Preparation for Georgia’s 2019 football season began in earnest Tuesday as Kirby Smart and several players met with the media ahead of the Bulldogs’ first spring practice later in the day.
“What a great time to be a Bulldog,” said Smart, commenting on the successes that Georgia’s spring sports teams have thus far enjoyed. “… Momentum is created when you build strong organizations, and that’s what we’ve got here at the University of Georgia.”
As is the case with any college football program, Georgia will face its share of changes. Those changes come with the arrival of new faces, including 14 mid-year enrollees, the departure of veteran players and assistant coaches and the appointments of new offensive and defensive coordinators.
“We’ve kind of had a motto we’ve been saying around here for the last couple of months – ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,’” said Smart, starting his fourth year at the helm. “And we’ve gone with that because we need to be challenged, and we need to be focused on challenging good players, challenging players that are young, challenging players who just got here.”
Perhaps two of the bigger changes in the program involve familiar faces in new roles. When former defensive coordinator Mel Tucker departed for the head coaching job at Colorado, Smart tabbed Dan Lanning, who spent the year before as the Bulldogs’ outside linebackers coach, for the job. Glenn Schumann, who coaches inside linebackers, was named co-defensive coordinator.
And when offensive coordinator Jim Chaney left in January for a similar job at Tennessee, James Coley – who has been on the staff since Kirby signed on in 2016 – was appointed Chaney’s successor.
“I had a lot of confidence in Dan, and in Glenn even last year,” said Smart. “I know how much Dan and Glenn are in the game-planning process. … Coley has been a coordinator, and I’ve known him for a long time, and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
Tuesday also marked the first time when more than a dozen recent enrollees practiced as Bulldogs.
“The early enrollees have been a very impressive group from the standpoint of work ethic,” said Smart.
Early enrollees who will be unable to practice this spring include linebacker Rian Davis, tight end Ryland Goede and linebacker Trezmen Marshall.
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