a lot of those things are gonna be taking care of, things that need to get done administratively. And all of our coaches recruit. They all do a great job of taking care of their recruiting areas, as well as their area of responsibility for position."
The team hired an on-campus recruiting coordinator, Daryl Jones, who has handled many of the logistical duties that Garner used to handle.
"Things already started changing when we brought Daryl in, and lightening Rodney's load, basically. Because it is a tough job for a guy to do that, full-time and coach," Richt said. "So whether we name a guy within our staff, I'm not really sure of that or not."
- Richt confirmed that the team will hire a defensive line coach to replace Garner, rather than shift around duties.
"We could've moved the staff around, because of Todd's ability to take over other positions," Richt said. "But we're gonna hire a defensive line coach."
- Richt was a little less certain about whether someone on the staff could be assume a special teams coordinator role.
"It could. But more than likely not," Richt said.
This will be the first game Richt has coached at Georgia without Garner.
"He was the first guy I hired when I got here to Georgia, and he's done great things for us. I really appreciate everything he's done for us," Richt said. "But 15 years at any one institution, especially as an assistant coach, is a long time. And of course all 12 years here with me, it's a long time, and he got an opportunity that he really was excited about."