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

The Factor

August 5th, 2012
6:21 pm

@Beast

Exactly what school is the “Beast” you claim to be degreed from?

P-Cola Dog

August 5th, 2012
6:23 pm

I keep getting blocked dadgummit and I am trying to devour the beast’s 5:27 post and @beast beat me to it. Saban/bama, spurrier/USC and Miles/LSU have all been on probation. LSU was self imposed with scholarship reductions to avoid NCAA sanctions. Do your homework!

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:24 pm

I stand corrected. Then Saban is in the same “right way” mold as Richt. The point is, if you have to try to tear others down to justify your own shortcomings then you aren’t without fault. Like I said before, it sickens me when people do this. Richt is no better at “developing young men” or “doing it the right way” than any other SEC coach. And he doesn’t have the hardware in the trophy case that several others do either.

BILLY JACK

August 5th, 2012
6:26 pm

If one of Sabans players falls out because of the heat he just steps over them and practice never stops or he makes them sign some form that they are hurt when they are not.

uga potheads but that's now okay

August 5th, 2012
6:27 pm

what happened to the big speech to the media last week how UGA will not be recruiting any PSU players, now you are saying you want to….BIG SURPRISE

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:28 pm

The Factor,
Lifelong UF fan. I did not have the grades to get into UF. Went to a JC then graduated from small Florida college. Does make me not worthy to discuss the topic?

LakeDawg

August 5th, 2012
6:32 pm

Isn’t UF neck and neck with UGA in arrests the past 5 years? Nuff said.

jojo

August 5th, 2012
6:33 pm

Jeez, can’y you all (who are REAL Dawg fans) just get along and support the team and the coaches. Hell, it might make a difference.

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:33 pm

Regarding Bama’s probation. Do you honestly think Saban had anything to do with those student-athletes from several sports that decided to sell their textbooks? Do you think Spurrier arranged the off-campus housing that got USC in trouble? If so, then I’m sure you’ll agree that Richt had to be involved with AJ Green selling his jersey to the highest bidder. If you love Richt, that’s great. Just don’t try and bring down everyone else to build him up. He’s no saint and he did not invent football…even though he has been studying “cutting edge football” for a couple of years…LOL!

LakeDawg

August 5th, 2012
6:35 pm

The GA/FL series has turned. Its back to the way it used to be, Dawg domination.

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:35 pm

LakeDawg,
Yeas, I do believe that UF has had about the same amount of arrests as UGA recently. Does that make Richt any better? Does it make you feel better?

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:38 pm

One win against the worst team we’ve fielded since 1989 now counts as “Dawg domination”? I truly feel sorry for simpletons with that type of mindset. May God bless you.

Pan-cho

August 5th, 2012
6:46 pm

c’mon LakeDawg…really??? You are in contention for stupid statement of the day…

The Factor

August 5th, 2012
6:48 pm

No it does not disqualify you. The “Beast” part does…And, this is about UGA anyway. Now run along…..

LakeDawg

August 5th, 2012
6:52 pm

Muschump is the second coming of Ray Goof.

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:52 pm

I’ll try along because I’ve grown tired of simpletons like LakeDawg. And UF is a Beast. The best sports program in the nation.

@beast

August 5th, 2012
6:52 pm

The Georgia- Florida series has been historically cyclical with each team going on long streaks. Florida clearly held a distinct advantage up until 2004. Since then 3-5 is by no means acceptable, but much easier to swallow than the 13-1 from 1990 -2003. Lets see if Georgia can make it 2 in a row this year for the first time in a very ,very long time.

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:53 pm

Should have read run along, but even a simpleton like LakeDawg could have figured that out.

kingdaddy

August 5th, 2012
6:56 pm

How does it always deteriorate into a “you suc” throwdown? All schools have their “darkside”, including UGA. Why can’t we talk about football or the actual article? It always seems to get really childish and ruins the fun for most bloggers…

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:56 pm

@beast,
I don’t dispute anything you said about the series. I grew up watching Dooley’s Dawgs own us. I just was amused at “Lake Dawg” spouting domination after one come from behind win over a first year coach with a lousy team. Simply unbelievable.

Beast from the East

August 5th, 2012
6:57 pm

kingdaddy,
The floor is yours, sir. I’m out!

Jimmy Crack

August 5th, 2012
7:01 pm

It’s all a talent crap shoot and Rodney has done pretty well. As far as Penn State castaways, it all seemed more public relations trouble than it was worth, the way it was played out in the media, unless you are the Godless Lanie Kiffin.

LakeDawg

August 5th, 2012
7:07 pm

What do we really know about Muschump? Can he coach? Is FL going to spend five years to find out. OR are they going to fire him and start all over. Only to find they still haven’t hired the right coach. Oh my.

gt4ever

August 5th, 2012
7:10 pm

UGA is paying more money to coaches who can’t coach than any D1 program in the country…. It’s really no surprise that this team underachieves year after year… What an unbelievable amount of talent that goes through that program every year…. Pathetic….

joe

August 5th, 2012
7:36 pm

glad to have the football season back again, if only, to read the blogs on the AJC-Towers, Schultz, and Bradley. If any of the bloggers would step back and try to understand; then they would know why coaches make the comment: “You are a fan I am a coach”. Saban may be a pain in the butt, but if I were a coach I would be the same way. Tell the fans to f*off and let me coach. Of course then to the ones who say none of the UGA coaches can coach-you try it.

hashbrown dawg

August 5th, 2012
7:48 pm

what a liar rodney is… a typical republitard.

the guy gives out that funky mitt romney heckle after he give a lie and says that uga only contacted a couple of psu players. yeah right.. THEY CONTACTED ALL 19 I PROMISE YOU!

what he really didnt want to let on is that most of the psu players are of high character and they wanted nothing to do with a program like uga.

the reason for uga’s current troubles is that the only players that they can attract are in the same mold as Isaiah Crowell. lmao.

hey frawgs … you sow what you reap.

thanks for the entertaining summer.

btw 72 really? more like 67. 72 is bad enough. the frawgs dont want to let on it is closer to 67!

JB

August 5th, 2012
7:54 pm

Georgia has great facilities, great campus, decent tradition, and a world of good football players. As someone who lives in realville, what we lack is coaching, and yes I like Richt, But there is nothing holding this program back from a national title but coaching. It’s just that simple.

JB

August 5th, 2012
7:59 pm

Muschamp may end up like Richt. Tons of talent and program money and can’t get them anywhere but 10 wins and a December Bowl. At Georgia we kind od know that’s the rut we are stuck in, but Florida had that Sprurrier run and the Tebow/Meyer run and think it’s supposed to compete for a NC every year.
I think they have been average for a couple of years now and those folks are looking to see if a trend is setting in. Win say 9 this year with one of the losses to the Dawgs and he goes straight to hot seat. Just watch.

kingdaddy

August 5th, 2012
8:02 pm

Beast from the East,
Gee thanks cuz. I don’t blame you for bailing, lol but I’m just checking in and out. Let’s be civil. Not even a month until the real thing. Come on Football…

kingdaddy

August 5th, 2012
8:07 pm

Hashbrown dog
your foodstamps will be out tomorrow. How bout loan me some obumma bucks, lol…

the old coach

August 5th, 2012
8:25 pm

53dawg . You probably sat in the stands and tried to re live your football misfortunes through your son if you had one. You don’t try and sell yourself as a coach you try and sell the institution you work for. I think you recruit character and after coaching for 40 years and looking back over those 40 years I had many more wins with the character kids than with the good athlete that did not have good character It will get better after we win the SEC this year.

Ghost

August 5th, 2012
8:26 pm

LOL Gt4ever , a yellow jacket talking trash about a program that accomplished more of the past 11 years that Tech has since 1967.

Stephen A.Dogg: UGA may never win a MNC, but we have a nice gentleman as a head coach.

August 5th, 2012
8:29 pm

The truth is that Richt & Company are being ran out of their own state in recruiting. Rival schools are attacking the Georgia recruiting pool en masse and Richt is looking for “favorites” or his kind of players at key positions which in a lot of cases reside in Florida or ACC territories and out of the state of Georgia. Richt, who by the way is a very good, nice person personally, has been exposed as a poor evaluator of talent. Examples: Richt recruited Cam Newton out of high school to be a TIGHT END at UGA. Remarkable. To make up for a lack of signing quality athletes has Richt awarding those scholarships to WALK-ONs !! It is nice of him, but you are not going to win championships with inferior talent. It will show itself in big games and Richt hasn’t won a big game in years.

Then Richt and company are failing to retain the few impact guys they can coax into coming to Georgia. Combine all the aforementioned issues with below average or outdated offensive strategy along with very strict University rules and regulations and you have the University of Georgia as it is today, a program that wants to be far more than it is capable of due to its own faults. The total package of all those factors is the equivalent of being on NCAA probation. Let’s be honest until major changes are made it is just wishful thinking that Georgia will win a national championship as these things continue to take their toll.

Here’s another example of recruiting failure for everything is all right-minded Richt. Mark Richt knew South Georgia product, Crowell wasn’t his kind of player after the Ealey and King washouts at RB, but he had to sell-out and make a run at him to keep Crowell out of Saban’s camp. Thus avoid criticism for failing to keep the top talent in Georgia. Anyway, poor ill-prepared Crowell was rushed onto the field, poorly managed by Richt and Co. and predictably washed out. Rival coaches are going to use that debacle and many discipline problems at UGA against the easy going Richt and continue to out recruit him. A complete and total change may be needed in Athens beginning with the coaching staff. This season will tell the story, but the writing is already on the wall.

Concerned

August 5th, 2012
8:34 pm

Absolutly love this, and you go Rodney Garner. Rock solid to the core. This is what we need, and I trust the offense coaches have an anchor like Rodney. This is so good, and yes we needed to clean house, get back to our core, and teach, and hold accountable. I have a strong feeling that Georgia is climbing again, and that make me have goose bumps. Go Dawgs

hashbrown dawg

August 5th, 2012
8:34 pm

kingdaddy how in the hell can you call your self a king when you need stamps?

havent you learned how to steal hash browns yet? with all the stealing going on at uga it seems you should have found somebody to teach you by now.

maybe it is time to change your name to goatdaddy….. werent you guys the university of gawgia billy goats at one time?

lmao.. that so fits.

when you try to tailgate at st simons this year the town can tell all of you toooo …

go baaaaaaah ck to athens we dont want your poop urine and trash in our town.

go baaaaaaaaaah ck

personally i think the uga billy goats suits you guys better.

kingdaddy

August 5th, 2012
8:46 pm

Hashbrown
Don’t get your thong in a twist, lol. So one of my girls was git-n me some hashbrowns from the mess hall, at least she was keep-n them warm for me. Your gurl probley got you a kilbasa in hers…

hashbrown dawg

August 5th, 2012
8:48 pm

nope i prefer pie in my thongs. you got the wrong bi …. guy!

so king * sic* daddy tell us more about you billy goats…. lmao.

kingdaddy

August 5th, 2012
9:01 pm

The only good goat is a bar-b-qued goat. You got a lot of them in B-wick. Not many on the island, Buckwheat…

Mobile Dawg

August 5th, 2012
9:04 pm

To much love for me for a football team, I prefer professionalism and a healthy fear of authority. Analogy of the day, would you rather be a thermometer, or a thermostat, as the matriarch of the program?

kingdaddy

August 5th, 2012
9:07 pm

H.B.
You lika da licka da lizard, lol??? You a gator??? Hater…

kingdaddy

August 5th, 2012
9:12 pm

Hashbrown, I’m just messing wit ya bro. Except for the B-B-Q goat, lol…

Mobile Dawg

August 5th, 2012
9:18 pm

kingdaddy, you ever eaten any goat?

telling a fool he is a fool

August 5th, 2012
9:22 pm

“AAAAA Athens Bail Bonds R Us

August 5th, 2012
6:11 pm

Any more dawgs arrested today?”

Are you looking for someone to doggie you in jail?

telling a fool he is a fool

August 5th, 2012
9:25 pm

@Stephen A.Dogg: UGA may never win a MNC, but we have a nice gentleman as a head coach.

“The truth is that Richt & Company are being ran out of their own state in recruiting. ”

Stopped reading there after that statement. Some are just too dumb to be taken seriously.

kingdaddy

August 5th, 2012
9:29 pm

Cat, goat, opossum, rattlesnake, wild turkey (the bird too), raccoon, deer, elk, buffalo(awesome buger), gator, various lizards, rode a motorcycle so plenty of bugs and ate at way too many chinese buffets, so if they can cook it and put it on a stick, I may have tasted it, lol…(get your mind out of the gutter…)

Mobile Dawg

August 5th, 2012
9:34 pm

Get your mind out of the gutter? Goat is some fine tasting fare, where is your mind? Seriously doubt you tasted all that. Cat? Where was PETA?

kingdaddy

August 5th, 2012
9:35 pm

Coach Garner is a DGA THROUGH & THROUGH OLD SCHOOL! Glad he is still with us…

Bagman

August 5th, 2012
9:46 pm

There’s a reason folks in the SEC call Garner the “Bagman”. Dude is notorious for recruiting violations.

RHall55

August 5th, 2012
9:47 pm

Whoever responded to my comments needs to understand that in my business I talk to H/S Coaches quite often and when you hear that CRG has not visited Norcross in 10 years…rarely visisted Buford….and has almost completely forgotten Stephenson,,,this is totally inexcusable…that is why I list the guys missed, not because of the players we get or the players we missed on, but because of the all out lack of effort and the players we could have gotten….ie…only getting 17 eligible players for 2012 when we had 27 to give….want to win a NC, quit hiding the laziness that has crepted in the staff!!!!

Little Richard

August 5th, 2012
9:47 pm

Ole sissy Garner looks like Lil Richard. Lolz.