Maybe it wasn’t about the money.

This little tidbit reported by Marc Weiszer makes me wonder if there was some subtle writing on the wall that Rodney Garner chose to interpret in a way that made leaving for the Plains more attractive:

Richt said he has not made a decision on whether he’ll name someone as recruiting coordinator, a role that Garner had.

“I don’t even know if we’ll need to do that,” Richt said. “I’ll be debating and trying 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 going to be taken care of, things that need to get done administratively.”

Georgia hired Daryl Jones to a newly created position of director of on-campus recruiting last May.

“Things were already starting to change when we brought Daryl in, and lightening Rodney’s load, basically,” Richt said. “It is a tough job for a guy to do that full-time and coach.”

That’s thoughtful.  Except if you’re Garner, you don’t want the recruiting load lightened.  Sure, he’s put more than his fair share of defensive linemen in the pros, but, the reality is that much of his worth as a college assistant stems from his prowess on the recruiting trail.  Making him just another guy on the team isn’t necessarily in his best interest, and if Malzahn promised Garner that he’d retain primacy over Auburn’s recruiting process, perhaps that was enough to tip the scales.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

14 responses to “Maybe it wasn’t about the money.

  1. Go Dawgs!

    It really does seem like UGA wasn’t too upset about the prospect of Garner leaving this time around. In fact, it seems like they have been planning for it for a few years. I wish him happiness and success in the future (when he’s not playing or recruiting against Georgia, that is) and thank him for 15 years of outstanding service to the University of Georgia. That said, I definitely have a feeling of peace about his departure given that Georgia barely appears to have done anything to stop it. I would love to somehow get the real inside story of Garner’s relationships with the coordinators over the years…


    • AthensHomerDawg

      I thought the same thing. There was much gnashing of the teeth by the Hijo-Eeyore dogs over his departure. Not so much from our HC. Was CRG’s recruiting acumen slipping or was his DL coaching not up to CTG standards? Or both? One always hears that recruiting is the heart of your program…… did we let our cardiologist slip to a rival? I think his time had come full circle. Signing day will tell I guess.


      • Go Dawgs!

        I really think that Garner was essential during the first four or five years of Richt’s tenure to build those relationships with the coaches around GA, FL, etc. and to coordinate our recruiting efforts. I think after the last few rounds of drama with Garner, though, I think Richt started to spread control of that function around a bit so it wouldn’t hurt us when Rodney finally did land a coordinator job or if he just left to go elsewhere. Georgia’s brand under Richt is already built, so having Garner in the schools is a little less important now. But we still need to make sure we’ve got a charismatic force leading the way on that sort of thing. I hate recruiting against him, but at least I know the people running our recruiting effort are doing a good job.


        • Macallanlover

          Exactly my thoughts Go Dawgs. Everything seemed to be in place for this to occur, and it was time for both parties to move on. Sounds good for him, and UGA can handle this small amount of upheaval. I see no bitterness on either side and feel both parties have said all the right things. Media is making more of it than anyone. I am confident in our ability to withstand the recruiting hit, and anxious to see who CTG brings in.


  2. Irwin R Fletcher

    I was a Garner defender on an earlier post…I think the man was a great asset to the program for 15 years and I didn’t like folks downplaying his abilities just because another rumor had surfaced about him leaving.

    Having said that, my defense was always based on that he clearly could recruit and coach because Richt kept him in that position. But what’s interesting is that we all know that Richt’s stamp of approval doesn’t necessarily mean that the coach is the long term answer at that position. (See CWM).

    Maybe Richt is finding the right balance between loyalty and keeping the staff hungry and fresh. I’m not going to nit pick on Garner (I think you could justifiably put together a list of ‘misses’ on the recruiting trail and guys that have ‘underperformed’ in Athens…but that doesn’t seem to be productive for moving forward). However, I will say that this quote from the Emerson piece makes me think that maybe Richt and Garner both saw changes coming and took steps to make sure that it was clean and beneficial for both.

    “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.”


  3. SouthGaDawg

    I don’t mind Richt’s thinking with the recruiting coordinator “position.” I am though very interested in how we fill the DL coaching position. That position seemed to have been under-coached the last few years.


  4. John Lilly

    I’m very glad to hear Mark say that. I already have enough on my plate coaching the TE position.


  5. Cojones

    “Things were already starting to change when we brought Daryl in, and lightening Rodney’s load……..” pretty much indicates that the road was being paved for Rodney’s departure and puts a couple of my questions back then to rest.

    I think that lightening the load hasn’t had the positive effect on the D line that was observed for and essentially took away his excuse for it’s perceived lower-than-expected production. Makes sense that Grantham wasn’t highly pleased and may have had words after that. “Give a guy enough rope” is a common tactic in the business world to allow someone to prove or disprove who and what they purport to be. Looks like it might have been done here where a D hangeron can influence the responsible coach’s job.

    Proof of the above conjectural pudding may be seen with the report that Big John is academically ineligible for the bowl game. That didn’t happen overnight and is fully on Rodney’s watch. Maybe it was a case of letting Rodney go before his pissing out became a full pissing in. He may have been influencing other staff and player attitudes that we have ranted about. Certainly the “lightening of the load” took some of his excuse leverage away.

    Those who give Rodney credit where credit was certainly due should consider that times, people and conditions change such that we are not speaking of the same person now based on info we were privy to then. It happens often in this world. It’s sorta like following a blogger because he unashamedly writes to your fan emotional level wheras you discover later that he is a pothead. Hell, it happens right here on this blog sometimes.


  6. Will Trane

    Well, I am all broken up about Rodney leaving.
    I was really broken up everytime I saw the D line get gutted this year on several plays this year. I was broken up in how the old ball coach ran that inside zone play with their star TB. You can be the old ball coach is broken up too. He can not wait to play Auburn.
    You can tell a lot about a man and a coach when he decides loyalty has a time line…like not waiting until after the bowl game.
    Think i have posted on this blog a few times about Rodney this season. 14 0r 15 years…UGA’s D line did not set the SEC on fire over that time.
    If Rodney is all that interested in titles, he should change professsion. Go back to school at Auburn. Get a BBA, major in money and banking, and work for a bank…they have plenty of titles to bestow on their employees.
    Plus Rodney is old. Hard for someone like him to coach and recruit at the same time.
    CMR is probably right about a recruiting coordinator position. Find the Dawgs a D line coach CMR. A young fire breathing hard charger who wants to create a name for himself and the Dawgs. Let him look at the film of the Bama game, Kentucky game, South Carolina game…you get the picture of Rodney.


  7. Will Trane

    Ask Williams about Rodney. Maybe his season comments about the D players went beyond them to coaches’ performance. Can not have your D sit on the field like they did this past season. Gardner, Searles…time to move on.


  8. I said it before: I am really glad to see Garner gone.

    Our D-line has never been dominant during his reign, and the last 4-5 years it has been particularly bad.

    So this year they lightened the load a bit and the D-line didn’t improve at all. Sounds like he’s been using his recruiting duties as a crutch to justify underperformance of the D-line.

    It always seems like there are rumblings of him causing trouble with other coaches. Sounds like locker room poison to me.


    • Will (the other one)

      If anything the D-line took a step back this season (other than the Florida game). 200 yds rushing to Tennessee and Kentucky (each!) and a lack of trustworthy depth to help us late against Bama is a big reason we aren’t SEC champions getting ready for Notre Dame today.