I’m not sure we’ve ever heard anything similar said about another Georgia coach:
On one of his days down in the Sunshine State to visit recruits before National Signing Day on Feb. 1, Coley was on a small plane heading into Jacksonville en route to Miami. According to Jeff Pond, the defensive coordinator at Mater Academy – Coley’s eventual destination to visit prospect Latavious Brini – the aircraft was shifted off target during descent.
It created a difficult situation for the pilot, having to suddenly pull up and restart the descent into Jacksonville. While it was a scary situation and could have resulted in a bad outcome for Coley, he didn’t let it deter him from his duties.
He and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker made their way to Hialeah, Florida and Coley began speaking in Haitian Creole to Brini, who is of Haitian descent. From then on, both Pond and Brini saw the dedication from the Bulldogs’ key recruiter and it was those final efforts that landed the Florida defensive back.
Recruiting is an area that has been boosted by the addition of head coach Kirby Smart and his staff to Georgia’s program. That has been the case, especially in his first full off-season in which the Bulldogs landed a top-three recruiting class in 2017. But Coley has played an equal role as Smart has on the recruiting trail as his background has essentially opened up a new pipeline.
Not only is Coley’s focus on his own position group, but he has used his experiences with high school coaches around the Miami area to enhance the program’s future at any position possible.
Haitian Creole and Miami. As long as there’s major talent coming out of South Florida and Coley can tap into it, he’s good for Athens, regardless of how well we think he’s doing on the coaching side. Speaking of which, it might be a good time to remind everyone that his immediate predecessor was new to the job.
It’s one thing for a coach to talk on the recruiting trail and give players promises for playing time and numerous other things, but Coley has shown that those assurances can be kept.
That has displayed through a former Georgia player who worked under the coaching styles of both Bryan McClendon and Coley. Isaiah McKenzie brought a skill set to Athens in his three seasons before opting to head to the NFL. In his junior campaign, he was used increasingly under the direction of Coley as 73.3 percent of his receptions came in his final season at Georgia, in which he produced as the team’s leading receiver.
McKenzie saw a difference in the two coaches, and believes Coley’s brought a different kind of benefit to the offensive success.
“Coach Coley brought a lot of energy and positivity to the program,” he said. “Those two traits turned the receiving corps around completely. He encouraged us to be to each other and to have a positive outlook on the game of football as well as life in general. He puts his heart into coaching and teaching us. the energy speaks for itself.”
Just like Coley, McClendon was a good recruiter, but I have to say he didn’t show much in his only season as Georgia’s receivers position coach. Has Coley been an improvement? It’s hard to say, coaching wise, as one year on the job is a little unfair to both in making that assessment. But Haitian Creole and that South Florida pipeline…