The University announced this evening that defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos will be stepping down for "personal reasons." Thus ends the maligned career of a coach who was tasked with turning the youngest position group on the Bulldog squad into a functional SEC unit overnight and, I think we can all agree on this, didn't get it done.
It's perhaps unfortunate that Lakatos will be remembered mostly for this season's many disasters and fiascos, from being carpet bombed by Tajh Boyd, to that Auburn thing of which we do not speak, to making Vad Lee look like Peyton Manning, to the 99 yard touchdown in the Gator Bowl. This season saw the Bulldog secondary at its least effective since Bryan Evans was wondering lost on the Sanford Stadium turf under the direction of one William Roscoe Martinez. But Lakatos was also largely responsible for the development of Bacarri Rambo into an All-American safety, Sanders Commings into an NFL -caliber defensive back, and Shawn Williams from a lightly recruited 3 star prospect into an All-SEC player. Given another year or two he might have done the same with Tray Matthews, Quincy Mauger, Brendan Langley, Shaq Wiggins, and new addition Tramel Terry. But we'll never know.
I get a little edgy when I hear that a coach is resigning for "personal reasons" because that could mean all sorts of things, some of which are pretty embarrassing for the program. Or it could mean health reasons which would be unfortunate for other reasons. There had been rumors circulating for weeks about Coach Lakatos's health. I won't be dignifying those in this space. His health and whether or not it adversely affected his performance are matters for Coach Lakatos to take up with Mark Richt and Greg McGarity.
For now, the 'Dawgs need someone to step into Lakatos's shoes. In addition to the crop of young players already on campus the Red and Black also have three defensive backs in the 2014 recruiting class (JUCO S/CB Shattle Fenteng, CB Kendall Gant, and Army All-American CB Malkom Parrish). They're also still in the running for consensus 4 star DB Wesley Green. Georgia will likely move quickly if possible to lock up those recruits. However if forced to choose, and if past searches are any indication, Coach Richt will wait to get the right guy to coach the ones already on campus. I think that's the way to go. While it would be nice for this year's recruits to get the chance to bond with their new position coach, I'd much rather we secure the right person to coach up last year's (and 2013's) underperforming recruits. And somebody with some special teams coaching chops, particularly kickoff and punt return chops, wouldn't hurt either.
Whoever takes over the Georgia secondary will have a lot of talent to work with. He'll also inherit the huge task of helping those guys live up to their talent. We at Dawg Sports wish Coach Lakatos all the best. Until later . . .