Georgia hires UAB’s Will Friend as offensive line coach (updated)

Will Friend celebrated his 36th birthday Monday by becoming Georgia’s offensive line coach.

Friend, who held the same position at Alabama-Birmingham for the past four seasons, was an All-SEC offensive lineman at Alabama in the 1990s and a graduate assistant coach at Georgia in 2003-04.

He fills the position vacated on the Georgia staff by last month’s departure of Stacy Searels for the same job at Texas.

At UAB, Friend worked under head coach Neil Callaway, who was Georgia’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 2001-06. Callaway became UAB’s head coach in 2007 and immediately hired Friend, who had been offensive line coach at Gardner-Webb for two years after his graduate-assistant stint under Callaway at Georgia.

“I got to see first-hand his work ethic when he was a graduate assistant on our staff,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a statement announcing the hire, “and since that time he’s developed into a seasoned, top-notch offensive line coach.”

The hire, expected since late last week, became official when routine pre-employment background checks were completed.

Friend was traveling and not available for an interview Monday. He said in a statement that he is “extremely excited” about the “tremendous opportunity” at Georgia.

“When I worked with Coach Richt and the staff as a grad assistant, I had a great experience, and I always wondered if I might have the opportunity to come back to Athens,” he said. “I am looking forward to getting to work.”

Friend, a native of Philadelphia, Miss., was a member of Alabama’s “Team of the Decade” for the 1990s. He was a four-year starter at offensive guard for the Crimson Tide from 1993-97.

Of the 120 FBS (formerly Division I-A) teams, UAB last season ranked 15th in fewest sacks allowed (12), 30th in total offense (423 yards per game), 24th in passing offense (267 yards per game) and 59th in rushing offense (156 yards per game).

234 comments Add your comment

bgdawg

February 7th, 2011
4:55 pm

welcome to the program now do what searles couldn’t do and coach these olinemen up!!

D A DoubleU G

February 7th, 2011
4:55 pm

Welcome to Dawg Nation Will!!!!

go dawags

February 7th, 2011
4:56 pm

go dawags

February 7th, 2011
4:56 pm

bgdawg

February 7th, 2011
4:57 pm

wow i got first? where’s my prize??

Murphy

February 7th, 2011
4:58 pm

I wish him well-The offense line is in dire need of re-building.I sure hope he is up to the task.I like that he has played in the SEC.Good luck to him.

JohnBRAVES

February 7th, 2011
4:58 pm

Let’s hope he can do more than Searels could… talk about underachieving. DAWGS 2011 SEC CHAMPS BABY.

Former Player...

February 7th, 2011
5:01 pm

Had him when he was a G.A. Some young blood with a fresh perspective. Studied heavily under Niel Calloway who played under Bear Bryant. This will definitely fit in nicely with Joe T’s old school approach.

Nonsense

February 7th, 2011
5:02 pm

bgdawg, you just won two buckets of horse manure. Should you be successful in your attempt at first on the next blog, we will double your prize. Now please, make sense with the dang blog, not nonsense!!!

D A DoubleU G

February 7th, 2011
5:02 pm

208 days til’ kickoff

291 days til’ Mark Richt goes 10-1 against Georgia Tech.

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!

Murphy

February 7th, 2011
5:02 pm

Calloway did a great job for us-Hope Coach Friend learned alot from him.

UAB?

February 7th, 2011
5:06 pm

that’s rich

Georgia Sports Report

February 7th, 2011
5:08 pm

OK Coach Friend. Time to get to work.

http://www.thegeorgiasportsreport.com

TennesseeDawg

February 7th, 2011
5:08 pm

“You’ve got a friend” – James Taylor. Onto a defensive coach now.

D A DoubleU G

February 7th, 2011
5:09 pm

UAB?

Yes…… because Will Friend is the reason UAB plays in a little conference, and doesn’t compete with the big boys. DO yourself a favor, son, and go back to sleep.

TennesseeDawg

February 7th, 2011
5:09 pm

If he’s anything like Callaway, we’ll have a bunch of O-lineman with bum shoulders.

AltamahaDawg

February 7th, 2011
5:10 pm

Big day in the Friend household.

Murphy

February 7th, 2011
5:11 pm

Just make them a nasty physical group!!!!

Dennis G. Berdanis

February 7th, 2011
5:13 pm

Here’s hoping we got a workhorse instead of a showhorse (actually Searels was a noshow horse…he showed me nothing).

Saben

February 7th, 2011
5:14 pm

And the good ship Dawg heads for the sea floor with a full crew.

Hector

February 7th, 2011
5:14 pm

Good luck!!!!

Douglas

February 7th, 2011
5:14 pm

Not impressed.

Murphy

February 7th, 2011
5:17 pm

Notice the young coaching infusion Richt has going? Friend,Brown-I like it.Kids may respond better to coaches they have seen play and respect.Works at the high-school level pretty well.

Paul N Destin

February 7th, 2011
5:17 pm

patience grasshopper

VA DAWG

February 7th, 2011
5:17 pm

Welcome aboard Will. Now its time to get to work. Go DAWGS!

Big Dawg Cobb

February 7th, 2011
5:18 pm

Welcome Will !

BIgDawgFan

February 7th, 2011
5:21 pm

Does anyone have any info on Vasi “tombstone” Papulu? He was supposed to announce today. I’ve heard it might be Junior college for this little Samoan… Can anyone confirm?

AJ

February 7th, 2011
5:22 pm

Will Friend was a 4 year starter and an ALL SEC offensive lineman at Alabama in the mid to late 90’s and has been coaching ever since. Not sure what some of you are expecting out of an offesnive line coach. He will be a good fit. Good hire.

1962 Dawg

February 7th, 2011
5:23 pm

Welcome Friend!

jeff

February 7th, 2011
5:24 pm

Congrats to Will. RTR

matt

February 7th, 2011
5:25 pm

He can’t do any worse! Go Dawgs!

Another flop hire for THUGA

February 7th, 2011
5:26 pm

Can’t wait to hear Mutts excuse for more failures.

Vasi Papulu

February 7th, 2011
5:27 pm

I am currently in my native country getting tribal tattoos across my arms. I will prepare for the off season by cranking coconuts across my bare skull. Do you guys have a translator for me in Athens? I think I will have a hard time understanding the southern country style english you Georgians speak.

UGAX

February 7th, 2011
5:27 pm

Rumor has it that Chuck Smith, LB coach at Tennessee, may be heading to Athens, his former hometown. He resigned today from UT and is available. Great work ethic and even better recruiter. Would be a great addition. Maybe Hines will retire now, and like he said on 680, head to Athens and coach up our receivers……

82Dawg

February 7th, 2011
5:29 pm

@BIgDawgFan …no such person

Palm City Dawg

February 7th, 2011
5:29 pm

Welcome Will. You have the talent now go coach ‘em up!!!

Murphy

February 7th, 2011
5:32 pm

How sweet would that be to have Hines on the UGA staff? Talk about getting some recruits!!!

Murphy

February 7th, 2011
5:33 pm

With Hines on staff the recievers would block better than the o-lineman

30605 Dawg

February 7th, 2011
5:34 pm

Knew him as a GA. He has all the personality of a Pet Rock. Best of luck on the recruiting trail. Hopefully he can coach ‘em up.

RabidDawgFan

February 7th, 2011
5:36 pm

Great hire IMO! This guy was a hard-nosed All SEC lineman for Alabama back in the real SEC days and knows how to play offensive line and he knows how to coach. Just because he comes from UAB means NOTHING. Don’t have to come from Auburn or Florida, etc just to know how to coach. All we need is someone to coach those boys up and get them motivated to hit everything that moves. Hopefully he can do that for us.

Pago Pago Dawg

February 7th, 2011
5:36 pm

Word on the street….”tombstone” will play for New Mexico.

swimdawg68

February 7th, 2011
5:39 pm

Has anybody ever heard of this guy? No D-1 experience other than a grad asst. here. What is CMR thinking about? Is this the best available coach in the Country? I know Dave Johnson applied and interviewed for the job Dave was our former tight end coach and the OL coach at WVU for the past 3 years. He lost his job when Bill Stewart the HC was fired. He is a great OL coach, and wanted the job, what happened?

Based on the performance of the OL the last 2 years we needed someone with good experience at this level and CMR hires a “rookie”. Is this guy Mark’s cousin or something? If our OL fails to improve over the last 2 years, Mark and this rookie will both be looking for jobs.

JayD

February 7th, 2011
5:41 pm

Welcome Mr. Friend – Good luck! Chuck would be awesome!!!

still@the bar

February 7th, 2011
5:44 pm

D A DoubleU G

February 7th, 2011
5:02 pm
208 days til’ kickoff

291 days til’ Mark Richt goes 10-1 against Georgia Tech.

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!

Yea DA double UG 291 day until it turns 31 years since the Dawgs last National Championship too.
206 days until the first Fire Richt and Wait Til Next Year chants are Ring through ATHENS.

NGADAWG

February 7th, 2011
5:44 pm

TennesseeDawg

Learn about how to play football before you call for a new DC. 3-4 defense is no good unless you have a big man in the middle and better linebackers. He has is big man now, so lets see. Not his fault CMR and Garner like small D lineman.

Whiskeydawg

February 7th, 2011
5:46 pm

RIP Uga VIII. We hardly knew you. Good luck CWF.

Pacific Dawg

February 7th, 2011
5:46 pm

As a friend and neighbor of the Papulu family, I would like to say that Vasi is real and one of the best high school football players ever in Samoa. Because we are 5000 miles out in the Pacific and not a part of the United States, a lot of our players don’t get the recognition they merit. But, just look at players such as Troy Polumalu and realize that we have great players here! Vasi will be going the JC route this fall. Hopefully, he will get his grades up and be ready to transfer to a four year school. Georgia is one of his finalist.

TennesseeDawg

February 7th, 2011
5:49 pm

Hey NGADAWG, we have an open position for a defensive coach also or did you just wake up from a coma.

dawgerbrown

February 7th, 2011
5:55 pm

Welcome to the DAWG family Coach Friend. Look forward to recruits responding to your energy and youth. Wishing you luck in getting some 4 & 5 star o-linemen coming to UGA.

NGADAWG

February 7th, 2011
5:55 pm

Actually I just had shoulder surgery so i have been out of it. I did not know that so i apologize for earlier rant.