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Getting the band back together: New faces for the Georgia staff are familiar faces

Kentucky Wildcats v Georgia Bulldogs Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

As the churn of a football offseason, there’s a little bit of coaching news to be had. After losing Cortez Hankton back to his home state of Louisiana and LSU, Georgia needed to hire a WR coach. Hankton did an excellent job in Athens, so replacing him won’t be easy. But Kirby Smart just went out and hired one of the better recruiters and receiver coaches in the country to fill the slot.

Oh, and that great recruiter and coach also happened to be a former Dawg in Bryan McClendon. McClendon was most recently the interim head coach at Oregon, holding down the fort on the transition from Miami head coach Mario Cristobal and former Georgia DC Dan Lanning for the Ducks. He had signed on to follow Cristobal from Oregon to Miami to be their WR coach and co-offensive coordinator, but the opening in Athens allowed for a chance to come home.

The ties to Athens are strong with this one, as his nephew is current starting RT Warren McClendon, and father is former RB Willie McClendon. Bryan came to Athens first from Benjamin Mays High School in Atlanta, and was a part of two SEC Champions during his playing career for the Dawgs. After a brief time in the NFL, he came back as a graduate assistant under Mark Richt and became RB coach in 2009. He added recruiting coordinator, shifted to WR coach, and was also the interim head coach for the 2016 Tax Slayer Bowl win over Penn State to conclude the 2015 season. He then moved to South Carolina to work under Will Muschamp, who’s now Georgia’s co-defensive coordinator and outside linebacker coach. The last two seasons have been in Oregon, as their WR coach and passing game coordinator, as well as serving as their interim head coach in the Alamo Bowl after Cristobal took off for south Florida.

McClendon will have his work cut out for him next year as he has to replace George Pickens, Jermaine Burton, and others at WR. But he’ll have even more familiar faces than just Warren and Muschamp around. Former offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will also be joining the Dawg staff as an analyst. Bobo, who was QB while Smart and Muschamp were on the defensive side of the field in the mid 90s at Georgia, was the offensive coordinator under Richt while McClendon was on staff handling the WRs. He left Athens for Colorado State to be their head coach, where the Rams went 28-35 under him from 2015 to 2019. He joined Muschamp at South Carolina after leaving Colorado, serving as their offensive coordinator for one season before Muschamp was let go. Bobo went 0-3 as the interim head coach, and though Muschamp’s replacement of Shane Beamer wanted to keep him around, Bobo opted to join Bryan Harsin’s new staff at Auburn. That lasted one year before the turmoil on the Plains saw him head out of town, and back to Athens.

And like McClendon, he’ll have family on the OL, as Bobo’s son Drew was among the signees back in December to join Matt Luke’s crew as likely a guard on the interior offensive line.

That’s it on the coaching changes and roster developments, for now at least. The staff should, fingers crossed, be stable between now and next fall, but their will certainly be some comings and goings in terms of players between now and next September, when the Dawgs will look to win back to back national titles. Because in case you missed it, we won the national championship earlier this month!

As always, Goooooooo Dawgs!