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Kirby Smart key values on display in 2022 coaching staff
It took nearly two months after Dan Lanning first left to become the head coach at Oregon, but we finally know what Georgia’s 2022 coaching staff is set to look like. The Bulldogs announced the hiring of Chidera Uzo-Diribe as the outside linebackers coach.
While there are still some jobs elsewhere that must be filled — Michigan has offensive and defensive coordinator openings while Auburn may or may not be looking for a head coach in the coming days — we can safely say Georgia coach Smart has assembled the staff he wants to help mold next season’s team.
As far as replacing Lanning at defensive coordinator, Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp will share co-defensive coordinator duties. As it stands, Muschamp holds the special teams coordinator while Schumann doubles as the inside linebackers coach. You can expect both the likely receiver greater compensation with their additional responsibilities.
Uzo-Diribe will take over a talented room with Nolan Smith and Robert Beal both returning. He’ll need to replace the two via recruiting while also developing incoming signees in Marvin Jones Jr., Darris Smith and CJ Madden. Uzo-Diribe will have big shoes to fill in replacing Lanning, but the latter was a similarly unknown commodity when Smart hired him from Memphis prior to the 2018 season. We know that hire proved to be a great one.
Related: Georgia football announces Chidera Uzo-Diribe as new outside linebackers coach
Georgia defensive line coach Tray Scott and defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae will return with both having to replace some key players. They each helped bring in a strong recruiting haul at their respective positions. But Scott must replace three potential first-round picks while Lewis Cine and Derion Kendrick are off to the NFL in the defensive backfield. What’s more, is that Addae will go through spring practice with only four scholarship cornerbacks.
On the offensive side of the ball, Georgia seems to have weathered the storm in hopes of retaining offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Only two NFL franchises have no hired head coaches in the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints. Coordinator hires must still be made but unless the right situation is offered to Monken — play-calling duties while working with a trusted quarterback — it seems like Georgia will retain the offensive mind who helped engineer an offense that averaged 38.6 points per game last season.
To date, the only offensive staff change has been replacing Cortez Hankton with Bryan McClendon. The former is now at LSU, while Georgia plucked the latter from Miami. McClendon has coached at Georgia before and has worked with Muschamp and offensive analyst Mike Bobo before. Much of McClendon’s early success at Georgia will be judged by how well he recruits the wide receiver position for the Bulldogs.
“I’m big on fit. Does someone fit the culture we are trying to create? We don’t look at a lot of things that people on the outside world look at,” Smart said. “I look at, can they make our staff better, can they make our players better, do they fit our culture. He checked the box, was the best fit, and wants to be here. That’s important to me and what we create at Georgia.”
Bobo’s return to Georgia is a strong addition to the support staff. He spent last season as the Auburn offensive coordinator and reportedly turned down on-field opportunities to work at Georgia. While some might be worried about Bobo calling plays, that won’t be happening as he’s in an off-field capacity. He’ll help coach the coaches as an analyst for the Bulldogs while building off his many connections in the state of Georgia as a recruiter.
Related: Recent offensive hires made by Kirby Smart show what he wants next for Georgia football
Todd Hartley, Matt Luke and Dell McGee all return to helm their respective positions. Hartley has quickly become one of the top position coaches in the country as Brock Bowers quickly became one of the best players in the country. He signed Oscar Delp in the 2022 recruiting cycle and holds two commitments from tight ends in the 2023 cycle.
Luke will have to find replacements for Jamaree Sayer and Justin Shaffer. He’ll have a number of promising young players to turn to, with the offensive line having the chance to be even better next season.
McGee will be a name to follow in the coming weeks depending on how the Auburn situation with Bryan Harsin shakes out. McGee is an Auburn alum and unlike Harsin has strong ties to the SEC and the state of Georgia. Some might think it is a big leap for McGee to go from running backs coach to SEC head coach. But McGee has long been one of Smart’s most important assistants. Factor in the success of forming Georgia assistant Sam Pittman at Arkansas, and McGee’s name will gain traction at Auburn in the event the Tigers make a change.