UGA’s Rodney Garner on roster management, Penn State and recruiting character

ATHENS – Rodney Garner wears a lot of hats for Georgia. He’s assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach for the Bulldogs. But for media that cover the football program, Garner is known first and foremost as a man who tells it like it is.

Garner

Garner

Garner was available to talk to reporters for the first time in preseason camp on Sunday. His candor on a number of topics is sure to grab some attention. Garner spoke frankly about Bulldogs’ recruitment — or lack of recruitment — of Penn State players, scholarship management, recruiting character and his personal coaching style, among other things.

Here are some of the highlights from Garner’s 15-minutes question-and-answer session on Sunday:

On asking permission to contact 19 Penn State players . . .

“I ain’t ever figured that out. I guess our compliance office set us up, because we’re the only ones who had to send in a list of guys we were just interested in. We didn’t even contact probably a fifth of them. But they told us, ‘if there’s anybody you think you may ever want to contact, turn the names in.” Next thing you know, Georgia is recruiting is all these names. Who are they? I don’t know. We can’t say anyway. I’m like, ‘where’s everybody else’s list at? Did they not have to do that.’

“Georgia’s got some open records laws now. Man, we do; we’ve got them. Somebody needs to call Nick [Saban] and see what list they sent in. There were a couple of guys at some need positions that we looked at to see if there was interest if it could’ve worked.”

On the rules regarding Penn State transfers . . .

“I just think there has been some false reporting about how it all works. People were saying you could take a Penn State player and it would not count against you. That’s not true. It’s going to count against you. It’s going to count against your 85, it’s going to count against your initial 25. The only thing was, if you had 25 initials and you were at 85 this year and you took one, next year you had 24 initials and you had to be at 84. So it was bad reporting.

“We had to sit there with a number of kids we already had committed and felt good about and realize that if we took one it was going to take away from the number. So that’s the strategy when you look at how you go about about it. Everybody’s saying, ‘why didn’t Georgia take any, roster management, da, da, da.’ Well, it was going to affect what our wish would be if we get everything right for January and February by what we could take.

“Now there were a couple of guys we thought, ‘if we could get these two guys, that would offset and it would be fine.’ Now if they say you can take them and it doesn’t count against the 85 and not count against the 25, you could back count for it or allow it, you’d try to get all the seniors you could. But that’s not the way it was. Unfortunately, nobody’s come out and just said that. . . .The kids did not have to sit out, so it was not a penalty for the kids. But the program that takes them, you have to fit it into the number.”

On whether Georgia has mismanaged its roster or just been unlucky . . .

“Well, we’ve had a lot of attrition. You know, when you sit there and look at it, it’s the way we run our program. I don’t know what other people do, but I know we run a pretty stringent program and we’ve have had some unfortunate incidents to pop up. I’m not saying it’s a common occurrence, but there are probably other programs out there that are going through similar things, depending on what kind of structure they have.

“But I do like the quality of the young men that we have in this program. Some of the guys that we’ve lost – and we’ve lost a lot of guys – you wish you could have been able to save a few of them. It definitely would have helped your situation. But a lot of those guys we made the decision to cut and move on. It wasn’t a university decision or whatever. It was just, ‘what do we want this program to be known as, what do we want it to be?’ It’s a double-edged sword. What do you want? You can sweep everything under the rug and have this and have that, but is that what you really want?

“It’s like I tell my guys. I say, ‘who do you want to be teammates with? You want to be around good guys that when you get old you’d still want to be around them; or do you want to be around a bunch of whatevers?’ It’s the way Coach [Mark] Richt wants to run this program and I think he does a heck of a job running it. I think he does a good job. And I think because of our philosophy sometimes we take some undue criticism. I really do in my heart believe we have good kids. I really do.”

On evaluating prospects’ character in recruiting . . .

“You’re constantly trying to evaluate character. Have you got kids? I’m raising mine and I’m trying to get them to do this and do that, but there’s some days they disappoint the heck out of me. They don’t always do what I say to do. I want them to and I’ll whup them and I do whup them. But they don’t always do what I want to do.

“Now think if you have 125. I can promise you thay ain’t all going to do what you say to do all the time. So you’ve got to discipline them and you’ve got to hope to teach them a lesson and help them to learn from it and not make the same mistake and, in turn, make them better.”

On his propensity to yell and get in the faces of young defensive linemen . . .

“You’ve got to break them down. You ever watched the Six Million Dollar Man? You remember that show? What did they tell you? ‘We must rebuild him. We need to make him bigger, faster, stronger, everything.’ You’ve got to tear it down to the foundation to build it back up.

“Y’all are brutal. Let him jump offsides in front 93,000 people. That’s brutal. He better know how to take it. He better be tough-skinned. If I can affect him, wow, we’ve got problems. I’m hard on them, I’m harsh. But you ask them, it’s all about love. In my room it’s called thug-love. It’s hardcore love, but it’s all love. It’s 100 percent love. . . . You’ve got to love them hard but you’ve got to hold them accountable. At the same time you’ve got to put your arm around them and tell them ‘that was a great play, that’s what I’m talking about, this is what you’ve got to do all the time.’

“We all have the same goal: I want them to be a good player, they want to be a good player, their teammates want them to be a good player. It says in the Bible, iron sharpens iron as a man sharpens a man.” So that’s what we’re doing. We’re just challenging them every day to get better. They challenge me to get better as a coach. We just want to challenge each other to get better.”

184 comments Add your comment

skiingdawg

August 5th, 2012
2:38 pm

Great article. That’s the way I’ve raised my kids who are now young adults. Tough, but fair teaching love. Lots of LOVE! Glad to have Rodney Garner as a coach at UGA. Also, he invites a lot of the players over to his house during the holidays when they cannot go home. Exemplifies UGA.

dawggirl

August 5th, 2012
2:38 pm

Interesting interview. I like when he asked if you had kids, Chip.

The Penn State situation was confusing all the way around. I don’t care that we didn’t get any recruits there, we are no worse off than we were before.

27 days!

Bulldawgalum98

August 5th, 2012
2:40 pm

love the job you do coach Garner Keep it up!

Ronnie Pollock

August 5th, 2012
2:43 pm

Please tell me the staus of John Atkins and Leonard Floyd. Great article Chip.

P-Cola Dog

August 5th, 2012
2:47 pm

Stand by. Tide Roll is on his way over to set the record straight for all of us pathetic UGA fans. Wait for it……

RHall55

August 5th, 2012
2:58 pm

OK Kool Aid drinkers….the frist line in his interview typifies Rodney Garner’s performance…”I ain’t figured that one out yet”….that typifies his mismanagement of handling the roster….only 17 qualified scholarships last year…no in-state OL, MLB, and DB’s….missing out on top in-state talent starting back to the senior year of Eric Berry….missing out on Max Garcia….not knowing the situation w/ Chester Brown…and projected to secure only 2 of the Top 10 players from the state this year (including Reuben Foster)….Mr Garner, not a good track record; need to get out of Athens and get to Norcross, Buford, Stephenson, Monroe, etc…..missing out on too many good players!!!

ZinoDawg

August 5th, 2012
3:01 pm

georgie boys

August 5th, 2012
3:01 pm

He said it just like it was written by the sports information folks. Do you ugay fans really think he’s going to say something to get himself fired. He’s Richt’s boy, of course he’ll say what told.

Billdawg69/71

August 5th, 2012
3:06 pm

RHall needs to look at Coach G’s success in putting linemen in the NFL. Few can match that “cool aid”.

wild one 13

August 5th, 2012
3:09 pm

my computer must be broken???

wild one 13

August 5th, 2012
3:11 pm

The computer police are out in force today.

P-Cola Dog

August 5th, 2012
3:12 pm

Rhall is tide roll

Bulldog_Greg24

August 5th, 2012
3:13 pm

This is why UGA fans are upset. The University of Georgia reported Tuesday night that 105 players reported for preseason football camp. That is the maximum amount allowed by NCAA rule. Unofficially, 76 of those players are on scholarship, which is nine below the NCAA limit.
We gave out 17 scholarships last season. Prior to that CMR rewarded several walk-ons last season. We can not compete with Bama and LSU with a team under staffed. We seem to be missing on a lot of in-state kids these days. Something needs to change! Rewarding a walk-on should be an exception versus the rule!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

August 5th, 2012
3:21 pm

This article was a wonderful glass of kool-aid

Character yea how many times have we won the Fulmer National Championship with his recruiting?

kerryb

August 5th, 2012
3:23 pm

georgie boys
August 5th, 2012
3:01 pm

He said it just like it was written by the sports information folks. Do you ugay fans really think he’s going to say something to get himself fired. He’s Richt’s boy, of course he’ll say what told.

___________________________________________________________
You are a dumba**. All of us that are UGA football fans know that this article was classic Rodney Garner.

lanier

August 5th, 2012
3:35 pm

you hit it on the head 1953

a country boy can survive

August 5th, 2012
3:38 pm

gotta love garner…keep him there forever…he’s the sec’s best friend…

Jimmy Lee Lee, Bulldawg fan

August 5th, 2012
3:40 pm

In my room we call it th*g-love….says all you need to know about the leadership of this program…

The Factor

August 5th, 2012
4:12 pm

@1953dawg

Unfortunately, we cannot offer all kids in this state the “fans” may want due to academic differences we have with other teams in the conference. It is a HUGE underlying story every year that cannot not be told. UGA administration cannot come out and say, “this kid didn’t met our academic standards which is why we didn’t offer”. You cannot, and UGA will never do that to a kid. Yet, in the newspapers it appears we lost out. If the true facts could only be known…

Jimmy Lee Lee, Bulldawg fan

August 5th, 2012
4:30 pm

Thats a horsesh*t excuse Factor. I swear you Richt lovers will make excuse after excuse after excuse for the regime in Athens. If it’s not “we have tougher drug rules” its “we have tougher penalties for bad behavior” its “we have tougher academic standards”. How about a “we need a new coach” excuse. I’m sick of fans like you. Take your pressed khakis, wine-cooler drinking behind over to the “style and entertainment” blog and get out of the real fans way.

Lawsontheconvict

August 5th, 2012
4:35 pm

(in my opinion) Lawson will be in jail soon. The is one bad character guy we didnt go after, thank goodness

Pan-cho

August 5th, 2012
4:45 pm

Even more reason to recruit him to uga…he’d fit perfectly

georgie boys

August 5th, 2012
4:46 pm

Enter your comments here

georgie boys

August 5th, 2012
4:49 pm

kerryb,

Yes we know you are in the all nose. You’re exactly right, Classic Garner. Say’n what he’s told when he’s told. Strictly a Richt boy.

bitter Hill-folk

August 5th, 2012
4:56 pm

Trolls———-UGA recuits QUALITY first—-No more TH___gish red-neck tyler bray–rock slingging mentality

Only tallented good people–people——-GET IT.

UGA will not recruit kids that have a 5 year old—or a kid who needs to bring

his entire high school football team

To the rest of the SEC

August 5th, 2012
5:07 pm

Some may criticize Richt, however, you must admit he sticks to his convictions. I would rather have Richt running the prorgram than Saban, Chizik, Meyer, Spurrier, Tressell, et al. Winning is want we all desire. Winning with class and integrity will last a lifetime. All progams have their issues, how the issues are dealt with are what define the program. I would prefer to have Richt and the success achieved, than to claim a MNC in less than desirable manner.

Pan-cho

August 5th, 2012
5:12 pm

@To the rest of the SEC

thats funny.

MaconKnight

August 5th, 2012
5:12 pm

As a fan I want UGA to offer every kid in the state of Ga, but as someone has already montioned the compliance office is not going to accept every kid the coaches want to bring as was the case a couple years back with Jamar Bryant he eventually landed at Miss St with the help of the coaches. This was a great article as most fan dont know anything but the NCAA scholarship limit which is 85, every school has players who leave, no school is exempt from this, just tired of reading the comments of some of these fair weather fans either you are with GEORGIA or you’re not make of your mind and do it quick because the players need a true fan base thats going support them…..

LogicalUS

August 5th, 2012
5:23 pm

“cannot offer all kids in this state the “fans” may want due to academic differences ”

Bhahahahhahahhhhaaa…now that is some funny comedy right there. UGA can not take a kid because ACADEMICS..

Bhahahaahahahahaa..Good gracious…that is funny.

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
5:27 pm

To the rest of the SEC,
How can you be so blind? Has Miles, Saban or Spurrier ever gotten a program put on probation? No. Have they ever won the Fulmer Cup? No.
Richt has and he’s had numerous top 10 finishes.
Richt also has more attrition and more arrests than those 3 that have all won NC’s.
So who does it the “right way” that you can be proud of forever?
I’m not trying to bash Richt, but you idiots that try and bring down great coaches that do things the right way in order to build him up just sicken me.

RichRed

August 5th, 2012
5:28 pm

What does Garner do? Blame Nick Saban for UGA’s contact list of players re: PSU……Incredible and unbelievable.

Ripley

August 5th, 2012
5:32 pm

Very informative interview. A UGA coach casually admits they cut players, or “ran them off” as it’s referred to when other schools do it.
This obviously won’t go over well with the sanctimonious Georgia fans who maintain UGA is above such tawdry roster management. With their hypocrisy exposed, they will find it more difficult to accuse other schools that do it as being “unethical”, though some will cling to their self-serving myth and continue to try .
Still, the candor was refreshing. Of course Georgia cuts players. After a 6-7 season Richt had to clean house. Why? Simple. It’s a business. He has a job to do, for which he’s paid millions. Richt faced the fact that, like all teams, there were some square pegs who would not fit into round holes. Knowing those players will easily wind up with another scholarship somewhere else, he showed them the door. Good for him, and it will be good for future won-loss records.

7576DAWG

August 5th, 2012
5:41 pm

Garner is a very good coach and he recruits linemen pretty good but he is not a good Recruiting Coordinator. It is his job to stay in touch with every recruit , in person , not on the internet all the time. CMR likes Garner a lot because he is a good coach and I think he was given the title as Recruiting Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach so Georgia could get his salary to a point that he would not leave.
Apparently McGarity agrees that Garner is not getting the job done as far as Recruiting Coordinator because instead of getting rid of Garner or taking the job of Recruiting Coordinator away from him, which would have probably generated a resignation , McGarity hired Daryl Jones to handle On Campus Recruiting. I think Richt and McGarity know that we could do better as far as recruiting and are at least doing something to try and improve in that area.

Nimrod Dawg

August 5th, 2012
5:45 pm

I like the one about a coach yelling at a lineman. What an eye-opener question, I never realized they did that.

@beast

August 5th, 2012
5:50 pm

You might want to take a look at Floridas arrest records, and where they stand in the Fulmer Cup all time rankings ahead of Georgia. And South Carolina is currently tied with Georgia on the list this season and is currently on Ncaa probation kind of blows the Spurrier thing out the window . Bama won the Fulmer Cup in 2008 , Saban started coaching in 2007. And there were NCAA violations at Bama in 2007.I missed Goergia being put on probation during Richts tenure.

Don'tsufferfools

August 5th, 2012
5:53 pm

So should UGA trade Garner for Trooper Taylor and his waving towel?

The Factor

August 5th, 2012
5:55 pm

I guess this article isn’t true either by an independent little magazine called Sports Illustrated? Honest to gosh, I wish we could lose some of our fans….

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/andy_staples/06/12/georgia-drug-policy/index.html

LakeDawg

August 5th, 2012
5:55 pm

I’ve been on Richt’s tail about his coaching ability, while not bad, not good enough. However, I’m not a critic of his recruiting and discipline. I think he turned the corner on discipline a couple of years ago. CMR is more stringent than other coaches and UGA is more public (unlike Bama, whose football program is shrouded in mystery). UGA gets kids arrested for peeing in public, smoking a J, etc., while other schools have real problems, such as Agg Assault, Robbery, and other problems.

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:00 pm

@beast,
I did not say any of those programs have been without faults. Learn to read, son. I was simply pointing out that Richt is not holier than thou as some of this idiots continuously claim. He’s had as many or more off-field issues as any other program in the conference. Do you dispute that?

LakeDawg

August 5th, 2012
6:03 pm

@The Factor

The article you posted was spot on. Here is a quote from it that might apply to Bama:

“There really is no benefit in major college sports to trying to do the right thing. The glory and the money go to those who win titles, not to those who crank out the best citizens.”

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/andy_staples/06/12/georgia-drug-policy/index.html#ixzz22iBY1qFY

P-Cola Dog

August 5th, 2012
6:07 pm

Beast,

Saban and the tide won the fulmer cup in 2008 and Saban and his tide just completed at three year probation that ended in June 2012 for a text book scandal involving 16 on 19 sporting teams. Post facts not emotion, or just stop posting.

LakeDawg

August 5th, 2012
6:07 pm

Beast from the East

Yes, I dispute that. At UF, the first failed drug test is on the house. The second nets a 1 game suspension. And other programs are less strict than UF.

Why not all of them

August 5th, 2012
6:08 pm

“you wish you could have been able to save a few of them”, UGA recruited all of them, why would they not want to SAVE ALL of them? The hypocritical UGA way of doing business.

@Rhall55

August 5th, 2012
6:10 pm

I guess you don’t realize UGA finishes in the top 10 in recruiting most every season.JH Clemmons #1 player in State in 2012, Signed 18 of Georgia top 41 players in 2011, signed 5 star olinman from Florida (no 5 star o linemen from Georgia in 2012) has signed nations top running back 2 years in a row. This years class is rated in top anywhere from 5- 9th by every major recruiting service. I suppose if your not #1 theres always room for improvement , but stop implying he does a bad job, by listing recruits he misses.

Not UGA

August 5th, 2012
6:11 pm

“made the decision to cut and move on”, and you don’t think this is roster management? No, UGA wouldn’t do that would they?

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:13 pm

Did I mention suspensions? I’m talking arrests. Now, let me hear how much tougher the ACCPD is than any other in the country.

LakeDawg

August 5th, 2012
6:13 pm

I’m curious. What is Saban’s plan if one of his players has heat exhaustion and goes into convulsions during preseason camp?

@beast

August 5th, 2012
6:16 pm

Perhaps you should read what you write. “How can you be so blind? Has Miles, Saban or Spurrier ever gotten a program put on probation? No. Have they ever won the Fulmer Cup? No.” Clearly Bama has won a Fulmer Cup 2008 Saban was the Coach, they also had Sanction from 2007 season. and and South Carolina was put on NCAA probation this year and is tied with UGA in Fulmer Cup points this year. Of course Georgia has off the field issues just like everyone else more than some less than others.

BILLY JACK

August 5th, 2012
6:16 pm

Garner is the worst recruiting coordinator in the country and we lose 10 or more recruits because he is so late to contact them.UGA was like the 7th team to offer the DT Adams I believe he is from Dooley County and he ia the top lineman in the state and top 3 or 4 in the country.How can you be the 7th school to offer when he is in your own state.If Richt fires Garner UGA wins 4 or 5 national titles in the next 10 years.Georgia is sitting on a football goldmine as far as high school football.Garner has screwed our recruiting up so bad Richt sends Bobo and Granthem out to clean up the mess every year.

P-Cola Dog

August 5th, 2012
6:20 pm