Even if I don’t understand it, I like it.

Emerson is reporting that Mike Ekeler, who coached the linebackers at Southern California last year, will indeed join Georgia’s defensive staff.

He certainly seems qualified and has received some ringing endorsements, but I am admittedly puzzled by two things.

First, why the wait?  It’s not like he was employed somewhere else.  The only thing I can figure on that front is that it gave Richt an excuse to use some of the GA’s to recruit and that he felt he was getting more mileage out of them than he would have with someone who would have shown up for the last week of recruiting.  Still, that means crossing your fingers that recruits won’t be bothered by not knowing who their position coach would be on signing day.

Which brings me to point two.  Apparently Ekeler will coach the inside linebackers.  Where that leaves the remaining defensive position coaching duties is a puzzler as well.

It’s unclear how Ekeler’s hiring will affect the rest of the defensive coaching duties. All that Richt has announced for sure is that new assistant Tracy Rocker will coach the defensive linemen and Will outside linebackers. That leaves Kevin Sherrer’s duties at least publicly undefined, as well as new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, whose background is coaching the secondary. Pruitt said when he was hired he would coach the secondary, but that was before the staff had two more vacancies.

None of this is meant to be critical.  Richt evidently has a plan in mind for his defensive staff.  Sherrer strikes me as a coach who is flexible when it comes to coaching duties, so I expect Richt and Pruitt know what they’re doing and where they want everyone deployed.  It’s just sounds like it’s going to look a little different from what we’ve been accustomed to.  Given how the last few years have gone on that side of the ball, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


UPDATE:  It’s official.  Here’s the new division of labor:

Ekeler will coach the inside linebackers.

Kevin Sherrer, who has simply been called a defensive assistant since his hire, will coach the “Sam” linebackers and the “Star” nickel back position.

Tracy Rocker will coach the defensive line and the “Will” linebackers.

New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is coaching the secondary.

Hybrid assignments all over the place.  Maybe this is the new paradigm for defenses that shift in game between a 3-4 and a 4-3.



Filed under Georgia Football

21 responses to “Even if I don’t understand it, I like it.

  1. 69Dawg

    If he is going to coach ILB’s and Rocker is picking up the WLB’s are the SIB’s just going to coach themselves??? Maybe our coach has decided to break a paradigm and have the coaches coach functions not just positions. WLB rushes so he is coached by the DL coach. MIB and SIB drop into coverage so maybe they get coached by the DB coach. Who knows, In Richt we trust.


  2. William

    Is it possible Ekler will be more over Special Teams (he was a ST stand out at K-State) as ILB have more cut and dry assignments? Meaning Coaching the ILB won’t take up so much of his time that he couldn’t do both? I don’t know, just curious.


  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    We won’t know anything, really until about the second quarter of the Clemmons game…then, I hope, we are all giggling in our Macallan…or Black Bush as the case may be.

    Welcome to the Doldrums.


  4. law dawg

    Now that it’s official, it appears that Sherrer and Ekeler have the smallest dedicated coaching responsibilities. Perhaps we’ll see both of them also pick up a focus on special teams (co-special teams coordinators?).


  5. Trbodawg

    To my mind, the defensive philosophy will be less linear and more cloud based. Instead of a line of downlinemen, a line of line backers, and a line of last defense, we’ll have overlapping zones of control. Like a Ven diagram


    • The Lone Stranger

      Venn, zen …. whatever the defensive staff cobbles together to create something cohesive and effective I’ll get behind, by gum.


  6. Spike

    Tackle better. Is Swann gone yet?


  7. David K

    That’s one goofy ass way to divide up coaching duties. Especially since you normally see linebackers cross train at Sam/Mike or Mike/Will. Regardless, Pruitt deserves the benefit of the doubt. I like what Trbodawg says above. Certainly makes reading a defense tougher if when the defense functions as an amoeba and everyone is fast.


  8. Macallanlover

    Could there have been a clause in someone’s contract that meant money if they had not accepted a new position before NSD? It sounded like Ekeler was happy with the UGA job, just waiting until an official decision was made. And it certainly doesn’t seem to be anything Richt or Pruitt had concerns about regarding Ekeler’s abilities. Otherwise, I am with you Senator, it seems strange to me. I am OK with however they divide responsibilities for defense and STs, has to be better than what we saw last year.


    • Ugacrazy

      I have heard that the GA’s C. Robinson and D. Inman were doing a nice job recruitung and they did not want to hire the coach because that would have taken the GA’s off of the recruiting trail…. Plus CME has no real connection to the south’s HS coaches so what good would have come from him recruiting for a week or two…. He hasn’t had the opportunity to make connections yet.


      • Macallanlover

        I agree from the recruiting standpoint but wouldn’t Ekeler be rated as a “net positive” with an announcement before signing day? It didn’t hurt us as it turns out, but it seems making an announcement and taking away the mystery would have been better. No harm, no foul I suppose.


  9. I don’t think it’s a strange way to divy things up. In a world where 3-4s are defending against spread variants, I think Sam and Star are sort of cousins. They don’t do precisely the same thing, but they both do spend a good deal of time in coverage (moreso for Star), need to be able to tackle well in space, and need some ability to make plays downfield as well as at the line of scrimmage.


  10. anon

    “None of this is meant to be critical”—no need to explain Katherine. We get what you saying


  11. hassan

    If you think only in terms of 3-4 vs. 4-3 or LB vs. OL, then it doesn’t make sense at all. On the other hand, if you think more in terms of strong side vs. weak side and rush vs. drop, then it makes perfect sense.


  12. Normaltown Mike

    I’m Ek-cited! I don’t mind If the coaches are Sherr-ing positions as long as the D is ready to Rocker and roll come August.

    The new DC is a Pru-ven winner!