And another meme bites the dust.

Anybody up for a round of “why don’t Georgia’s coaches get offers from other places”?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Multiple media reports Wednesday night have defensive line coach Chris Wilson (leaving for USC) and inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti (going back to the Washington Redskins, where he previously spent 11 seasons as an assistant) joining defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and secondary coach Scott Lakatos as departures from Mark Richt’s staff within the last week.

My bet is that this doesn’t come as a complete shock.  Richt’s comment at yesterday’s presser about the future of Wilson and Olivadotti at Georgia – “Yeah, right now, if they want to,” Richt said at the late morning news conference. “And as of right now, I think they want to.” – wasn’t exactly what I would call definitively phrased.

Both coaches were well thought of and I thought both did a good job last season, so more power to them if they want to move on.  Really, this does present Pruitt with what I would think any incoming coordinator would prefer, a chance to populate his staff with the guys of his choosing.  (As an aside, Pruitt will be the first defensive coordinator under Richt who wasn’t asked to keep Rodney Garner on staff when he came on board.)  And there are already rumors swirling that Pruitt’s closing in on his first hire.

There’s no reason to think Pruitt’s new team won’t be in place before spring practice, so the bigger short term concern is whether Georgia has enough bodies on the recruiting trail to finish things out in the three weeks leading up to signing day.  Luckily, there aren’t that many targets left on Georgia’s board to chase.


Filed under Georgia Football

99 responses to “And another meme bites the dust.

  1. Careful Brad

    What ESPN calls an opportunity for Pruitt to build his own staff the AJC calls “The mass exodus comes at the end of a season in which Georgia finished in the bottom half of the SEC in almost every defensive category except for rush defense.”

    I guess when you have a narrative to stick to you need to find a way to make a great hire seem like a problem in the program.

    • Go Dawgs!

      Both are true. While Wilson did a good job this year and Olivadotti probably did too, it doesn’t hurt my feelings much to start with a clean slate. There was a time when I didn’t cringe every time Georgia’s defense took the field. I hope that time will return one day.

    • You could also spin it as Richt has lost control of his staff with the everyone will be back, then Lakatos gone, Grantham back, nope he’s gone, well Wilson and Olivadotti can stay, um not them either. Either Richt is being coy with the media and keeping things close to the vest, or there’s a communication issue emerging, or narratives gonna narrate.

  2. Lorenzo Dawgriguez

    +1 ,Brad
    Once there was a horse race between an American horse and a Russian horse. The American horse won. The headline in Pravda was “Gallant Russian steed finishes second, American horse was next to last”. Being on the AJC sports staff must be the easiest job in the world……take what others write on the web and spin it to generate hits.

    • DiscoBiscuit904

      The AJC is a joke. I did read it to try to stay current on the happenings around Athens and Atlanta once I moved to Jacksonville but, Jeeeezzzus, the frustration. The AJC is dead to me except for when it is referenced here at GTP.

      • Irwin R Fletcher

        You mean the Dunwoody Journal and Constitution? Poor Henry Grady…they left him all alone on Marietta Street…but the rumor is they left him an offering. They buried their journalistic standards under the statue as tribute.

  3. Bummed about Wilson as I thought the play of the DL (and its rotation) was fantastic this year.

    • gastr1

      Me too, on both counts.

    • When I heard this news last night, I wasn’t bothered about it at all. In fact, for a number of reasons, it’s a good development, as you guys have pointed out.

      I thought the play of the DL (and its rotation) was fantastic this year.

      So did I and, like you, was very pleased not only to see the rotation, but to see it pay off as those guys developed as the season went on. It’s the only rotation we saw under Grantham, and that came from Wilson’s insistence.

      Wilson did a great job, no question. And it would have been great if he stayed on. Olivadotti, I’m not sure about at all. I sure wasn’t happy with the play of his unit, I know that. But how much of that was Grantham, and how much was Olivadotti, is just hard to say.

      To be honest, I was kinda hoping Olivadotti would leave, and we could get somebody fresh for the ILB’s. Wilson, I can easily live with, provided we get somebody just as good.

  4. Best of luck to Wilson and Coach O. Both did a great job, and we owe them nothing less than a big helping of gratitude for their efforts. And best wishes for Coach O with his daughter’s health. I hope these moves work out for both these guys.

    My initial preference was to retain both, but I guess the chance for Pruitt to build his own staff isn’t a bad option either. I think we’ll be ok on recruiting, at least the remaining coaches can speak as to who will be calling the shots on D, what the scheme will be, etc. I’d argue it may be easier to recruit with a respected DC and no position coaches in place than to have all 3 position coaches in place but no DC.

  5. Dawg in Austin

    He’s also got to keep the guys we have committed too, and Wilson was involved with recruiting a few of the big names. It’s not an easy task to do all of this alone, to say the least, but I guess we’re about to see how hard a worker Pruitt is on the recruiting trail.

    • From what I’ve read, most of our top D commits were actually primarily recruited by guys on the offensive side of the ball. Lamont Gaillard is the notable exception, I think that was a strong relationship built by Wilson. Of course, he did get a UGA tattoo, though Reuben Foster proved that doesn’t always mean much. He’s the main current commit that I worry about losing strictly due to the staff turnover.

      • Cojones

        You are probably aware that Lamont signed yesterday. Right?

        • RandallPinkFloyd

          According to who? He’s going on an official with da U next weekend.

          • Cojones

            Thought it was Rivals or Scout, but going back didn’t help just now. It may have been a satellite story to the Pruitt story on another site. The gist of it was that his coach was quoted as he hadn’t changed his mind about UGA. It was accompanied with a picture of Gaillard with both arms crossed in the most colorful uniform I’ve ever seen. Had Pine Forest on his chest and he spoke of having “Georgia” tattooed on his right arm and “Bulldog” on his left arm. Couldn”t see the tattoo in the shadows (could have been an older photo). The article went on to say he had been downgraded from 5 to 4 stars(after a bad exhibition game) and it was because he was out of shape (up to 310-315).His coach confirmed it and Malkom Parrish was now the leading athlete in our class.Lamont signed to end speculation and to start getting into shape again.

            When I find it , I’ll get back. Anyway, Richt and Pruitt are in his home this morning.

            • Cojones

              My apologies:
              1. Richt and WILSON were going to be in his home(but now we know that isn’t so)
              2. Read several articles about Lamont yesterday and assimilated in the wrong context from the headline of one.
              – AJC’s article had the photo and that uniform doesn’t have “Pine Forest” on the front (Under Armour uni)
              -AJC headline referred to “inks his loyalty to UGA” and that was about his tattoos.
              -His coach says everyone has pretty much left him alone because they know he is solid with UGA
              -Lamont said he hasn’t changed his mind with TG leaving

              My bad and thanks for challenging, especially since your info doesn’t depend pretty much on Dawgbone articles like mine leads me.

              Guess I’ll have to ease up on the “two-toke” stuff and lay it aside when scouring for info. Once again, my apologies.

            • Dawg in Austin

              Unless you’re an early entry (which Lamont is not), no one signs until signing day. And although the tat and immediate visit helps, he will still require a lot of ongoing attention. I believe Wilson and Coach O were involved with a few others as well. Pruitt has a lot on his plate right now with these staff departures, hence my concern.

  6. Mudcats Impala...

    good chance that Charles Kelly from FSU follows Pruitt to Athens. He was OLB Coach(same as Olivadotti)& Special Teams Coordinator at FSU… He was at gt for 7 years before going to FSU…

    • CarlVonDawgwitz

      Mudcat, I hope you are right. There are two reasons I can see him leaving FSU: 1) He is past over for FSU’s DC job 2) Money. If he gets the DC job, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sal Sunseri contacts Pruitt. This past season Kelly was making approx. $275M at FSU. I’m thinking $375M would get him here. Sunseri is only making approx. $198M ( apparently when he left UT, they still owed him $1.84MM through 2015 – so why not take a decrease and coach at a hot school). We just need to make sure that we give Bmac and Ball good increases based on the job they did this past season.

    • Will (the other one)

      Kelly was one of the only good recruiters at the NATS and I think has a good track record in metro Atlanta (which is an area it would behoove us to lock down as best we can too.)

  7. I wonder if Coach Grantham is smiling over his raise or frowning about not having better success while at Georgia? I kinda feel that wee Willie got a bit of a bum rap there. Just goes to show that uT fans aren’t the only ones that can get carried away. Yikes! Did I just compare part of the Georgia Nation to the Hillbillies? Sorry guys.

    • Dawg19

      Is it just me or is it odd that Grantham didn’t try to bring any of his staff with him? Or more odd that none seemingly wanted to go with him? Just like with the players, the silence is deafening.

      • Hackerdog

        Grantham hired his brother to coach ILBs at Louisville. With Lakatos out for personal reasons, that really only leaves Wilson to consider poaching.

        • Governor Milledge

          Lakatos left for ‘personal reasons’ but also stated that he wanted to coach in the next football season. You read between the lines on that one

      • Slaw Dawg

        Yeah, I had the same thought. That’s why I say when you get a new CEO or other boss, you want him/her to bring at least some folks from their past with them, because that means they know how to earn loyalty. But I can also tell you that any lawyer worth his salt will work into an employment contract a post-employment clause restricting solicitation of remaining employees. Not that I’m convinced that lawyers representing athletic departments are any match for those who represent desirable coaches–see for example (1) ridiculous post termination for poor performance payouts to any number of coaches, and (2) re-recruiting of high schoolers already committed to former employers by snakes like Kiffy and Franklin.

        • Now, just who was the unnamed asst. coach at FSU that Seth Emerson tweeted as saying he was sick to his stomach that Pruitt left because he loved working with Pruitt? Maybe he is immediately available, assuming he was a D asst.

    • “I kinda feel that wee Willie got a bit of a bum rap there.”

      So I take it you aren’t familiar with his work since he’s left town?

  8. Macallanlover

    Live by the sword, get wounded by the sword. Nothing to do but wish them both well because they did what we brought them in to do and we should want them to pursue happiness. I would like to think we handle their loss in a classier manner than the FSU boards did the last two days. I feel optimistic about this though, Pruitt should be a magnet for talented, young up and comers to hitch their wagon to. Good luck to Coach O and Chris Wilson in their new assignments.

    • Cojones

      You caught the FSU fanbase angst. I’m almost schocked by my FSU friends who told me that they don’t like this at all. Called my old friend last night who played for FSU (and Raiders) who is a big friend of Bowdin, FSU Pres. and always an admirer of Richt (“the class of CFB coaching”) and UGA (he almost played for us). His wife told me he was working in his shop and would call back as soon as he finished. Three hours later he called just as I was about to see if something was wrong. He always is upbeat when we discuss both teams, but it took 15 mins to inform him that Friend had called Pruitt, not Richt, to see if he was interested. He made the point that if a coach on a NC team takes a lateral, it must be pretty important to him as to whom he is going to work for (and mo’ money). He says the fan base is riled and as I stated earlier, he’s an upbeat guy. Even though we got back to the positive points for the move, he wasn’t in his usual mood. He was glad we had talked, but told me that other Seminoles won’t even discuss it.

      Yes. They are angry.

  9. Gravidy

    If I were Pruitt, I would MUCH rather have the opportunity to fill out my staff as I saw fit. From his point of view, this is a no-brainer. And I would argue this offers the best chance of success for the defense over the long term. My only concern about it is it probably isn’t the best way to hold the current recruiting class together.

    • Will (the other one)

      Yeah, it’s better for Pruitt, but it was the two coaches that did the best jobs on D.
      Interior rush d was massively improved this year over last year, even without any NFL-ready 350 lb NTs. Wilson was a massive upgrade over Garner for us.
      And interior LB was solid, plus any good thing that happened on special teams (like the onside vs. SCar) apparently came from Coach O.

      Can we snatch Belin back from Wake Forrest now? That or poaching Charles Kelly and Sal Sunseri from FSU would be a great D staff.
      No clue on the Dline coach options, but if anything, Wilson proved you don’t have to be a 3-4 guy to be good at coaching a 3-4 D-line.

      • Cojones

        I was surprised about Wilson since it had been printed that while at Bama, USC had gotten in touch with him and he had turned them down (even after Bo Davis left USC for the Bama job that Wilson had interviewed .

      • If there were coaches “blowing up” Richt’s phone on Sunday for the DC position, there is no reason to think that both Pruitt and Richt aren,t both getting a bunch of phone calls from very highly qualified candidates as of right now. Recruiting will have to take precedence, I suppose, but I don’t think it’s going to be very long until those positions are filled by excellent coaches. Mmmmomentum!

  10. Gravidy

    I agree with your statement about them being the two best coaches on defense. I don’t want to sound like I didn’t like them. I did, but I just think the best way for Pruitt to be successful is to allow him to hire his own staff. Furthermore, I assume if Pruitt was really enthusiastic about keeping them, they may have been more likely to stay. I don’t buy the notion that they were both told they were wanted on staff and then both left within hours.

  11. Irishdawg

    Is Belin at Wake now? Really? Oh dear Lord, hire that guy back.

    I hate seeing both these coaches go, because I thought they did a good job this year, particularly Wilson.

  12. Moe Pritchett

    keep hearing Sunseri and Kelly…hmm…with the Nole fans already in turmoil about Pruitt, if those two leave then Tally would be en fuego.

    • Will (the other one)

      I don’t know, the other night I braved a TN comment thread and can’t imagine them getting more irate…unless they turn into Tech fans.

  13. 3rdandGrantham

    As an aside, the rumors coming out about why Pruitt left FSU are somewhat concerning. Hopefully Pruitt’s alleged irresponsible lifestyle calms down quick, or we might have a Petrino like mess on our hands.

    • JR

      haven’t seem them, curious as to what they are? ..even if they’re unfounded, it helps the work day go by and makes for good water cooler talk.

      • 3rdandGrantham

        A radio host out of Jville touched on it yesterday, but Pruitt is divorced and now engaged to a 23 year old. Allegedly Pruitt loves the ladies and has had several affairs, including with a woman that works in the AD. Thus, his fiancee has demanded they leave Tally in order to put all of that behind them.

        It could be all b.s., but I will say that if a divorced, soon to be 40 year old is engaged to a 23 year old, that doesn’t exactly scream normal to me.

        • Irishdawg

          It screams magnificent bastard to me, but opinions vary.

          • Will (the other one)

            Yeah. Making half a million/year and living in a college town…guy has options most of us do not. It’s not a great age difference (I’m 34 and wouldn’t want to date anyone under 25 in most cases) but it’s not Jerry Lee Lewis or Ted Nugent territory. (Or Joaquin Phoenix, who is Pruitt’s age and apparently dating a 19-year old.)

    • Bullshit analogy. Regardless of their validity, these are rumors about a single guy who hasn’t put anyone on the FSU payroll.

      Ask yourself something – did you hear anything similar about Pruitt when he was at Alabama?

      • 3rdandGrantham

        Not really. Most, particularly the media who flame this stuff, were far more concerned about Petrino actually having an affair (and covering it up) than anything else. The fact that she was on the payroll as well came out later and was basically the icing on the cake at that point. And the context of my post was not in relation to him being single, but if/when he gets married and such.

        As for Alabama…we’re talking Alabama here, were countless things get covered up. Either way, the whole thing is b.s. anyway, though it does give me a bit of pause when I read that a soon to be 40 year old is engaged to someone who basically is of college age.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          quick correction…probably is b.s.

        • Petrino was married when he had his “affair”. Big difference.

          • 3rdandGrantham

            Right. See the last sentence of the first paragraph; I’m looking down the road a bit to if/when they get married, in which hopefully he’ll calm down a bit. Allegedly of course, as again the entire thing could be total bunk.

            • I get you looking down the road. I’m just saying Petrino is an irrelevant comparison for more than one reason.

              • 3rdandGrantham

                Fair enough…we’ll agree to disagree here. Again I’ll simply say that a 40 year old divorcee marrying a 23 year old alone would give me a bit of pause if I’m CMR, ADGM, UGA HR, etc., coupled with rumors that are (unfounded or otherwise) out there. Of course that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have a messy, public affair down the road by any stretch to deal with, but the odds most likely are higher than your more typical relationships among staff members.

                Love the blog—thanks, and keep up the great work.

                • I would assume MR did some vetting before the hire – he alluded to that in the presser. Also, don’t forget that Friend vouched for Pruitt, as well as Bobo and McClendon. I also would assume if a guy is a major horndog, that’s something that gets noticed by his peers, especially on the road.

                  Thanks for the blog praise. Always appreciated.

                • No One Knows You're a Dawg

                  “marrying a 23 year old ”

                  Look, everyone says Pruitt relates well to young people . . .

        • Hackerdog

          I consider a 23 year-old to be an adult. So a 39 year-old man marrying a 23 year-old woman gets nothing but a “well done” from me.

          • 3rdandGrantham

            So if you had a 23 year old sister or daughter, and she came to you one day and said she’s dating a soon to be 40 year old who is also divorced, you’d say ‘well done’ to her, wish her luck and wouldn’t have any trepidation whatsoever? Interesting.

            • Dawgfan Will

              I would always have trepidation about anyone my daughter dated. An age difference would be something to consider, but it would not be anywhere near the top of the list. Of course, I have both a male and a female friend who each married someone 15 years older than them.

              • My father at 51 married my step-mother when she was 36 and they had a good and happy marriage until the day he died. Now, 36 isn’t 23, but age does not always have to be a factor, especially if she is a superior and mature 23. Haven’t met her, don’t know…but it’s not my business nor anyone’s except the two of them.

            • BMan

              If my sister was engaged to a 39 year old that makes $850k that might make it a little easier to think about.

              Really, I don’t care, I was just poking the bear a little.

            • Tim

              Im once divorced and married to a beautiful woman 17 years younger than me. Not only is it a fantastic relationship, her family and mine couldn’t be happier for us. Age difference between two adults is irrelevant.

            • AlphaDawg

              If he’s a good guy fully capable of providing for her i’d have zero reservations.

            • Hackerdog

              There are two different factors at work. The fact that he’s divorced and the fact that he’s older than she is. The first would give me pause. The second wouldn’t.

          • WF Dawg

            Isn’t the rule half your age plus 7? That’s what I’ve always heard.

            • Normaltown Mike

              Not past a certain age, IMHO.

              I live in the ATH and all my single friends say that the dating range for non-college students is anyone else who is not in college. This may not be the case in ATL, but up here, everyone that is out of college is lumped together.

        • My brother and sister in law were in exact situation and they had 5 children all physicians. A much better family as it turned out than most.

          • Cojones

            All you gossipy Dawgs are gonna look like shit when she turns out to be our D-line Coach.

            I read that she accompanied him to the team meeting where she was introduced to everyone. Doesn’t sound very sordid to me. Can’t wait for her to meet the green-eyed staff wives. My advice to her is tell’um that she’s 40 and had such a great facelift that you can’t even see the scars on close inspection. If she was at Bama, she could tell everyone she’s his younger sister. They probably wouldn’t blink an eye.

            • Cojones

              A couple of fake C-section scars at the top of her bikini bottom will help her when they all have a lake party. Put some nasty stiches there to similate an unprofessional job; – that would really get the tongues wagging.

  14. sUGArdaddy

    Eh, most guys marry younger the second time around. Just the way it is with us men.

    I did listen to the radio interview. I was just thinking, “This guy better be right because it’s some pretty libelous (is that a word, lawyer folks?). I trust Mark Richt. If he’s proven anything in 13 years, it’s that we can trust him.

    I also don’t think Bobo and Friend would have encouraged him to bring someone on that was gonna be a dumpster fire.

  15. diving duck

    Continuity is good for Georgia.

  16. Well two more bite the dust. I know we have been saying this an awful lot lately but………Your welcome Dawg Nation!

  17. W Cobb Dawg

    “…the bigger short term concern is whether Georgia has enough bodies on the recruiting trail to finish things out in the three weeks leading up to signing day. Luckily, there aren’t that many targets left on Georgia’s board to chase.”

    With 16 verbals and anticipated class of 23-24, it seems to me we still have 1/3 of our spots to fill. And not much time to do it. I think whatever staff we have available is gonna have to bust ass to finish strong.

    • Dead period just ended. I suspect (based on nothing but the way things seem to roll) that Richt/Pruitt will announce at least one hire by close of business tomorrow. Then we are only one body short. Any hit to recruiting due to one less body will be outweighed by the addition of Pruitt and his first hire. IMHO.

    • The expected number of spots, according to Kipp Adams and Radi Nabulsi, was in the 19-21 range, with guaranteed spots for Carter and Mc Millan, should they choose UGA.

  18. Macallanlover

    You folks are all sweating over next to nothing. No way a 39 year old man with a brand new, 23 year old is going to get into trouble before his time at UGA is up. I only hope we keep him long enough to have him getting tired of all those new gadgets and get involved in a scandal. That will occur when he is a head coach somewhere and has a Harley, not a scooter.

    • Dog in Fla

      39 and 23 – Rush Probst and Jenn Bielema like this!

      • Macallanlover

        And I still like the Eagles (not this particular version). If Jeremy takes the niece to an Eagles’ concert he is a lock to get lucky. They are in Atlanta next month. (Don’t forget the magic pill Jeremy.)

        • Dog in Fla

          It looks as if they did this one in slow motion which is surprising because it seemed that all they wanted to do was finish and get to the after-party at an adult congregate living facility.

  19. 69Dawg

    I was hoping that Wilson and Coach O would stay. I think the only troublesome thing about CJP is he has not had to hire a whole staff. I’m not sure 1. that older Asst Coaches want to work for a new guy or 2 that he can evaluate D coaches he does not know personally. Here’s hoping I’m wrong on both points.

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