First day on the job for Georgia’s new offensive line coach

ATHENS – Will Friend was a two-time All-SEC offensive lineman at Alabama in the 1990s, but by the end of his playing days there, it was obvious his future was in coaching.

Friend, who started work Tuesday as Georgia’s newly hired offensive line coach, recalled a meeting about his future with his position coach, Neil Callaway, after his senior season at Alabama:

“Right after the season, he called me in and said, ‘Hey, listen, whatcha going to do?’

“I said, ‘Well, I don’t know.’

“He said, ‘Well, you ain’t going to be able to play any pro ball.’

“I said, ‘I didn’t think so.’

“He said, ‘I think you can coach.’”

That’s how Friend’s  career started. He worked three years as a graduate assistant coach under Callaway at Alabama, then one year as an assistant at West Alabama, one year as a high school coach in Tuscaloosa, two years as a graduate assistant at Georgia (under Callaway), two years as offensive line coach at Gardner-Webb, four years as offensive line coach at UAB (again under Callaway) and now back to Georgia.

He started work Tuesday morning at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall in a much larger office than the one he shared with other graduate assistants in 2003-04.

“There were three or four of us in there,” Friend recalled. “We had to fight for chairs. If you got in early, you got a chair for the day.”

Friend’s daughter, Katie, now 6, was born in Athens while he was working here as a grad assistant.

“I told her . . . ‘you’re getting to go back home,’” Friend said.

He said Georgia’s offensive linemen will find him to be consistent and honest.

“I think it can be a very good group,” he said.

He phoned the Bulldogs’ six offensive-line signees Monday night “and told them, basically, ‘You guys don’t know me and I don’t know you, but we both picked Georgia. . . . We can build our relationship off that.’”

– Tim Tucker, UGA Blog

139 comments Add your comment

dawgcrzy

February 8th, 2011
4:09 pm

dawgcrzy

February 8th, 2011
4:10 pm

i sure hope you can light a fire under those asses

beachside bulldawg

February 8th, 2011
4:11 pm

great hire, very hard working guy

icedawg

February 8th, 2011
4:16 pm

He’s got his work cut out for him. All the best.

go dawags

February 8th, 2011
4:17 pm

Good hire… He will bring a much needed fire to the O-line this year

DawginOH

February 8th, 2011
4:18 pm

Congratulations and good luck, Coach Friend!

ISAIAH CROWELL IS AWESOME

February 8th, 2011
4:20 pm

good hire i hope puts the fire, excitement and determination back into georgia football. Go dawgs!

BPClassof-85

February 8th, 2011
4:26 pm

I look forward to more domination on the line of scrimmage and less titty-bumping.

SD Dawg

February 8th, 2011
4:27 pm

Nowhere to go but up. Offensive line has been such a huge disappointment over the last few years. How in the hell Searles was able to parle his work into a raise at Texas is beyond me.

Fire Mark Richt

February 8th, 2011
4:30 pm

Welcome aboard, Coach Friend. Now GATA!

Pacific Dawg

February 8th, 2011
4:32 pm

With B. Jones, T Sturdivant, and C. Glenn, he has three seniors who have started since they were true freshmen. Plus, he has a lot of 4 & 5 star players like Benedict, Long, Harmon, etc. Hopefully, Friend will turn these players into a dominating OL.

Tired of being schlebrocked !

February 8th, 2011
4:36 pm

welcome aboard coach!!! now maybe we can get the shamrock back
and our oline will bust somebody in the mouth like other teams
have been doing to us. he sounds like a good hire, time will tell
GO DAWGS!!!!!!

Sure hope...

February 8th, 2011
4:36 pm

…he is better than Neil Callaway – talk about your ‘Peter Principle’ at work – Neil fills that to a P…but what kind of O line did UAB have – not much I’m afraid…

Buckeye

February 8th, 2011
4:38 pm

Did he watch film and grade out the lineman in the empty backfield set?

Mobile Dawg

February 8th, 2011
4:38 pm

Good for him, if he’s successful this year he will be able to name his price.

Tired of being schlebrocked !

February 8th, 2011
4:41 pm

look at his work @ UAB without the talent that the dawgs have
anywhere is better than where we were, if he was all american
@ bama then he did something right and maybe he can turn these
kids into grown MEN. DARE TO BE GREAT is the O-LINE slogan for
this YEAR… “DARE TO BE GREAT”

Tired of being schlebrocked !

February 8th, 2011
4:44 pm

sorry ALL SEC

RxDawg

February 8th, 2011
4:46 pm

Best of luck to Friend. I sincerely hope you teach these big uglies of ours how to go out there and knock around some SEC defensive lineman.

Tired of being schlebrocked !

February 8th, 2011
4:50 pm

If he can just get the OLINE in the right scheme i’m happy.
How many times did you guys see our oline looking confused
and didn’t know who to block? You knock the slobber from
anybody not wearing a G on thier helmets.

Tired of being schlebrocked !

February 8th, 2011
4:51 pm

AMEN RXDAWG !

JRW7DAWG

February 8th, 2011
4:55 pm

Welcome to the DAWGS, WILL FRIEND, work hard and GO DAWGS!!!!!

Cobb Dawg

February 8th, 2011
5:06 pm

The best thing he can do is bring the O-line together as a unit. Many times on the sidelines last year, it looked like there was a lot of finger-pointing going on. Not sure those guys ever really felt or acted like they were on the same side.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bayside Betty, TideWire, Georgia Bulldogs-UGA, The Commish, bulldogtweets.com and others. bulldogtweets.com said: #UGA First day on the job for Georgia’s new offensive line coach: ATHENS – Will Friend was a two-time All-SEC of… http://bit.ly/gWuTv6 [...]

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

February 8th, 2011
5:15 pm

anything over last year’s O-line playing will be an improvement. I though K.Gates did a good job when he played. I’m hoping this seniority thing goes away and play the right players who can start on day 1, regardless of freshman or senior.

sandman053

February 8th, 2011
5:32 pm

I don’t care who UAB played…they did play the proverbial “patsy” for some big teams….his O-line had 12 sacks in 12 games. That is good stats for anyone.

cwm

February 8th, 2011
5:36 pm

will will he’s our friend

Anonymous 'Cos

February 8th, 2011
5:37 pm

I agree. I think a fresh face will be a fresh start. Time for our o-line players to step up, be accountable, and come together as teammates. I for one am willing to give Friend the benefit of the doubt at this time. We need to get our junkyard swagger back…

ugab

February 8th, 2011
5:48 pm

He has alot of work to do in Athens. Go dawgs

Herald

February 8th, 2011
5:51 pm

How long will it take for him to realize that he’s coaching a bunch of illiterate thugs?

Gravy Train

February 8th, 2011
5:53 pm

I’m confused. Will was All-SEC at Bama and part of their all century team. How does that not get him a shot at the NFL? It’s not like great linemen grow on trees.

Also, Searels was the running game coordinator, so does Friend handle that now? Maybe he can get rid of the toss sweep to the short side of the field and that cross delay draw monstrosity. I think we are better suited to run blast routes between the tackles out of the I formation.

layinlow

February 8th, 2011
5:55 pm

I think if Georgia fans are honest, and I am a Dawg, we have to ask ourself was Searles really that bad or was he a victim of a poor S&C program? I mean the guy was considered a top notch offensive line coach at LSU and has now been hired by another top program at Texas. The lines of scrimmage are the most important when it comes to strength and physicality and he had to be at a major disadvantage.

I’m hopeful that Friend can come in and do a good job and at least he will have the advantage of Joe T and T Brown training his lineman. However, I’m a little curious as to why it took him 13 years to land a job as a position coach at a major program. Seems like he was a little slow working his way up the ranks.

big root

February 8th, 2011
6:03 pm

It’s not about the coaches anymore Mark Richt will live & die with Bobo & that we can’t stop the run or pass 3-4 defense it’s up to the players to bring respect back to UGA and themself. the last 2yrs we lost 2 ucf, colorado, m-state, kentucky, tenn, a bad florida team this year. Offense can’t score against s.car, Defense can’t stop ark. Wake up players

sandman053

February 8th, 2011
6:09 pm

As far as RBs go, with Belin’s departure the RBs could be coached by Thomas Brown…he would know a little something about a running game.

cpinthedawghouse

February 8th, 2011
6:17 pm

First to admit complaining about needing change. Well , some has happened. Welcome aboard Coach Friend. And congrats to Coach Richt for a great signed class. Now then, Coach Friend, KICK SOME LINEMENS A-DOUBLE SNAKE. Dawgs WANT MEAN in their blood. And the resolve to BURY the opponents ON THEIR BACKS!!!!!!!!!!!!! SICK’EM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

big root

February 8th, 2011
6:19 pm

what happen to Ray Goff & Jim Donnan . UGA has talent so Coach Richt if you want to stay in the coaching business you better start learning and changing what you no about football. you get a top class every year so show us you can win the SEC with your talent not Donnans

Judge Dawg

February 8th, 2011
6:28 pm

I remember all linemen standing up and looking around after a running place. Our line did not execute and we wore down. We have an opportunity to fix both problems with the recent hires. Five yards on first down makes for brilliant play calling. So does running over people in the fourth quarter.

Win P.

February 8th, 2011
6:43 pm

Good to see Richt using the “dog house” on those who are slow to learn.

Win P.

February 8th, 2011
6:55 pm

Any improvement Friend is able to make should stand out, given game performance last year of one of the best Offensive Lines in the country. In fairness they did protect Murray, except for the Auburn game.

Spivedog

February 8th, 2011
7:06 pm

Long live the “Ghost,” Glory to the Mighty “G”!!!

Tom

February 8th, 2011
7:18 pm

Hey, Tim…..which mutt-sniffer down there decides on which of your blogs to allow comments? Pathetic.

Bobby Bulldog

February 8th, 2011
7:22 pm

Friend spent thee years under Calloway at Ala. as a graduate assistant and two years at UGA as a GA. Did he ever get a graduate degree as that’s what assistantships are for? Apparently not, because if he had, it would certainly have been touted.

Keep Our Friend Close....

February 8th, 2011
7:42 pm

Dawg89

February 8th, 2011
7:47 pm

Bobby Bulldog, I was wondering the same thing. A total of 5 years as a graduate assistant should produce some type of advanced degree. Maybe being a graduate assistant in football is similar to being a student-athelete.

BG

February 8th, 2011
7:50 pm

Welcome Coach Friend! I hope you can teach our guy’s how to run block.

UAB5

February 8th, 2011
7:50 pm

He did a hell of a job for us @ UAB. He won’t disappoint. Congrats on the new hire.

Poopdawg

February 8th, 2011
8:05 pm

1962 Dawg

February 8th, 2011
8:39 pm

Searals wasn’t a bad coach, Dawgs O-line gave up 15 sacks last season. Not bad considering the conference. A couple of those were missed blocks by the RB’s.
Our last Offensive play against Arkansas is 1 sack that comes to mind where a RB, missed an assignment.
Friend should be a great hire and should fit in well, he’s been at UGA before! His daughter was born here so he’s got some DAWG in him.

JB

February 8th, 2011
9:17 pm

I think all the alarm bells are going off in Athens. Now, will that translate into wins, who knows, but lot’s of jobs are on the line in 2011. Lot’s.

jumbeauxtiger

February 8th, 2011
9:39 pm

How many chances does Ealey get?

Delbert D.

February 8th, 2011
10:30 pm

GAs typically have employment contracts with a school.