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Reports: Jim Chaney headed to Tennessee

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NCAA Football: Florida at Georgia Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The always reliable “sources” are indicating that Jim Chaney has reached an agreement to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee.

Chaney just completed the first season of a three year contract, and his offenses have put up near SEC-leading point totals in each of the past two seasons. But anyone who heard Kirby Smart’s sometimes frustrated postgame musings on his offense or saw him shaking and screaming into his headset on the sideline could be forgiven for thinking things weren’t entirely rosy on that side of the ball. The mass defection of multiple junior playmakers last week was likely another sign of some frustration with an offense that sometimes seemed to have to work really hard to get out of its own way.

If consummated this move would allow Chaney to exit gracefully for Knoxville, where he is well-liked for turning Tyler Bray into a reasonable approximation of a journeyman NFL prospect. I don’t think anyone would expect him to put up numbers comparable to those he’s managed in Athens at least until the Vols bring on a good bit more talent, especially up front.

This obviously brings up the specter of also losing Chaney’s longtime colleague Sam Pittman. Pittman however has been pretty upfront about wanting Athens to be his last coaching stop. Georgia is also in a position to match Tennessee dollar for dollar to keep him, and may be more inclined to do so with the Pittboss than with Chaney. In short I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Big Urnge make a run at Pittman as well, but I’d be mildly surprised to see him leave.

The next natural question is where Kirby Smart might look for a replacement. That’s pretty hazy. Coach James Coley currently holds the label of co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He previously served as offensive coordinator at Miami, and last winter turned down the offensive coordinator spot at Texas A&M under Jimbo Fisher. Coley has been Georgia’s ace recruiter in south Florida, and keeping him on staff with a promotion has some appeal.

As much as some Bulldog fans would like for Coach Smart to go outside his comfort zone with a coach who would throw the ball more and maybe spread things out, I wouldn’t hold my breath. For one thing, Georgia isn’t that plodding on offense now. For another, Smart has been pretty clear that he wants to establish the run and build his offense out from there. Mike Leach ain’t walking through that door.

That being said, with the treasure trove of talent on the offensive line, a stable of blue chip running backs, and an established starter at quarterback who should just be hitting his stride in 2019, this will become one of the hottest jobs in the nation.

We’ll be back with any new developments as they break. Until then...

Go ‘Dawgs!!!