Athens — New Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said today that Rodney Garner, the only holdover from the Bulldogs’ previous defensive staff, will coach the nose tackle and defensive end positions.
“As we move forward, that would be what he would do,” Grantham said.
Garner coached defensive tackles in Georgia’s former 4-3 defense, but the team will convert to a 3-4 — three down linemen and four linebackers rather than vice versa — under Grantham. Garner also is Georgia’s recruiting coordinator.
Grantham spoke highly of Garner, whom he had not met until this week.
“I think Rodney is a very passionate guy,” Grantham said. “He’s been here at the University of Georgia and they’ve had success, and I think if you look at where he has been before, they’ve had success there. I think Rodney has value, and I look forward to working with him and letting him help our defense. I really look forward to that.”
With the hiring of Grantham from the Dallas Cowboys as defensive coordinator and Scott Lakatos from the University of Connecticut as secondary coach, one opening remains on Georgia’s defensive staff. Coach Mark Richt fired three defensive coaches last month.
The current plan is to fill the remaining opening with an additional linebackers coach, said Grantham, who also plans to coach that position.
“It’s not etched in stone right now,” Grantham said, “but [the final hire] is probably going to be a linebackers coach. . . . That’s kind of the direction we’re heading right now.”
As for a timetable on making that hire, Grantham said: “I think we’re very flexible on it. It could be soon; it could be late. I think as [Richt] and I talk over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to get the right guy in here so that we can have a solid staff from a teaching standpoint. Because I think teaching is very critical.”
If an additional linebackers coach is hired, that person would coach either the inside or outside linebackers, with Grantham coaching the other. Grantham said he has no preference between coaching the inside or outside ‘backers.
Lakatos said today that Richt told him special-teams coaching assignments would be sorted out after the staff is complete and recruiting is finished.
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