UGA names special-teams coaches, assigns player positions on defense (updated)

(Updated 9 p.m.)

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt has assigned special-teams coaching duties on the Bulldogs’ reconfigured staff, and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has assigned new positions to numerous defensive players.

– Coaches first: Richt said that Warren Belin will coach the kickoff-coverage team, Bryan McClendon will handle the punt return and block units, and John Lilly will coordinate special-teams meeting and practice schedules. All of those roles previously were handled by Jon Fabris, fired in December. Richt said Lilly will continue to coach the punt team and Tony Ball the kickoff-return team, as they did last season.

Georgia’s approach to kickoff coverage, as you know, has drawn much criticism the past couple of years.  Richt said Belin coached the unit for eight years at Vanderbilt. The Commodores ranked  No. 2 in the SEC and No. 29 in the nation in kickoff coverage last season, while Georgia ranked No. 12 in the SEC and No. 117 in the nation. In 2008, Georgia ranked 73rd nationally and Vandy 87th.

– Players next: Grantham disclosed some position changes as the Bulldogs transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.

On the defensive line, he  said DeAngelo Tyson and Kwame Geathers will primarily play the new nose position, with Demarcus Dobbs, Abry Jones and Brandon Wood, among others, playing end. Grantham added that Wood and other ends also can play nose. (FYI: The position is referred to simply as “nose,” not nose tackle or nose guard, in the vernacular of Grantham’s defense.)

Grantham said Justin Houston, Cornelius Washington and Montez Robinson — all defensive ends last season — and Richard Samuel, a tailback last season, will play outside linebacker.  Akeem Dent, Darryl Gamble, Marcus Dowtin and Christian Robinson will be inside linebackers.

Grantham stressed that many players will work at more than one position and that there will be ongoing position changes.

“I think it’s important that players are flexible, that they can adjust and that they can play more than one position,” Grantham said.  “I believe it’s real critical for guys to learn more than one spot to allow you to get your best players on the field.”

Said Richt: “One of the things we want the players to understand is that they shouldn’t get too worked up about the depth chart . . . because our new coaches are still learning those guys  and there probably will be some moving around. . . . Just prove you’re a football player and we’ll get you in the right spot.”

Richt said Nick Williams, who moved from safety to linebacker early last season, will return to safety.

110 comments Add your comment

branden smith

February 26th, 2010
6:41 pm


February 26th, 2010
6:42 pm

could it be? First?

branden smith

February 26th, 2010
6:42 pm


February 26th, 2010
6:42 pm

I knew Branden Smith was quick, so I am not surprised!

branden smith

February 26th, 2010
6:42 pm

sorry rome. im the man

SD Dawgs

February 26th, 2010
6:47 pm

Gonna be interesting seeing guys like Justin Houston at LB. I know the 3-4 is different and the outside guys line up like ends, but when I hear linebacker I just think if a guy that is a bit smaller than a defensive end. Houston’s a decent sized kid. Also excited to see Samuel on that side of the ball. Hopefully it will be the (reverse) Robert Edwards change when we all said “what the heck was that guy doing at another position”.

Scout Dawg

February 26th, 2010
6:58 pm

You know what, that looks like a murderer’s row of headhunters, or JUNKYARD DAWGS to me. Especially with some high calliber coaching! Welcome back to high powered defense, thank God, we were away too long.


February 26th, 2010
7:07 pm

i agree scout dawg!!!!!!! we have some really big linebackers with alot of speed! but are they agile? looks like an nfl-sized front 7 to me!
watch out SEC!!!!!!!


February 26th, 2010
7:09 pm

if i can remember correctly, montez robinson entered college running a 4.5


February 26th, 2010
7:11 pm

I like Murderer’s Row, Scout.

Murderer's Row

February 26th, 2010
7:27 pm

If anyone on the Georgia coaching staff reads this … Murderers Row… would be a great nickname for the Dawg’s D. I hope their defense murders opponents on the field. May sound kind of bad one way but sure carries the conatation of a go for blood mentality. Let’s hope the 3-4 lives us to what is needed. Now if BoBo can raise the offense from the dead … it should be a good year.


February 26th, 2010
7:30 pm

OLBs in the 3-4 seem to be fast DEs who don’t put their hand on the ground, who at the same time should be able to drop into coverage. 3-7 man rush on any given play. Never know where the rush is coming from.

That seems like a good nucleus to start with. Throw in a Garrison Smith, a Mike Gilliard or a Alec Ogletree and we’ll be good to go.

Unleash the DAWGS!!!!


February 26th, 2010
7:37 pm

Well, where do I start.

jackhammer, what gives son.
You need to report in.

Interesting to hear Coach Paul Johnson with so much positive praise after his defensive team met with the new D. Coaches.
Seems Andy McCollum, Joe Speed, and Al Groh have gone to work and the head coach is ready to tee it up. No sir, lots of optimism on the flats these days.



February 26th, 2010
7:39 pm

I mean YES SIR, LOTS OF OPTIMISM THESE DAYS. (sorry for the error)

Madison Dog

February 26th, 2010
7:40 pm

The ultimate question is whether the Dogs can really compete in the SEC East next season. We’ve all heard about 10 wins next season and the sky is the limit in 2011. Hmmm. This sounds familiar to what was supposed to happen in 2008. The SEC is the toughest football conference in America, and if the schedule breaks right for the Dogs the next couple years, then there may be something special brewing in Athens. UGA needs and deserves a BCS title very badly in the next three years or we will be waiting forever. Sorry to be negative, but it’s the next three years or never. CMR and staff will get it done or they will all be gone.


February 26th, 2010
7:40 pm

so there are 5 people involved in special teams coaching???? sounds like a committee to me. could lead to some details being missed i think. what do i know, i’m justa bloggin’

FL Dawg

February 26th, 2010
7:41 pm

It is a little early to be awarding nicknames to the defensive unit. I am for them earning their name on the field.

As for the offense, it won’t be a resurection. Bobo has actually had some pretty good ones. Unfortunately, to many uga fans throw Bobo under the bus if things are not perfect, then give praise to the players when they go well. It’s a balance. Bobo has done well, and is improving each year.


February 26th, 2010
7:47 pm

What position is Derick Lott going to play…?

The other Florida Dawg

February 26th, 2010
7:48 pm

FL Dawg…glad to see another fan in the Sunshine State. Gotta be a tried and true Dawg fan to thrive in Gator County!


[...] more to it than directional kicking. Jump to Comments The new kid on the block has some big shoes to fill. Richt said that Warren Belin will coach the kickoff-coverage team, Bryan McClendon will handle the [...]

O'Malley Dawg

February 26th, 2010
8:03 pm

Madison Dawg:

Everthing you said is not negative it is the truth. Go Dawgs


February 26th, 2010
8:07 pm


Suggest you research UGA’s ‘09 ratings on yards and points before you pronounce that offensive unit dead.

And Louie, Lou-wow: Oh Baby. Nobody cares.


February 26th, 2010
8:09 pm

there was nothing wrong with the kickoff return team last year! It was the kickoff coverage that was horrible! anytime you “spot” a team 40 + yards, your defense is gonna fail! and that should get a whole lot better with the coaching change! Im not a coach, but i wish i made their pay!


February 26th, 2010
8:10 pm

We all saw how well it worked when just fabris had the special teams so i am in favor of breaking it up. Houston at OLB? SEC defensive player of the year (if he can stay out of trouble). You heard it here first.


February 26th, 2010
8:13 pm

Every one cares twit. Go blow up momma’s panty hose.


February 26th, 2010
8:23 pm

You know your mother doesn’t have the class, or the money, to wear pantyhose, Lou.

Señora Weeb

February 26th, 2010
8:36 pm

Who’s in charge of putting up bail?

Buzzy As A Bee

February 26th, 2010
8:39 pm



February 26th, 2010
8:45 pm

Bug swatter



30-24 can’t even beat us when we are down.

Buzzy As A Bee

February 26th, 2010
8:49 pm



February 26th, 2010
8:59 pm



February 26th, 2010
9:00 pm

Louie is getting old on here. SOS day after day. Write something worth to read or STFU!


February 26th, 2010
9:06 pm

Kiante Tripp Vs. Mark Richt etal.


February 26th, 2010
9:16 pm

John Lilly is a terrible coach.

I predict 5-7 and a raise for CMR.

Clarke County Sheriff

February 26th, 2010
9:30 pm

The depth chart will depend on how many players are at my house (Clarke County Jail)


February 26th, 2010
10:01 pm

I am fired up! Ready to see the new Defense.



February 26th, 2010
10:06 pm

junkyard dawgs……….the only nickname…………….


February 26th, 2010
10:08 pm

Hell yeah Dooley “JUNKYARD DAWGS!!!!!!!


February 26th, 2010
10:34 pm

Wait a second,……”Grantham disclosed how some players will line up in the Bulldogs’ new 3-4 defense for spring practice.” Wouldn’t that be 11 players lining up on defense? I thought that was a given? Or is this something else that Georgia is trying to cheat at?

Tim Tucker

February 26th, 2010
11:48 pm

Lott will play defensive end.

Top Dawg

February 27th, 2010
12:03 am

Porty is that a joke man?


February 27th, 2010
1:32 am

Justin Houston and Montez Robinson @ outside LB………..WOW, I’m tellin ya DOG fans these two dudes are bonified monsters that would trouble me if I was O coach for say, Fla. Any team that depends on playing the edges will be in trouble, which includes GT. And then you got the big uglies up the middle, not to mention, you could blitz a corner, safety or any one of your LBs or ends at any time is scary. There is nothing prettier than a run blitz, when a big ol LB meets ball carrier at the very moment the ball is being handed off !!! Remember Colt Mc Coy getting blasted, trying to hand the ball off , and getting his shoulder knocked out of socket ? That is the type of run blitz that will demoralize a team……………..The key to this defense however, is to make sure all players know their jobs, and are playing in sinc……….Personally, I don’t see implementing the 3-4 as difficult as some would think………Consider : When you have seasoned players who have been playing “bend don’t break” defense the last couple years, you can bet they are chomping at the bit for “their” chance to rip a QBs head off, or any other poor fool who just happens to have the ball at the time. That is what makes the 3-4 so much fun to play, you know your number will be called and it will be your turn to “blow-up” a play. When our D players see that only when working as a team, does this set works……..They will be working for each other, while laying in the grass like a snake, waiting for their turn to smack the living crap out of some poor fool that just happens to have the football at that time……….GO DOGS !!! GATA !!!


February 27th, 2010
2:57 am

OFFENSE SUCKS at UGA, in the meantime while all you do is discuss the Defense.

Mike Bobo and the rest of the Offensive Coaching Staff does not evaluate talent well.

How in the hell did we wait until the 3rd quarter of the 5th game to rip the Redshirt off Washaun Ealey ?

When we did, why when he was our Leading Rusher was he the Starter only 2 games, and not even the last 2.

Our Offensive Line cannot block for the Run.

We have 2 tremendous Fullbacks, and with all the struggles running the ball last season, we never did hand the football to either one.

Shaun Chapas only 7 rushes for 45 yards.

Fred Munzenmaier only 10 rushes for 37 yards.

Brandon Boykin is the hardest person to tackle on the team, maybe in the nation. Does the Offensive Coaching Staff think about that ? Hell no.

Mike Bobo has Knowshon Moreno 2008 and we are number 56 in the nation running the football with Knowshon Moreno. # 56.

Mike Bobo has Matthew Stafford 2007 and we are number 84 Passing offense in the nation and # 74 Total Offense.

8th worst in The SEC 2007 Passing Offense with Matthew Stafford.

8th SEC 2007 Passing.

Mike Bobo has Knowshon Moreno taken with the 7th pick and we are 5th in The SEC in rushing the football with Knowshon Moreno in 2008. Remember 2008 ?

2008 we gave up consecutive points of 31, 42 and 29 in 3 LOSSES.

Knowshon Moreno averaged 14 carries those 3 LOSSES.

5th best in The SEC in Rushing the Football in 2008 with Knowshon Moreno.

LSU, Alabama, and Florida were all BETTER than us Rushing the Football in 2008 and so even was Ole Miss. Yet, Mike Bobo had Knowshon Moreno and handed him the football a grand total of 14 times a game in our LOSSES.

My mother could figure out to hand the football more than 14 times to Knowshon Moreno against Alabama, Georgia tek and Florida.

How in the hell did we not Start Orson Charles ? Why did it take until the 12th game of a 13-game season, to make Orson Charles Starter ? I tell you it is because Aron White had 3 catches his Freshman year putting him higher on the Depth Chart than Orson Charles who in his Freshman Year in spite of that had 23.

Do you know how many passes we threw to Branden Smith all season long ? Do you ?

Branden Smith 2 catches for 7 yards. Seven yards 2 throws. 4 yard 3 yard.

Marlon Brown 2 catches a 9 yard gain and a 6 yard gain. 2.

You sit in here defending Mike Bobo when RED DOG 77 tells you that Coach Richt has lost confidence in Mike Bobo and is taking it all back over.

Mike Bobo and the rest of the Offensive Coaching Staff talks every year about cutting down on penalties, cutting down on interceptions and cutting down on turnovers.

Then, they put guys out there who are not our best players, playing favorites.

Then, they put the better guys deep on the Depth Chart and do not start them.

Even when they prove they are better than the favorites, they still are not made the Starter.

Not 1 year have we gotten our Quarterback ready, not 1 – except for DJ Shockley in 2005.

We have failed again to get our QB ready for 2010 and here we are Starting Spring Practice and the G-Day Game and we have nothing but issues all over the Offense.

Our players are injured and stay injured.

Our head coach is not paid the 4th best salary because he is better than the Coach at Florida, the Coach at Alabama and the Coach at LSU.

We are a 4th place team in The SEC over the last 4 years.

This crap about sans the mistakes…

Excuse me, that is the issue with the Offense.


Can’t line up and run a play without a penalty.

When we do run a play, it’s to the wrong players.

When we do run a play, it’s a fumble

Or, an interception.

We lead the nation on offense for 4 years in a row now in Interceptions, Fumbles and Penalties.

10-10 vs SEC East teams because we cannot even line-up and run a play without a penalty, and when we finally do, it is an interception or fumble.

You cannot say, sans the mistakes.

14 losses the last 4 years and most of those against The SEC East. 10 of the 14 losses.

National Stage ?

We cannot even get out of our own Division.

Let alone our Conference.

To get on any National Stage.

10 years now Coach Richt has not played 1 single solitary Top 10 Final AP Poll team in a bowl game.

It goes on and on and on and on and on, ad nauseam.

Ad infinitum.


10 years now.

Coach Richt beat Not 1 Top 10 Final AP Poll team in any Bowl Game.

He has played 11 games against Top 10 Final AP Poll teams and has won 3 of them.

We sit here and make excuses for injuries but many of those too are preventable, such as allowing our Star Quarterback who is desperate to get under center and get some experience for the 1st time in his lifetime under center, to throw his arm out just exactly like we let Joe Cox do.

And, Caleb King with his hamstring.

12 points vs 6-loss no bowl South Carolina 2007 Knowshon Stafford Bobo.

14 points vs 4-loss vols 2007 Knowshon Moreno Matt Stafford Bobo.

20 points vs 7-loss Vandie 2007 Knowshon Matt Stafford Bobo.

24 points vs 5-loss Kentucky 2007 Knowshon Stafford Bobo.

14 points vs 5-loss South Carolina 2008 Knowshon Matt & AJ Bobo

10 points vs Florida 2008 AJ Green Knowshon & Stafford. Bobo.

17 points vs 7-loss Auburn 2008 AJ Knowshon Stafford. Bobo.

24 points vs 4-loss Michigan State 2008 AJ Knowshon Matt Bobo

27 points vs 7-loss Arizona St 2008 AJ Knowshon Matt. Bobo.

26 points vs 7-loss vols 2008 AJ Knowshon Matt. Mike Bobo OC

24 points vs 6-loss Vandie 2008 AJ Knowshon Matt. Mike Bobo.

10 points vs Oklahoma St not ranked Top 25 Final AP 2009. Bobo.

20 points vs 8-loss Arizona State 2009. Mike Bobo Off Coord.

13 points vs LSU who beat not 1 Top 25 team 2009. Mike Bobo.

19 points vs 6-loss vols 2009. Mike Bobo Offensive Coordinator

27 points vs 6-loss Kentucky 2009. Mike Bobo Off Coordinator

17 points vs Florida 2009 Mike Bobo Offensive Coordinator.

They interviewed Coach Richt at half time against Florida losing for the 7th time in 9 years, and asked him how Mike Bobo could get AJ Green more into the game, and Coach Richt glibly fired back, throw him the football.


We have no fire on Offense.

We have 1 win against Florida last 4 years.

We have 1 win against Tennessee last 4 years.

We have 2 wins and 2 losses to Kentucky last 4 years.

This is The SEC East.

Worst of all, now 2010 with all the All-Stars on OFFENSE in this great state, and we get NONE OF THEM.


What does that tell you that the recruits in this state want to play Defense here but NOT OFFENSE.


February 27th, 2010
3:54 am

Most championship programs put the best players on defense and work around the offense with conservation play calling!! That is how Alabama won the NC title game and hope to god that is
what Mark Richt and company do this season!! GO DAWGS AND RTR!!

silver britches

February 27th, 2010
3:55 am

The rule of thumb for special teams used to be that you would win a couple or lose a couple by special team play. Hope the new coaching by committee will work. The new D will be fun to watch. Pressure on the qb is the key to good D.

Terreal Bierra

February 27th, 2010
4:11 am

I’m a murderer and I played safety for the dawgs!


February 27th, 2010
6:41 am

Before we start calling the D any superlative nickname, how about them earning it first.

willie g hates bill shanks

February 27th, 2010
6:42 am

lets just wait and see,me being a gambler,anybody thats knows football knows it will take georgia 4or5 games to make this defense gell, period.AS far as the offense if georgia takes every game plan they used against tech last year it will be a successful season, ithink uga will go 10-2 loses to tennessee and florida this florida game they wont be good early thats why tennessee will beat them but come october the nightmare hits uga again as florida will have its act together by then the uga ,tennessee game this year will be for the sec east crown you heard it hear first guaranteed and i keep hearing this is an easy schedule for uga you people are stupid, pure stupid.


February 27th, 2010
6:44 am

Kwame Geathers. LOL. Another lazy Geathers brother. Is he still weighing in at 360? Enjoy him for the 2 years we have him because his family does not believe in education.

willie g hates bill shanks

February 27th, 2010
6:48 am

TIM what do you think uga record will be with afreshman qb ? the mississippi st game wont be easy at all.