Georgia will spend over $100,000 more on this year’s four-man strength staff than it did on last season’s five full-time staffers and a part-time assistant.
The assumption in both cases is that there's actually something to the "Richt on the hot seat" meme – that he was feeling some kind of pressure from Evans himself or his bosses, who Evans was somehow able to keep at bay – which still defies public statements from UGA power brokers and common sense. What was Evans supposed to be protecting Richt from? Criticism of his pace to become the winningest coach in Georgia history? Antsy boosters looking to grill him over four straight top-10 finishes, or two SEC championships in four years after a 20-year drought since Herschel Walker's final season? The unlikely late-season run to No. 2 in the final polls in 2007?
Despite Bradley's optimistic take, the conventional wisdom is that new athletic directors are a threat to coaches: Personalities may clash, and if the record suffers at all, the new boss has no incentive to remain loyal when he can bring in "his guy." But as Bradley also notes, Richt wasn't Evans' guy; he was hired by Evans' predecessor, Vince Dooley. Whatever the internal impatience with Richt, Evans was certainly aware of them; for all we know, he originated them. But unless someone high up the chain is specifically looking for a hatchet man who'll have Richt's head at the first opportunity, whoever inherits the AD's chair won't have any more reason to put Richt in his crosshairs than Evans did.
An utter disaster of a season could change that equation. If there are high-placed Richt skeptics, the end of the Bulldogs' 12-year bowl streak could conceivable force a heavy hand or two to try to sweep him out. Short of that kind of wholesale collapse, though, Richt shouldn't need any buffers or friends in the short term beyond his own resumé.
"We like a lot of things about (Grantham)," Richt said. "He’s a great communicator and has got some presence about him that I think the guys will respect and enjoy."
Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was a Steve Addazio hire. The two worked together at Syracuse, and Austin said Addazio called him a few days before National Signing Day to gauge his interest in the job in case it came open. This means Meyer and Addazio knew George Edwards might be planning to skip town before signing day.
If there’s a bottom line here, it’s that I can’t say I’m particularly surprised that Georgia’s incoming class doesn’t match the level of some of its predecessors, at least on paper. A disappointing two-year run for the program, an unfair "hot seat" meme that no doubt made the rounds and a historic change to the defensive staff all contributed to that. But as Paul notes, it’s not like a bunch of stiffs are coming to Athens this year. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in the departures so much that you lose sight of what kids like Jakar Hamilton will (hopefully) bring to the table.