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Coach Smart Reportedly Fills Vacant Defensive Backs Position With Veteran USC Assistant

USC football practice in Los Angeles. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

When Bulldogs’ defensive backs coach Fran Brown left to become the head coach at Syracuse we suspected Kirby Smart would have a lot of good choices to replace him. It appears the head ‘Dawg has done so with one of the more respected defensive back coaches in the country.

Multiple sources are reporting this evening that Southern Cal defensive backs/passing game coordinator Donte Williams will be joining the UGA staff. Williams also posted a farewell to Trojan fans and players this evening, though he didn’t explicitly reveal his destination.

Admittedly there’s a part of me that doesn’t want anyone who had anything to do with Alex Grinch’s patented bend and then break 2023 USC defense anywhere near Athens. The Trojans finished in the top half of the PAC-12 in passing defense only once in Williams’ four seasons in LA (it was his first season).

However Williams’ defensive backs weren’t in my judgment the problem nearly so much as the front seven. And his units led the PAC-12 in interceptions in both 2020 and 2022. Williams also coached defensive backs at Oregon the prior two seasons, and his units there were among the best in the nation.

Williams also has a reputation as far and away one of the nation’s best recruiters, repeatedly popping up on 247Sports’ list of the top 20 assistants in America in that regard.

Coach Williams also served at the Trojans’ interim head coach in 2021 following the dismissal of Clay Helton, notching a 3-7 record as the head guy. In addition to his stints at USC and Oregon Williams also coached at San Jose State, Washington, and Arizona. For a program that increasingly wants to recruit nationally, having a proven West Coast recruiter can’t hurt.

No one in America knows defensive back play better than Kirby Smart, so my position is to trust his judgment in selecting coaches for that spot implicitly. But it doesn’t take a whole lot of trust to see this one looks like a home run hire. Until later…

Go ‘Dawgs!!!