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

obamaSINLADEN

August 6th, 2012
11:26 am

gata rodney!!

Sec Fan

August 6th, 2012
11:32 am

So Garner finally spills the beans about Saint Mark cutting players. Not only does this revelation show what a hypocrite Richt is, it also exposes the AJC as bush league homers. They will blast other coaches for roster-management like it’s the worst crime since Hitler but will quietly look the other way when it’s UGA committing the deed.

Blackoutanyone?

August 6th, 2012
11:38 am

Sounds like a bunch of excuses to me.

RTR22

August 6th, 2012
12:02 pm

Spot on Blackout…. no one knows excuses like Jawja.

Pitbull

August 6th, 2012
12:11 pm

Want to know what America was like around say 1905?

Visit the University of Alabama.

Stay in after dark.

Anger Management classes may be needed

August 6th, 2012
12:42 pm

for some of the posters on here. Some people obsessed with UGA. Calm down. Football is not THAT important, is it?

Love it

August 6th, 2012
2:23 pm

UGA fans (and now coach’s) excuse for their own ineptness…deflect to LSU/Bama. Got to hand it to you guys you have an excuse for everything.

Hey Pitbull

August 6th, 2012
2:26 pm

I have a daughter at both and can tell you there is basically no difference. I’m certainly not slamming UGA. It’s ok but I think you should go visit without the hate I think you would like and likely be surprised.

Not Chip but,,,,,,,,,,,,,

August 6th, 2012
2:43 pm

@ Ronnie Pollck:

My understanding is that both must earn one credit each before they will be eligible to enroll at UGA. Also understand that both plan to enroll in january 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not Chip but,,,,,,,,,,,,,

August 6th, 2012
2:44 pm

Enroll at UGA in January that is!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not Chip but,,,,,,,,,,,,,

August 6th, 2012
2:51 pm

@ Bad dawg:

D E L T A IS ready when U R !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brainiac (CMR/UGA Fan For Life)

August 6th, 2012
3:02 pm

@ Bad dawg(10:37 am post)

OBVIOUSLY YOU DID NOT READ THE ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOU EMBARASS YOURSELF NUTCASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brainiac (CMR/UGA Fan For Life)

August 6th, 2012
3:06 pm

@ SEC FAN:(11:32 am post)

You obviously did NOT read the article Dumba$$!!!! Try it again and then think(if possible) before putting mouth/typing in gear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DawgNole

August 6th, 2012
3:20 pm

LakeDawg
August 5th, 2012
6:35 pm

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

Sure wish that were the case, but at 4-18 over the past 22 years, we’re a lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng way from Dawg domination.

Bad Dawg

August 6th, 2012
3:47 pm

lol at LakeDawg for saying the UGA/UF series has taken a turn.

Braniac, I did read the article fool and my impression is that first UGA needs to recruit better young men on their football team if they want to have a stricter disciplinary policy than other SEC schools and second hire a coach who the players have a healthy amount of fear and respect for to help prevent them from making the mistakes that lead them to be kicked off the team. Which results in lack of quality depth and too many walk ons. Fans on here will apologize for Richt no matter what but it is my belief that no coach no matter how much you love him is bigger than UGA football and if he isn’t doing what’s best for UGA football then he should be relieved of his duties.

Sec Fan

August 6th, 2012
4:00 pm

Brainiac, the article shows what a hypocrite Richt is by cutting players. A rat-faced fixer who does his dirty work in the middle of the night. A greasy weasel with a bad haircut. A stinking low-life puke of a coach who makes a mockery of commitment. A disgrace to the sport, the polar opposite of class. An outhouse rat running an outhouse program. A putrid, fecal personification of all that’s wrong with college football.

Bad Dawg

August 6th, 2012
4:10 pm

Nice Post Sec Fan, You can’t convince these UGA fans on this blog though. Most of them think Richt is the second coming of Jesus. There is an excuse for Richt everytime and anytime something bad happens with UGA football. He can do no wrong in some of our fans eyes and it amazes me. It doesn’t matter that UGA is consistently in the running for a Fulmer and is nationally known for underachieving. It can’t be Richt’s fault because he is just such a good Christian man.

Brown Dog

August 6th, 2012
5:08 pm

Nothing worse than a fight between Dawgs.

kral

August 6th, 2012
5:24 pm

do not agree that CMR is perfect…also do not blame him for dumb choices some football players make…never blamed my parents for my dumb moments either..and they were great parents

Bad Dawg

August 6th, 2012
5:45 pm

kral, Richt is not the parent of UGA football he is the head coach which means his first order of business is winning big games consistently. Did Richt not recruit all these problem recruits? Either he is a poor evaluator of character or he doesn’t care. He needs to recruit better young men and that eliminates the problem. You just don’t let bad apples come in and embarrass your football program for several years. Its poor judgement on his part.

DawgNole

August 6th, 2012
7:02 pm

Bad Dawg
August 6th, 2012
5:45 pm

Did Richt not recruit all these problem recruits? Either he is a poor evaluator of character or he doesn’t care. He needs to recruit better young men and that eliminates the problem.
____________________

True; however, that applies not only to Richt, but to all teams/coaches who recruit speed over character–and there are many of them (especially in the South).

Bad Dawg

August 6th, 2012
8:04 pm

DawgNole, I agree and I should have not just pointed out Richt but since I am a UGA fan much of my concern is focused on solely UGA. Character and hard work will beat out talent in the long run.

DawgNole

August 6th, 2012
8:58 pm

Bad Dawg
August 6th, 2012
8:04 pm

DawgNole, I agree and I should have not just pointed out Richt but since I am a UGA fan much of my concern is focused on solely UGA. Character and hard work will beat out talent in the long run.
_________________

Glad we’re on the same page. Hurts to see the discipline problems year after year, particularly when it’s your own team. Happens to the Noles (my other favorite) way too often as well. I cringe throughout every offseason whenever I turn on the news/sports or open the AJC. And it’s not gonna change until recruiting priorities change. (Fat chance of that.)

[...] Rodney Garner talks roster management, Penn State and recruiting character [...]

Bad Dawg

August 6th, 2012
9:23 pm

DawgNole, I agree with your comments and I’ve had enough of the off the field issues. You can’t convince most of the guys on this blog though. They have excuses for each and every incident. I guess Richt shouldn’t be hed accountable for the guys he brought into the program.

Ryan

August 7th, 2012
3:06 am

Thank you to the ajc and the ignorant dawg fans for the entertainment. I know most dawg fans are not ignorant, but it seems that the minority flock to post comments on this site. Don’t blame Nick Saban and others for your problems. THIS JUST IN: Uga has not played alabama since 2008. Nick Saban and Alabama don’t have any feelings about uga. Why would they? Why does uga spend so much time thinking about a team they have not faced in four years? It’s a problem that you have and this problem is a cancer. It certainly does not help the dawgs on saturdays. Focus on the thing you can control, and uga’s potential might someday be reached.

[...] Rodney Garner talks roster management, Penn State and recruiting character [...]

[...] Rodney Garner talks roster management, Penn State and recruiting character [...]

[...] Rodney Garner talks roster management, Penn State and recruiting character [...]

Barry

August 8th, 2012
3:13 pm

I love sports “fans” on computers – especially football wanabes – where a blogesphere of idiots who know absolutely nothing, or even less, can run their mouths via their dainty little finers on a key board, pretending to be somebodies who matter. It is hilarious…….and here I am reading this stuff. Wow!

[...] Rodney Garner talks roster management, Penn State and recruiting character [...]

[...] Rodney Garner talks roster management, Penn State and recruiting character [...]

[...] Rodney Garner talks roster management, Penn State and recruiting character [...]

[...] Rodney Garner talks roster management, Penn State and recruiting character [...]