New coach tells Bulldogs’ linebackers: ‘Run to the ball and hit something’

ATHENS — Kirk Olivadotti’s father didn’t push him into the family business.

Quite the opposite.

“I had a suspicion when I was in high school what I wanted to do, but my father always told me he was going to punch me right in the face if I became a football coach,” Olivadotti said. “So I kind of kept it from him.”

The 37-year-old son of long-time NFL defensive coach Tom Olivadotti is Georgia’s new inside linebackers coach, hired on Feb. 18 from the defensive staff of the Washington Redskins. He spent last week settling into his new job, meeting his players and watching film of their games and practices. Late Friday afternoon, he chatted amiably about growing up as the son of a coach, following in his father’s footsteps and now making the move to Georgia:

The advice he got from his father upon revealing his career choice: “Well, first he tried to talk me out of it. And then once he realized that I was [committed to] it, the one thing he said was, ‘It’s not really a job. It’s a lifestyle.’ And that has proven true. At that point, I was a sophomore in college [at Purdue], so I didn’t really understand what he meant. But now I have a wife and two kids, and it is a lifestyle. It’s a family lifestyle that everybody has to be a part of.”

The nomadic coaching profession (his father was an assistant for five NFL teams): “I got lucky because I went to the same high school all four years [while his father was on the Miami Dolphins' staff]. My sister went to four different high schools. She kind of hit my dad in a transition period.”

First coaching job at Maine Maritime: “It’s a little Division III school . . . up in the Penobscot Bay [area of Maine]. . . . If you’ve ever seen ‘The Hunt for Red October,’ at the end when they hide the nuclear submarine, they can’t find it because they’re in Penobscot Bay. So it’s a real little town; nobody even thinks to look there.”

Keeping a job with the Redskins for the past 11 seasons through seven different head coaches (Norv Turner, Terry Robiskie, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn and Mike Shanahan): “They did have me pack my office up a couple of times, and then I was asked to come back in. It was luck a little bit. When Coach Schottenheimer came in, my dad had worked with Marty, so he at least knew my name. But I had to go interview just like everybody else in that situation. I broke a sweat in that interview. And when Coach Spurrier came in . . . probably I got that [job] because I kind of knew how to work everything in the building. . . . I was out of the building for six weeks before Coach Gibbs rehired me. . . . I mean literally packed up, boxes in my house.”

His decision to move from the NFL to UGA: “I’ve had a couple different [college coaching] opportunities come up over the years, but this one felt right. The timing was right, and my wife gave it the OK. . . . And once I came down here and saw everything, there was no doubt the University of Georgia wants to win football games. This is a great opportunity.”

His connection to Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham: “He worked with my old man with the Texans [in 2004], and we got to know each other then.” [An aside: If you're wondering, Tom Olivadotti is currently the defensive coordinator of the United Football League's Omaha Nighthawks.]

First meeting with Georgia’s inside linebackers: “They’re going to run to the ball, and they’re going to hit something; that’s what I’ve told them. That was the first meeting that we did. I told them, ‘You play if you run to the ball and hit something.’ We’ll take it from there.”

The anticipated adjustment from coaching NFL players to coaching college players: “There’s going to be a difference. I remember when I was 20 years old. . . . But at the same time people are people. You’re going to have guys that are going to work their butts off; you’re going to have guys that you’re going to have to motivate, and you’re going to have guys that you have to always make it their idea in order for them to want to do it. Those are the different things that you do in life. I have to do it with my 3-year-old daughter.”

–Tim Tucker, AJC

120 comments Add your comment

goldwreck

February 26th, 2011
6:15 am

I hope he can help.He does have a good resume.

son_sir

February 26th, 2011
6:26 am

Sorry..off topic here,….but if the story at this link is true, the SEC is about to be rocked with a huge Scandalgate. Can anyone substantiate ? Perhaps it is just a rumor. Time and money will tell.

http://www.tigernet.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=946304

Yellow Dawg

February 26th, 2011
7:02 am

UGASlobberknocker

February 26th, 2011
7:22 am

“They’re going to run to the ball, and they’re going to hit something; that’s what I’ve told them. That was the first meeting that we did. I told them, ‘You play if you run to the ball and hit something.’ We’ll take it from there.”

Thats what I want to hear..that was what we did when BVG was here.

UGASlobberknocker

February 26th, 2011
7:24 am

Yellw Dawg..seemingly YOU care..you are posting on the blog at 7 am on a Sat morning..did you come here just for that epic, insightful comment or was there some other reason?

And if you really dont care, then just go away

TennesseeDawg

February 26th, 2011
7:26 am

Great hire. He’s got a proven track record. Now it’s time to replace Garner.

UGASlobberknocker

February 26th, 2011
7:26 am

And Goldwreck, I would just like to thank you for not saying “first!!”.

Dawgboy

February 26th, 2011
7:29 am

Maybe they can find a way to stop Lattimore but I doubt it.

JB

February 26th, 2011
7:46 am

Cam is riding over the hill, on his horse, looking at the sunset…..Stops a minute, turns around…looking at Auburn burn…..smiles……and rides off into the sunset……….

UGASlobberknocker

February 26th, 2011
7:54 am

JB, are you sure that wasnt the Yellow Wood dude?

Top Row Dawg

February 26th, 2011
7:54 am

Oli’s Ogle Hope Alex runs to ball every play and hits someone baby. Samual and Jones off scout team and on 1st team. OLE` Dawgs.

Child’s play | Get The Picture

February 26th, 2011
8:01 am

[...] for a succinct comment on motivating the college football player, it’ll be hard to top Kirk Olivadotti’s: “ . . .  But at the same time people are people.  You’re going to have guys that are going [...]

Dawg '94

February 26th, 2011
8:08 am

I am glad to hear “run to the ball & hit something.” Last season, it was “run around blocks.” Great hire! GO DAWGS!!

Spike

February 26th, 2011
8:12 am

We shall see in the fall.

Buckeye

February 26th, 2011
8:15 am

Sounds like sage advice that a pee wee team would understand.

sandman053

February 26th, 2011
8:16 am

I also hope that “running to the ball and hitting something” includes WRAPPING UP upon said hit. Go Dawgs!!!

legionaire

February 26th, 2011
8:43 am

Aggressive D is going to be the key to a good season and another bad one. Good hire . Lets hope Olivadotti and Grantham can get along. NFL coaches are by nature arrogant and know it alls.

MCG DAWG

February 26th, 2011
8:55 am

Time to put these pieces together and ROCK-N-ROLL !!!!

kydawg

February 26th, 2011
9:05 am

As long as they remember that once they “run to the ball and hit something”, they must wrap it up, and drive it to the ground!!! That will be the difference from past years to future success.

SEC1

February 26th, 2011
9:11 am

Yup, last season’s defensive motto was:

tip-toe to the ball and we all fall down…

savannadawg

February 26th, 2011
9:12 am

Buckeye, Let me remind you. It is just football. No one is going to ask these guys to build a rocket.

Destin Dawg

February 26th, 2011
9:15 am

Junkyard Dawgs will be Back THIS year !!! work on special teams which was improving under Belin .. Lakatos will have the awesome D Backs coached up too…. win the 1st 2 tough games and it coulf be a special season .. Go Dawgs !! Boo Malcome and Hutson Mason will be exciting sleepers when needed !!!

savannadawg

February 26th, 2011
9:15 am

I hope we have a Linebacking corp. that will just lay wast to everything in front of them, to include any of our own players that just get in the way. That might teach them to do the same thing.

Bigdsel

February 26th, 2011
9:37 am

They can stop Lattimore, Just like Florida st. Did, If you hit him in the mouth hard enough you can stop him.(literally)

tenn.DAWG

February 26th, 2011
9:43 am

Well I hope this guy has a mean streak a mile wide,the talent is there they just need to toughen up.Of course that could apply to the other side of the ball also.

dawgfan

February 26th, 2011
9:58 am

I stopped reading when he said we want to win. Of course we WANT to win coach. I want a million dollars too. The question is and has always been whether our coaches and players WANT to do the things that it takes to get those wins. I continue to have my doubts. I’m sick of all the talking. That’s all UGA football has done going on 3 years now is talk. If I wanted to run my mouth with nothing to back it up I’d go cheer for the Techies. I want to see some results.

Wake me up when the games start. All this offseason and preseason hoopla is such a bore. College football is the only sport in the world that officially ranks teams before a single second of competition has taken place. What a freaking joke. This game is above that.

Thanks for your time.

Ed

February 26th, 2011
10:00 am

I love this new coach`s attitude I hope it translates to the way the linebackers step up next season. I think his LBs are going to play with that chip on their shoulders kinda like when Van Gorder was at Georgia. Go Dawgs!

Greg

February 26th, 2011
10:17 am

‘Run to the ball and hit something’
That is probably the greatest advice a LB coach has ever given.

harold

February 26th, 2011
10:21 am

SOUNDS LIKE ANOTHER INTELLIGENT COACH WE ALL KNOW ABOUT THAT IS 13-12 THE LAST TWO SEASONS. SINCE UGA CAN’T WIN ON THE FIELD WE CAN PRETEND IT ISN’T HAPPENING AND CREATE YES: ” THE DREAM TEAM!”! WE LOVE IT!

Buckeye

February 26th, 2011
10:22 am

Savanna”dawg”,

I guess that’s why “Run Forest, Run” was so effective. “Run Isaiah, Run” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Better yet, “you hit the ball, you throw the ball,you catch the ball”

Then again, maybe uga should just go with “Lindsey Scott, Lindsey Scott” !

UGA

February 26th, 2011
10:25 am

Wrap up, grab high cloth, drive your hips in to the ball carrier, and drive him backwards. Not drive him to the ground, drive him backwards and make him lose yardage and plus it buys time for a gang tackle if you drive him backwards.Oh yeah and don’t let go.

carolinadawg

February 26th, 2011
10:27 am

I think we are heading in the right direction. The recruiting was outstanding, so let these kids get coached up and dominate. Talent alone will not get us were we need to be. The coaching staff has a lot to do in order to get these kids ready for next year. It will go one of two ways. First, we rise to the challenge and become the team that dominates or second, we fall on our face and underachieve. I believe we will rise to the occasion. See everyone in Atlanta for the litmus test. Hunker Down

RabidDawgFan

February 26th, 2011
10:30 am

Just wrap up when you get to the ballcarrier and we’ll be fine. I don’t want to see any broken tackles. And I don’t want that kid Lattimore running for over 100 yards. Hit him in the mouth. Hard.

RabidDawgFan

February 26th, 2011
10:34 am

After that first game vs. Lafayette last season, I never saw Grantham yelling or as intense as he was in that first game. He got so angry when Lafayette scored but didn’t get mad when South Carolina was ripping through our defense? Richt had to tell him something like “Tone it down a little with our kids ok coach?” I hope Richt didn’t say anything like that because we need that fire in our bellies, our players need that fire in them. Memo to Richt: Let Grantham coach the way he best knows how, and you coach the way you know how. Our defense needs motivation to hit everything that moves that’s not in red and black. Let them loose in 2011.

how2fish

February 26th, 2011
10:53 am

Buckeye what we don’t want is “run to the ball hit something” and then take 10 mins for a free TAT..you see we like our players to record their deeds on their helmets..not on their “sleeves” just another difference of playing Down South.

how2fish

February 26th, 2011
10:54 am

harold from the entire Bull Dog Nation…puck your self…your Nancy boy troll you.

Gravy Train

February 26th, 2011
11:01 am

Buckeye is just proving that Big 10 football sucks. That’s why he’s here, every day, checking in on our Dawgs. The excitement and anticipation is growing bigger every day. Our boys are working to get faster and stronger every day. It all will be at a fever pitch at the Dome. Maybe Buckeye thinks he wants to play Georgia again? You better go ask your boy Herbie how that works out, son.

Gravy Train

February 26th, 2011
11:04 am

Why don’t you go talk smack on a Indiana blog, Suckeye? At least there, you’ll have some traction. Not Wisconson though?

Gravy Train

February 26th, 2011
11:05 am

How many refs does it take for Blowhio State to win a BCS game?

Stockdog

February 26th, 2011
11:16 am

The guy has to be pretty good to stay with one team in the NFL for 11 years and 7 different coaches. He was the linebacker coach, not the special teams coach. That’s pretty impressive. I think he will make a difference. However, the fish rots from the head down, if Coach Richt doesn’t get the overall program moving in the right direction, then this guy maybe the linebacker coach at UGA for 2 seasons and 2 different coaches. Only time will tell.

Flat Tire on I-95 In Jacksonville

February 26th, 2011
11:18 am

If I had a dollar for everytime I heard this crap I could afford 4 seats in the skybox every year

Its the same crap every year and we still look the same

The only time I have been impressed was when Van Gorder was here

duck

February 26th, 2011
11:31 am

buckeye, you get your first win ever against an SEC team, and now you think ya’ll can play football. Ark was not in the same league as Ala, Auburn or LSU, just be thankful you got an easy SEC team . Oh I forgot, you got beat twice by a lowly South Carolina team !!!!

jack bull

February 26th, 2011
11:33 am

just a reminder, that’s exactly what Joe Kines said too…..

Tumors Porno

February 26th, 2011
11:39 am

Does anyone have some firewood to give?

AltamahaDawg

February 26th, 2011
11:46 am

Really, every year? All one of them?

GT is a 4th rate high school team

February 26th, 2011
11:50 am

Run to the ball and hit something??? As long as it is not your team mate. Just saying.

GT is a 4th rate high school team

February 26th, 2011
11:56 am

Reading fans talk of Van Gorder days is like dreaming of Hershel Walker coming back. It is not happening, so move on.

Wes

February 26th, 2011
12:01 pm

This guy must be a defensive master mind. I have never heard such wonderul advice for a defensive player. I wonder if he has filled the others on the coaching staff in on this ground breaking theory. Run to the ball and hit. WOW.

Dawg Police

February 26th, 2011
12:02 pm

I really admire Coach Olivadotti’s humility describing how he retained his job in the NFL for 11 years. I too suspect, Stockdog, that his talent had more to do with it than nepotism, etc. Welcome aboard the Bulldog Express to SEC and national prominence.

Flat Tire on I-95 In Jacksonville

February 26th, 2011
12:02 pm

The Dream Team

Hit somebody

The 3-4

Ealey, Is something

Bobo calling plays on the field instead of the booth is better for us

Caleb King, the next Herschel

The Black Out

Last yrs offensive line is going to be the best in the nation

Top 10 class after top 10 class

Finish the drill (Still waiting on that by the way)

This staff should write a book called

Tall Tales in Georgia or Famous one-liners of the Red and Black